Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson Share ‘Hokey Fright’ Details

Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson. Photo: Chrissy Piper

This spring, Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson will release Hokey Fright, their first album as the Uncluded. The album pairs Aesop’s baritone raps with Kimya’s easygoing lilt over 16 productions that flit between acoustic guitar and beat-based backdrops. It may seem like an odd pairing, but we can assure you that this friendship-turned-creative partnership will be one of this year’s nicest surprises. Hive recently checked in with Kimya and confirmed cat enthusiast Aesop and pestered them to reveal some more details about the collaboration.

What’s the story behind the album title, Hokey Fright?

Kimya Dawson: It’s something Aesop’s grandma used to say. He told me about it and I thought it sounded awesome. I had never heard it before and we both thought it would be a great title.

Aesop Rock: She would say it instead of “Holy Shit!” It was her inoffensive exclamation. We searched it online and I asked my brothers if they had ever heard it elsewhere, but no dice. Maybe she made it up? I dunno.

You’re calling this project the Uncluded. Did you come up with any other rejected names for the group?

Kimya Dawson: Initially we were Precious Bros and you will even hear us say that in a couple of songs, but we found out that there is a band called Precious Brothers. They are actually brothers with the last name Precious. Bummer. Then it took us well over a year to come up with a new name. We toyed with a bunch of ideas — Poltergasm, Willsmiths, Clap Clap NGO… We asked for suggestions at shows and that was comical at best.

Aesop Rock: It was weird because Precious Bros was decided upon swiftly and we loved it. Then once we realized we couldn’t use it, I feel like we were throwing around band names forever. Ultimately I think the Uncluded fits us best, so I feel okay with it.  Poltergasm is pretty good though.

Is the first single, “Earthquake,” representative of the sound of the whole album?

Kimya Dawson: Not really. Some of the songs are built around acoustic guitar and some have beats that Aesop produced. Some of the guitar songs have drums and or synths. Some of the ones with beats have glockenspiel and flute. Some are heavy and fast. Some are folky and slow. Some are folky and fast. All but one have a ton of words because, well, we’re us.

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