Interview: Black Honey: “If it was my way we’d still be a secret band”

Black Honey: “If it was my way we’d still be a secret band”

After months of careful secrecy, Black Honey are out on the road with a finished debut - not that they’re in any hurry to release it.

Over the past few months Black Honey have been peeking out from under their deliberate shield of mystery, bit by bit. The slow reveal started out with a secret show at fellow Brighton band Demob Happy’s cafe, and continued with a handful of demos. It escalated when they handed out their WhatsApp details to curious fans. Still, though, Black Honey kept up their guard. No matter how many selfie pleas came their way, the band kept their own identities doggedly under wraps. That said, they sexted some absolute filth to one of DIY’s very own writers when he innocently got in touch.

“I was getting really bored at that point with texting people mysterious things, so I thought I’d be a bit more to the point,” remembers the band’s frontwoman Izzy B. Phillips, looking back at Black Honey’s earliest interactions with DIY. “I think that was the only dirty text I sent!” she adds. “We’d been drinking all day in the office, and I was really drunk the whole day.” “That whole WhatsApp thing did just eventually descend into Izzy being sent loads of porn,” laughs bassist Tommy Taylor.

Though Black Honey are still very new, its members have been playing together in various bands around Brighton for many years. “We’ve known each other too long,” announces Izzy, flatly. “We’ve been in various different bands…” starts Tommy, and guitarist Chris Ostler finishes, “Black Honey’s a very new thing, but us as a collective isn’t.”

Black Honey: “If it was my way we’d still be a secret band”
Black Honey: “If it was my way we’d still be a secret band”

“We’re not even thinking past this summer, taking it one step at a time.”

Chris Ostler

From their consistent visuals - TV artwork framing highly stylised scenes - to their careful roll-out, Black Honey have a clear vision of where they’d like to go, and their debut album, they claim, is “already written.” On the other hand, they’re in no hurry to do anything with it. “Maybe next year…” says Chris casually, “a long long way off. No plans. We’re not even thinking past this summer, taking it one step at a time.” Izzy nods in agreement. “We’re just enjoying it.”

Instead, Black Honey are looking ahead to fulfilling something of a childhood dream - playing Reading & Leeds Festival. “‘I’ve spent my whole life as a kid going to that,” enthuses Izzy, “it’s a bit emotional. I remember being really sick one time there with these two,” she continues, pointing at her bandmates Chris and Tommy. “I was in a very bad way. I’d indulged myself…” she adds, “frivolously.” Tommy cackles. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone look so green.” “I laid down on the grass for Simian Mobile Disco,” finalises Izzy, glumly. “I can’t listen to their records any more.”

Despite their busying schedule, Black Honey make the slightly outlandish claim that they would prefer to stay one big musical enigma forever. The internet scuppered their plans. “If it was my way we’d still be a secret band,” Izzy claims. “I’d do it old school, and just have records, do it how we would want to do it. Unfortunately it’s not the day and age for that,” she concludes.

Anyway, the jig is nearly up. Fresh from supporting Superfood on tour, and with their own busy schedule of festival bookings to contend with, too, Black Honey are in Brighton today to play a hometown show at The Great Escape, and without the help of invisibility cloaks there’s nowhere to hide. They’ve brought a special pal along in tow; their lucky flamingo Jerry.

“He likes crowd-surfing,” says Chris. “It’s only a matter of time now before someone does a runner with him,” adds Izzy fearfully. “We nearly lost him to Harry [Koisser] from Peace. He should’ve bought his own flamingo!”

Taken from the July issue of DIY, out now - order your copy below.


Photos: Emma Swann / DIY

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