Hot Breakfast Makes Wonderfully Quirky Music in Delaware

Photo by Joe Del Turo

Known for its quirky cover songs and idiosyncratic style, Hot Breakfast delights audiences across the First State.

Interview by Joanna Arat, Ashley Breeding, Elena Bergh, Sameera Hutt-Kornegay, Natalie Orga, Ny’lah Rhyanes and Molly Silvon

Singer Jill Knapp and guitarist Matt Casarino met through the Wilmington Drama League during a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” over a decade ago. Their chemistry on and off the stage led to lasting coupledom—and to local fame as acoustic ‘dork rock’ duo “Hot Breakfast.” Their original music captivates audiences as much as their quirky cover songs and idiosyncratic style.

Behind the band name:

Matt: We already had a T-shirt…

- Advertisement -

Jill: So, a good friend of mine who lived in Austin and loved thrift shopping would often mail me random stuff he found amusing. One was this T-shirt with the outline of a Rasta[farian] guy with a fist in the air that said, “Hot breakfast!” …When we were looking for a band name, I cracked a joke and said, ‘Well, we got merch!’”

Define dork rock:

Jill: We’re dorks, obviously. In our heads, we are a full rock band. We just want to have fun and people to have a good time.

Favorite song to cover:

Matt: We really like to listen for songs that we shouldn’t do…and then try to figure out how to do them.

Jill: Recently we wrote a mashup of “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga with “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads.

Hot Breakfast
Hot Breakfast. Photo by Joe Del Tufo

Your style, in a phrase:

Jill: Pop of color.

- Partner Content -

Matt: Someone told me I was “shabby chic” once, but I don’t know what that means. … Casual with flair?

Musical style icons:

Matt: Prince. He always mixed and matched everything in a way that was very original. He had a million different looks, but they were all his.

Jill: I love Annie Lennox’s whole angular, androgynous style. I love Cyndi Lauper through all the decades…yellow and green hair, and bright makeup in the ’80s. Even now, she’s still so stylish. Locally, there’s a musician named Noelle Picara who has this very plain, crisp sense of style… this David Bowie inspiration without looking clownish. Antoinette Evans is a stylist here in Wilmington that I follow on Instagram—I love seeing how she puts things together. I don’t have that skill.

Signature item:

Jill: These OG Doc Martens are my signature piece. …I bought these in a thrift shop in probably 1995, and they were probably 10 years old at that point. I will be buried in these.

Matt: I always wear a newsboy or fly cap. …I have like 50 of them.

- Advertisement -

Is the late 1800s your favorite fashion era?

Matt: The 1990s. …I like newsboys caps because one, I’m very bald, and two, I’m the kind of guy where if I am wearing a baseball cap, you just want to punch me in the face. I don’t know why.

Jill: My favorite era is the [19]80s—the decade during my most formative years. Whatever your style is in your [late] teens, that’s what’s in your DNA. It’s what you fall back to, no matter what the trends are.

Best thrifting:

Matt: Spaceboy [Clothing] is great.

Jill: Yeah! They have a great selection of vintage tees. …I also love the various thrift shops in Bellefonte…the Goodwill on Philly Pike…[and] churches with secondhand stores. You never know what you’re going to find. I love anything handmade, thrifted, upcycled.

Coveted collection:

Matt: When I was growing up, I always had band T-shirts that of course are all gone… Def Leppard, Scorpions, Run DMC. …

My thing is to rebuy all these old original T-shirts. It’s my way of dealing with a midlife crisis.

Forget the rules:

Jill: I’m really just over the ageist thing where people say, “Oh, once you hit 40, you can’t wear shimmer or [this or that] anymore.” I’m like, “You know what? I’m going to put so much highlighter on, you’re going to see me a mile away!” I’m tired of women becoming invisible after a certain age. I’m proudly wrinkly and proudly brightly colored—I’m making myself visible.

Fashion regrets:

Jill: I had h-u-g-e hair in the ’80s…like giant, ridiculous, hair…with the bangs coming down.

Matt: The spiked mullet…and bootcut jeans that were kinda flared.

Jill: But if it made you happy at the time, hey…

Say it with ink:

Matt: I love pop art from the ’60s. There’s this artist, Jim Flora, who used to design a lot of jazz albums…I love his style, so I started getting [his illustrations] tattooed on my arm.

Jill: Matt and I have matching tattoos. Across my back, I have “voyager”…for the Voyager probes they launched in the ’70s and now have left the solar system. …It reminds me of the amazing things humans can do. I also have these from my mom and dad in their handwriting.

Fashion numerology:

Jill: I like the number 11 because it’s a prime number, and I’m a nerd. Also, I just love an 11-ball in pool…the style, the stripe and the way the number is in there, and it’s nice and parallel and clean.

Matt: We call her Jilleven sometimes. …I like the number 13 just because you’re not supposed to.

Related: James Beard-Nominated Chef Matt Kern Buys One Coastal

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

Holiday flash sale ... subscribe and save 50%

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.