Honeyblood at Citadel 2015
At Victoria Park’s Citadel festival, in it’s inaugural year, I got some interview time with Stina and Cat, otherwise known as Glasgow-based duo Honeyblood – a band who have been closely followed by CSR over the last year or so.
Giacomo: How are you ladies?
Stina: Good, thank you!
G: How did you find today’s performance? I noticed that you guys gathered quite a crowd, bigger than at the main stage.
S: Was it? Wow, it kind of filled out. I looked out and there was suddenly loads of people, which is always a nice sight.
G: And you were the first band of the afternoon that I noticed had everyone on their feet, as well.
S: Oh brilliant!
G: Up until then, everyone was just sat back chilling.
S: Well it is a Sunday isn’t it? And it’s sunny and dusty.
G: Did that get to you on stage, because we had to wipe the dust from our eyes from time to time?
S: It was fine on stage but we’ve been driving around in a golf buggy and it’s just the worst.
G: Not cool. Not cool. But anyway! You two girls are Glaswegian, right?
S: Well actually, we’re not. I live in Glasgow but I’m from Edinburgh and Cat lives in Edinburgh.
Cat: And I’m from the north east of England.
S: But Honeyblood started in Glasgow we’re a Glasgow band…
C: Which is not a bad thing.
G: I see! Because you Google the band and it says “Glaswegian”. Being from Edinburgh then, do you get any stick for that?
S: Not anymore. I’ve lived there for so long… it becomes your home. It’s such a friendly city.
G: So how long have you two known each other?
S: Quite a while now. We’ve been together as Honeyblood for coming up for a year now?
C: Yeah! A year in September, yeah.
S: But we’ve known each other since I lived in Edinburgh.
G: It was Shona that was the departing drummer, wasn’t it?
S: Yeah, Shona was before. I had another drummer as well in between.
G: What were the reasons behind her leaving then?
S: She became a dentist.
G: Okay! (They laugh) I don’t want to tour with a band, I want to pull teeth.
S: Pretty much, yeah.
G: So, I read that you were discovered as a result of your Thrift Shop cassette.
S: That is correct.
G: That you did in a toilet apparently?
S: That is… partly correct, yes. (They laugh) No, it is true. We met Alex Knight at a showcase where we played and we brought a little tape to sell at the showcase. Then Alex took it home, listened to it and sent me an email saying, “Hey, maybe we should work together”. So yeah, it did stem out from that tape – it’s the first thing we ever released. But looking back on it now it sounds so different to what Honeyblood sounds like now. It’s nice; it has a soft spot in my heart.
G: So is that what got the attention of Fat Cat records?
S: Yeah, Alex thought it was really funny because we recorded it on this really sh*tty cas-cam thing and he just thought that was kind of sweet, I guess. He loves all of that DIY stuff so that totally backs that up, so I guess that’s why he thought it was cool.
G: And then last year’s debut album… we’ve actually playlisted a few of your tracks.
S: Thank you!
G: How have you found the reception of that album? Obviously it’s the debut so surely you want as much attention and feedback as possible.
S: Absolutely! I think for the debut album you never really know how it’s gonna go but I think it could not have gone better. I was not expecting such a positive response… especially because at shows we’ve been playing those songs for a while now and had recorded a couple, so we had an idea but the response for the album has been really really good. Now we’re just about to go and record a new one so hopefully it’ll live up to any expectations.
G: When will that be ready then?
S: By the end of the year it’ll be recorded so probably next year.
G: Lovely…. And you’ve toured with the likes of Palma Violets, Superfood. Obviously you’re all bands that are up and coming at the moment, working your way up – if you’re all going through the same motions, do you find that you have like a community feel with each other? Like a team?
C: Yeah, we had a lot of fun with Superfood.
S: They’re a lovely bunch of people and I did feel like it was that kind of thing wasn’t it? We were in the same boat; none of us had done what we were doing before, it was all kind of our first time so it was really fun to tour with them.
