Honeyblood: Babes never die
Honeyblood's new album is a battle cry for underdogs everywhere.
Published: 11:38 am, November 16, 2016
For Scottish duo Honeyblood, ‘Babes Never Die’ is more than just a record title: it represents an attitude that bursts through their second album’s storming twelve tracks. As singer and guitarist Stina Tweeddale explains, the genesis of the album was established even before she and drummer Cat Myers had begun writing. “It’s something that I’ve been saying for a long time,” she begins. “It’s like my crazy war cry. I have it tattooed and have had it for around two years now. When we started writing the album I wrote a song called ‘Babes Never Die’ which was the beginning of what became the whole album.”
The album takes Honeyblood to the next level while highlighting an increasing confidence as writers and musicians. It’s “heavier, faster, punkier and more in your face,” Stina excitedly proclaims. It’s almost as if Honeyblood are a completely different band. In a sense, they are as this is the first album recorded with the hard-hitting power of drummer, Cat but when the two of them are together there’s an uncanny alchemy and spark that makes it seem like it’s always been this way. This album is the sound of Honeyblood in full bloom.
Part of Honeyblood’s appeal has always been a sense of playful darkness and a desire never to take themselves too seriously. On ‘Babes Never Die’ this comes together perfectly on an album full of character and rich storytelling.
Its recording allowed the duo to ramp up the theatricality of their music and songs and indulge in all their dark fantasies. “It’s based on real life but has all this creepy, dark imagery intertwined within it,” says Stina. “All these songs are connected and the stories intertwine. The characters intertwine. We did go to a really creepy house in Dumfries to demo which affected the songwriting.”
The creepiness of their environment and feeling of foreboding actually helped to inspire them. “I love being scared,” reveals Stina. “I think it makes things exciting. It’s a rush of adrenalin.”
It would be a mistake though to label ’Babes Never Die’ a dark and distressing album. Instead, it’s fantastical, uproarious and inspiring. Oh, and it’s chocked full of bangers. “It’s tongue in cheek, it’s not supposed to be taken very seriously,” says Stina. “I think Honeyblood in its essence and the way me and Cat are is that we don’t take anything too seriously.”
The move from personal based songwriting to acerbic and witty character based vignettes like ‘Justine, Misery Queen’ opens up some mystery into Honeyblood’s songs. “Everything’s taken with a pinch of salt but could also be about someone you know. It’s ambiguous,” adds Cat.
“It was fun to write from a different perspective,” begins Stina, as she talks about the song writing process. “I find as a songwriter that if you just write songs about yourself it can get kinda boring. It can become too personal. Y’know what? I just don’t want to share that much anymore.”
The desire to add a bit of mystery and intrigue to their songs is also represented in Honeyblood’s rebellious attitude that cuts through the album like a blinding shock of platinum blonde hair. It’s a brilliantly refreshing perspective. “I have the free range to say whatever I want,” Stina confidently proclaims. “I don’t think you should ever hold back from what you want to say. Loads of times I’ve lay awake at night and thought I shouldn’t really say that it might hurt someone’s feelings and offend people, but now I’m like, ah, fuck it it’s fine!” Cat sums it up perfectly: “It’s the whole Babes Never Die attitude.”
That totemic rallying cry represents a communal spirit that is key to the whole album and Honeyblood in general. “It’s very inclusive,” says Stina. “It’s not just about women and it’s not just about men. Babes is all about the underdog. Being kicked down and using that to propel yourself up. A lot of it is to do with the misconceptions people have of you and the way people judge you.”
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You get the feeling with this album that it’s Honeyblood sending a message of solidarity out to anyone feeling disaffected and displaced. “You should just do what the fuck you want,” says Cat. If you spend enough time doing something, you’re going to get better than people at it. You just have to keep going. You’re gonna be shit at first but just keep going.”
Stina goes on to relate exactly why it’s important to hold those ideals dear. “Honeyblood is the band I aspired to be in and the songs I wanted to write when I was fifteen. The person who you are when you’re fifteen is your truest self. Then you get a job and become an adult and think you have to behave a certain way.” “You need to hang on to the weird 15-year-old self,” says Cat, before the two of them in unison agree laughing that “we’re definitely clinging on!”
The band themselves admit to feeling a bit like outsiders at times. Particularly on visits to London and established musical centres where they feel a bit like infiltrators crashing in. “It’s a weird place sometimes,” Cat says of the capital. “You just have to try to be cool all the time which is a bit difficult when you talk as much shite as we do,” she laughs.
There is definitely though a connection between Honeyblood and the other newer bands who are forming the UK’s bubbling vibrant indie underbelly. “On Twitter you see these bands and it’s great because they are on the same track as you,” says Stina. “You’re all going at the same pace and speed.” “I feel like we’re the uncool losers in that scene,” she laughs. “We relish that though,” says Cat. “You don’t have to pretend to be anything that you’re not. We just bumble around. We don’t pretend to be cooler than we are.”
That’s the beauty of Honeyblood they’re a band who know exactly what they are and revel in it. They’re unafraid to take the piss and build their own weird little world with the band and their fans. This is evident in the addition of the bands new bass machine christened Sebastian who has taken on a persona of his own and has been taken to heart by the fans. He even has his own dedicated Twitter feed. Watch out for the language though. “Sebastian has brought loads of dirty chat,” laughs Stina. “He’s really inappropriate.”
These little quirks are what make Honeyblood so endearing and exciting. Refusing to bow down to convention and people who said they could only evolve if they got a bass player the band instead looked for a different more interesting way to do things. Enter Sebastian: “Sebastian is a collection of beeps, individual bass notes, some weird short guitar effects sounds and he’s got a couple of hand claps as well. He evolves,” explains Cat.
Ultimately, Sebastian helped open up all manner of sonic possibilities for Honeyblood but really everything comes back to the album title. “Babes was the spark for the album,” concludes Stina. Now, her empowering battle cry has gone from the streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow to be heard across the world.
Honeyblood’s album ‘Babes Never Die’ is out now.