For a band that haven’t even been on their own tour yet, psychedelic-pop band Palm Honey have got it so right. The dreamy psych-pop quartet, consisting of Joseph Mumford, Harrison Clark, Sebastian Bowden and Ayden Spiller are making waves with their funky, synth-y sound. The Reading natives, who are aged between 18 and 20 and now studying all around the country, are inspired by experimental, alternative pop acts like The Flaming Lips and Sonic Youth, are making psychedelic pop that get you into the groove and ensnare you in their shoegaze world.
Palm Honey’s retro-inspired sound is tinged with euphoria, with less-is-more guitars dancing over synth sounds that will make you swoon. Leaning towards psychedelia, shoegaze, krautrock and electronic sounds, Palm Honey’s catchy hooks make for irresistibly sweet tracks, and their extended jams make sure that for their live shows, you need to expect the unexpected (think spontaneous improvisations and song reworks live on stage).
Their newest release, a double A-side “You Stole My Blackout” and “Bones” prove them to be capable of making almost extra-terrestrial tracks that push the boundaries in psychedelic indie. With both tracks exploring neurosis and anxieties (something that we can all relate to), the songs are edging towards the weird and wonderful – just like Palm Honey.
How did you guys all meet, and where did the name Palm Honey come from?
The name “Palm Honey” comes from a long line of people named “Palm Honey” in my family. It’s out of respect, really. We all met at a satanic ritual.
Sum up your sound in three words?
Snap, crackle, pop.
You were voted by fans to play Truck Festival! What was the experience like and what’s your favourite thing about festival season?
Yeah, very kind of them! Was a great show, one of our favourites, had a busy tent and a dedicated audience, considering the heat and hangovers. The best thing about festival season is the warm beer and the bath salts.
Tell us a bit about your newest tracks: “You Stole My Blackout” and “Bones”?
Both tracks are about various neurosis and anxieties I have. ‘Bones’ is a really old song I wrote years ago that’s undergone quite a few changes since its initial form. It’s a pretty straight forward kinda dream pop song. ‘Blackout’ is a much more recently written song I did over a few days that hasn’t really changed much since we first played it. It’s a bit weirder and a bit of a blend of funky synthy psychedelia and some more noisy guitar stuff at the end. Very proud of both songs!
Where did the idea for your video for “You Stole My Blackout” come from and who did you work with on it?
I had the idea that I really wanted to do like a one shot performance video in which the setting and our attire would change as the song progressed. Ben Smallwood, the director, came along and elaborated with loads of props and lightning ideas as well as a proper narrative, we shot it all in a day, more or less one take in Harry’s (synth/guitar) cellar, and it was great. We were absolutely black out drunk through most of the process so it’s a good thing it didn’t turn out badly.
You’ve released a vinyl with Flying Vinyl! How did you get involved with them?
I think our managers knew them beforehand. Thing with the Flying Vinyl guys is there’s no bullshit involved, they just put out the bands that they enjoy and want to see on a seven inch, plain and simple. And fortunately they liked us!
Do you think there is enough support for up and coming bands?
Depends how you look at it. It’s a difficult game for sure, and honestly we’re lucky to be in a position where we can just about afford to deal with the money side of things, which is obviously WAY too big a part of being in a moderately successful band. I think there are a lot of immensely talented musicians who don’t get the chance to show the world their music because of their financial situation, and that’s really shit. There’s not nearly enough support for bands who aren’t made of up of relatively affluent middle class white people to be honest. And I don’t necessarily mean that people aren’t talking or blogging about them, I’m referring to the financial side which is unfortunately the most important thing.
The Palm Honey sound is part psychedelic, part groove, and a little bit shoegaze – who inspires your sound?
I’m mostly into experimental, alternative pop sounds. Bands like Radiohead, Brian Eno, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, The Flaming Lips etc. are my overall biggest influences. But what I’m specifically inspired by at a certain point in time is obviously always changing. At the moment I’m really into an album called Grapefruit by Kiran Leonard, which is this crazy art rock record that’s just the tensest, most chaotic but beautiful music I’ve listened to in ages. Also really loving the new Avalanches record. I just like artists who want to push things.
You’re from Reading where there’s a scene going at the minute – what’s it like and is everyone supportive of each other?
Yeah everyone is supportive of each other for sure, everyone goes to gigs at Purple Turtle and watches each other’s bands. It’s nice. I’ve not really been in Reading much recently as I’ve been living in London, but there’s always some new music to check out when I go back. It’s great to see your friends succeeding, it’s definitely not a very competitive atmosphere at all, everyone does their own thing and has their own sound.
You’ve toured with bands like Yak, The Vyrll Society and Mild High Club – what’s your live show like and what’s your favourite things about touring?
Playing live is my favourite part of being in a band by far, it’s just such a great, chaotic environment to lose yourself in. I think our live show has surprised some people, though. We like to jam a lot and mix our songs up so they don’t sound the same as they do in the recording. I think it’s really important you get a totally different experience live really, I can’t stand it when bands just replicate the album verbatim. It’s boring and uninspired. We haven’t really officially “toured” yet per se, but it’s great to be able to get out and meet new people from around the country.
What have you got coming up – EP? Tour?
We’ll be recording a batch of songs this summer that will form our first EP, and I imagine we’ll be doing a few dates after summer and in the new year. Just taking it easy and enjoying ourselves. We’re not going anywhere anytime soon.