Honey. Blood. Honey and blood. Sound like something of a juxtaposition? Something that doesn’t quite sit right in your ears? Listen to self titled debut album from Scottish duo Honeyblood, out today on Fat Cat records, and all will be clear. Theirs is a sweetly macabre sonic, a little bit dirty and real. A romantic racket that thrives on the sensitive dynamic between the two Scottish musicians – Stina Tweeddale (vocals, guitar) and Shona McVicar (drums) – powerful and bustling through sharp songs that have an underlying fragility.
If you’re after immaculate sonics and clean production you won’t find it here. The Scottish duo make scuzzy and raucous punk that sounds gritty and grubby. Influenced in part by devotion to the indie aesthetic, this output and the early days of guerilla shows and cassette tapes (like the early two track Thrift Shop) is also a result of practicalities, driven by no money and a desire to be heard. “At the beginning, we had no other way of going about being heard so it really was in that mindset. We are so lucky to have paired up with FatCat Records because I feel they really appreciate that ethos.”
Although the label are known for support and sensitivity, when it came to recording Honeyblood’s debut it was all about speed. Recorded in only ten days, “we were very wary that we didn’t want to have a super squeaky clean sound, but we did want the album to be polished and professional. Peter (Kadis), really got this, and that’s why we recorded to tape. Using weird and wonderful guitars and even a broken speaker at one point to get a certain guitar tone.”
People should just keep on being amazing and inspiring whatever their gender.
Any women in the public eye seem to get marked out as some kind of feminist icon, and whilst being proud of their position, and huge fans of artists such as Best Coast, Haim and Frankie Rose, they don’t want to be spokespeople for a generation; “there is and always has been amazing female artists. Of course it’s important, and very personal to me as I take a lot of inspiration from female artists. But people should just keep on being amazing and inspiring whatever their gender.”
With a less than traditional line-up the duo remark “there’s no conscious decision to remain without a bassist, but for now there is no need. We gelled so early on, we became more set without one. As we started playing gigs and recording we just thought it was too late to start looking. It was never an intention to be a duo but sonically it is something we are constantly aware of.’
Whilst there certainly are practicalities to only having two people in the band, such as finding time to rehearse, and giving individual personalities ‘free range’ they also recognise limitations. “We try and make the loudest, fullest noise we can with what we have got.Creatively, it can be a drawback. We don’t have the chance to add 4-part harmonies, or a bass solo.” Listening to the malicious blur of sounds in ‘Bud’ and ‘Killer Bangs’, the rackety fuzz of ‘Super Rat’ or the angry scarcity of ‘Braid Burn Valley’ the pair are doing just fine as they are.
Live: The Old Blue Last & Rough Trade East (6pm) – Wednesday 16th July (Both Free)