Veröffentlicht am 19.10.2021 | von Matilda


HONNE – Interview

Man musst die Feste feiern wie sie fallen. Ich hab ein Faible für Daten, Jubiläen, Erinnerungen, die sich wiederholen, etc. pp. HONNE, ist die Band, die ich jetzt (mit diesem Interview mitzählend) schon fünf Mal zum Interview getroffen habe! Ein Fest, das gefeiert werden muss und wie schön, dass sie deswegen extra ein Album veröffentlichen. Als würden sich alte Freunde wiedersehen, die sich lange nicht mehr gesehen haben. Es liegt knapp ein Jahr zwischen dem letzten Interview und wir mussten uns da erst mal updaten…

Hello, my friends – so good to you see you!
Andy: Isn’t it nice? Our yearly catch-up. 

Yeah – and it’s my fifth interview with you! It’s like five times meeting HONNE.
James: Five times? Wow. That’s a lot. 

It’s like an old friends catch-up.
James: Yeah I’m glad we did this even if we weren’t recording it.

Once a year we meet – but now how are you? How have you been since the last time we talked? What have you been up to? I know that you’ve been recorded an album… Anything else happened?
James: We both moved both from East London to South East London. I mean, it’s about half an hour in the car away. But that’s been nice. It’s a little bit quieter down here a bit more green a bit more peaceful, which has been a nice welcome change. For both of us now again, becoming old, man.

[Both giggle]

Andy: It was long overdue. I feel like I’ve been an old man for quite a while. So this is a nice change.

James: How have you been? 

Well, I would say good. Some things changed in a good way and talking about getting old. I just celebrated 10 years in the music industry. So I kind of feel old now.
Andy & James: Congratulations! 

I realized, you were part of the last five years, so it’s nice to meet you again in the anniversary year, in my 10th year of doing interviews.
Andy: Next time we should interview you. As part of your 10-year career. 

That would be interview number six. Actually, it was hard to find questions to ask you, because I think the last time I asked you so many questions, and you showed me your studio, and I know a lot of things changed, but I tried to come up with questions that I’d never asked you before.

Let’s get started. You both wrote your new album and HONNE means true feelings – which true feelings can we expect on your new album?
Andy: Oh, what are the truest feelings? I mean, I guess it’s, people keep telling us that it sounds depressing. Maybe it’s has something to do with the album title, which is „Let’s Just Say The World Ended A Week From Now. What Would You Do?“. I must admit, that does sound quite depressing. But it’s not a depressing album. It’s supposed to be quite positive and uplifting. Just like all our albums are and they’re about love and positivity. And I guess it’s like, that song, in particular, is about like a hypothetical situation. Where we’re just saying if the world did end, what would you actually do? And who would you grab in those moments? And then who would you kind of celebrate your last seven days of your life with? I think what’s strange is that we wrote that song before Corona was even a thing. So we had that song even before the last mixtape probably before we spoke to you last as well. But it just wasn’t the right time to put it out and now since Corona, that song is like taking on a whole new meaning, and actually it probably feels more relevant than it did in the past for everybody. So it’s kind of a strange one.

Okay, so the last time we spoke you already were finished with the album and then started the mixtape or did you work parallel on the album and mixtape?
James: No, we weren’t finished with this album. We’d written „What Would You Do“ and „Coming Home“. So we were in LA basically at the start of 2020, pre-pandemic loving life, hanging out with people in real life and we wrote „No Song Without You“ and „Free Love“, which are both on the mixtape. And then we also write „What Would You Do“ and „Coming Home“ and we just at that time felt having written „Love Me / Love Me Not“, which was kind of like quite upbeat and kind of bright. We felt like we wanted to go down that mixtape route of getting the old lo-fi guitars in there and the more kind of beatsy harmonies and that kind of thing. So we did that and then we’re like, right, now we can get these other tracks on the go. And they kind of formed the basis for the sound of the new album as well. 

