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Interview: Honeyblood

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Off the back of a busy tour schedule following 2016’s Babes Never Die, Cat and Stina of Honeyblood are now settling back down to the business of penning fresh songs for a new album, while taking the opportunity to play at some special events.

So how did such a unique sound originate? Was it built around the limitations of being a two-piece, or did it develop independently? Stina, one half of the duo, is quick to dismiss the idea of a necessarily restricted musical palette, citing how the duo overcome such potential obstacles: “I think with the technology the way it is now, with Cat having an SPD-SX to play with live."

"I use an octave pedal amongst other things. I don’t think we ever feel constrained now, the only constraint I can possibly imagine would be that we never take a break. On stage there’s never a point where you can have a rest. We are constantly working - I watch other bands play and feel a bit jealous.”

The conversation turns to the group’s latest album. Stina explains how there is a strong thematic thread running throughout; she elaborates on the piece’s fundamental dualism: “I mean, for me Babes is something of a motto for me. I felt like I could use it in this way to bring about a sort of self-empowerment record. Babes is really looking into your fears and then bringing a positive change about them. It’s really positive record but also about recognising everybody’s got flaws and faults. It’s very much based on a character situation as well. A lot of the songs are told from the storyline of a certain character.”

On the subject of positivity and progression, Babes Never Die also seems to have another aspect of, which is palpable frustration to be found on songs such as ‘Justine Misery Queen’ and ‘Love is a Disease’. However, Stina refutes this regarding the latter.

“’Love is a Disease’ is a total love song; I just can’t write love songs! It totally is! Justine is like for me is like the counterpart of Sea Hearts. A lot of the songs are kind of paired off. If Sea Hearts is your best friend on a good day, then Justine is her on a bad day. The good side and the bad side; it makes a person.”

Throwing a complete curveball, we discuss what Stina might be doing now if Honeyblood never came about.

“Erm…yeah like I think about that all the time actually,” says Stina, “I actually have a degree from Glashow Uni in Economics and Social History. So, I guess I probably would have pursued that. I was in a semi-professional band throughout my time at uni... I never really had the chance to have a proper, you know, big person job.

My dream job would probably something to do with animals - I’m cat daft. If I could choose a dream job and money didn’t matter, I’d probably become someone’s cat sitter.”

From the speculative future, we move to the actual genesis of the band, which started soon after Stina finished her university studies – “I had some songs written and I put out an ad for a drummer. Cat is third time lucky – the third and best one though obviously! That’s pretty much how it worked out.”

Stina then speaks about the progression of the band’s sound from the debut through to Babes Never Die, specifically regarding the new line-up where she now creates and performs with drummer, Cat Myres.

“I think Cat is one of the most phenomenal musicians I’ve ever met. I feel honoured that she likes to hang about with me and to play music that I write with her. She’s only brought good, positive vibes to the band. I feel like I really hit my ideal song-writing partner with her.”

As to how the band works in the studio, Stina explains that the songs are largely worked out before they go in (they demo everything at home) but that there may be some slight tweaks. She illustrates, “We want the guitar to sound like this, we want this mad bit in the middle but we’re not sure how to make that noise... It’s just to give an idea of the kind of vibe where the song is going.”

Although Stina is reluctant to be labelled the songwriter of the band, it does seem that each of the members masters their own role within the duo and that they rarely overlap. While her own writing process is largely introspective, the finished article she views as above all a collaborative endeavour: “It works that way where I write all of the guitars, the melody and the lyrics, but the drums are 50 per cent of the song!”

“We write everything together. I can’t play drums at all. I could never tell Cat to play a drum beat. Even if I come up with ideas, anything she comes up with totally trumps that.”

Stina goes on to discuss her memorable live experience of the tour just gone by, mentioning the 'pretty massive' gig at KOKO in London and their homecoming 'Have Yourself a Honeybloody Christmas' show in Glasgow in December – “We had pass the parcel. We played a Christmas cover and invited our pals to support us. It was very informal... probably the most fun we’ve had at a gig for a while.”

The duo recently also headlined Jerry's Open Housewarming in Glasgow in collaboration with Sailor Jerry. The festival runs until 15th March, celebrating the best talent to come from the city.

The conversation turns to the potential release date of the new record from Honeyblood – “I mean it’s too early to tell really. I don’t want to make any commitments, but not this year. Maybe next year; maybe February, but it takes a while to get things going. At this point 2019.”

Honeyblood’s latest album, Babes Never Die is available now for digital download, on CD and vinyl.

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