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Globetrotting Electro-soulMeet Honne

by Malvika Padin

With a year of immense successes behind them, the duo’s plans for the present is simple- write lots of new music and play lots of festivals and tours. Their future dreams are a bit more adventurous, seemingly excited at the prospect of playing at Red Rock in Denver; a stage overlooking a canyon.

“Everything’s going to be okay” – James Hatchner and Andy Clutterbuck want the music they make as Honne to wrap listeners within its comfort and warmth – “We are positive people and our lyrics and content are positive too- even when it’s talking about a relationship that didn’t work out or delving into nostalgic memories.”

The duo, formed in 2014, aim for a sound, which in its simplest form puts this warmth at its forefront; “The one thing we want to achieve is to be able to strip back all the instrumentals- play the song on piano and vocals, but still maintain that soulful, warm sound.”

Delving deeper into the recording process of their second album they said, “What was most different about the album is how collaborative it was. It was a big change and something that we really enjoyed. But at the same time, we kept it quite personal in terms of content. We always try to where we can, to write songs about stuff that’s happened to either of us.”

Honne envision their music as a form of personal therapy, and in that, they also hope to be cathartic to listeners as well. The songs are written and produced mostly in their own homes- of the album thrive off being relatable. “We’d like our music to be relevant to us. If we can relate to something, then that may mean that there are other people out there who can relate to it too.”

This album isn’t their only collaborative effort in recent times, as we delve into their record-breaking creation ‘Seoul’ produced with, and for, K-pop supergiant RM of BTS. Approached by RM after a sold-out concert in South Korea a few years ago, started a professional relationship that culminated as a feature in RM’s chart-topping mixtape ‘Mono’.

Describing it as a weird, yet very welcome experience, they say, “A couple of years ago we went to play shows in South Korea, did three shows in three days. RM came to one of the shows, and then all of a sudden, we got an email asking if we had any instrumentals that we could send, which we did. And after a few months, we had the track which he wanted to put out on his mixtapes. We were on the outside of this massive world and suddenly we were pulled into it, and it was great!”

Staying on the vein of collaborations, the duo expresses their interest in working with a long list of artists. But on top of that list is another South Korean star, Korean-American singer Yeji.

With an enthusiasm to work with all of sorts people, ‘personal favourites’ seems like a question that may yield no answer. But when asked for their favourite track off ‘Love Me/Love Me Not’ the pair unanimously agree on ‘Day 1’. Speaking about the track which they believe pulled the entire album together, they say, “‘The song became the blueprint for the sound of the whole album. With our first album, it was ‘Warm on a Cold Night’ which described exactly what we wanted that album to be like, and for this one it was when we wrote ‘Day 1’ that it all came together.”

While their professional influences and the sound they aim to achieve varies from record to record, their basic inspiration remains their loved ones. Speaking on the support they received in the pursuit of their dream career, they say, “We are incredibly lucky that our parents love music and supported us in wanting to do music. It’s an unusual career and it’s a long road being in a band but it’s the most exciting and rewarding career, and the support helps the most.”

Finally, we move onto a timeline of Honne’s career; of past highlights, the present and future aspirations. A stand-out memory for the London-based pair is playing at the Brixton Academy. Nostalgic and meaningful, the gig they exclaim was one of their favourite shows they’ve ever played. They say, “There’s always something special about playing in your hometown and feeling like you’ve achieved something. It was also exactly to the date of when we played our first gig in London four years ago to about 150 people, and then four years later playing to so many people.”

Comfort, relatability and a collaborative spirit define Honne, and as they end the interview with a random story of cutely decorated music-themed cakes for a 27th birthday, I think ‘fun’ can be added to the mix as well.

Claire Rothstein
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