Hubba Hubba is one of those bands that largely smashes genre barriers with the might of their musical ability. Are they a pop rock band, a funk rock band, a confused group of dudes just playing instruments? Their Facebook page says they are funk rock, which is a fair description but not the one I would give. Judging from the songs on Phunqi Haught Suhqet, their debut album, they would better be described as rock with a funky, poppy streak. However, they have their own answer to this question, somewhere below.
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You can stream their music on Spotify below.
- What are your biggest musical influences?
Cain: I grew up primarily a dancer above everything else, so I have a deep-rooted, somewhat sickening affection for pop music. As a performer I swoon for free expression and intimate creativity. George Michael, Janet Jackson, Prince, Bowie, Freddie, Gwen Stefani, Lady Gaga has my heart and soul and multiple tattoo shrines on my body, Britney Spears, Madonna. As a songwriter and a vocalist, Dolly Parton, Edwin McCain, Kelly Clarkson, Kara DioGuardi, John Mayer, Amanda Marshall, Mandy Moore who I think is a genuine poet, Kesha. I could go on for days.
Stefan: Coheed & Cambria, Mike Portnoy
David: Cliff Burton, Geddy Lee, John Entwestle, James Jamerson, Bootsy Collins, rock metal pop country and everything in between. Radio Head.
Aaron: Coheed, John Frusciante, Stevie Ray Vaughn
- Do you listen to any band or genre that would surprise your fans if they found out?
Cain: Not that it would surprise the folks who know us, but I have a series of Gaga tattoos. I also have a sick obsession with female country artists who openly sing about killing and/or harming those who did them wrong. Selena.
David: I’m really getting into experimental music. Glitch tapping and shit. I love death metal. Selena.
Stefan: I love Ellie Goulding’s first album. I also had a childhood love of the Spice Girls and old Mariah Carey. Selena.
Aaron: Jamie Cullum. Metal. Jazz. Blues. Dolly Fucking Parton. Selena.
- What’s next for the band?
Tacos. Then a new record. We are hard at work writing the sophomore release. We are very much honing in on our growth over the past two years. Genuine and honest, feel-good music about real subject matters and what we really have to say about them. Of course, our main focus is giving people a comfortable place where they feel like they can be free from their insecurities and the world happening outside the music, maybe walking away better prepared for their own truths when they go back out. This will by far be the most dance-provoking work we have done yet.
- How do you think streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have changed how bands release music? Has it made it easier or more difficult?
It has definitely made it easier to release, but, humorously enough, much harder to make money off of. That being said, the reach one can obtain as an independent artist of any medium now, today, is something unspeakable when considering where we were 20 years ago. It is pretty remarkable.
- Do you have any non-musical influences that show up in your music?
Life experiences mainly. Relationships, sex, money or lack thereof, prejudice, abandoning fear, depression, elation, getting older, etc. The highs and lows of party culture was a big focus on Phunqi Haught Suhqet.
- Can you describe your sound?
Umami. It is a little bit of errrthang. David says, “Its hotter than two rats fuckin’ in a wool sock.” The first record ended up having a lot more angst than we intended or initially set out for, but speaks volumes to where we were in our personal lives at the time. The most recent ones we’ve been cooking up are a much groovier, dance-driven, feel-good collection of tunes in comparison.
- What are you listening to lately? Anything you would recommend?
Cain: Anything and everything Chromeo. I am living my best life with “Medellin” by Madonna ft. Maluma. Other than that, I have not stopped listening to Ariana Grande’s Thank U Next album since the day it dropped.
David: The Fearless Flyers. Tool – getting newly blown away going back. Chromeo.
Stefan: He Is Legend. Chromeo.
Aaron: Coheed and Cambria. Always. Periphery. Tame Impala. Bad Rabbits.
- What made you decide to “get into” music and start a band?
Cain: We come from a history of music and art on both sides of our family, playing and writing since I can remember. The brothers and I took very different routes musically throughout childhood and adolescence, but when we found the opportunity to fuse it all together with our other soul brother, David, we had to jump on it. I remember watching Paul Stanley (of KISS) on the Animal Eyes VHS and was just floored by how he commanded an audience. MJ was my go-to from day one, just pure magic, but Paul Stanley took it a step further with live performance. After him, it was Freddie Mercury and David Bowie that most made me wanna do my own thing without fear. Gaga changed the game with boundless freedom at a profoundly altering moment in my life. I found her right around the same time I found Hedwig and the Angry Inch, so they brought out a whole new something.
Stefan: Monotony and normal life are terrifying.
Aaron: Stefan said that better than I was thinking. I just wanted to get laid. The movie Rockstar.
David: I watched the footage Cliff Burton in a bell-bottomed Canadian tuxedo in front of 70,000 plus at Day on the Green in Oakland and said “That. I wanna do that.”
- How does your writing process work, do you all collaborate on the lyrics or is that job reserved for just one person?
We collaborate on the music for sure! We typically have one member’s groove or riff to get the ball rolling, sometimes we reference other music we have been listening to and say “Let’s write within this realm.” Whichever way the building blocks stack up, we try to build a solid piece. Lyrically, while I (Cain) am always open to other’s writing or stories, I typically take the lead with the lyrics. I have always loved storytelling and truly try my damnedest to write as clever as I can. I’ll write the same sentence 30 different ways before I am satisfied. I usually let the music tell me what story it wants to tell, but at times come in with a specific point of topic I feel it’s important for us to touch on. Obviously not every piece is a gem. Usually the writing process entails people yelling notes and ideas over somebody else’s instrument, someone asking what key we are in, someone smoking a bowl, someone humming to themselves, and with a little bit of reeling it in through the muck, mess, and maze, we are able to musically articulate what it is we were thinking of.
- If you had to pick just one, which album would be your favorite?
Cain: Born This Way – Lady Gaga. It changed my life in exponential ways at a pivotal moment in time and is easily one of the greatest start-to-finish collections of music ever made.
David: Dan Siegel – Dan Siegel (1981). It is the most cornball piece of jazz fusion that will forever remain my favorite record ever made.
Aaron: The Afterman – Coheed & Cambria. It is one of the greatest musical front-to-back compositions ever made.
Stefan: Cowboys From Hell – Pantera. Because Pantera
Sean: Shut Up and Say Something – Shane Koyczan, because the album was written from the perspective of someone not okay with themselves trying to teach others how to not be that way and it is sincere.
- Are there any bands you would desperately love to tour with someday?
Cain: Chromeo and Janet Jackson. Tank and the Bangas. Kelly Clarkson. Kesha.
Stefan: Vulfpeck and Chromeo. Anderson Paak.
David: Alabama Shakes, Lakestreet Dive. Dap Kings and Snarky Puppy.
Sean: Umphrees McGee, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong.
Aaron: Red Hot Chili Peppers.
- What are your thoughts about bands releasing more singles, rather than following a traditional route and just releasing albums?
The world is moving faster and in a different way than we have ever seen before. There are a lot of artists nowadays that are still doing what we tried to do with Phunqi Haught Suhqet, a front-to-back experience rather than albums of single after single. With the instant gratification age we live in, the patience for the time it takes to create an entire album and all the bells and whistles to go along with it (merchandise, photos, videos, packaging, licensing and publishing, digital distribution wait times, etc.), it makes a lot of sense to release singles vs albums. It helps keep the hungry ones fed and full.