Q&A: Hank & Cupcakes Talk to Knockdown Alley

Posted on Wednesday August 5th in


Ariel “Hank” Scherbacovsky (bass) and Sagit “Cupcakes” Shir (vocals and drums) met as teens while performing in an Israeli military band. Things clicked and not only did they go on to form the electro-pop duo Hank & Cupcakes (below, performing “Cocaina” for Converse and Guitar Center), but they also became husband and wife. Seven years ago, Shir and Scherbacovsky left Tel Aviv for Williamsburg, and they’ve since become known locally and Stateside for their energetic live shows and highly danceable music. Forget hometown — they don’t even have to leave the neighborhood to debut their newest video at Brooklyn Bowl on Friday. But before that, they answered some questions for Knockdown Alley.

Are you always working on new material? You’re most recent album, Ca$h 4 Gold (stream it below), came out just last September, but do you have anything new in the pipeline? And do you ever road-test music by playing it live before recording it? Since Ca$h 4 Gold came out we have been touring pretty much constantly, so we haven’t been focused on writing. We have, however, collected many new ideas and had many experiences on the road, so we feel creatively charged and eager to start working on the next album, which we plan to write in Atlanta, as soon as this last touring phase is over in October. We usually try new songs at shows, and you can expect a few new ideas that we are working on at the Brooklyn Bowl show on Friday!

What inspired you to move from Israel to Brooklyn? And have any of the changes in Williamsburg since you arrived affected your music? We left Israel because we felt out of place. We couldn’t see a satisfying future
there doing what we liked and felt we couldn’t grow in the direction we wanted to. So in that aspect, Williamsburg hit us like a bolt of lightning with a surge of creativity. In the seven years we’ve been in Williamsburg, the neighborhood has definitely become less dangerous and edgy, it
seems the artists have been forced deeper into Brooklyn and corporate
NYC has taken over. Even though we still love the neighborhood, we feel ready to test new waters, which is why we’re going to write our third
album in Atlanta after this tour.

What are the differences in making music in Israel versus making music in New York City? Or does the location not really matter? When we started Hank & Cupcakes in Israel, we felt like no one was doing what we were and didn’t have any references to bounce off or be inspired from. The moment we arrived in NYC we were overflowed with art, music, fashion coming at us from all directions and understood that anything is possible, which in itself, is a very powerful tool for an artist. The creativity around
us — and seeing other artists testing boundaries — made us understand what we were capable of and pushed us in the direction we wanted to go.

Which bands that you listened to growing up do you still listen to?
The bands we listened to growing up and still love to come back to
are the Beatles, Neil Young, Paul Simon, the Doors, Reality Bites soundtrack to name a few.

If we give you a buck, which three songs would you put on the jukebox? Spoon, “Rent I Pay,Lucius, “Turn It Around,” and Icona Pop, “I Love It.”

Friday is a video-release party. What should we expect? Expect us to be well-oiled from the road, sweaty and ready to party. We’re also collaborating with our friends Willey and Van Goose, who we’re excited to have as special guests. And of course, we can’t wait to show you all our new music video, “Shut Up,” which we shot in the shower of a hotel room while on tour in Tulsa, Okla.! —R. Zizmor  | @Hand_Dog


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