WXJM Interview with Happy Fangs
I got a chance to sit down and have a chat with Rebecca Gone Bad and Michael Cobra, a duo that makes music under the name of Happy Fangs. Rebecca brings high-energy vocals and Michael brings gritty pop guitar. Their sound has been described as “punk anthems to make The Beach Boys, Blondie, & Bikini Kill proud.” And their self-titled EP was even in rotation at WXJM this semester!
WXJM: How did you two meet and start playing music together?
Michael & Rebecca: We actually shared a rehearsal space and drummer in an extremely shady part of San Francisco, we used to be in two different bands (Rebecca was in an indie band called My First Earthquake and Michael was in a hardcore punk band called King Loses Crown) in 2008, and we’ve been playing together for the last year and a half. We started sharing demos back and forth and then all of a sudden had a show already booked! And we’ve just been playing ever since, and that was about a year ago.
WXJM: How would you describe the music that you all play?
M & R: We love to talk about war cries, this idea of what gets people riled up to do stuff. Our MO is just to go do it, you just have to make it happen. Our band is about getting people to do the things they wanna do. What can you do to make the world better? In a “you’re so awesome you should get out there” way, our music strives to be positive. We like to describe ourselves as a mixture of the Beach Boys and Bikini Kill. We like to incorporate things that don’t match, visually and musically. When we play live, everything is black and white, it’s meant to be that contrast that connects visuals with the music.
WXJM: Where you do all come from? San Fran?
R: Pittsburgh for me and Kansas for Mike.
M: It’s actually “freezing” in San Fran right now!
R: And by “freezing” he means like 45 degrees, haha!
WXJM: You just went on a little tour… What was that all like?
R: It was our first time playing outside of San Francisco, it was a week tour, with some live radio programs, and went up to Kingston, NY to record to work with Anthony Molina. The main thing we took away from the tour, going on tour with Mike, has made me love him even more! We tour well together; we never got haggard by it. We only played 4 shows, but we also were doing so much other stuff, definitely had very full days.
WXJM: And didn’t you all play CMJ in New York City? Tell me about that!
M: The two shows we played were actually on the same night at 7 and 11pm. The 7pm gig was at The Trashbar and was more of a calm audience, but then the 11 o clock one was way more rowdy in a basement of a bar in the lower east side of Manhattan. No stage, everyone was wasted and in your face, it was a ton of fun!
WXJM: You all just had an EP come out- what were some of the influences for that release?
R: For me, there’s a lot of girl punk from the 70s- The Slits, The X-Ray Specs, they have a really strong female vocalists who goes from high head voice to gruff rusty voice. I love that the feminine voice can be used in so many ways, and when females use full use of their voice. The feminine mystique if you will.
M: For me I’m influenced by some of the more modern garage rock, Ty Segall and Thee O Sees, and even 60’s doo wop for some of our songwriting and song structures. Also early 90s grunge. Mixture of a lot of different things. I would say we’re a very San Francisco band; we’re about mixing a lot of things together.
We’re now in the process of making videos for some of the songs. We’re also in the process of releasing a Christmas song- “All I want for Christmas is Halloween”. (Download the song here! >> https://soundcloud.com/happyfangsmusic/all-i-want-for-christmas-is/s-njmZQ)
WXJM: That sounds great! What’s your favorite show that you’ve ever played?
R: It was our last one at the D&N Lounge in San Francisco that’s more of a nightclub on the ground floor and then has a live band stage on the second floor for a more intimate audience. We played there a couple of Friday nights ago when a candy rave happening on the 1st floor of the venue. It was like we were witnessing a whole new culture, with all these neon beads and girls with unicorn costumes. They were dressed ridiculously, having so much fun, and it was just so awesome. We also make a song at every show as a gift to our audience based on a suggestion that someone throws out. Somebody suggested “Bat Kid” (to see the amazing Make A Wish Foundation story about 5-year-old Miles’ wish to become Batman for a day click here >> http://vimeo.com/79541124) and it was almost too perfect because that very same day San Francisco had transformed into Gotham City for that little boy!
M: That show got pretty chaotic in a great way. There was at least 5-6 people pounding the stage, also I threw the pedal board and it made a huge noise, so loud that I wasn’t sure if I had broken my equipment (it didn’t thankfully), and so it was just the perfect stop to an awesome show.
WXJM: What are you currently listening to?
M &R: Hanni Al Khatib. He’s from LA and does some slick garage rock. Also, we’ve gone through a Vaccines phase and a Palma Violets phase… great stuff haha!
WXJM: If you could have someone else play you in a movie of your life, who would it be?
R: I get told I look like Zooey Deschanel a lot. But I kinda have gotten mad at her cause she just plays up this cuteness thing too much. So instead, I’m gonna go with Natalie Portman!
M: I’m gonna go with two people that I get told I also look like a lot, but it would have to be a much older version of me. Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix, The Sopranos) or Garth Brooks. Orrr the guy that guy from The Hunger Games. Yeah, let’s go with him!
Article by: Morgan Schaffner