Black Honey's Izzy B Phillips on covering 'Wild Thing', playing NOS Alive Festival, and European tour antics

Festivals Black Honey’s Izzy B Phillips: “sometimes I think I should pick a lane but then I think, ‘fuck that’”

Before they jet off to Lisbon to play NOS Alive 2024, we find out what the Black Honey frontwoman has been up to since their last release.

Does it get much better than strolling through the streets of Lisbon, nabbing a quick pastel de nata and heading to watch some of music’s biggest names? We think not, which is why this year’s NOS Alive (taking place from 11th to 13th July) is such an appealing prospect. Taking place in the dreamy confines of the Portuguese capital, this year’s event will boast sets from big-hitters Dua Lipa, Arcade Fire, Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins and more. 

Also heading towards the Med for a lil musical sojourn are longtime DIY faves Black Honey; we spoke to the band’s leader Izzy B Phillips about their new cover of ‘Wild Thing’, what she’s been up to recently, and how they’re getting ready to take on festival season.

A couple of weeks ago, you shared your cover of ‘Wild Thing’, which was released for the new telly series My Lady Jane. Can you tell us a bit more about how that all came about?

‘Wild Thing’ was the first cover we were asked to do where we were actually thinking, ‘Yeah, we would just enjoy making that’. Not like the 90,000,000,000 Christmas songs we get forced to pitch to supermarkets every Christmas. Also, our scene is set to a girl perving on a guy who turns into a horse, so an obvious artistic choice really.

It’s been just over a year since you released your third album ‘A Fistful Of Peaches’; how do you feel about the record now you’ve got a bit of distance from its release?

It feels old to me now, like I wrote it when I was 7! I’m having a new renaissance for some of my much older songs though. It comes and goes in waves but somehow it all kind of informs what I’m making now.

You’ve also been playing a lot of live shows since its release; do you think any of the tracks have taken on different personalities through the live show? Are there any particular tracks you’ve really loved playing from the record, and if so, why?

At the moment I enjoy ‘OK’, though sometimes I cringe at myself in that one. My favourite is still ‘Rock Bottom’ and I like to shake my butt during that one.

You also played your biggest headline show to date back on Valentine’s Day; how did it feel to play to a full Kentish Town Forum?

Yeah that was mental, I did love it. I get quite overwhelmed doing London shows and having all our friends there still makes me nervous. I never thought we would really ever have our own show there.

You’re always busy being creative! Have you got anything up your sleeve at the moment that you’re working on? Are you looking ahead to what comes next?

Yeah, I’m doing loads, I can’t tell you all that much right now but what I can say is that I love what I’m working on. I am writing a lot with other people too, still learning a lot. I had my first pop song come out with Betta Lemme. I’ve been a gap year hoe: I went to Colombia then to stay with my mate in Austria for a bit. Oh, and I’m a tattoo artist now too; I love getting to know everyone and it’s crazy to me that I get to draw on people permanently. Sometimes I think I should pick a lane but then I think, ‘fuck that’. All of my art makes me happy and if I wanna do it all then why the fuck not. I have given up trying to explain my job to family at Christmas though…

You’re also playing a chunk of festivals this summer; what do you look forward to most about getting to play at bigger outdoor events?

I like the feral feeling of everyone on mass having fun. Music is the most human connection and we are all more fucked in the head than ever from being slurped through screens all day long.

How do you go about planning those kinds of shows? Do you have anything special up your sleeves?

It’s hard to plan the shows when you don’t know what you’re gonna be working with but one of my favourite things to do is to explore my weird, more masculine or dom side - after all, I’m quite soft, so it makes for a nuanced show.

You’ll be playing at NOS Alive in Lisbon - how do you like getting to go out and play in Europe?

It’s a great treat, we love it. England is a soggy miserable country to be in right now and we have had a decent rest to reset and appreciate how lucky we are to play shows around the world.

You’re also gonna be playing at Mad Cool in Madrid - have you played in Spain much before?

Yes, we've played Madrid a bunch of times now - maybe 5 shows there, and other cities too. My memory is quite hazy but I remember we were really upset that the pool was closed once at a hotel we stayed at. It was getting drained and was brown. Late at night, we came home from a festival show and felt quite optimistic at the chance of a swim. We employed the skills of some other bands and managed to break onto the roof via the fire escape, balcony walk across the roof - it was maybe 10 stories - and climbed down the fire stairs over a barbed wire fence into the pool courtyard on the other side. I was very pleased we got what we came for and went for a refreshing dip in our stage clothes in the brown slop. We asked security if they wanted to join us; they declined, but seemed oddly impressed as they dragged us through the lobby dripping in toxic pond water at 6am. A shame we forgot the towels tbh!

Is there anyone you’re really keen to watch at either of the festivals? And anything you’re hoping to do while you’re in the cities?

The Breeders, Sum 41, and Michael Kiwanuka at NOS Alive. On my list for the other days are Alvvays, Crawlers, and Garbage of course!

Black Honey play Mad Cool (10th-14th July) and NOS Alive (11th-13th July) where DIY is an official media partner. Visit diymag.com/festivals for more information.

Tags: Black Honey, NOS Alive, Festivals, Features, Interviews

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