We've been waiting for this one...
Relaxing on an Italian beach on a boiling hot day, Black Honey are enjoying some downtime after drinking a lot of wine and eating just as much pasta. “It’s my best day off in ages,” says frontwoman Izzy B Phillips. The Brighton four-piece are in Europe for a massive tour supporting hometown friends Royal Blood – and it’s safe to say they’re all having a great time. “The crowds have been really receptive,” she continues; “they really listen to you.” As for their offstage antics, both bands have been out almost every night, getting smashed. “They come onto our tour bus every day; Ben brings round tequila shots before we go onstage and we jam a lot. It’s nice because we’re from the same place and now we’re in a similar place - being in a band and on the road, and that we’re from the same hometown and are in similar friendship groups makes it a bit more sincere. They take me under their wing a lot, too; Ben and Mike are very protective over me.”
It’s a friendship that’s been growing ever since Royal Blood watched Black Honey perform a few years ago – though Izzy criticises it as “a terrible show”. Since then they’ve toured together, playing a number of smaller venues around the UK. “They just really feel like a part of our world and our family,” she considers, detailing the one piece of advice that Mike’s given her: “His tip was, ‘If you’re unapologetically and authentically yourself then you can’t go wrong’. And it’s a sentiment that defines Black Honey perfectly: refusing to conform to the perceived idea of how most people interpret ‘rock’ music. Having spent the year recording new music and playing some of their biggest shows to date – including Glastonbury’s John Peel Stage, Reading & Leeds and London’s Alexandra Palace with Royal Blood – they’re now putting the finishing touches to a debut album.
“I love the recordings we’ve done, I feel like I’m really coming into my own with a new direction concerning hip-hop drums,” Izzy says, citing Canadian documentary ‘Hip-Hop Evolution’ as one particular influence. “We’ll always be a rock band at heart, but I think with the discoveries that have really inspired me, they’ve been much more crossover.” They’re not doing anything that’s too out there, though. “We’re still the same band – but I’ve been getting into really experimental sounds and beats, looking at different genres and finding something that feels like more of a hybrid than just linear rock music.” A newly-found appreciation for the Beastie Boys – “looking at how they made a weird marriage between rock music and hip-hop” – was also a creative inspiration.
Listening to their newest single, ‘Dig’ – “honouring the last moment of a relationship before everything falls apart, the last beautiful sunset you see before dying” - the idea of creating a hybrid sound becomes clear. And it’s something Izzy and co. are continuing to build with their upcoming debut record. Though it’s been a long time coming, she’s pleased they’ve taken their time with it and not rushed something out. “We could have done an album already, but I think it’s really important that we do it at a time that’s fucking perfect for us. Even if I write a song that’s like, ‘Fuck, this is everything’ in February, I will not wait for that to go on the second album. There’s quite a lot of lucidity…”
As for what people can expect from it, Izzy hopes it will feel like “an eclectic emotional spectrum of different things… a sort of best of.” Because of the way she pens songs, though, there’s no running theme. “I’m quite schizophrenic in my writing, I write to how I feel. Sad, happy, empowered, emotional - the contrasts will be clear on the album. Everything will be seen through a cinematic lens, but maybe with rose-tinted glasses across the whole thing.”
Taken from the December 2017 / January 2018 issue of Dork, out now. Order a copy here.