Scarcely any modern musicians have the aptness to scour effect and create work that is truly uncommon. Meet the British soul duo HONNE, formed by co-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist James Hatcher and frontman Andy Clutterbuck. Having met at University, James and Andy are of like-minded, creating music at night, and drawn to music-centric city living culture.
Gratifying the hunt for a good time, HONNE’s popularity was only well favored digitally. The boys hit the decks this month, providing solid performances at the L.A. Troubadour & the SXSW in support of their upcoming EP Gone Are The Days, and connecting with the modest of followers they had little idea of. Fresh off the release of their latest single with Izzy Bizu—Someone That Loves You, we caught up with HONNE before they took off.
HONNE & Izzy Bizu—‘Someone That Loves You’
New single released today via Atlantic Records
I like how your music ripples through a moment of traverse. Which city left the largest dent in your music space?
Andy: You're too kind. For me it always seems to change. We arrive in one city and I think to myself I love this place, then we go to the next city and I fall in love all over again. The last city we played was L.A. It was the final gig of our debut US tour and the show/audience were incredible. It was also nice to be somewhere where the sun shines most of the time (sorry England).
James: I think San Francisco left a pretty big, positive dent. We'd never visited, it was a beautiful day and the audience went mad. We were pretty much speechless towards the end of our set.
Tell me about a time when everything was wrong for the right reasons.
Andy: Having been in a long term relationship for a while now, there was a point where my partner moved to Japan for a long period of time. Obviously long distance relationships are never ideal but on the up side, it did allow me to travel there and fall in love with the Japanese culture which has in turn had a huge effect on our music and our aesthetic.
James: A couple of years ago, before the birth of HONNE, I was on my way home after being out with some friends late one night. We were being silly and played knock-down-ginger on a bike shop by pushing the letter box flap and running away. Unfortunately about half a centimetre of my left hand middle finger stayed in the letter box. It wasn't a great moment for me. However, following the incident I started writing music on piano/keys a lot more again (as guitar was problematic), and I feel like that was the start of the exploration leading to the HONNE sound.
What are your thoughts on quiet cities?
Andy: Imminent zombie attack.
James: I think every city has pockets with exciting things happening. Maybe the quiet ones are the ones you have to watch out for.
How is your music received differently across the world?
Andy: We are learning that one step at a time. We're starting to do more shows in different parts of the world now and it's great to see the reaction we get. If we use our gigs as an indicator, then generally speaking it's received with warm open arms, people dancing/singing—It's a lot of fun.
James: Actually, I would say it is largely received in a similar way across the world, and that's something that I really like about music. Our songs often talk about our own experiences in love and relationships, and I think that these are things that people all over the world are experiencing too. It's great that people from all walks of life can gather in one room and share a feeling.
Tell us about your creative process, how do you know when a song is done?
Andy: James and I are quite independent when it comes to songwriting. More often than not songs are started musically by either James or myself and then I will write lyrics and melodies over whatever instrumental inspires me at a particular moment in time. There are often quite a few versions of a song before its finished. It's quite a rare thing to finish a song in one go—it's lovely when it does happen though!
James: I'll sometimes start with the music. Sometimes even just a song title, and write the music around that. I'll send it to Andy, who will sing on it. Then we'll get together and spend time working on the whole song and production together. I think you know when a song is done when you've 'definitely finished' it about 4 or 5 times!
Do you enjoy the business of music?
Andy: Love it. There are parts of the business that I enjoy more than others (for example the creative side) but I guess that's like any job, if you want to make it work you have to be focused and put in as much effort as you can to every aspect.
James: It's mad at times, but so far it's been very exciting. We're only a young band though really and we're still learning, so maybe come back us with this question in a couple of years.
What would you be doing if you have not met each other?
Andy: If I'd never met James and I wasn't involved in music in any way then I'd probably be doing something involving woodwork, making furniture—that kind of thing.
James: Who knows. Probably crying somewhere feeling like I was missing a better part of me. (laughs)
What is the craziest tour you’ve played? Which city has the weirdest crowd?
Andy: Our first UK tour was pretty crazy. Crazy in the fact that real life people were actually turning up to see us play. (Laughs) Sounds a little stupid, but before that point we'd only really existed online, so didn't really know what to expect. Berlin crowd are weirdly wonderful and we love them.
James: I think the craziest tour was this latest US tour, purely down to SXSW. You basically do a tour at SXSW itself. It's an amazing, mind blowingly hectic festival, but we enjoyed it. The city with the weirdest crowd is a tough one. Maybe Berlin. They are definitely up for a party. I think we got invited out to party by about 10 different groups of people last time we played.
A playlist by HONNE to listen while driving at night.
Kehlani—The Way (ft Chance The Rapper)
Kendrick Lamar—untitled 03 05.28.2013
Kanye West—30 Hours
River Tiber feat. Pusha T & Kaytranada—Illusions
Anderson Paak—Room In Here
Frank Ocean—Pink Matter