With their Bigsound 2017 Showcases happening this week and an impending album drop, Wild Honey has made sure that they are busy, quickly paving a path for themselves Wild Honey are sure fire guaranteed to be leading the industry in the coming years. We sat down with them recently to talk about Bigsound, their new album, and their approach to songwriting and they had some pretty profound things to say about the industry as a whole…
Before we get into it, who is Wild Honey for the people that are not familiar with the band, what would you like them to know, why should they check out your music?
Wild Honey is a guitar band from Sydney. I think we’re worth checking out because the songs are good and you’ll still want to listen to the music in 10 years.
For a band who hasn’t fully broken out of obscurity you guys sure are busy, what does it look like playing 60 shows in 12 months, how does a band get that busy?
We made a decision to hit the road and play out all the songs we had and see which ones hung around. Our booker got behind the plan and we ended up playing a heap of shows. It ran us ragged and cost us a member or two, but it shaped us I guess both as musician’s and as a band. A whole lot of hours in a van, with short breaks to play shows, followed by even shorter sleeps in backpacker hostels.
For many Australian bands, Triple J is essentially God, has Triple J helped you guys in any way, and to what capacity?
Triple J got behind us on our first single Eye To Eye, which was instrumental in getting the band up and running. We’ve hit a wall ever since though, with only got the odd spin from presenters, which is hard to get your head around. You get that initial support, which spurs you to get it together and give it a crack, maybe even record a body of work. But there’s no guarantee they’ll play another song. That kind of hot & cold approach cripples the self-esteem of a lot of bands.
You’ve been on tours with some serious acts, to you who is the best band you have toured with, and what did you learn because of them?
The best band we’ve played with would be The Preatures. Anyone could take notes from them on how to write, record and perform. They are talented, hard-working and classy. I think they deserve every success. I’d be remiss to not to say a big thanks for the support they’ve shown us.
What were your influences for your new track Break Away? It seems to be a mishmash of awesome ideas and concepts that sort of collided in a multi-car collision but it works, what was your thought process when writing this track?
I wrote this song at a friend’s beach house in Terrigal. I was at a crossroads, re-evaluating what I wanted to do with my life at that time. I was broke, working a job in advertising that made me pretty miserable, and I was craving a change. The song was a trigger. Musically, I guess wanted the song to march along under grey skies but then have a moment where the sun came out, like the split second you actually feel like you can achieve something.
It was recently announced that Wild Honey was starting their own record label, this is a pretty big step, what makes a band start their own record label, and what does the workload look like?
Spillway Records arose because of a sticky situation. I signed a publishing deal almost 10 years ago after I left my first band Mercy Arms. Fast forward a decade, my publishing contract was still valid, and the labels that were interested in Wild Honey didn’t want to sign us if my publishing wasn’t also up for grabs. I had no choice but to start my own label to release our debut record, fulfil my old contract and allow the band to move forward. It’s a huge learning curve, and the workload is hefty. When I get it running efficiently I’ll let you guys know what it takes!
What are three of your musical idols and why are they so important to you?
Bob Dylan: I come back to him again and again. He’s the oracle. Song: Sara.
Pavement: Some of the best guitar interplay and originality I’ve ever come across:
Song: Spit on a Stranger
The Replacements: Probably my all-time favourite band. Great songwriter in Paul Westerberg and amazing guitarist in Bob Stinson. Song: I Will Dare
It was announced earlier in the year that you guys would be playing Big Sound 2017! As a Brisbane local I for one can say that I am absolutely stoked for Big Sound, what are you expecting from Big Sound? Acts such as Tash Sultana played Big Sound last year and now she’s one of the hottest things in Australian music, are you expectant for something great to happen?
I’m looking forward to playing Bigsound with the band and attending the conferences to get some tips on how to help Spillway reach as many people as possible with the Wild Honey record. Hopefully catch a heap of other showcases too.
Which artists are you keen to collaborate with within this scene and why?
I used to be in a band with Alex Knight a.k.a Brightness. He’s talented AF. I’d love to spend an afternoon workshopping a few songs I’ve written with him and get his spin on them. He’s playing Bigsound too so check him out!
The 2017 music landscaped is different than the landscape we had in 2016, with that in mind, in your opinions what are the acts we should be paying attention to in 2017?
I am excited for the new album from Crepes, they’re a great band from Melbourne with a solid songwriter in Tim Karmouche. I dunno, I’m kind of depressed with the guitar band scenario at JJJ at the moment, I feel it’s focusing on particularly naïve stuff about drinking beers and celebrating fairly mundane aspects of life. It’s a fairly limited scope to put on to display to the nation. Hopefully, that changes and there’s room for a bit more lyricism. Gang of Youths are leading that charge I think.
Last year you put out an excellent EP, what was the writing like, dropping an EP is a daunting task, as a band how did you muster up the courage to see it through to the end, and has it prepared you for the eventual release of an album?
I wrote that EP what seems a long time ago. Putting it out wasn’t without its trials, but in hindsight, it was a fairly organic process. I had to teach myself how to use Logic to record. Some interesting EQ’s going down.
Recording an album seemed like a much bigger task to me. I approached it as if I only make one record, what do I want it to be about, what do I want to say. I thought about the content of the songs, the lyrical message far more than before. There are the songs about chasing girls and craving fewer responsibilities, but there are also songs about grieving loved ones, coping with parents fighting, alcoholism, even a song about the sexy scummy sprawl that is surfers paradise.
What would you say to any band struggling to find their place in the world/scene/community?
Don’t do it for any other reason than you’d go mad if you didn’t give it a shot, cos you’re sure to go mad trying. I often reflect on how your music will outlast your band, outlast you, so make it a reflection of what.