James Hatcher and Andy Clutterbuck of electro-soul duo HONNE have been busy touring their debut album Warm On A Cold Night for the past year. Maybe you’ve danced along to their gorgeously produced cuts like “Woman” or “Someone That Loves You” featuring Izzy Bizu. Or perhaps you caught them last Friday, as the South England natives made their way to NYC’s Panorama Festival, playing the main stage to a cheerful afternoon crowd. After warming up the festival goers for three days of non-stop music, the guys sat down with The Untitled Magazine to chat about pre-concert nerves, Mila Jovovich, and the wonders of Twitter.
Untitled Magazine: You guys sounded awesome, how did you feel about the set?
James Hatcher: Great! We had a really good time.
UM: Is this the first big festival in the States for you this summer?
Andy Clutterbuck: It is apart from Coachella, but is that the summer? It felt like the summer.
JH: We’ve got a bit of a run. We’re going to Toronto tomorrow and then Chicago for the next weekend.
UM: Are you guys sticking around tonight? Is there anyone you’re excited to see perform?
JH: We’re going to see Solange and Frank Ocean tonight – we’re very excited about that. We met one of the producers Frank Ocean works with and we’re really excited to see him, it should be cool.
AC: Someone recently said on Twitter that Frank Ocean’s gig was more like an art installation, so it should be good.
UM: Andy – I was reading that you have a lot of perfectionist tendencies and need to record vocals completely alone. How do you compartmentalize all of that when you perform live? You seemed fine up there!
AC: [Laughs] On the outside I’m fine and on the inside I’m dying!
UM: Do you have stage fright?
AC: I used to…I get nervous still, but as soon as I go out, I just kind of forget about it.
JH: I’ve heard that even one of the members of The Rolling Stones still vomits heavily before every gig.
UM: That could be the heroin.
JH: Ha! That could be…the context was right when I heard about it, but it was probably heroin. But I think it’s a natural thing, isn’t it? Your body is reacting to the excitement of it.
UM: You get it as well then?
JH: Yeah, definitely.
UM: You’re both just petrified up there. It didn’t show!
AC: [Laughs] Terrified. I think I’ve got mild OCD, in that I need things to be straight and –
AC: Yeah, and that’s why with [recording] vocals, I just go in a room by myself and go for it.
UM: What is your favorite part of what you do? Is there a certain process you enjoy the most? Whether it’s recording or writing or performing?
JH: I think for me it is a few things, but one thing I really love is hearing a song in its nearly finished form – like a full demo song, after you’ve been working on it for ages.
UM: But not finished?
JH: Yeah, we get it to a point where we’ve demoed it and it sounds really good, and then we get it mixed, but when it’s in its full form, I just get really excited about it.
AC: I think when it’s finished, by that time you’re really sick of the song because you’ve heard it so many times.
UM: It’s like a child right before it turns into a teenager.
AC & JH: [Laughs]
AC: Exactly. For me it’s kind of like everything like James was saying, but it’s also great when you go and play that new song for the first time.
UM: I read that you’ve given a lot of praise to the internet and streaming services for your ability to even…
UM: Yeah, not that it’s any indicator of talent, but just because there is so much noise out there. Are there any specific collaborations or moments that have specifically come from those platforms?
JH: 100%. One of our most successful tracks is with Izzy Bizu [“Someone That Loves You] and that 100% came from Twitter. We’d followed each other, messaged each other, and said, “Do you wanna come ‘round to our studio and do a song together?” and then that song happened and that was that. And with a lot of people we’ve met it starts off that way, and then you meet them at a festival, and then you start texting each other. It’s kind of like flirting but with music.
UM: It’s like online dating but for musicians…do they have an app for that? They should – like Tinder but for bands. What would it be called?
JH: Collab Tinder?[Silence]
JH: Yeah, we need to think of a better name for it…Collabinder?
AC: We’re gettin’ there.
JH: Yeah, it’s getting shorter! The track “Warm On A Cold Night” that Aminé reworked was through Twitter as well. A year before, he just messaged us saying, “I’ve been really digging your stuff,” and then “Caroline” blew up ridiculously huge, and luckily he was still chill and a down to earth guy and was still down to do something.
UM: I think social media has always been considered to be a rather insincere platform, but really so many incredible things can come of it.
JH: 100%. You can get a hold of the most famous people. We’ve been speaking to actors who are huge, and you would never think you would get to speak to them. We’ve been speaking to Chloë Grace Moretz and Mila Jovovich – we talk about getting them guest passes at gigs, or trying to get them to do a little voice-over or an intro on an album or something. But yeah, Twitter in particular for us is a really fun way to connect with people.
UM: I guess my last question would just be are you guys writing now while you’re on the road?
AC: Yeah, we are. In between being on the road, we’re home every couple of days.
JH: Every couple of weeks. Home for a few days, every couple of weeks.
AC: It’s like, you get home, and that day you kind of readjust, throw your pants and socks in the wash and do all that, and then the day after you get into writing again.
JH: It’s been hard recently because we’ve written so many full songs, but not recorded them fully, so we’ve finished a song and Andy’s written the lyrics for it, and then we’ve been busy and you get to Thursday and you’re going to festivals for the weekend and you’re like, “Aw, I really want to hear this song finished.” The first three days of this week before we came here Andy just sat and recorded vocals back to back.
UM: By yourself?
JH: Yes. I’ve only seen it happen once.
UM: Really? Were you creepin’?
JH: Haha! Yeah, through binoculars through the window.
UM: Ok, so it was consensual.
JH: It turned out to be.