Cool. I’ve read an interview yesterday and I’m not sure if you said it to the editor or the other way round. But it was mentioned that this album was like your pop debut album. And I listened to it yesterday and I’m not sure. You don’t sound like that poppy but I thought I wouldn’t say it’s like a pop debut.
Andy: That’s good. I’m glad you said that.

Because for me, it sounds very positive and if I would just have to describe the album with colors, it would be with bright colors. I don’t get why it’s mentioned like in pop debut.
Andy: Pop is such a vague term anyway, isn’t it? So it’s kind of strange. I think it’s like, you’re right. And that is probably our most colorful album from musically and visually as well like with the pack shots that we’ve got for our singles and the album cover as well. And it’s funnily enough, the first time that me and James like are appearing on our artwork, and in our music videos as well. We’re like, actually taking a bit of a roll, which is kind of strange that we’ve waited this long to do such a thing, but we just thought, you know, now’s our time to shine, you need to see these faces.

Talking about your visuals. I saw the artwork as well and it is absolutely typical HONNE, but on the other hand, it has something new. What was the idea behind the artwork? Like showing you hugging?
James: Yeah, it was what we wanted to portray with the artwork the idea of what the album message is saying, like, the beam of light is kind of like, a light at the end of the tunnel, or, you know, something coming to an end, and showing how we would hold and be with the people who are closest to us. So I mean, for me and Andy that’s each other, followed closely by and his wife and my girlfriend. It is trying to kind of portray that emotion. We are really good friends. So that is what would happen. 

Andy: That’s it. And that beam of light is I think, like, some people might think, „oh aliens beaming me up“, but it’s not really a sci-fi story. It is just about as James said, it’s kind of we’re trying to symbolize that light beam of light is something more positive. And maybe, as James said, like the light at the end of the tunnel. 

It’s very nice! I can remember I think it was like a concert of yours and I went to with friends, but I wasn’t that close with them. Andy said in the middle of the concert if you have someone that you like next to you to give them a hug. I mean that’s your album artwork.
Andy: I keep thinking about that. Now with a worldwide pandemic, I can’t say that anymore if we haven’t got the distance. 

There’s an artist which comes across in every interview, Chance the Rapper. I saw that you have some features on the record and I couldn’t spot Chance the Rapper…
James: We would have some good ones. Some big one. We’ve been wanting to get features for a long time. So that’s been good.

Andy: We’ve been doing music for a little while. And it’s nice to know that we can reach out to artists that we really like, and then actually say, „You know what? Yes, I will. I will be on your tune.“ Which is really a nice thing. Well, I don’t know the best way to describe it. It’s not nice. It’s amazing.

James: I remember my cooking teachers at school, saying if anyone in their descriptions of what they’ve cooked in the write-up uses the word nice. They’re gonna be in detention. It was like, you cannot use that as a descriptive. It’s really hard not to.

So how did it come about that you have five features in the end? Was it planned? Or did you write the songs and realized, well, we need a feature on that song. And then on the other one as well, and so on.
James: Some of them were really like, natural. So „Three Strikes“ with Khalid, which is mind-blowing to us that he’s on that track. So we have been in touch with him for ages since we were bigger than Khalid. Basically. There’s one point where he was coming to London to play at a 250 capacity venue and we were chatting to him then. And then he came back, played a big London show. And we went backstage afterward. And he told us like our, he said, when he was putting his first album together, he used our song, „No Place Like Home“ as a production reference. So he was sending that out to producers being like, this is the kind of vibe I want to go for, which was, of course, very, very flattering for us to hear that. A little bit later down the line. So we had his mobile number, and we’ve been chatting a bit, and we sent him this instrumental. I don’t know what it was called back then. Basically, within kind of an hour, he texts us back being like, I’ve been so inspired, I’ve sung on this already. And that was „Three Strikes“. We weren’t sure if he was gonna release it, or what, after a little while, we’re like, this has got to see the light of day and we love this song. So we worked on it. And, he loved it. And it’s on the album. Some of them kind of come together more naturally. They just come into existence somehow like that. Some of them are more like, we’ve written the song, and then we think this would be amazing having this person singing the second verse and giving their life, your partner’s perspective in this relationship or whatever. So yeah, some of those we did like „Back On Top“ was one of those getting Griff on. „Now I’m Alone“ with Sofía Valdés. We wrote that with Arlo Parks, which is now when you listen to it, it’s so obvious. It’s like very Arlo Parks in the vocal melody and stuff. But she couldn’t be on it. So we got Sofía Valdés, because we just love her voice anyway and that was a really good fit. It’s kind of random how it all comes together. But it’s really exciting when it comes off. 

