HONEYHONEY

Sun King Brewery & MOKB Present

HONEYHONEY

Korey Dane

Thu, October 5, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

The HI-FI

$15.00

This event is 21 and over

HONEYHONEY
HONEYHONEY
The third full-length effort from L.A.-based duo HONEYHONEY, 3 is an album born from fascination with the sweet and the sleazy, light and dark, danger and magic. Working with Dave Cobb (the producer behind Jason Isbell’s Southeastern and Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music), lead singer/banjo player/violinist Suzanne Santo and vocalist/guitarist Ben Jaffe twist their gritty, harmony-driven brand of Southern-flavored rock & roll through tales of lost souls, broken boys, girls with gold in their spit. Equal parts inward-looking and endlessly curious, the two songwriters also take a mirror to their own experience in lust and heartache and never shy away from revealing the messy truth. And whether they rattle or soothe or joyfully inspire, HONEYHONEY instill each song with a straight-from-the-gut honesty and elegance of storytelling that make 3 both cathartic and electrifying.

The follow-up to 2011’s Billy Jack (named one of the top albums of the year by American Songwriter and hailed for finding “the common pop thread between alt. country, spaghetti western soundtracks and swampy blues” by Paste), 3 was recorded in HONEYHONEY’s one-time home of Nashville with a lineup of locals that includes musicians like Robbie Turner (a pedal steel guitarist who’s played with Johnny Cash and The Highwaymen). And while the album finds HONEYHONEY offering their most finely crafted melodies and richly textured sound to date, the band also embodies a loose and scrappy energy drawn out with some help from Cobb. “Dave never let me obsess over my vocals,” says Santo, whose sultry but tender voice intensifies the intimacy of each track. “He’d just be like, ‘Nope, that was raw, we got it, we’re good.’” Adds Jaffe: “He didn’t really allow us to overthink anything, which is great for what we do—the more barriers you can remove to get to the soul of it, the better.”

Throughout 3, that soul gets channeled into songs both gorgeously unhinged (such as “Mary Rich,” an epic R&B number that amps up the moody tension of its lyrics with some sublime and frenetic guitar work) and quietly piercing (a la “Burned Me Out,” a wistful ballad about “the loss of idealism, and how that can be really painful but also beautiful,” according to Santo). On the brash and bluesy “Bad People,” HONEYHONEY seesaw between scorn (“Tried your best to be your worst/You must like it that you’re cursed”) and empathy (“We all got some darkness up our sleeve”) in their meditation on the origins of ugly behavior in everyday life. Built on a lilting and lovely string-laced arrangement, “Father’s Daughter” devastates in just two lines at the song’s achingly delivered chorus (“You know I’m in hot water/If I’m my father’s daughter”). And in the one-two punch of the brooding “Numb It” and the steamy, groove-heavy “Sweet Thing,” 3 looks at the torment and bliss that can come from giving yourself over to pure desire.

For HONEYHONEY, the balance of sophistication and heart that the duo strikes on 3 has much to do with their closeness as songwriting collaborators. “Writing is about trust—trust in yourself and trust in your partner—and with us there’s a level of trust that you can only get from knowing someone for years and years,” says Jaffe. Forming the band in 2006, Santo and Jaffe first crossed paths at a costume party (she was a cheetah, he was Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid), felt an instant creative connection, and soon started making music together. Although Jaffe learned to play violin and drums as a little kid in western Massachusetts and joined a local jazz band in high school, the Ohio-bred Santo initially pursued work in acting and didn’t think of music as a possible path until early adulthood. “I was new to L.A. and I’d just broken up with my first love,” she recalls. “I started writing these awful songs but I just kept going with it, and after a while it hit me that this was what I was supposed to do with my life.” Making their full-length debut with 2008’s First Rodeo, HONEYHONEY saw their sophomore album Billy Jack climb to #15 on Billboard’s Folk Albums chart and soon began earning praise from the likes of The Onion’s A.V. Club and LA Weekly.

