Freehand Hostel

Awesome New Republic at Freehand Miami

MJ Hancock and B-Rob Robertson of the indie duo Awesome New Republic (ANR for short) have been rocking our lobby with their catchy dance anthems since Valentine’s Day, and if you haven’t been there, you’re missing out.

The two have come a long way since their poncho-rocking, art house days. Their debut album, ANR So Far, earned a 7.9/10 rating on Pitchfork, they’ve played seminal festivals like Pop Montreal and CMJ, and shared the bill with experimental breakout bands like Girl Talk and Animal Collective. Nearly a decade in, they’ve got eight albums under their belts and have been busy pumping out a steady stream of cleverly camp music videos: droll halloween-inspired coversslasher parodies, b-ball player homages, while still making artsy collaborations with Miami performance artist Jillian Mayer.

We don’t know where they find the time to fit in songwriting, pet projects, and commercial scoring duties over at Honor Roll Music, but we’re thrilled they do and even more thrilled to have them filling our lobby with their contagious tunes twice a month on Thursday nights. We caught them for a quick chat to find out more about them and and all the great, new stuff they’ve been digging into.

Freehand Miami: What are you guys working on right now? New album? New video?

Awesome New Republic: We’ve actually been writing a new album for piano and acoustic guitar that we’ll be tracking in the coming months with more musicians in tow.

FH: We know it might be tough to choose, but which of your recent songs are your favorites?

ANR: I still enjoy “Stay Kids” (video below) as much as the first time we played it, and we’ve got some new songs I’m really excited about.

FH: What’s been your most amazing performance experience?

ANR: Playing Iggy Pop songs to a shirtless, dancing Iggy Pop.

FH: Do you think living in Miami has influenced your sound?

ANR: Absolutely. We’re both uptight guys from the Northeast. Miami chills us both out exponentially and makes our music more fun and less brainy.

FH: What inspired the song “Magic City” and its accompanying skate video?

ANR: I used to bike a ton all over Dade for fun and for work as a courier. I got hit enough times and had enough little doses of road rage to squash my enthusiasm for it. The song’s about all of that and Miami in general.

FH: Michael, in a 2008 New York Times piece, you said that you thought Art Basel’s buzz would eventually transfer to Miami’s music scene. Has this come to pass?

ANR: The music that’s been coming out of Miami since then has been pretty stellar, and there’s a marked improvement in how venues interact with actual human musicians, so yes. There’s always been great stuff coming out of Dade though, from early disco to conga pop, to booty bass, etc.

FH: Where do you like to eat, drink, and party in Miami Beach?

ANR: I do most of my eating, drinking, and partying on the actual beach itself and in the ocean. I recommend obtaining some fireworks and making a night of it.

FH: If you could hang out at the Broken Shaker with anyone, alive or dead, real or imaginary, who would it be?

ANR: Any good guy from the X-Men universe.

Our favorite ANR songs:

1. Stay Kids

2. Millionaire (Kelis cover)

3. Wheels, No Engines