Right before their gig at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms, Impact caught up with Andy and James from UK electronic soul outfit HONNE, to discuss Japan, Twitter and the rise of synth-pop.
Impact: ‘Honne’ means ‘True Feelings’ in Japanese. Did this sentiment steer your creative direction when you were writing and producing music?
Andy: We had already written five or six songs already before we reached the name, [but] the lyrics are all really personal to either James or I, so it just kind of fits nicely.
“The album coming out has just been a bit of a dream come true.”
I: Do you think we’re seeing a resurgence of synth-pop (if you wanted to call it that), what with artists like Oh Wonder and Tender coming to the fore of the music scene?
A: We actually know Oh Wonder on a personal level, lovely guys. I think […] we’re currently being flooded by a load of music that I’d describe as the ‘Soundcloud’ or ‘Spotify’ movement. You know the kind of stuff that just spreads?
I: It’s almost like The Chainsmokers effect isn’t it?
A: Definitely, [people are] looking for like a chilled out kind of electronic vibe that [they] can just jump into.
I: How was working with (fellow up-and-coming British talent) Izzi Bizu on ‘Someone That Loves You’?
A: She was a real pleasure to work with. It was just a dream… a really special collaborative effort. […] We actually met on Twitter.
I: As good a place as any, I guess?
A: We saw that she had mentioned us in an interview or something, and that she’d been listening to us. We messaged her saying that we should meet and listen to our track – we met a week or so later […] and tried to create something.
I: Your debut album, Warm On a Cold Night, reached 37th in the UK charts and you’ve also had a heavy summer of festival bills. How have you adapted to that success?
A: It’s been really cool man. If we’d look[ed] 10 years into the future [a decade ago] and [saw] where we are now, we’d be like “what, you’re joking!”. It’s been an amazing summer, touring a lot. The album coming out has just been a bit of a dream come true.
James: For me, it really hit home at a gig we did at London [during October]. It’s been just under two years [since] we did our first gig at a club called Sebright Arms, really small. [There were] just under 150 people. [Two days ago], we did London Roundhouse.
I: It’s really crazy, bands are seeing exponential growth with the rise of streaming services like Spotify. It’s providing a new platform for new bands.
J: 100%. For a new band like us; without Spotify there is no way we’d be playing here tonight at a venue of this size.
I: Where does your main source of inspiration come from?
A: When we first started writing this project, we were listening to a lot of Frank Ocean at the time [and] people like James Blake. But growing up, Michael Jackson was a huge inspiration for us. As well as smaller bands like Rhye and Inc. Those two are really amazing.