Following the success of their previous collaboration, “Swimming”, rapper Hans. knew he had to join forces with Auckland synth-pop duo IMUGI 이무기 again.
Their latest joint track, “Candy”, is delicately constructed alternative-pop, with Hans. first unfurling his hazy lines before letting Yery Cho – one half of the synth-pop duo alongside Carl Ruwhiu – perform her confidently catchy vocals.
“Candy” is possessed of an endlessly infectious energy that’s primed for repeat listens; it’s really a case of sweet by name and sweet by nature. Coolly uptempo and hypnotically paced, “Candy” feels like it’s arrived in ideal time for vibrant summer afternoons.
“Even though we’ve worked closely together, over COVID we didn’t get to see much of each other,” Hans. explains. “So I had Yery and Carl over at my home studio, and we were just mucking around playing each other music and catching up.
“The song itself was an idea Carl already had, that Yery and I started writing to straight away. The whole track really came together in around 30 minutes. Half of Yery’s vocals and my verse are actually straight from the first one-take demo we did. There’s something real fun and spontaneous about the song, and I think how it was created really plays into that vibe.”
The track’s accompanying video was shot and edited by Luke Park on Auckland’s Cross Street, just one block from the city’s thriving Karangahape Road (recently named one of the world’s coolest streets by Time Out), and offers an alluring snapshot of the daily excitement of inner city living. There’s also, in case you were wondering, multiple glimpses of titular candy, including a lolly stuck to a lamppost.
The video was produced by Always Be Glowing (ABG), a local label that supports Asian artists making their mark in the New Zealand music scene, and it really feels like Asian-New Zealand artists are having a strong moment in 2022.
It feels like a long time since Hans. first burst onto the scene with “Froyo”, his lo-fi hip-hop collaboration with bedroom pop superstar Clairo, but the rapper has continued putting out sterling cuts in the intervening years, both as a main artist and supporting producer. His new EP, also called Candy, is set for release on Friday, November 18th (pre-order here).
Imugi, meanwhile, released the hip genre-hopping EP Dragonfruit in 2020, and Cho and Ruwhiu remain one of the tightest duos in the country’s current music scene.
Add in Taebz, who’s previously worked with both Hans. and IMUGI 이무기, and rising star hanbee, who’s about to support Fazerdaze on tour, and you have a coterie of artists capable of doing big things in 2023.
If you’re in Auckland this month and want to catch them in action, ABG is putting on a showcase at Basement Theatre on Saturday, November 19th, featuring the aforementioned hanbee, Taebz, and many more.
Hans.’s “Candy” is out now.