Third Introducing Honey Hill, the folk band inspired by the past and firmly at home in the future. A sound which will become recognisable for years to come, discover the story of Honey Hill...
We have been Facebook official for about 5 months now! Gigging around NYC, CT, and NJ since late January. The band right now is Helene, Karl (with a K), and Justin. The web that connects us runs deep and it must be clear that the story involves a Karl and a Carl. Different people, similar name, just one letter apart. Justin, Karl, and Carl (Helene’s Brother) meet in North Carolina. Justin and Carl (with a C) wrote some music for a project called Amateur Astronauts with Helene in Norway. Justin and Helene fall in love in Norway. She comes back to the US with Justin. Carl (with a C) stays in Norway. Karl (with a K) learns the guitar in the US and forms a band with Justin and Helene called Honey Hill!
We have some plans to live record all of our music in a church later this summer.
Folk Life NYC
There’s so much support for the folk genre because of the rich history that folk music has in Manhattan and Brooklyn. One of the coolest places we’ve had the chance to play is the Jalopy Theater in Brooklyn. It’s a small theater that hosts a really good open mic every week where everyone gathers around a condenser mic and plays on this sort of ragtime-like stage. There’s also thePostcrypt Cafe which has a great sound and vibe. There is no shortage of support for any type of music in NYC and we love that about it. The more we meet and discover new bands the more we realise that genre is becoming a thing of the past. So as much as we love folk and what it stands for, we’re influenced by everything from The Wonder Years to Woody Guthrie. And NYC supports it all, which is just lovely.
In all honesty, we didn’t expect anyone to see this EP on Bandcamp. We were just doing some summer booking and needed to get some tracks up quickly to convince venues to let us play. We just wanted a succinct one-word title that describes the way we try to write our melodies. We value simplicity and sweetness in our songwriting. When you can get your message across powerfully without over-complicating things while keeping the melody sweet, well that’s just wonderful.
"We can't be created, or destroyed
I know you're out there in the lines
You're the charge and the noise
And there's still ways to enjoy
Forever different, but alright,
And we'll always run to your light
Always drawn to, always drawn to your light"
Cold Woods (Come Clean)
We don’t like to mix anyone’s message by leaving it in the blender too long and diluting it down to this sort of homogenous being. We are just learning how to support each other’s songwriting style as best we can, instrumentally and vocally, and trust that there will be enough cohesiveness in that. There’s just something irreplaceable about the lead vocalist in a song being the person who wrote it and the person who feels it. It may not always be the most polished or pretty, but we believe that the soul of a song always translates. So we went into the studio for a weekend and did our best to track three songs, as organically as possible, that represent the three of us.
Well I’m almost embarrassed to say, but it was the fictional character, Llewyn Davis, from the Coen Brothers film that awoke in me whatever had been lying dormant for so long. I still remember the feeling the first scene gave me, when Oscar Isaac is singing his heart out to the high heavens. Such a raw and simple and hauntingly beautiful performance. After that movie ended I think I subconsciously made up my mind that I wanted to be a failing folk singer. The next day, I picked up the guitar in earnest for the first time in my life and have been walking this path ever since, a path that’s led me to the inspiration of the film, Dave Van Ronk, who then introduced me to the Greenwich Village folk artists of the 1960s, which led me to the contemporary artists that they inspired. It’s a seemingly endless road of discovery and inspiration.
Honey Hill. The kind of band I like. Music is everything to these guys, besides the love and respect they have for each other. They've gone about producing this great sound in the only way they know how. Friends together, who are humble, honest, insightful; it made hearing their story all the more important. For Third Outing, this was the perfect introduction to Honey Hill.
Sweet is a three track EP and it's wonderful, a term Honey Hill like to use! Just three little tracks to give us an idea what they are all about, or the venues who should be booking them. They are a gentle proposition, infusing folk and a heavier, percussive touch, in their own definite style, and voice. Remember bands like Slow Club? Pursuing harmony and balance in delivery. The male/female combination of song writing seems to have become something of the past. Maybe Edward Sharpe and Jade Castrinos were the last ones to successfully deliver that kind of balance. Honey Hill have a similar thing going on, but perfectly influenced by a volume of folk and a youth of NYC.
Karl from the band was almost embarrassed to discuss the influence for the music, Inside Llewyn Davis. But he couldn't have described it better. The opening scene from that film is one you can only sympathise with, and be inspired by. Hang Me, Oh Hang Me is the track from the opening scene, but Honey Hill remind me more of some of the others heard on the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack, as performed by Oscar Isaac. My description would be closer to Shoals Of Herring. There's already a sense of tradition about Honey Hill, despite their young formation.
Of the three tracks on the EP, Martha Song #4 is the one for me. Maybe I like it so much because it reminds me of Conor Oberst. It's energetic, warming, resolving. But it still has its own, genuine voice. The storytelling is natural, with moments of sensitivity and sincerity, //You held my hand and I danced you through that storm, never to find the only thing worth fighting for// and other all round defining lyricism. In the same breath then, we should also mention Subway Song. This shares the same story telling strengths, again delivered so sincerely with a wisdom about it. Like the final line // I know you’re mine, though there’s pieces of you in anyone, anyone who’s ever truly met you //.