Black Honey are preparing for the release of their highly anticipated next studio album with two new songs being released this summer and I was lucky enough to sit down with lead singer and creative director Izzy B. Phillips. We discussed what the new chapter of Black Honey looks like and how quarantine has taught us to all take a step back and reflect on the issues surrounding the world to date. Read all about it here!
Is ‘Beaches’ the start of a new chapter for Black Honey? And if so, what does this chapter look like?
Interestingly, ‘Beaches’ is a different reflection from the whole chapter, as it were, season 2. ‘Beaches’ is a little more Motown and upbeat whilst the overall vibes of the next record are heavier rock records. We have gone back on ourselves and are like Black Honey on steroids, it’s a really fun record and I cannot wait for you to hear it. It’s going to be massive.
The music video for your new single ‘Beaches’ is described as a ‘A Quarantine Production’, do you feel lockdown has aided or hindered your creative vision?
I think it was an interesting process of making stuff during quarantine, personally I know I am a good songwriter and I know I am a good art director, but I’ve never been good with cameras and filming. With the music video, I feel lucky I was able to film it on an iPhone because I think I would find it way more stressful managing equipment and stuff.
However, I found quarantine less productive and less creative because, I have to be out in the world exploring and stuff to be able to make my best work. But at the same time, it was like the challenge being creative in lockdown was really enjoyable. Like it was really fun getting and looking for creative ways to make a music video in lockdown, like getting the boys into it, using a green screen in a funny kind of tongue-in-cheek way.
You have stated that your music is inspired by Wes Anderson and Tarantino movies, does the art of cinema play a key role in your musical approach?
Yeah it does, but it’s not like I watch it then I think “yeah I’m going to write a song about this”, it’s more like the idea of existing in a musical framework and could be seen through cinema. So, like when I write a song I see a movie in my head and I’m sure it’s common for writers and stuff but my way of expressing myself is giving testament to that vision and trying to meet that as best as I can.
What are your thoughts on the new concert set-up? Will concerts be the same whilst social distancing measures are in place? Will this impact the way you perform?
Yeah, we have our first gig coming up shortly and it’s a socially distanced Covid-19 compliant gig. But I’m not really sure how its going to go? Like you play the venues you’ll usually play but to a third of the people and we are worried the vibes could be a bit dry. Those things I can’t really control like Covid-19 is out of my control but the only thing I can control is that if this is the only show of 2020 since January at our NME show, then we will make it count and give it everything so it’s one to remember for everyone.
Usually you go into the crowd so it’s going to be completely different to what you usually do.
Yeah, I’m going to figure something out. I was thinking banging your hands on the table or something would be quite cool or getting everyone to stomp their feet. That could be quite cool.
You have been outspoken about the inequalities within the music industry, what are your thoughts on the current debate regarding sexism in music festival line-ups?
It just feels like why the fuck am I still talking about this? Why am I having to talk about it, and I am so bored of the conversation. People just need to wake up and look at the world we are living in. As a consumer of music, I don’t want to see more white moany boys moaning about their middle-class white boy problems. Honestly I want to see someone from a unique perspective, and I want to see them challenge society on a stage that gives them that gives them the credit and the platform they deserve and need.
Like for me now this conversation is not about being a woman, it’s about intersectionality, we need to look at people of colour, we need to look closely and deeply at the artistic community within the trans community. We need to start validating that, we need to start validating trans artist the way we validate the Artic Monkeys. Its where the future is headed, if we want these people in our culture to be seen as equal we need to have people from that community being those artists being those stars.
Since your inception in 2014 you’ve accomplished a lot, what is your greatest achievement to date?
I love touring Korea and Japan, it’s like one of those things where you are like “Wow you toured Asia”. I also love Glastonbury, we told ourselves we will not go to Glastonbury as fans until we got to play it and that was a really special moment for us and that moment being like “hello Glastonbury” was a dream it felt like it was happening to someone else. Or, even like arena tours playing to 25,000 people in Manchester Arena that was just insane.
For me all that stuff is really cool, and the accolades are really cool and stuff but for me it’s the way you connect with the people on a more intimate level. Like obviously you want your music to be heard and have people come to your shows and be really big like being on the cover of NME. However, for me it’s a much for intimate thing of I want to deeply change a kid’s life with my music and give them the courage to manage their own experiences. And in my own fucked way I’m obviously trying to fix something in myself and the struggle I had as a young person, growing up in my life and managing my life and how music saved me and provide that for someone else.
Whose music changed your life.
When I was younger it was Nirvana, they were such a big deal to me, and I love their emo music. When I was a kid and discovering The Beatles, even composers. There is just so much that I feel has inspired what I make it’s really hard to pinpoint an artist other than those who were in my formative years and teens.
What saved me was playing music everyday and having a purpose enough to get out of bed every day and turn up at a studio and having a band was almost what I needed to manage my own emotional problems. And having that outlet to do it with my best mates and turning your problems into this amazing thing and you kind of just feel invincible.
This is a question we all want to know, what did you binge watch during lockdown?
Ok so Tiger King! Let’s be real who didn’t binge watch that? I love American political documentaries about race and stuff like the Michelle Obama documentary was really strong for me. The one that was the most impactful was called 13th about the 13th amendment, and how that ingrained racism is in our culture. I got really into that political but educational stuff because I still feel like I’m learning. I know people say I’m quite outspoken and political and shit but I don’t think I am I don’t know shit about anything but I’m just trying to learn, trying to consume the right things and trying to make sense of everything and process how much shit is going on.
For me binge watching all of that stuff was useful, but also I have gotten really into gardening during quarantine so I try to go off screens a little bit and poke my fingers into the mud a little bit more than you know than just watching tv all day.
Listen to Black Honey’s newest single ‘Run For Cover’ now via Foxfive Records.