New Noise: Black Honey

Meet your new favourite Americana-psych-rock band, Black Honey.

How many bands have a flamingo that is just as much a part of the band as the bass player? Not many, but Brighton’s psych-Americana band Black Honey do. As the UK’s most surreal psych-rock band, Black Honey have taken the tour circuit by storm with their bizarre yet mesmerising, addictive sound; they’re basically like what Andy Warhol would sound like if he was a cowboy.

Made up of Izzy Phillips – aka the wonderful lovechild of Debbie Harry and Lana Del Rey – Chris Ostler, Tommy Taylor and Tom Dewhurst, and of course, Jerry the flamingo (a resident of the party animal hall of fame) Black Honey will reel you in with tracks that wouldn’t sound out of place on the “Kill Bill” score. Take “Madonna” for example – it’s a David Lynch-esque sound with lyrical mastery that is as good as the dramatic 60s-rock melody.

Reminiscent of a Tarantino soundtrack, Black Honey’s new “roller coaster plot of love” EP, Headspin, cement them as the coolest sixties-inspired psych-rock band. Balancing out their psych-elements with grunge-tinged riffs, the EP’s lead “All My Pride” is both a heart-felt tune and something we wouldn’t be surprised to see pop up on a Wes Anderson soundtrack. The EP’s psychedelic artwork is enough to suck you in alone; working exclusively with artist Olivia Savage, their cover art is always trippy and surreally wonderful – just like their sound. Black Honey wouldn’t be out of place in a dystopian movie or on the Sunset Strip at the height of it’s rock n roll era; they are the ultimate rock n roll psych band.

Tell us a bit about your newest EP “Headspin”?

The EP is a kind of roller coaster plot of love in all it’s weird, uncomfortable twists and turns. We called it Headspin because it set a disorientated, light/dark tone for the whole piece.

Your cover artwork is always hypnotising – who designs it and where do the ideas come from? 

Thank you! All the ideas come from the songs. We love collages of things that feel iconic or unsettling, then serve it with a 60s Warhol-esque spin. We work religiously with an artist called Olivia Savage on all our pieces. 

You’re touring the UK in October – yay! Where are you going and what’s your favourite thing about touring? 

All over really, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Leeds and loads more. Touring is amazing cause there’s no feeling in the world that beats a room full of smiling teenagers screaming your songs back to you. 

Despite being the most blogged about band in the UK, you’re quite the enigma; why do you like to keep people guessing?

Honestly I don’t think we are an enigma. In the initial introduction to this band we were a bit more reserved because we didn’t want people to judge us on anything but our music – we just wanted to pave our own path. But now we feel we’re pretty exposed thanks to the interworld. 

The Brighton music scene is huge – does the scene there inspire your sound?

Brighton is faded and beautiful, full of creative people yet totally messed up. It’s like the set of a 50s dystopian movie. The contrasts are what we find really inspiring. 

You’ve played in Dubai and for a Roberto Cavalli show this year! How did these amazing shows come about and what were the experiences like? 

You never really know, usually about 3 people on the day tell me that they are solely responsible for the booking. The Cavalli show was insane. We had no idea how it was going to go untill we got there are saw the models walking to our tune “Teenager” set to a 10ft projection of our faces! We were invited to walk with the designer Peter Dundas in his closing runway moment, before playing a show in a new kick ass pink sequin mini dress and matching boots. It was a total dream. The show in Dubai was also great…totally surreal but really fun. 

Tell us a little about your flamingo Jerry – where did he come from? Is he on you with you or are you on tour with him? 

Jerry the flamingo is an inherent part of Black Honey heritage. He has done his time in the history books of rock and roll. He has taken part of the psychoactive drug trials of the 70s, is in regular attendance of all Palm Springs pool parties and has recently graduated into the “party animal hall of fame”.

Your sound is essentially what a Tarantino soundtrack would be like if written by an indie band – if you could soundtrack a film for any director, who would it be and why? 

A film I have written called “Peaches & Cream”. It is about a femme fatale named Peach who encounters disaster in using hoodoo witchcraft to harness the power of the universe to control her emotions. The music will be with Ennio Morricone joining us in the studio alongside a mariachi band. Obviously it will be Directed by Tarrantino with Wes Anderson collaborating as art director.

What have you got in the pipeline? 

We are headed to Asia next to play some shows in Korea and Japan. We finish summer with Bestival before we drop our new single, followed by our UK headline tour where a load of the shows are already sold out! We cannot wait to see everyone on the road!

Annabel Lunnon
New Noise: Black Honey

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