A funny thing happened on Hot Freaks' way to the Twin Cities music-scene junkyard, where throngs of bands wind up either via breakups or day jobs or (in their case) just unintended neglect.

That funny thing is named TikTok.

"Somebody DM-ed me saying our song is blowing up on TikTok," Hot Freaks singer/keyboardist Leo Vondracek recalled of his poppy dance-rock band's surprise revival, seven years after it played its last show.

"I thought, 'Oh, cool,' but I didn't think it was that big a deal," he continued. "Then literally the next day, we had several major record labels e-mailing us about the song."

The song is called "Puppy Princess," a breezy and unabashedly mushy ode to puppy love originally released in 2013. With its ironically cheery tone and giddy disco groove, the long-ignored track somehow became a popular song for hordes of young TikTok users who used it to create their own fun videos.

About six months and 122,000 original videos later, the song's popularity has turned Hot Freaks into an active band again, despite the fact that two members now live on opposite ends of the country.

"It's been a blast reconnecting," said Vondracek, who's lived in Los Angeles for five years.

He and his four bandmates are playing their first Twin Cities show since 2015 at 7th St. Entry on Saturday. Afterward, they'll head down to Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minn., to record new material, including songs left unfinished before their unplanned hiatus.

Both that studio time and a new, "official" video for "Puppy Princess" were paid for with money generated by the sudden success of the song, including an accompanying boost on Spotify and other streaming platforms. The band has signed a one-song deal with Elektra Records to handle the streaming and radio end of things.

If you think Hot Freaks' members sound happy in that late bloomer of a hit song, you should see how discernibly amused they appeared in a Zoom interview last month discussing their unforeseen comeback.

"We cynically thought all the attention was fake at first," bassist Sarah Darnell laughingly recounted.

Sounding the opposite of cynical, drummer Cody Brown added, "I think if this had happened with a different group of people, it wouldn't be the same response. Luckily, we're all good friends, so that part of it hasn't really skipped a beat."

They were still good enough friends, in fact, that they had already been talking about getting together to finish some of their old songs and maybe play a reunion gig.

"The seeds had already been planted," Vondracek said. "This just made it happen a lot quicker."

Many of the band members continued making music together with other acts during Hot Freaks' seven-year hiatus, including Battlerat, Mickey Orlando, Pleasure Horse and Tickle Torture. None of them gave up music as their primary passion.

"We just sort of casually fizzled," keyboardist Celeste Heule said to describe Hot Freaks' initial end.

"We got pretty intense about the band," Vondracek explained, "and when something gets intense like that, it can get to a point like, 'Let's chill for a while now and try some other things.'"

Hot Freaks had a decent if not quite memorable five-year run before that. They performed often in venues like the Kitty Cat Klub, Cause and the 331 Club. They got a good amount of airplay on college station Radio K. They were working on an EP with producer Ryan Olcott (12 Rods, c.Kostra) when things "fizzled."

They essentially fell between the cracks at a time when sales of physical albums were fading, and streaming and social media had not yet become driving forces in the music industry. So they don't actually have any physical copies of their one eponymous album that came out in 2013.

"Puppy Princess" wasn't Vondracek's favorite track on the album — he singled out the Go! Team-flavored rocker "Write Me Letters" and the John-Hughes-movie-ready "Heartache" — but the singer and primary songwriter did see it as a possible hit, even at that TikTok-less time.

"I always kind of thought of it as a big, fun pop single, kind of like the Cardigans' 'Lovefool,'" Vondracek said.

"It's a happy, cheery song with sad, longing lyrics — a pretty classic formula involving a love triangle and the narrator crushing on his friend's girlfriend when they come into the restaurant he works at."

Asked if it was written autobiographically, the native of small-town Wells, Minn., said, "I was working at Noodles & Co. in Mankato at the time, and I'll just leave it at that."

Admitting they were rather "hopeless" and "uninspired" about making it in the music industry then, the band members are more hopeful about the state of the business now.

They hope to play more shows this year, including at least a handful of tour dates. They will put out an EP soon with some of the tracks they had been producing with Olcott. They also just dropped another lovelorn single last week, titled "Lovely."

"It's been awesome, really," Vondracek summarized.

"In the years that have passed, I've taken a stab at some solo stuff and played with some other bands, but nothing was quite the same as Hot Freaks. So just to get to work together on music again has been very fulfilling, and now we'll see what else comes of it."

"Especially after the pandemic," Darnell added, "it's been nice to have something so positive and fun and out-of-the-blue happen to us after a year and a half of really tough things."

So sweet.

Hot Freaks
With: Monica LaPlante, c.Kostra.
When: 9 p.m. Sat.
Where: 7th St. Entry, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls.
Tickets: $15, first-avenue.com
Online: hotfreaks.band