Delaware’s premier dork-rock duo redefines ‘geeky’

The multi-talented dork-rock duo, Hot Breakfast!, met, fittingly enough, at auditions for the Wilmington Drama League’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2003. Jill Knapp and Matt Casarino were both cast in the rather quirky production, and played together for the first time at the cast party. They collaborated in solo projects until 2009, when they decided to become a duo.

Lead singer Knapp and guitarist/songwriter Casarino, who now live together near Arden, have since become Delaware’s premier dork-rock duo. Their style, and even their college degrees, complement each other. Knapp attended Montclair State and received a degree in music education/voice, while Casarino went to American University to study literature and communication.

Casarino explains that the genesis of the duo’s name was a t-shirt randomly mailed to Knapp’s house by a friend who bought it at a garage sale.

“The shirt features the silhouette of a man with mighty dreadlocks thrusting his fist into the air, while the text underneath reads ‘HOT BREAKFAST!,’” says Casarino.

“It not only sounds like a fun and inclusive invitation, but it gives us free advertising on hotel signs across the nation,” he adds, displaying the wit that often informs their music.

The duo identifies as dork-rock, a subgenre of alternative rock that fits their unique style and often humorous performances. Explains Casarino: “It’s really about dorky attitude and a desire to abandon all aspects of ‘cool.’ Back in high school, being called a dork, nerd, or geek were insults. But now these words are things to be proud of.”

Similarly, their message as a band is “one of inclusion.”

“We are all dorks in our own way,” he says. “We all have that secret geeky obsession, that fun collection in our closets, those dorky songs that we sing along with loudly when no one is around. Our differences don’t matter nearly as much as the things that bond us.”

Appealing to a wide fan base, Hot Breakfast! has wowed audiences since they started touring in 2011. With original tracks from their 2012 EP, and albums 39 Summers and The Big Reveal, they have racked up eight Homey Awards, including Best Live Act, Best Lead Singer (twice), Best Songwriter and Best Collaboration.

“We want to make great rock music while having fun and welcoming everyone into our dorky family,” says Casarino. “Once we’re all laughing together, we’re all the same—our differences mean nothing.”

They will perform at Atlanta DragonCon early this month and their holiday EP release show, “Hot Breakfast! and Friends Present: A Very Dorky Christmas,” will be at the World Cafe Live at The Queen on Saturday, Dec. 17.

Casarino says the duo is continuing to evolve, and they thank their dedicated fans who start (and end) each day by feeding their soul with some Hot Breakfast!.