October 19, 2015
By Eric R. Danton
With Halloween just around the corner, the members of Happy Fangs serve themselves up, literally, at the center of a macabre tale in the band’s new video for “Hiya Kaw Kaw.” The San Francisco trio premieres the clip today on Speakeasy.
In a twist on Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller “The Birds,” the video alternates between shots of the band hurtling through the raucous song in an abandoned warehouse and their encounters with a family of large human-bird hybrid creatures, who are the dominant species in this world. By the end, the musicians—singer Rebecca Bortman, guitaristMichael Cobra and drummer Jess Gowrie—are bombarded while they play. The tune practically wrote itself, Bortman says.
“In about 20 minutes we went from a guitar riff to complete song during a rehearsal session,” she says by email.
Though filmmaker James Mitchelldirected the video, the band took the lead in creating some of the special effects, including the bird-head costumes. “I designed the heads and the band spent a very late night together sewing the custom bird masks together,” Cobra says. “Jess had never sewn anything before so she had to learn on the job.”
Happy Fangs shot the video in and around San Francisco, including a vacant factory that had been used to build battleships during World War II. “To get up to the amazing set require hauling all of our gear and film equipment up five flights of stairs,” Gowrie says. “It was worth it, though, as we had a gigantic warehouse all to ourselves.”
“Hiya Kaw Kaw” first appeared on Happy Fangs’ self-titled debut EP in 2013, and resurfaced on the trio’s serrated, savagely catchy full-length debut, “Capricorn,” which came out in January. The band formed in 2012, though Bortman and Cobra first met in 2007 when their respective previous bands had shared a rehearsal space in San Francisco. Gowrie rounded out the lineup in 2014.
The group has a handful of shows booked this fall; see their itinerary here. What do you think of the video for “Hiya Kaw Kaw?” Leave your thoughts in the comments.