I got the opportunity to submit a written interview with Hillary Burton this week. She and her band were busy in the studio, and this was a great way to fit this into their busy schedule. With their new record CRUSHED out next week, and the first single “Messy Love” already creating a buzz, this band is sure to be even busier.
honeychain is: Hillary Burton – Vocals and Guitar, Andre Tusques – Bass Guitar and Backing Vocals, Loye Aubrey Jr – Drums
1. Our listeners are really enjoying “Messy Love” and it’s been topping the Woody Radio charts since its release…What can we expect from the full record? Release date?
The new album, CRUSHED, will be released on May 13, 2017, but people who pre-order from our website (www.honeychainmusic.com) by May 13th will receive a signed postcard, some stickers, and limited edition pin/button with their order, plus instant downloads of our first single, Messy Love, and the title track, Crushed. Those who want to pre-order via Itunes, may as well, but they only get the instant download of the song Messy Love. The new album is a mix of rock, alternative, punky power pop and few softer songs as well. Anyone who liked the first ep, FUTURA, will really like the new album for sure.
2. What’s your personal favorite song(s) on the new record?
That’s always a super hard question. There are 11 tracks, one is a cover of the song Some Other Girl originally released by The Textones and written by Kathy Valentine and I’ve loved that song forever and I think we did a cool version. The other ten songs are ones I wrote and it is super hard to pick a favorite. I can’t even begin to think about how I would/could choose.
3. How did the songs get written? What inspires you to write?
My songwriting often times comes in spurts. There was one year I bombarded my bandmates with a bunch of songs all at once. Other times it may be one at a time over a few months. I get inspired by so many different things. I constantly jot down notes, sometimes on paper and sometimes on my phone notes and I think right now I have over 500 notes on my phone, many of which have random ideas/lyrics. I also have around 200 voice memos on my phone with random melodies and lyrics. I seem to find myself writing in my head a lot even when I don’t set out to. I’m sure it can be annoying for some people who try to hold conversations with me sometimes. A lot of the songs on the new album I can’t even really remember how they came to be because sometime when I am in writing phase it is like being in a dream, so I don’t always remember the details of what went on. In terms of specifics of a few songs and what inspired me: There Goes That Girl (Again) is a kinda punky pop song on the new album where the lyrics are sang kinda fast. I was inspired to write that song when I drove with Kim (Shattuck) to Vegas one year when her band The Muffs were playing a show there and she was pumping gas and singing “I don’t like you” as they were going to open their set with that song and I was like, in my head, ‘whoa, that’s rad the way she sings with all those words flying around all fast and stuff….I’m going write one with lyrics sang all fast like that’ and so that was my initial inspiration for that song. For the song Violet, also off the new album, I was thinking about when people shut themselves off from other people and thinking about some of the reasons why. And then of course there are just a lot of songs that are more autobiographical, like Crushed. I wrote Ready For The World To End on a beach in Maui and it’s basically a love song, but wrapped in a weird theme about wanting the world to end because of losing faith in humanity.
4. Did you work on the songs together or did you write and bring them to the band?
Thus far I write and demo the songs and then send them to my band to see if they even like the song and if they do, then we mess around at practice and fine tune things. Lately I’ve been keen to try to come up with random ideas with Loye and Andre by us just messing around at practice and that then gives me ideas to go back a write a song around.
5. You did everything by yourself on the first honeychain record. Besides not being by yourself, how was recording this record different?
I wasn’t limited by myself, in that, it wasn’t all based on my abilities or the way I would perform a certain part. We also tracked all the drums, bass and some of my guitar parts on one single day by having Loye, Emma and I together in one room just playing the songs. Getting the basic tracks like that (mostly) done in one single day was cool, whereas on the FUTURA EP I think I tracked my drum parts, then added the rest on a different day, so it was more like building blocks approach to recording instruments one at a time. Having awesomely talented bandmates really opened up new ideas for me as well, as a songwriter and they each played some super amazing parts on the album CRUSHED that I am so super proud of.
6. Even though you have worked with Kim Shattuck in the The Pandoras, how was having her produce your songs different? What do you think she brought to the process?
She was in the midst of producing honeychain’s record before I joined The Pandoras (by basically going on a tour of Europe with them and then just staying on board when we returned home). It was awesome having Kim as producer in that we share the same aesthetic in a lot of ways but also hear things differently too. In terms of what she brought to the process, well for me, I was able to put a ton of trust in her and that gave me the ability to let go of certain control-freak things I have, and I think as an example, because of that trust, she was able to get me to track my vocals without me feeling I had to be super self-critical, which was weird for me. In a good way.
7. I know you’ve been doing some live shows…How is that going? Is it different for you to play as a front woman versus being in the band?
We, honeychain, have played a ton of live shows over the last three years. We’ve recently gone through a line-up change in that Emma, who played bass and sang back up, recently left the band to pursue other (politically focused) interests. As a result, Andre, who played guitar, has now switched to bass (because he is super talented like that!) so I am the sole guitar-player making us a true power trio. When you refer to being a front-person versus being in a band, do you mean as a member of The Pandoras? Because yeah, that is different being behind the kit. It’s super fun as Kim, Melanie and Karen are all super talented and I can basically sit back there behind the kit and bang about and blow bubbles with my gum and geek out on their awesomeness.
8. On a lighter note…I kind of stalked your FB page, and I see you have a sweet Ducati Icon…Is that a new toy? How long have you been riding? How’d you get started?
Another bona fide FB stalker huh? Cool!! Just Kidding! So yeah, I had a dirt bike for a while and rode on and off, but sold that last year. I decided to get my street license this year and was actually able to accomplish that goal in January and then got my Ducati in February. I had fallen in love with the Ducati Scrambler when they came out two years ago…that was a good motivator for me; my love of how beautiful it is.
9. What’s next for honeychain?
We are super excited that our new album, CRUSHED is going to be released May 13. We can’t wait for people to hear it! We have our record release show on June 17th at the Redwood in Los Angeles with our friends The Touchies and Kim (Shattuck) is going to do a special solo show. We are really looking forward to that show and celebrating the album. Next is to finish writing for the next album…we have five or so songs ready. Oh and we just tracked our version of Going Through Your Purse, by Material Issue which will be released later this year for the Girlsville / Nerve Centre Records Cassette Day comp.
Written by Kim Olin/ Photo – honeychainmusic.com