G: And you recently did the flash tour of London.
S: Yeah we did!
G: What was that for again, International Music Day?
S: It was, yeah! It was supposed to be six shows but our flight was delayed so we only managed to fit in four.
G: Only four in a day?
S: Yeah. Only four! I know right! But it was good fun.
G: Was it someone that contacted you to do that or did you think, “Okay, this’d be a really cool thing to do”?
S: We got contacted by the team, who executed it so well, and they were so professional! We were just walking around, we’d be like, “Where do you want us to go next?” and they’d be like, “We’ve got it all planned out!” and they had routes and everything. So it turned out really really well, I love it. There’s the video too – I was really happy that they documented the whole day. It was a really fun day for us.
G: Brilliant… well, we clarified earlier that you’re not from Glasgow, you are from Edinburgh, so is that part of the reason why you have this Foo Fighters gig lined up?
S & C: Yeah!
G: How huge is that?
C: It’s gonna be the closest gig I’ve ever played to my house.
G: Oh really?
C: Yeah, I live like one street away from it, basically.
G: It’s at Murrayfield, isn’t it?
C: Yeah! And also the biggest gig we’ve ever played.
G: What is it – about 50,000? 60,000?
C: About 60 odd, yeah. It’s 67 I think.
G: I was wondering… obviously Foo Fighters are huge and Dave Grohl – everyone considers him amazing. How connected is he? When it comes to contacting support acts, guest slots, special guests, was it him that gave you the call? Was it an agent’s agent?
S: Oh my god, that sounds like a dream you’ve had. Dave Grohl calls you and asks you to play with him. “Hey Cat, what you doing next Wednesday?”… It wasn’t as dreamy as that.
C: It always goes through like three other people on each side.
S: Yeah. I think it is a lot to do with luck of the draw and being in the right place at the right time… Hopefully because they genuinely like us too, because they do have a say in their supports. I guess we’ll find out! You know, when we’re chilling out with them!
G: I realised with their UK dates – in Ireland they had Hozier, in London they had booked Royal Blood… so do you find this quite an honour? There is a big Scottish scene! There’s lots of big bands; the likes of Biffy…
S: Yeah, it’s quite mental.
C: It’s kind of difficult to comprehend, to be honest with you. You can’t really think about it too much otherwise your brain just explodes… yeah, obviously it’s a massive honour so yeah – we’re just excited about doing it now!
G: I’m now going to go a bit more technical… there are lots of double acts who play live and have session musicians to fill in – the biggest example now would probably be The Black Keys. I realised you didn’t even have a bassist on.
G: Was that a case of you thinking, “Well there’s nothing missing so why should we change something that’s working?”
S: Umm… I think at the moment it’s kind of… We’re always trying to develop the sound, use different things, other technical things that we do. We have a bass player in the form of an octave pedal, which we introduced. We’ll maybe call him Bill. Not to say that that’ll never happen because I feel sometimes that it would be great to have a third person; even for more harmonies because I just love harmonies, but not just now. Maybe in the future…
G: So then is there a particular reason why you use Telecasters?
S: Yes, I love them. I love my Telecasters and both of them were gifts as well so it’s nice they’ve both got stories. One of them’s hand made for me, so they’re like my children. Yeah, I love them.
G: Rounding it off now… How has your festival season been? Pretty manic?
C: Yeah, it’s been pretty busy and we’ll be getting busier over the next few weekends.
G: Do you find that there’s much difference between bigger and smaller festivals – with how they’re run or how you prepare?
C: They’re all fun in different ways. You never really know what you’re gonna get… I like the small gritty ones but then the big ones are really good as well.
G: Are you gonna stick around and see any of the headliners later?
S: I think we will…
C: Yeah, we need to dump some stuff off and wash the dust off us… then we’ll come back in to get dusty again later!
By Giacomo Palmieri