Awesome New Republic: awesome indeed

UM alumni Michael John Hancock and Brian Robertson make up two of the three members of Awesome New Republic. Photo by Peter Richardson

“Awesome” simply does not give the indie-pop group enough credit. UM alumni Michael John Hancock and Brian Robertson adeptly blend electronic beats with high-pitched rock vocals, creating their own distinct sound and musical genre.

“They don’t limit themselves to just one genre. There is rock, pop, dance, hip-hop, R&B and funk all rolled into one,” junior Max Winik said.

Hancock and Robertson met at the Frost School of Music. Originally, the duo were part of a different UM student band, which was a jam rock group. After dissolving, Hancock and Robertson decided to form their own group in 2004 that would mix their rock experience with pop beats.

“Our music is like pop radio having a panic attack,” Robertson said.

As the UM graduates climb higher in the music scene, they bring their UM past along for the ride.

“The people that we met at UM, our peers, are people that we continue to work with today,” Hancock said.

Awesome New Republic’s label, Honor Roll Music, began with two former UM students, J. Read Fasse and Nick Scapa, and the label’s staff and interns include UM alumni as well.

Honor Roll released Awesome New Republic’s album, Hearts, Oct. 27. The 11-track album features their ability to compile intricate beats using computer programs and then blend them with their own keyboard and guitar instrumentals.

To top off the impeccable quality of their music, Hancock and Robertson are able to harmonize so ideally that their voices become one.

The techno-savvy group hopes these danceable tracks will mirror the image of what society will be in the coming years. They want listeners to be able to feel rejuvenated after hearing their music.

“We try to make music that is optimistic and hopeful,” Hancock said. “We hope it inspires people to dance and to get to know each other on the dance floor.”

Lonnie Nemiroff may be contacted at