‘Fire Island’ Features Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers’ Summer Playlist

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This is The Mix Tape, a monthly playlist curated by someone notable. Is there a person you would like to appear here? Let us know.

Being on Fire Island can feel like a “time portal,” says comedian Bowen Yang. That era, to be precise, is New York in the 1970s. The island’s gay villages and tea parties could be an often dangerous real-world utopia, where dancing with someone of the same sex was illegal and club raids were common.

The island is the setting and muse of Hulu’s summer romantic comedy of the same name. Directed by Andrew Ahn, the film stars Yang as Howie alongside writer and romantic lead Joel Kim Booster, and follows the group of friends on their annual trip to the island with chosen mother Erin. (Margaret Cho).

The film also borrows from the past in another way: Booster uses Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” laden with class divides and elitism, as an allegory for the island’s hookup culture. Even in this inclusive haven, the entire film set, completed by Matt Rogers, Tomás Matos and Torian Miller, are outsiders, isolated from the courting island dance of underwear parties and tea dances by classicism, the racism, fatphobia and a bias against female presentation. Men.

Sonically, the film also weaves the influence of “Pride and Prejudice”: the strings of Jay Wadley’s regency-inspired score are just as important as the house, pop and disco hits of the queer musical canon: Kim Petras , Donna Summer and more than a Britney Spears cover (more on that later).

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Off-screen, many of the cast members are longtime friends and collaborators: Booster described his decade-long friendship with Yang as “life-changing,” and Rogers and Yang were reunited shouting “Super Bass by Nicki Minaj at a college house party. The pair now host the long-running cultural podcast Las Culturistas, which just passed 300 episodes.

With peak out-of-office season approaching, we asked Yang and Rogers to create their essential island-inspired poolside soundtrack. Their picks range from disco hits to dance hall beats — a combination that evokes island “frequency,” Rogers said.

“[It’s] a dynamic playlist that a bunch of different people in a house could all enjoy,” Rogers added. “There’s something for everyone on it.”

Listen here and read their comments, edited for length and clarity, below.


‘Just Us’ by Two Tons O’ Fun

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yang:It’s a song from one of the Horse Meat Disco mixes, those wonderful dance parties in the queer club scenes of London and New York. There’s like a classic disco and soul DNA that takes me back to an old dancing tea from the 70s.


“Berlin” by Macy Rodman

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yang: Macy Rodman is a friend of ours. She’s a really funny performer, and it’s a song where she talks like this character over a beat, a punk crust from Bushwick who just came back from a trip to Berlin. She tells her friend that she had so much fun at Berghain, that she ate schnitzel and ended up in a church. The details are so funny. It’s a very bizarre, 21st century kind of story.

roger: This is the song you put on with your stupid friends when you’re around the pool.


“She’s Everything I Want To Be” door Tate McRae

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roger: I feel like one of my favorite things to do on Fire Island is to take a nerve-wracking walk, and I feel like it would be really awesome for that. You put on your AirPods and say, “Hey, I’m going to leave to be alone,” and take an agonizing walk through the trees, nodding at people doing the same thing about what happened. spent last night, and you take out your aggression. Maybe it’s about an affair you didn’t have and someone else had, or whatever. It’s really useful for that.


‘Want Want’ by Maggie Rogers

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Roger: If Tate McRae departures the angst walk, Maggie Rogers ends the angst walk with this one. And then by then you’ve had a 10 minute walk and you can go back and see what’s good with all your friends. I was expecting Our Generation’s Pat Benatar, and I really love that Maggie kind of gets into her rock moment with this one.


‘Who is Dick is this? — Club Mix’ by Princess Di

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yang: This one is a little messier. Debauchery is an element of the island on which you must calibrate your relationship rather quickly. And it’s a song that throws that right in your face.


‘One More’ by SG Lewis feat. Nil Rodgers

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Yang: I think the whole range is really cool. It’s another little throwback to disco chic. It’s it’s a song that I dream of hitting myself when I’m deep in reverie of a molly roll or something.


“Blow Out My Candle” by Betty Who

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Roger: Speaking of making memories, Bowen and I were on Fire Island a few weeks ago to promote the film and screen the film. This song ended up becoming a bit: Every time I walked into a room, someone was playing this song. It’s already a memory of Fire Island for us.

yang: This is one of the best songs ever recorded.


‘Don’t You Want My Love’ by Debbie Jacobs, Full Intention

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yang: It is also a classic on the dance floor. I feel like Matt kind of took us into modernity, and I try to balance that with tradition. It’s part of the array of those dance songs that we put on the playlist that have a kind of patina.


‘Funky Sensation (with Gwen McCrae) by Disclosure

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yang: This is a remix of a classic disco song that I think could be played in a club today. I have a lot of friends who are rediscovering Gwen McCrae, and I feel like everyone is excited about reconnecting with those disco roots.


“Break My Soul” by Beyoncé

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Roger: Turning. Change of the sea. Beyoncé is back. Renaissance. Look up the word, it means rebirth. That’s what we’re going through. Mom is back. B is back, and I feel so good about it. She says, “Queens in front, doms in back,” so she comes for the queers. She already has us, but she’s coming back. She said the workers needed a song, she said the summer needed a song, and she said I could do it all in one.

yang: She also gave us a new word for “resign”: release your job. This way you don’t feel like a quitter.

roger: I do not give up. I’m not quitting. I just release. And I release all my fights by listening to the song.


‘Sometimes – From “Fire Island”‘ by MUNA

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roger: This cover is a nod to the big stage in the pavilion when Howie [Bowen’s character] sing “Sometimes” by Britney Spears at karaoke with my character, Luke, and Tomás [Matos’s] character, Keegan. It is definitely something I will never forget. Bowen actually chose the song to perform in the film. The lyrics were so perfect for your character. And the way MUNA produced this song too, it fits perfectly into the musical landscape that Jay has created. It’s just one of those things that looks like kismet.


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