Ich weiß noch genau wie ich zum ersten mal diesen Song hörte: Ich tanzte durch mein Zimmer und war stundenlang fasziniert von dieser Musik. „Coastal Love“ von HONNE zog mich sofort in seinen Bann. Es ist so ein typischer Lieblings-Songs; so einer von dem man einfach nicht genug bekommen kann.
Nun erschien vor kurzem das lang ersehnte, erste Album „Warm On A Cold Night“ der beiden Briten, welches voll ist von potentiellen Lieblingsliedern. Als dann die Anfrage kam, ob ich denn Lust hätte die beiden Musiker zu interviewen, hab ich natürlich nicht lange gezögert.
Sänger Andy und Produzent James waren gebucht für einen Gig im Rahmen der Napster Music Night, einer Opening Party des Reeperbahn Festivals in Hamburg, und nahmen sich auf der Terasse des Bunkers im Schanzenviertel bei herrlichem Wetter Zeit für meine Fragen. Viel Spaß beim Lesen!
noisiv.de: “Warm On A Cold Night” is out for eight weeks now. How do you feel? How was the feedback?
Andy: Great! Yeah, it feels really good. It kinda feels like yesterday, when we put it out. And the feedback has been amazing. We are so happy to get it out, so people can hear the full body of work and we are super excited to tour. We are kind of constantly looking into the future, thinking about the next thing and that is just how our minds work.
How long did it take, to create this warm, analog sound?
James: 3 hours? [Laughter] We sat down and we were like: “We need to come with something special, that makes us sound unique”. We spent a long time just trying to find sounds, that we felt were quite unique to us, when we combined them together. So I guess, the first song that we wrote, where we felt: “this is us!” was: “Warm On A Cold Night”. And the thing, that defines us, is the profit and this voice and the smoothness of it.
Andy: Jazzy, cool productions.
James: Yeah, jazzy, cool productions!
What equipment do you use?
James: The keyboard is called Dave Smith Prophet ’08. It’s like the same James Blake uses and quite a few other people.
Andy: Yeah, it’s very popular. But it’s really good. What I like about it is, that you can really go back. It has all these presets in it, when you turn it on. It sounds like you were in a space ship. Like: “Beeeeeww”. [Both do these kind of ‘shutdown’ noises] [Laughter]. You can really tweak it, go back to the basic wave form and build from there. It’s quite nice to experiment with. That’s what we do.
Do you care about recording and mixing digital or analog?
Andy: No! I don’t feel like a snob very. Like everything has to be analog. Sometimes it is nice. The reason why we use the synth is, it’s very hands on and as I said before: We can tweak it.
James: But it sounds infinitely better than the software version of it. It sounds like shit, to be honest. On both appear identical sounds: One sounds absolutely awful and one sounds really beautiful, like you’re in a room with it. It’s really different.
Andy: That’s true. But we don’t fully do analog stuff all time. We have a mixture. It just depends on what sounds right and what fits in with the rest of the stuff, that’s already there.
James: A good combination.
Do you feel influenced by British music culture?
Andy: When we first met, we bonded over Radiohead. And in particular some of their more electronic stuff. And Thom Yorkes soloalbum, that he put out a few years ago. James Blake, who we just mentioned, is doing great things. He has put out a couple of really great Albums and has also worked with lots of really huge people. We respect him a lot for the work he has done.
Who else? The Arctic Monkeys, not necessary musically, but more from a lyrical point of view, when I was growing up, listening to them. These were the first lyrics, that I have really kind of caught on to and thought ‚Oh, you’re telling it like a story!‘. Like some of it was about going out and getting drunk and that sort of stuff, but the way he described it…
James: … like making “going out and getting drunk with your mates” into a poetic piece of work.
You made a remix for “Cry Baby” by Fickle Friends, who are also playing at the Reeperbahn Festival. How did you guys connect with each other?
James: We see them all the time!
Andy: We’re friends with them now. We’ve done a lot of festivals, where they have been at the same lineup.
James: And they’ve come to our gig. We just hang out some times. We bumped into them in London on the train a couple of times. You just getting checking it on Twitter, we’re a lot messaging each other just talking about music and stuff. It just came about.
So you need to have a personal connection to your …how do I say… the ones you make remixes of?
Andy: I think it helps! Mainly we hear the music and we enjoy it and that’s why we’re doing this, which is what happened on this occasion. It just had happened, that we know them quite well as well.
Is it a big difference whether to do an own song or to do a remix? I guess it is but…
Andy: It is! I like to do remixes. [Laughter]
James: It’s less stressful.
Andy: It’s kind of refreshing working with someone else’s voice, like you can do whatever you want with it. The creative ground is kind of endless. You can really go to town if you want.
James: We always start our remixes with just their vocal. We get sent like between 10 to 50 or 60 stems and we just take the vocal line and it is really fun, it is really harmonizing it. You can do everything you want and flex time or change the rhythm of it or pitch up and down. It’s good fun!
“Cry Baby” doesn’t really sound like a HONNE song and you already said earlier in an interview, that you want to create a new sound. Where are you going right now with your sound?
James: It’s gonna be like a death metal/scream… [Laughter] No, we have already started writing for the next album to be honest.
Andy: At the moment, we are in a kind of transitional period. Just what we did with the first album: we are writing a whole lot of songs and seeing what feels special to us and we’re doing the same again now.
James: We’re loving the organ right now!
Andy: Organ is good. I just start playing with our vocals as well. Not necessary having me singing exactly the same thing every time. Trying things out, whether it’s pitching it or whatever. We want to have a bit more fun with this one.
So you didn’t have fun with the first one?
Andy: No! That’s not what I was saying! [Laughs] We had lots of fun, but we want to have more fun this time.
James: What we did with the last album was: We wrote a load of songs, we had like 30 songs to pick from for the album. And what we would like to do this time is to write an album. How can we make this as interesting as possible and like ‘artistic’?
You’re going on tour! What can your German fans expect from a HONNE show?
Andy: It’s a very romantic affair, kind of a romantic party.
James: A sexy party! [Laughter]
Andy: I don’t know. There are a lot of couples but that doesn’t mean people who are on their own or singles can’t come. Everyone has a great time.
James: Maybe they won’t leave by themselves that night… I think everything on our record is quite chilled out, quite ‘slow jammy’ and really relaxed. But when we play live, we got a drummer and a bass player and a backing vocalist. So it’s a lot more energetic and upbeat, a bit more a party. Not two guys stood behind a laptop, just hiding behind the table. We want to be out there and having a good time.
Do you have an artist in mind, who really got a good live show?
Andy: When we first started, there was a band who inspired us writing this record: inc. no world. Two guys from L.A., I think they are brothers actually. It’s very slow jam, R’n’B and very late night. They did a show in London, and they had a full band. I went to see them and it was great. I was drunk this time…
James: “We definitely need a band!” [Imitates the drunken Andy] [Laughter]
Andy: It just made a different experience to what it was on record.
James: They are super musicians.
Any last words?
James: Are we gonna get killed now?! [Laughter] Come and see us in Hamburg!
Thank you for your time!