Noise Pop Q & A: Happy Fangs
By: Dan Rosenbaum
Happy Fangs: Cobra & RGB
Neighborhood: Midtown Terrace (nobody knows where it is and I like it that way) and the center of the rainbow in the Castro.
What do you love about your neighborhood? C: It’s in the middle of the city, easy to get anywhere and yet still completely secluded and hidden. R: I love that I can walk out my apartment and get a compliment on my crazy outfit.
Native or Transplant: Transplants
How long have you lived in SF: 14 years and 8 years
Gig: Happy Fangs
SF is… a city full of makers. San Francisco is full of people making music, art, tech, culture, you name it, unlike any other city.
What do you like better: Bay Bridge or the Golden Gate Bridge?
What's your favorite neighborhood to hang out in (other than your own)?
Cobra: I find myself in Upper Haight and Cole Valley a ton.
RGB: I've been really digging Corona Heights lately. It's only a few blocks up the hill from The Castro, the houses are beautiful, the greenery is lush, and there is a very special gentleman that lives at the top of the hill.
Where is your secret outdoor spot?
Cobra: Sutro Forrest. A forrest with hiking trails hidden in the center of San Francisco and right out my front door.
RGB: The hidden footpaths of Golden Gate Park. I've gotten into running up the little dirt paths off the most roads into the woods. My end result of Map My Run looks like I was running from zombies.
Where and what would be your last meal here in San Francisco?
Cobra: Gracias Madre in the Mission, all vegan Mexican food. I’d have their sweet potato quesadilla and Platanos Maduros.
RGB: It would be an adventure of eating! Samusa Soup from Burma Superstar. A slice of Patxi's Californian Deep Dish. A And a yet-undiscovered city's best sticky toffee pudding and spiked hot chocolate. Any suggestions?
What restaurant have you been meaning to eat at, but haven't?
What is your go-to drink spot?
"It would be an adventure of eating! Samusa Soup from Burma Superstar. A slice of Patxi's Californian Deep Dish."
What is your favorite spot to snap a picture in SF?
Cobra: From Angel Island looking at the city. An amazing view of San Francisco.
RGB: Land's End behind the Legion of Honor.
What is the one celebration in the city you look forward to every year?
Cobra: Halloween. Young or old, San Francisco’s holiday is definitely Halloween.
RGB: Impromptu street celebrations! The most recent was when the Supreme Court overturned DOMA and Prop 8, on Castro Street with a smile was the place to be!
Where do you escape the hustle and bustle beyond the bridge?
Cobra: I do a lot of day trips North of SF to Mt. Tam, Point Reyes and Petaluma.
RGB: The Olympic-sized hot tub at Indian Hot Springs in Calistoga.
What is your favorite place in San Francisco to act like a tourist?
Cobra: The museums… De Young, Exploratorium, Academy of Sciences etc.
RGB: The Powell Street cable car! I really enjoy the wonderment on all those visitors faces as you come over the crest of the hill.
What is the one thing everyone should do at least once here?
Cobra: Spend a day walking from the Bay to the Ocean without a planned route.
RGB: Bike the city. If all drivers knew what it was like to bike in this city, the roads would be safer.
What is the one thing you have yet to check off your bucket list in SF?
Cobra: A lifetime goal of mine is to have my photo on the wall at the Fillmore.
RGB: I want to sing on the floating stage at The Tonga Room.
What piece of advice would you give to a traveler about visiting the city?
Cobra: Wear layers, this isn’t the California the Beach boys sang about.
RBG: When in doubt, the street names are printed on the sidewalks.
The story of Happy Fangs starts in 2007 in the San Francisco neighborhood Tenderloin. RGB and Mr. Cobra shared a rehearsal space at Francisco Studios and got to know one another through their respective bands. Besides a shared drummer, the bands had little commonality musically; RGB’s band My First Earthquake mined the indie pop scene while Mr. Cobra’s King Loses Crown leaned towards the dark electro-rock side of the spectrum. In 2012, Mr. Cobra found out that RBG was parting ways with her band and would no longer be around the practice space. He reached out to her out of concern that she was abandoning making music altogether and upon learning that her artistic spirit was alive and well, the two sparked a creative partnership.
Alongside the juxtaposing music is a strong two-tone visual component. “Like the name Happy Fangs, we felt stark black and white imagery allowed us to visually play with that contrast,” says Bortman. Photographs of the band show them in black and white attire, often with angular face paint patterns. Their live show is met with same enthusiasm and creative energy. At every show, Happy Fangs create and perform an original song with help from the audience, making every show unique – and giving the crowd a chance to see a song that will only exist in that space and time, never to be performed again.
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