I think I have to listen to the Arlo song again because I didn’t get it in the first point.
James: If you listen, you definitely find it hard not to hear.

Nice one. Back in the day, I thought features are so cool and can add something to the track. I didn’t have any clue, that features aren’t that easy to get, because it’s a matter of timing and if the two artists fit together, etc. So I always ask when there are features on the album, how did they come about and happen because it’s always very interesting to see that different kinds of musicians work together and find their musical language. 

Andy: I think, I’m always scared of rejection. So I kind of hate the thought of asking, even though we’ve got people’s numbers and stuff like that, and we speak to these people, quite often. I’m always scared to ask anyone of like, do you want to be on this song? Because I’m just scared that they’re going to be like, now not up for it. I mean, if we actually really properly tried, we could probably obviously got a Chance the Rapper. (Giggles). Just too scared to ask him. So that was that. 

Maybe he reads this interview and will be down for this. As you mentioned, the song, „What Would You Do“, let’s take the title literally. Were there any moments, during the production phase where you took the tile literally?
Andy: We just do what we want to do. And I think in some ways, that’s sort of, is the message of the album, but just kind of what we were thinking. When we wrote it, we wanted to not restrict ourselves anymore and not do things just because we didn’t think they were cool or other. No, it wasn’t the right thing. I think we were thinking about that, and actually not relating to us. But before we announced the album title, we asked our fans that question, and we’ve got so many responses and it’s going to be part of the album artwork. Like their responses and answers but the some of the answers were incredible and were along those lines of people would say, I’d come out to my parents and tell them I’m gay. And live my life without regrets and very deep and emotive stuff like that, that we weren’t really expecting but yes, there are some incredible stories. 

James: Andy and I wrote them all out to then scan them and put them in the artwork. And it was really kind of moving and kind of sad but really happy at the same time. Spending a couple of hours reading through them all. It was a real mixture of emotions. Some of them were hilarious, like, have a cup of tea, or do some ironing also. But then some of them were really deep and sad. So yeah, that was an interesting process.

Very cool. Yeah, to be honest, I think that’s maybe one of the reasons I would never say no to an interview with you. Because I feel like you give people with your music and especially like with the way you are just the feeling that they can be very honest to themselves and maybe honest to their surrounding. And no matter what happened minutes before I was listening to your songs or before an interview with you. I feel like, I can be in that moment, feel comfortable and don’t have to hide anything.
James: That’s good. I hope that’s how we can always make people feel that’s what I want to do. Thank you. So do you.

Thank you! Coming to the famous last question and you already know it. What is your favorite song or artist at the moment?
Andy: Okay, that’s a really good question. I’m going to say…

James: Oh I know one. Ruben James’s new song. This is so good. 

Andy: You Got Me by Ruben James. He’s a legend and you have to go and look him up immediately.

James: It’s amazing. It’s such a vibe. So we write a lot with Ruben for our stuff as well, but he’s added a lot to our music over the years and he’s just one of the best jazz musicians in London. I think he’s kind of famous in England by this point. For completely being a jazz god. He’s like 26 and maybe 27. And is a local hearer. 

Andy: And just such a personality. Honestly, larger than life is the best way to describe him. So fun to be around and like watching him perform as well is something you’ll never ever forget.

I will check him out after the interview and make sure I will listen to him. Thanks so much for your time! See you next time! 

YouTube video


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wurde musikalisch im letzten Jahrhundert geboren und hat immer einen Ohrwurm parat.

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