I couldn’t think of a way to start this feature that wouldn’t sound like a fast food press release, but here goes anyway: is there any food more satisfying than a good breakfast sandwich? Something hot and savory fill you up and put you in a good mood for a long day? Brooklyn-based electro-duo Fake Dad bring that same energy to their new single, “Breakfast in New York,” a bite of R&B-tinged bliss guaranteed to make your mouth water for a bacon, egg, and cheese from your bodega or deli of choice (for those of us outside The Big Apple, maybe an Egg McMuffin at the very least).
Songwriter/vocalist Andrea de Varona first started writing the track in December of 2019. After a trip to Tennessee to shoot the video for the duo’s single “What’s Wrong? Pt. II,” she found herself in her hometown of Miami for the holidays, but she was falling into a fit of nostalgia for NYC.
“It was sparked by the realization that New York, a place that was once so foreign, had started to feel like home and a place I had longed to go back to,” says de Varona. “This was a particularly difficult holiday for my family because my grandmother had just passed away, like, days before Christmas Eve, which also happened to be her favorite holiday. She was the glue of the family, so her absence really made my home feel different and kind of empty for the first time.”
She says you can hear shades of that emptiness in the melancholic chorus melody, a counterpoint to the seemingly-hopeful, even upbeat lyrics: “and I won’t stop dreaming of breakfast in New York / everyone’s got a place to be / the rush makes my heart easy.”
“This song sprung from a place of grief and longing for a time and place that felt more full and comforting,” says de Varona.
From there, Josh Ford, her partner in Fake Dad, says she recorded the song’s synth progression on a toy keyboard from 1995: the Casio Rapman. “It has a little plastic record-scratch controller and everything–very ‘90s. We saturated the hell out of that.” Then the duo supplemented it with a clave rhythm from an 808 drum machine, aiming for an all-around throwback sound.
“From the start, we knew that we wanted the instrumentation to just scream warm, vintage, retro,” says Ford. “We knew we wanted it to be danceable, but we didn’t know how to get there. It was sort of a late inspiration to interpolate this four-on-the-floor, ‘70s walking beat you hear in the chorus. Once we found that, it was like finally hearing the arrangement in the language it was speaking the whole time.”
There’s comfort to be found in those classic sounds, not unlike the comfort of chowing down on your ideal egg sandwich. When it comes to the perfect breakfast in New York, each member of Fake Dad has a preference. For de Varona, it’s egg and cheese on a challah roll.
“But two aspects are very key,” she adds. “There must be lots of cheese, and the challah has to be fresh. A little ketchup on the side doesn’t hurt. Frankel’s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn makes a mean but admittedly overpriced egg and cheese on their signature challah roll.”
In fact, Frankel’s made the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich that adorns the single cover for “Breakfast in New York.”
“I don’t normally eat bacon, but we felt we needed the iconic sandwich with the bacon on the cover,” says de Varona. “It’s just so eye-catching, combined with the melty cheese dripping down…mmm.”
Ford’s favorite comes from Garden Catering.
“Bacon, egg, and cheese on a poppyseed roll with—and this is very important—fried potato cones smushed inside the sandwich,” he says. “It’s a classic, yet so elusive. I challenge you to find a sandwich with cones anywhere in the city. Please. Please find one and let me know.”
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down Fake Dad’s plans to play their first northeast tour this year–including a festival appearance–but they’ve been busy all the same, recording a home performance session with The Wild Honey Pie and working on their forthcoming debut EP. “Breakfast in New York” is available to stream and download now, and you can follow Fake Dad on Instagram for updates on future releases and performances.