The buzz around Honeyglaze has been steadily building. Despite only forming a few months before the sting of the pandemic, the group’s four singles have caught people’s attention during the past seven months.
With a signature mellow indie rock sound, these tracks manage to cover ground and stretch the genre in different directions, the sum of which is Honeyglaze. Burglar, Creative Jealousy, Shadows and the most recent, Female Lead are indicative of what the rest of the record holds, the band say, laughing that while the singles make up half of the album, their favourites are the ones people haven’t heard yet.
We meet Honeyglaze, the three-piece made up of Anouska on vocals, Yuri on drums and Tim on bass, on what feels like the first day of spring in a coffee shop just off Brixton high street. Steelpans play in the distance and the beeping of a lorry reversing soundtrack the conversation. Anouska and Yuri are talking excitedly about receiving their special edition vinyl of the record that morning and when Tim joins, they try and convince him to come and play tennis later.
‘If it wasn’t fun, then we wouldn’t do it.’
So, how did they all meet? How did Honeyglaze begin? ‘I had a show planned with a week’s warning but I didn’t want to do it solo, so I asked these two on a whim,’ Anouska explains. ‘They’d never met before, but I picked two people who I knew were competent at picking up songs quickly and who would be down to play whatever and see where it went.’ Since then, the band have been regulars playing support slots at the Windmill, and Anouska smiles that whilst she didn’t have any expectations, it’s all gone better than she thought it would.
When asked who their key influences are for the album, and who they’re listening to at the moment, Anouska says that, ‘the record is a culmination of songs built up across a few years,’ adding, ‘I was listening to a lot of singer-songwriters like Kate Le Bon and more stripped back stuff when I was writing.’ Yuri mentions the band Tummy Ache who he has only just came across, seeing them play live the night before and Tim agrees that the ‘90s alt rock sound will probably trickle into the new music they’re making.
I’m curious to hear how they approach making music and whether it’s changed since they first got together. Turns out, quite a lot. ‘For this album, Nous had pretty much written the songs and they felt complete structurally, so we’d all arrange ourselves to support what was already there. Now, one of us might bring a bit of guitar or a verse and then we’ll just jam it,’ Yuri shares. Honeyglaze tell me that some songs barely changed from when Anouska brought them to the table, tracks like Shadows were apparently written in only half an hour. Others, like Creative Jealousy, took a bit more time and the group still return to work on them now.
The band are signed to Speedy Wunderground, the label set up by producer Dan Carey who’s worked with the likes of Fontaines DC and Nick Mulvey. Honeyglaze wax lyrical about the energy Dan brings to the studio: ‘We love him. He gave us so much confidence and encouragement. He was happy with any idea and wanted us to try things even if he thought it wouldn’t work,’ Anouska beams. ‘He creates such a warm atmosphere and he’s always ready to bring out a synth,’ Yuri adds, laughing. Dan Carey first heard about Honeyglaze when their manager sent him the lockdown livestream the band did for Farmfest (where, according to the band, rumour has it he wept whilst watching). He then got in touch wanting to turn that performance into an album.
The spontaneity that Dan brought to the studio is something that Honeyglaze clearly thrived upon. ‘Let’s say we had a guitar part for one bit of the song,’ Tim begins. ‘We’d get on guitar and play for the whole song and see what happened. So, you’d have that bit you made up and then the rest is oh-God-now-I-have-to-improvise and that worked out really well.’
The album was recorded over five days in the studio after three months of rehearsals. Such a swift turn around sounds like an intimidating process, but the trio found the intensity useful. They explained that they all have short attention spans paired with a tendency to overthink. Dan picked up on this and knew to make them move on when something was sounding right. As Tim says, ‘There was no time to stress, there was just time to do.’
How did the feel once they’d finished in the studio? They share that there was a worry that they hadn’t quite got it right, but now after sitting on it for a year, they really enjoy listening back. ‘I think I’m paying a lot more attention to things that we weren’t intending to do but the sounds that found their way into the record. The modular stuff Dan did and anything more subtle, I’m definitely more attuned to now,’ Yuri says. ‘I’ve realised what Dan was trying to do by maintaining the purity and beauty of three instruments and a voice. The attraction of its simplicity has grown so much for me,’ he adds. Tim agrees, ‘It’s like writing lyrics and realising what they mean afterwards.’
Talk turns to their future gigs, including The Great Escape and their Rough Trade release show, as well as a headline slot at The Lexington and support for Wet Leg in the coming months. It’s evident that Honeyglaze are raring to share with the world what they’ve worked on and see what it has to say about it. One thing’s for sure, there’s no doubt that they’re enjoying everything about the music they’re making and the attention it’s getting. Yuri sums it up, saying, ‘If it wasn’t fun, then we wouldn’t do it.’