Though Santo and Jaffe consider their continued growth as songwriters to be the lifeblood of the band, their live show also makes for a major element of the HONEYHONEY experience. “The reason we write songs is to express something real, and being able to engage with people directly the way we do onstage is a really important part of that,” Jaffe says. Fueled by their easy chemistry and between-song banter, the duo’s stage presence adds a whole new level of spirit and passion to their sound. “If there’s any kind of goal to what we’re doing, it’s to shake things up for the people listening,” says Santo. “Whether they need to dance or get happy or get angry or whatever, we can make that happen for them. We’ll make you cry and then make you laugh in under ten minutes.”
Korey Dane
Korey Dane
Korey Dane grew up in Long Beach, California, as a skateboarder kid with a gearhead father and an English teacher mother and with a guitar he learned to love as he learned to play, letting a few inherited books and a handful of records lead him away from home and into the great American unknown. That’s where he found his last album Youngblood, born from months exploring and hitchhiking and putting songs together piece by piece, then presented as promise and potential to veteran producer and A&R man Tony Berg (X, Public Image Ltd.). He set up in Berg’s Zeitgeist Studios and with a crew of top-notch sessioneers—just like they used to do with the Wrecking Crew during L.A.’s golden age—he hammered Youngblood into something real, releasing it with Innovative Leisure in the fall of 2015.

Then smash-cut to September of 2016, with Dane coming off tour, a relationship about to crack in a half, and his 27th birthday about to hit, just like he’d predicted—unwittingly—in his song “Hard Times.” (The day before he started recording, he’d had a fortune teller tell him hard times were coming, but that was a waste of money—he already knew that.) He was left standing at the leading edge of his new album with … well, nothing ...but his songs and a beautiful room where he could record them. Oh, and 96 hours to get it all done.

So he got it done: he tapped a few close friends to back him and cut Chamber Girls almost completely live, searing instinct and experience direct to tape at L.A.’s analog time capsule Valentine Recording Studios. He produced everything himself, too, except for a quick assist from Berg on one a song, inspired by the deceptively simple ethos he’d internalized while making Youngblood: pursue greatness. “Writing a song that you know someone might skip over later is sacrilege,” he says. Instead, he wanted every song on Chamber Girls to feel not only live but alive, too, with that go-for-broke spirit that animates everything he says, does, or sings: “I’m writing all the time,” he says. “I’ve lived by a line a day sometimes. I try and stop when it’s good. If you try and simplify it down to its bare elements … it’s truly a redemptive act.”

That’s why he calls Chamber Girls—despite those hard times, or because of them—a celebration. “It’s a rock ‘n’ roll record”, he says. It’s got a lot in it, and “it talks about important shit,” he adds. And it does—it’s poetry at velocity, a trick that goes all the way back to Dylan and the Hawks. Opener “Half Asleep” is a Westerberg-style wake-up call (“Five, four, three, two, one, gone / I'm a cloud of smoke”) and from there it’s an album made from ash and fire, with a burner like “Hard Times” (and its swaggering Big Star guitar) only steps away from the smoky but stark “Always.” “Down In The Hole” is like Tom Waits back alley cabaret by Leonard Cohen’s deathless ladies’ man. Closer “Steady Forever” is a streak of light like the hungry young Springsteen, with lyrics hiding literature and a line that catches the spirit of the whole album: “Such a strange bell we’ve been ringing / Like rock n roll on a church organ.”

You can feel it everywhere on the album and you can see it on the album cover too, with the sunlight, the shadow, the eyes closed and the hand reaching out—it’s somewhere between an awakening, a resurrection and a last goodbye all at once, shot at that special half-there time of day that could be sunrise as easily as sunset. It’s a moment when possibility is endless, and when the past and the future and the hard times and good times find a perfect instant of sublime balance. Chamber Girls started as an ode to those who stay at home, Dane says, but you know how it goes: you can’t love your home if you don’t ever leave your home, and part of Chamber Girls is that mythic trip between the unknown and the known. In that very first second before he started this album, Dane was standing in the wreckage of everything he’d had planned for so long—but then he stepped through that studio door and made the record anyway. And in a way, Chamber Girls is the story of that step.
Venue Information:
The HI-FI
1043 Virginia Ave #4
Indianapolis, IN, 46203
http://www.hifiindy.com/