‘It’s a huge festival so it’s an honour to play’ - Black Honey on Latitude Festival, their debut album and more
- Credit: Lauren Maccabee/Chuff Media
We caught up with Izzy Phillips from up-and-coming indie rock band Black Honey ahead of their performance at Latitude Festival in July and their headline Norwich Arts Centre show in October.
It's been a while since we were all introduced to Black Honey, and since then you've done some really great things – one of which included supporting Royal Blood at the end of last year. How did that come about and what was it like touring with them?
We met them in Brighton and we've done a couple of tours with them before. We toured with them in March last year and we had a really good time so we're really stoked to have been invited back on tour with them again.
Straight after that tour you guys went into the studio to put the finishing touches on your debut album that you announced today. What's that process been like for you all and what have you enjoyed the most?
I've actually enjoyed recording vocals the most. It's something that I usually find really tough and I have a lot of personal struggles with communicating something I want to say in a certain way. I really enjoyed how quickly and nonchalantly we recorded all the vocals so it came through really organically. It felt really true to how I actually am rather than trying to contrive anything.
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Do you tend to write the music first or do the lyrics come before that?
They kind of come together but it depends on the scenario. The guys might make me a demo or I'll play guitar and start singing and see what comes out, so it can be different ways but mainly they kind of come together.
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Is it strange going straight from touring into the studio?
No I loved it. I loved the way that we did the studio; it was just so relaxed and laid back. There were no highly strung time limits; we could stay late nights if we wanted. There's no getting in trouble for turning up late. It was a really a great environment for me.
I've toured a lot but I've not made a lot of records so I think it was really enjoyable break from the reality we were in.
Since you guys got together your fan base has grown really rapidly. What was the decision behind waiting until 2018 to release an album?
We could have probably released 3 albums by now, we have so many songs, but it just felt right to wait when I want to say so much more, so I had something more to offer.
Musically I guess it was a really fun thing to do, it was much more experimental with how we dealt with the record rather than just putting out lots of collections of songs.
Today we announced the debut album and it is available for pre-order immediately in every bundle and format and then you'll immediately get 3 or 4 songs from the record. And then after that the actual full record drops in September.
You recently released your new single 'Bad Friends'. It was mentioned that the video for 'Bad Friends' looked at widespread feelings of loneliness. Where did this idea come from and how did it come together for the video?
The thing is, when you write a song you don't write it and think, oh I'm lonely I'm going to write a song. Afterwards someone says to you, can you explain what you're talking about, and then you have to dissect it and then after twenty minutes of questioning what you are writing about you say I think it's about exploring a self-monologue or something like that.
I find explaining songs is the worst and hardest thing to do because it's so versatile to the environment and the time. My own songs meanings change to me as much as anyone else's songs change meaning to me depending on my mood.
I guess everyone will interpret things very differently anyway depending on their own personal situations.
That's what the pleasure of music is that more people can have their own personal relationship with your songs.
You are also going to be performing alongside Queens of the Stone Age tomorrow at Finsbury Park which is massive. You must all be really excited!
It's a dream come true to be honest, the whole line up is a dream. If I was a kid and I had made a line up, then it would be very similar to that line up.
It's also really cool to be like hey we've got a debut album and then the next day be playing a show with your childhood heroes.
So this is just the start, this isn't the end goal for us; this is the start of something bigger.
You're playing at Latitude festival next month which is really cool. Have you played there before and what can we expect form you set there?
We've not played Latitude before and people can expect a lot of the new album at a fun summer festival party hopefully.
It's such a diverse line-up as well which is great to see from any festival. What do you think you're most looking forward to about it?
Latitude feels like a step into the pop universe for us so the line-up is different from what we are used to which is exciting because we kind of want to be one of those artists that can transcend genre.
Also it's a huge festival so it's an honour to play.
It's great to see that you guys are doing so well, especially being female fronted in what is a heavily male dominated genre. There have been some festivals over the last few years who have received backlash for not having many female artists included in their line-ups. Do you think it's important for other women out there to not feel like they can't front a rock band if they want to?
I don't think any women should feel like they can't front a rock band. I think that society is quite weird in telling people that they probably can't. With women in the festival world, I'm so used to it that sometimes I don't notice it. When I was a kid I wanted to be in rock and roll and started a project and it was scary to start off with. It took me ages to actually realise that the skill sets are exactly the same as a man and actually it's not a gender thing.
Over time I'm kind of realising that oh I think I am the only girl in this and then being like this shouldn't be the way that it is.
It's good that people are pointing it out and culturally we are moving into more of a progressive society. Festivals reflect culture. I don't think that festivals are responsible for anything; I don't think that music is responsible for anything; it reflects the culture that we live in.
What can we expect towards the end of the year from Black Honey now that your debut album is out?
We are hitting the road in October, and at the end of September we are going to be at some music stores we are going to play some music sets for our record and then we're going to hit the road.
After that we head out to Europe and we've got a pretty full on summer with festival season which is going to be crazy.
What do you think will be the highlight of the year?
Definitely Queens of the Stone Age on Saturday.
That's a childhood dream and my favourite line up and we are all going wear these denim jackets. Being with my best mates watching my favourite bands ever alone is the greatest thing let alone being on the line-up.
Is there anything you wanted to add?
Just that we are really excited for the record to come out and everyone should stream it, share it with their friends, but it in every format and buy it for their dog.
Black Honey's self titled debut album is now available to preorder from most music services.