Honeytone Cody are a band that mix intense melodies, driving guitars and progressive drumming to create an almost irresistible mix of alternative rock sounds that draw from a variety of genres and styles. As one of the standout bands on York’s music scene in 2010, we wanted to speak to the three-piece as a collective to find out about their influences and the next move.
“We’re having to learn new things every day”
S] What are some of your biggest personal inspirations in terms of writing?
HTC] We each have very different personal inspirations in terms of writing. As a collective group we listen to jazz, read Bukowski, watch David Lynch films, old Bing [Crosby] and Bob [Hope] road movies. We’re not really inspired by a lot of music that is popular today. We’re currently listening to The Units, Autolux and Whitey and we’ll often trawl through MySpace and independent record labels rosters in search of something new.
S] How has Honeytone Cody’s approach to creating sound developed over your time together – have you always swapped roles and incorporated the dual-drumming?
HTC] We started swapping roles and doing double drumming when we decided to strip the band down to just the three of us, it was a way for us to experiment and move the music into a new direction. We are all multi-instrumentalists and it felt like a good time to start incorporating that into our sound rather than sticking to the normal roles we have always kept, this way it keeps us on our toes.
S] And what about your goals – how have they developed?
HTC] I think our goals have grown up and acclimatised to the changes that are currently happening in the music industry. When we first started out we were hell-bent on getting a record deal, we were so young, stupid and arrogant and that was all we wanted. Over time we’ve come to realise that it’s in our best interest to release the music ourselves on our own label. We’re not saying if the right record company came along we wouldn’t snap it up, because we would, it’s just that we’re not desperate to hand our music over to just anybody so they can do what they like with it. It’s hard trying to be our own label, like most musicians we’re not business-minded people and we’re having to learn new things every day.
S] Is there a track that means the most to the band?
HTC] At the moment it would have to be a track called ‘Hey Hey Hammer On‘. We wrote it just as we were stripping the band back to a three-piece, we had struggled with the riff for a while as we’d never written anything like it before and it was hard to know where to take the track. When Elle took over playing bass she found a line that helped drive the song forward and from there onwards everything just came together and took shape. It was a euphoric moment for the band when we realised all we needed was just the three of us, and since then it’s kind of become our anthem.
S] Tell us about recording ‘Radioactive Tease’ and the thoughts that went into that?
HTC] We recorded ‘Radioactive Tease‘ at the White Rooms in York, and it’s probably the most light-hearted song we’ve ever written. The lyrics weren’t particular about anyone or anything just random words pieced together for the hell of it.
S] What has been the defining moment within the band’s history?
HTC] Our defining moment so far was when we were played by the late John Peel. We are all big John Peel fans so when he played our track we were over the moon. We wish he was still around so he we could play the new songs for him.
S] Tell us a bit about the imagery that features on your website and MySpace?
HTC] The imagery on the website was created by Elle. We all hate having our photographs taken so Elle took some head shots and came up with the concept of super imposing our faces on old black and white film stills. We thought it was the perfect way to escape having generic band photographs, and the images have amused us to no end. We hope people can pick up on our slightly off beat sense of humour through the imagery as it’s an interesting contrast to the mood of the music we play.
S] What do you enjoy most about live performance in contrast to recording?
HTC] When we play live, we love being able to engage with our audience, in the same breath when we are recording we love being tucked away from the world making music for ourselves. It may sound selfish but a lot of musicians probably feel the same way. We make music for ourselves first and if other people like it great, if they don’t that’s okay too but it’s always fun testing out the new material on a crowd.
S] If you could replace the soundtrack of any film with your sound, which one would you choose and why?
HTC] It would probably have to be a David Lynch film, either ‘Mullholand Drive‘ or ‘Lost Highway‘. Our music would definitely suit the dark moods and textures of his films. That and we are all big David Lynch fans so we’d jump at the opportunity to work with him.
S] What is your collective opinion on the York music scene?
HTC] Without wishing to offend anyone we feel the York music scene is very stagnated. We can’t deny there is some incredible talent in York, and some fantastic promoters who work really hard to create something and bring interesting bands into the city. But for York to have a music scene, something needs to be thriving and pulsating, something needs to be happening and inspiring people to get off their sofas and come out to see live music. Despite having lived here a long time we’re as alien to York as York is to us. We’re not sure we belong here and we feel we have yet to find our place to be.
For more information visit the official MySpace.
Honeytone Cody is Elle Nelson (vocals, guitar and bass), Elliot Nelson (guitars and drums) and Martell James (drums).