Black Honey may well be one of new music’s brightest hopes, but they aren’t shy about harping back to the good old days. There’s something special about this lot and their connection to the past.
“We’ve been playing together for years and years,” begins frontwoman Izzy B. Phillips, opening up on the Brighton band’s history. Collectively the four members have been working together – in and out of musical projects – for a long time, yet their new incarnation seemed to grow along with them. “I feel like all of that was experimenting and learning about what we wanted to do. Black Honey…” she trails off. “I don’t want to say it built itself but it sort of did. It all fell into place and everything felt right about it. Artistically, it felt like it a much more strong direction, and creatively, in terms of production and art direction. They’re all things that we’re really into. It was a long process of playing together and writing a lot of songs, and eventually Black Honey kinda formed itself from those experiments. We enjoyed it so just thought, let’s run with it. It’s still got its own sense of path, and we just let it do its own thing sometimes.”
Doing their own thing has been the name of the game all along: after all, people are still chatting about the band’s initial secrecy and their first real foray into social media, which saw them hand out a phone number for curious fans to WhatsApp message. “The WhatsApp thing was just because we wanted to do things a bit differently,” Phillips explains. “We didn’t just want to follow everyone else’s path.”
Without the pressures of an internet presence to keep constantly fed and satisfied, the band have been able to develop at their own pace. “I think all of the best bands take years before they’re something,” throws in bassist Tommy Taylor. “It’s probably why so many bands fail so early,” adds Phillips, “because they get all this excitement around them, and they don’t have any time to get their shit together. There’s so much overexposure, but we took that leap in regaining our own control as what we do and don’t expose ourselves as. That was empowering for us.”
“[Bands] get all this excitement around them, and they don’t have any time to get their shit together”
Izzy B. Phillips
“The thing about our favourite bands is that you wouldn’t really see them, unless you went to a show,” adds Taylor. “It wasn’t like you could log on to Twitter every day and see what they had for breakfast.”
“We always talk about how we long for the days where you’d discover records from your friend coming over with their new release,” Izzy continues, delving into their love of all things old. “It’s something I’ve spoken to people about from that generation, and I’ve read about, but we don’t have that.”
Doing things on their own terms has already led them down the road of success: not only have the band already ended up releasing more tracks than they’d first expected, but they’ve already wrapped a headline tour too, which hints that things are – if Izzy has got anything to do with it- only going to get more insane as time goes on. “There was a moment in Birmingham when I came off stage and Tommy said to me, ‘So, did you instigate the wall of death or did they start it?’ I would’ve loved to take credit for it, but actually, no, they did!”
“I just looked over my shoulder,” laughs Tommy, “and Izzy was just shouting, ‘Wider!’” “I mean, with our music, it doesn’t even really fit,” chips in guitarist Chris Ostler, “but if that’s what they’re gonna do, we’re not gonna stop them!”
Photos: Emma Swann. Taken from DIY’s Class of 2016 issue, out now.
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