Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chicago band Honey & the 45s bringing innovative sound to House of Blues


By ERIC SCHELKOPF

Honey & the 45s is one of the most innovative bands on the Chicago music scene today.

The band's sound is filled with splashes of blues, soul, Americana, jazz, rock and funk, all which combine to create a refreshingly unique sound.

Honey & the 45s, www.honeyandthe45s.com, will perform Aug. 25 at the House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. Felix & Lyons, AudioBakery, The Bishops Daredevil Stunt Club and Haley & Michaels also are on the bill.

The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, available by going to www.livenation.com.

I had the chance to talk to singer/guitarist and founding member Kristina Cottone about the band's current activities.



Q - Honey & the 45s has been described as a blues/soul ensemble, but there is so much more to your music. Has it been hard to get your music out to people because you do have such a unique sound? What has the band being doing to connect with its fans?

It hasn’t been easy to “define” our music, but that’s OK – it’s part of the appeal. We love to experiment, and we are comfortable and proud to be putting out music that has roots in a lot of genres: a music that salutes the oldies, but bends with a modern twist. 

Among the five band members our musical tastes are diverse, and that’s what contributes to our unique sound. As far as connecting with fans, we are focusing on social media, especially Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. We like posting parts of our practice sessions, cover songs and new songs in progress so fans have a sense of how our creative process works. 

We also have video contests where fans can show us how Honey music inspires their creative explorations. 


 

Q - There seems to be a renewed interest in soul on both the local and national music scene. Why do you think that is and how has the band tried to put its own stamp on the genre?

Absolutely there is a renewed interest in soul. Why? Everything good comes back around. 

Why now? After the direction music has been going in the recent years - the auto-tuning, the pseudo-instruments, the lack of creative lyricism -  listeners have been craving something meaningful, something “soul-full” that they can still groove to!



Q - The band formed in October 2009 as a folk/acoustic act. How did the band get to its current incarnation? Who are the band's biggest influences and how do they figure into the band's sound?

When any musical group brings on additional members, different textures and colors mix into the template. The first iteration of this was when we evolved into Honey &  the 45s by adding bass and an electric lead guitar.

That sound was definitely different than when we were an acoustic folk group of three. We work toward an empathetic harmony with one another, all the while knowing we each exude our own sound.

Music is a language and as you include and/or expand the folks engaged in the "conversation," the very tone of that conversation will be altered.   


Each band member comes from a wide range of musical influences. As such our sound is somewhat unique as those influences blend and re-emerge in a new way.

Who influences us the most? That’s very difficult for us to say. We are inspired by so many different genres. Actually, if you follow our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Honey-the-45s/251533291557232, we feature an “Artist We Admire” every Tuesday. 

Past artists we have featured include everyone from Regina Spektor and Tracy Chapman to The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Aerosmith, Amy Winehouse, Sam Cooke, Jeff Buckley, Aretha Franklin, Etta James…the list goes on. Just finds on Facebook.

Q - How is the new EP coming along? What were your goals for the new EP? Are you trying to build on what you created with the full-length album you released last year, "The Need"? 

The EP we will release in September is actually five of our songs remixed from our album, "The Need." We worked with Chicago’s own Fred Breitberg to add depth and clarity to our original mixes, which we hope to push to radio in the upcoming months. 

We are very happy with how the new mixes turned out, and we think our listeners will enjoy hearing little things in the songs they’ve never heard before: whether it’s a new guitar line, the richness of the vocals, or the tone of the drums. 

We are also currently working on our second album (yet to be titled). We currently have seven songs in the works and we are hoping to release this album March or April of 2014. 

We will be very busy the next few months.



Q - Is the band a full-time job or do the members juggle being in the band with day jobs? What are the band's short-term and long-term goals? 

Four of the members are juggling day jobs and the fifth member is soon-to-be juggling his senior year at the Roosevelt Music Conservatory. To be honest, it’s exhausting and we all are looking forward to the day when we can focus solely on our music, touring, and reaching more fans. 

Also, it’s not only the music itself that takes up time. The business side of music is a lot of work and many artists underestimate what it takes to really “make it.” 

Our music is a full-time job regardless of if we have day jobs or not. Oh well. We’ll sleep eventually…

Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and how do you think the band fits into it?

Chicago has this strong tradition of being a music-friendly city. Also, the geographical location of Chicago doesn’t hurt. 

If it's the early Chuck Berry rock style of St. Louis or the blues riddled sound of Kansas City, Chicago seems to be a sort of musical melting pot. This certainly plays into Honey's appeal in that Chicago fans tend to be open to a wide host of sounds and feels. 

We feel welcome in the Midwest and couldn't be more proud to call Chicago our home.