Berlin-based duo, FHAT – aka American singer-songwriters and producers Aaron Pfeiffer and Sedric Perry – dropped their latest single ‘Packin” just last month; a funky, innuendo-heavy anthem, taken to next-level awesomeness by their alter egos in an action packed video.
The ’70s inspired triumph sees the pair team up to hijack a transatlantic Pan Am flight headed for Berlin. Starring as Hunter and Jackson, their mission is to charm and drug the pilot, alongside seducing two members of cabin crew, before leaving the pair tied up and stealing their outfits. Complete with sexual tension, dance moves and the odd half-naked shot, the video is effortlessly stylish, and the perfect companion for the pop-powerhouse single.
FMS caught up with the duo – who hit 1.5 million streams on the 2018 release ‘Back To Life’ (in which they were featured artists), and have received support from Annie Mac’s BBC Radio One show, Future Sounds, and KCRW in Los Angeles – to get the lowdown (pun intended) on behind the scenes action for their saucy, ’70s vibe video for ‘Packin”, and their alter egos, Hunter and Jackson.
“Hunter and Jackson allow us to put a barrier between our emotional attachment with the music and just be wild and fun, kind of like a Sasha Fierce but make it GAY.”
First up, what impact did the move to Berlin have on you as musicians?
Sedric: “It’s opened our minds up to new experiences and opportunities we wouldn’t have had living in New York and LA. We literally built the project from the ground up and embraced our sexuality and shared experiences – two key factors in us moving to Europe.”
Aaron: “In the US I was very bound to a heteronormative approach when I performed or made music. Berlin has expanded my mind as far as pushing the limit and actually being my truest self. I grew up in a very small-minded family and allowed their views to govern my decisions and Berlin has allowed me to break out of that.”
What’s the attraction to the ‘70s and did you have that era in mind when writing ‘Packin’’?
S: “We’re big film buffs! There’s something really corny, but still magical about the ‘70s era. We were honestly thinking more ‘80s Prince, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson. But somehow the ‘70s vibe just fit better to who we were at the moment.”
A: “Ya what she said. We started out with a very dark 2000s vibe, but we felt as if a lot of people were in this vibe at the time. So, we began to evolve into the ‘70s direction and Berlin’s thrift stores lead to many inexpensive ‘70s gear which was right in our price range, as broke indie artists.”
Anything else you had in mind when writing the track? ; D
S: “Insert eggplant emoji here.”
A: “Fun, I remember the whole session being super sarcastic and funny, we were laughing the whole time.”
“They’re more focused with less mood swings than we are. I can’t fly a plane, but I’m the best driver you know!”
Hunter and Jackson… how close are they to your actual personalities?
S: “They’re actually more chill, confident versions of us. They’re more focused with less mood swings than we are. I can’t fly a plane, but I’m the best driver you know!”
A: “Actually they are! These characters are meant to be us at our best! As the life of being a creative does come with its dark times and struggles. Hunter and Jackson allow us to put a barrier between our emotional attachment with the music and just be wild and fun, kind of like a Sasha Fierce but make it GAY.”
What would you both say has been your most Hunter/Jackson moment in real life?
A: So, we went on a trip to Vegas for Sedric’s bday a few years ago and on the bus from LA we said let’s give each other nicknames for the weekend as we planned on partying hard and wanted to disguise our real selves. Little did we know we would adopt these names later down the line in a music duo project.”
S: “That’s a really hard one! We actually have a lot of those moments. We show up to places looking for trouble. Eating all the food, looking a mess, drinking like fish, screaming at people about being politically correct. I can think of two suit and tie industry parties that we crashed and TRASHED in our ‘70s gear. And every now and then we take a boy or two back to our hotel.”
“I can think of two suit and tie industry parties that we crashed and TRASHED in our ‘70s gear. And every now and then we take a boy or two back to our hotel.”
How does your personal style compare… (any keepers from the fashion closet)?
S: “There were hints of it here and there, with the shirts, jewellery and shoes. But FHAT allowed it to be bigger and more exaggerated.”
A: “Not for me. I have a terribly boring fashion sense. I love grey, white and black typically. This is also why I love being part of FHAT because it allows me to really explore and wear things I wouldn’t usually wear, typically found in the women’s section of local thrift shops.”
How much input did you have in the styling and production of the video?
S: “Of course! We’re extremely hands on the whole way through. The original concept was ours. Thankfully we had an amazing director – Marta (Brodacka) – who understood exactly where we wanted to go with it. While she found the location and crew, we worked together for the outfits and choreography. She’s amazing!”
A: “Ya these are all our ideas so far. We don’t have huge budgets and its 2019, everything is so accessible so we do a lot of DIY.”
What were your film references for the direction of the video?
S: “There’s this really old cigarette commercial that takes place in an airport. The opening scene is pretty similar to ours, only it’s the captain and the stewardess. The whole interaction felt eerie and inappropriate, it’s easy to see we’re evolving past that mentality. We thought it’d be nice to take the misogyny out of it and make it fun between two guys. We also did a lot of digging into Blacksploitation films and Tarantino to make it more wild.”
A: “I am a huge movie buff. I love apocalyptic, ‘90s dystopian flicks, like: The Doom Generation, Nowhere, Party Monster and Mulholland Drive.”
“We also did a lot of digging into Blacksploitation films and Tarantino to make it more wild.”
Looks like a lot of fun – where did you film the video and what was the vibe like on set?
S: “We filmed in this old office building in London. We were a little nervous because we had limited film, unlike digital. But once we got into the groove, it was pure magic. You could feel that everyone was deeply invested, even though it was a really unique music video concept. We laughed a lot. I don’t know how we actually managed to finish in time!”
A: “We filmed it on 16mm film like a real ‘70s movie and the location had an old vibe to it, everyone felt very authentic and was very fun! We only had one day to film, so it was very fast paced!”
“To be continued…” – What’s next for Hunter and Jackson?
S: “Well, they’re flying east to work a job from their friend Pablo. It’s going to get much more intense and you’ll really get more into their personalities and skills they each possess. We’re already working on it and it’s absolutely thrilling!”
A: “Keep building the story and get into performing live more!”
‘Packin” is out now via Unity Records.