Black Honey are a Brighton four-piece, cranking out raucous guitar noise and insanely catchy melodies, tinged with bittersweet Americana. Longtime indie underground faves, they’re now one of the most talked about bands in the UK gaining recent attention from major muso and fashion peeps (ahem Radio 1 and British Vogue) and are about to embark on their first headline European tour.
With our first offering for Spring taking its cues from iconic, badass front women and all the best weirdo cult heroes – we decided to fire some questions at enigmatic front woman Izzy B Phillips. Here’s what she had to say…
Photographs by Charlotte Patmore
We’ve found our heroes in the weird and wonderful this season, who are your musical heroes and style icons?
Bowie, Nancy Sinatra, The Beatles, Tarrantino, Andy Warhol with Edie Sedgewick and their whole factory scene.
How would you describe Black Honey’s sound?
A bittersweet, cherry picked collage of all our favourite eras.
How should your music be listened to?
On full blast in the back of a pink Cadillac, crossing the border to Mexico.
What song is on repeat in your house?
Lonesome Town – Ricky Nelson, I think it’s the saddest song that’s ever been written.
Where does the name Black Honey come from?
The light/dark imagery that ‘Black Honey’ conjures really spoke to us. I think it’s the contrasts in it that reflect our music; bitter/sweet, heavy/soft, happy sad feels you know.
You’ve been on the road loads this past year supporting Slaves and Ash on tour. What’s the best /most memorable gig you’ve played?
So many…. playing the Roberto Cavalli show for Milan Fashion Week, touring Japan and the whole UK festival circuit. We loved Koko for NYE it felt like a fucking massive send off to an incredible year for us. To celebrate we dressed as a homage to Bowie and the lost greats in a sort of ‘Stanley Kubrick Clockwork Orange Droogs' way. We sang Space Oddity whilst spraying champagne over the front row.
This collection is all about hailing the badass front women (fitting) who are your faves? What would you say is the best/worst thing about being the only girl on the tour bus?
All time fav honeys is hard, but probably Patti Smith for her written works and androgyny as much as her music. Of course, there's the classics; Nancy Sinatra, Debbie Harry and Cherie Currie. I love bad bitches from the movies like ‘Faster Pussy Cat Kill Kill’ and Matilda the 12-year-old assassin from ‘Leon the Professional’.
The best thing is being surrounded by a group of the most inspiring forward thinking feminists, who support my creative license as a front person. The worst is probably that my appreciation for making mood boards of 60s architecture will never be paralleled.
Our slogans for this season are pretty anti-romance, like Don’t Care, No Feelings and Hate Mail…how much do you draw on real life experience stuff when you’re writing?
Everything I write is the truth. If I feel ashamed to say something, then I know it’s even more important to say. I am human, I make mistakes so I try to make a good thing of a bad situation by writing. It's the only way I know.
Your EP artwork is killer. Who do you work with for these and where does your visual inspo for the band come from?
Thanks, it comes from the songs in some kind of longing for escapism I suppose, built by the hours I spent making cocktails in an American diner and vintage shops. The two things kind of merged into my obsession with cult movies. We work a lot with artist Olivia Savage, as well as other visual artists such as Vote for Patmore and Nadia Lee Cohen for the video and this EP cover.
The video for ‘Hello Today’ sees you driving around the US desert followed around by a bloody human heart, living out a Tarantino fantasy. Tell us about filming that with director Nadia Lee Cohen…
Nadia is a real-life femme fatale who is really challenging people with her work, I have such a huge mutual respect for her as a creative. Making the video was one of the best days of my life. The day was hot and long with no electricity or running water in the desert. We had to carry around a cool box with 7 pigs hearts in and cover them with Vaseline in between them being covered in flies. At one point the sheriff came down to check that our gun wasn’t real and our car got caught in the desert dunes. After a few hours it almost felt like we were in an actual movie!
What have Black Honey got lined up for 2017?
We’re kicking it off with a Radio One session and then off to Normandy next week to track a load of demos for the album. Then we go straight on our first European headline tour, we can’t actually believe that it’s almost sold out!! Then we’ve got more music coming and another run of UK shows in March/April.