There’s a stellar night of music going down tonight at beloved local gem Coco 66 (on 66 Greenpoint Ave): The Soon-Another (8pm), Leisure Studies (9pm), HUFF THIS! (10pm), and City Girl (11pm). To get the inside word, Greenpointers recently caught up with the femme fatale art-pop band HUFF THIS!…
“HUFF THIS! started as a duo with me playing keys and Molly ‘Bearcub’ Allis playing drums and guitar,” explains Alison Clancy. “We sang in unison and occasionally switched instruments. It was raw and intense.” Since those early days, these qualities have not changed, although the musicians and the instrumentation have gone through many transformations. Throughout it all, Clancy has been the driving force and the primary songwriter with various collaborators.
The current incarnation of HUFF THIS! started when Clancy met Allison Jones at The Metropolitan Opera, where they were both dancing. With hours of time to spare in between stage entrances at The Met, Clancy and Jones took to the basement rehearsal rooms of the grand opera house to improvise their own music. They started playing the pianos, singing, and writing, and soon teamed up with guitarists Jennifer Eden and Hira Lupe to expand the sound and arrangements. Together, the four women created a kinetic combination of transcendent punk rock and dream pop. “It’s still raw and intense,” explains Clancy, “but there is a a more full, psychedelic synth and guitar world that has developed.” And, most recently, the band was made complete by the addition of drummer Hitomi Nakamura. Thus, HUFF THIS! is re-born again and fully set to rock the stage tonight at Coco 66.
And so, Greenpointers had to ask…
GPers: If you could do a world tour and go to any five countries, where would you like to play?
HUFF THIS!: I think we’d be really excited to tour anywhere. Past incarnations of HUFF THIS! have toured Europe and the West Coast, but this incarnation of the band has only played in NYC. It’s on Clancy’s bucket list to do a southern US tour and play legendary music cities like Nashville, New Orleans and Memphis. Jones, who hails from Los Angeles, has never been to Europe, and says “any five countries there would be awesome!” It would also be rad to play in Hira and Hitomi’s hometowns in Italy and Japan.
GPers: And what item would have to be included on your tour rider?
HUFF THIS!: The thing that would really feel luxurious to have on our tour would be a roadie/sound technician. We are all tough, but scrawny, so handling the heavy gear can be a challenge. And it would be great to know that there was someone familiar with our setup and sound helping with the technical aspect of things.
GPers: What has been your favorite venue that you’ve played?
HUFF THIS!: Highline Ballroom is a standout because it’s such a large space with great sound, and we were fortunate to play there as a newly-formed incarnation of this band. Mercury Lounge is always great, especially because they give artists a long and thorough sound check! Muchmore’s (Williamsburg) is the coziest, with good vibes. The show at Coco 66 will be our first show in Greenpoint, and it’s nice to be playing so close to our practice space.
GPers: Where do you like to get together to practice?
HUFF THIS!: Occasionally, we jam in Clancy’s living room, but usually practice in a friend’s Greenpoint basement lovingly named the ‘Rad Pad.’
GPers: What’s the best part of being a band based in New York City? What’s the hardest part?
HUFF THIS!: The best AND hardest aspect of being a NYC band is the sheer
number of creative and talented people doing the same thing we are doing in the same city. There’s so much inspiration and you can work with amazingly talented people, but also there’s a lot of competition for the opportunities.
GPers: Do you do anything for good luck before you play or do you have any other rituals before you go on?
HUFF THIS!: Clancy stretches. Jen Eden, a martial artist, does shadow boxing to warm up. Jones likes some red wine and playing basic scales. She also says, “putting on makeup is a very calming ritual as a performer. I love to take my time with it.” Sometimes, Clancy will try to come up with a word or theme of the night, to give everyone a unify image to channel.
GPers: Do you have a favorite place to go after you play, for food or an after party or just to chill?
HUFF THIS!: Our studio is close to Bar Matchless, so often we’ll eat there after rehearsals or shows. They have great Mac and Cheese and are open late. We also party at Clancy’s house pretty regularly.
GPers: For people unfamiliar with HUFF THIS!, what should they expect during tonight’s set?
HUFF THIS!: Expect five females to rock hard and look damn good while doing it. Don’t be surprised if you almost step on a dancer writhing on the floor, because that kind of thing happens… It’s immersive, punk ritual. We’re delicious, nutritious and will totally get you high…†