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Good Vibes Only With HONNE

Last month, English electronic music duo Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatcher, AKA HONNE, caught up with Milk in the middle of their North America Tour celebrating the release of their second EP, Love Me / Love Me Not. Pre-show at Brooklyn Steel, we sat down with the pair to talk origin stories, an Asia tour, and their vision for the future of HONNE. Check the photos above for a view of the show IRL and keep scrolling for a word from Andy & James.

HONNE is a very bold, iconic name. What does it mean?

James: We had written about ten songs before we had a name. And I was in Japan at the time. We had written these songs between the time in Japan.

Andy: We were looking for names at the time. It was so hard to find one, a name that you like, something that fits with the music. And I found that word, “Honne” and we just thought it fitted perfectly with the songs we had written so far. And we liked the one word, and the simplicity of it.

Please tell us about yourselves, your music and how HONNE came to be.

James: We wrote a lot of songs before we even showed anybody. Back in the day, we just sent out a link to some of our close friends, saying what do you think about our music. It’s kind of scary writing music and showing it to someone, not only music, it could be something you’ve drawn or written. It was daunting but exhilarating, and I think we slowly found our feet. “Warm on a Cold Night” was probably one of the first songs that we wrote and thought this is more unique and sounds just like us, and we felt like that was our blueprint in a way. Then we wrote more along those lines.

You guys met at school?

James: Yes, you guys call is school, but we call it University in the UK. We met on the first day.

First of all, congratulations on your Asia tour & amazing sophomore album. How was the process of this album coming? Can you tell us about the creative process of making the album?

James: I think it was quite natural because we finished the first album, and we were touring a lot and listening to a lot of music, a lot of hiphop style music, and just talked about it—what do we want the next album to beand we decided it to be more upbeat, more day-time, and open-sounding, particularly in the drum and base side of it.

Andy: But still leaving the person listening with a feeling of warmth, nostalgia and soul.

James: So we just went home and wrote it! It was in between touring as well. I think we wrote “Day 1” and thought that was equivalent of “Warm on a Cold Night”; it was the song that showed us, “this is what this album sounds like.”

The music video was shot in Korea?

James: “For Me & You” we did it in Korea. They filmed a minute clip for Instagram for Day 1, and we saw it and got in touch and asked, “Would you be interested in making a full-length music video for the next release?” and they said yes.

Andy: I love the kids in it. So cute.

Your music has very lovable, heart warming vibes. What kind of story or message do you want to deliver to your listeners & fans?

James: That song in particular was written between Valentine’s Day in England and International Women’s Day the previous year. It was a message that we wanted to put across.

Andy: I think just generally we try as much as we possibly can to be positive about different aspects, whether it’s love or anything. We try to surround ourselves with people we love and we want that to be reflected in our music and have people listen to it and feel positive and happy.

Where would you say you get your inspiration from most, and what is your future vision?

James: It’s very hard to know right now.

Andy: Yea, because again, we’re in that point where we’re touring, so there’s not a huge amount of time. Well we can obviously think about what to do and go forward, but I think we’ll only really know when we get back to London and start thinking.

James: We’ll definitely do more collaborations and hook up with other artists. I think in December we’re going in with our friends Oh Wonder, so we’ll just have to see what happens.

Andy: And we’ve written a song with SJ Lewis, so maybe something with that will happen some point. Maybe some Korean artists possibly. Who knows?

The visuals you guys create are really beautiful. What stories are you trying to tell with those videos?

James: The whole album is about two halves, Love Me / Love Me Not, so there’s the unicate in the middle of the circle split in half. All the lyric videos and every part of the album is reflecting it, so HONNE on one side, reversed on the other side. In all the lyric videos, the lyrics go either forwards or backwards depending on if it’s Love Me or Love Me Not. With the vinyl, one vinyl is Love Me, one vinyl is Love Me Not, so the whole thing is split right down the middle. That concept determined which songs would end up on the album for us; we had to pick songs that fit into one of those two. It all came about after we wrote the last song on the album, which is called “Forget Me Not”, and it started with someone saying “She loves me, She loves me not,” so that was where the penny dropped.

Any last words that you guys want to say to Milk readers?

Andy: Thank you everyone that support. Every message on whatever socials we are on, we do actually see the comments so thank you to everybody, wherever you are.

Images courtesy of ShinHee Kim

Stay tuned to Milk for more live show coverage.

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