Interview with Stina and Cat from HONEYBLOOD (Q&A)
Glaswegian noise pop duo Honeyblood consists of Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale on guitar and vocals and Cat Myers on drums. Taking inspiration from dark and cloudy ’90s indie rock luminaries like PJ Harvey, Sonic Youth, and Throwing Muses, Tweeddale formed the band in early 2012 with original drummer Shona McVicar. Their gorgeously murky home-recorded two-song demo cassette quickly caught the attention of FatCat Records, which signed Honeyblood in 2013 and issued their first single, Bud, later that year. The duo’s self-titled album, which was produced by Peter Katis, arrived in July 2014 and delivered a more polished version of Tweeddale and McVicar‘s crunch-pop. Shortly after Honeyblood‘s release, McVicar left and was replaced by Cat Myers. After touring with the likes of the Foo Fighters and Wolf Alice in 2015, Honeyblood returned to the studio with producer James Dring, who also worked with Jamie T and Gorillaz. The band’s fiery second album, Babes Never Die, arrived in late 2016.
We caught up with the girls recently and asked them a few questions. Hi Stina and Cat, thanks for taking the time to chat to Amnplify.
Congratulations on your album Babes Never Die. I have listened to the album several times and I am a fan. I love the punk/rock/grunge/pop sound you have created; it’s the kind of album I would blast in my car stereo and dance around my house while I played it on my home cd player. You have said that you wanted this album to be as punk and as rock as you could get it. I believe you have achieved that undeniably. Firstly, are you happy with the finished product and, secondly, how does it feel to have created such a magical record?
We are very happy with the record. If I could go back and change it, I would but only because you could always improve.
It’s great to know people are also enjoying this record, when you put so much into something it’s worthwhile to see it connect.
Your single Ready For The Magic, is a highly charged, rocking song (and video) that explores the kick butt strength that girls are born with, if they are in an environment that provides the freedom to express that strength. What has inspired you both to explore such feminist ideals that girls can confront, and overcome, any challenge that befalls them?
I was very into riot grrrl as a scene growing up and it had a direct effect on me. I don’t think I would have thought I could have started a band without it.
I absolutely love the video for Ready For The Magic; where you are existing in a kind of post-apocalyptic world, tied to a stake, burned alive and then eaten by a gang of feral girls. Whose idea was the video and was it as much fun making it as it is watching it?
The video was a collaboration between my initial ideas that relate to the album and the work of Thomas James, the director. I’m so happy with the video, I really think it’s fun and creepy and represents the song so well.
In the present world of the Kardashians and botox and boob jobs and butt lifts, what are your views as powerful, young women, regarding society’s seeming obsession with female beauty?
I think that it’s important to do whatever you need to to feel confident. If you need a butt lift to do that then go ahead. It’s judgement that needs to be put to rest.
In your song, Babes Never Die, you sing “Thought I’d go up in flames, is that right? strike the match that set me alight, you can watch my fire burn bright, ‘cause babes never die”. Is this song about unhealthy relationships where the woman is constantly criticised by her partner; however, his put downs fall on deaf ears as she is strong and resilient. How do you both think we can help women of every age not yield to the “treat her mean, keep her keen” nonsense?
Nope it’s nothing to do with that at all! The song is written about the criticisms people make regarding other peoples lives. But I guess you can relate it to any situation you think is fitting.
With Sea Hearts, there is the lyric, “So what, we put off the rest, they’re so awkward in our presence, we don’t give a fuck, they’re not our friends, and you give me superhuman strength.” Who are your friends and how do they give you superhuman strength?
That song is about my best friend, we lived together when I started Honeyblood. She tells it how it is, and for that I celebrate her.
In Walking At Midnight, there is the lyric, “Sun down and you slink off, the devil’s work it can be tough, but who am I to judge, everybody has something they can’t shake off …. Walking at midnight, midnight, let the night time be a disguise.” I interpret this as a song about a woman involved with a man who won’t commit, and who slinks off at night time to do his own thing, in a devilish kind of way. I have a feeling I’m not even close. What is the actual meaning of this song?
Haha I guess it could be! I feel like person telling the story in this song may feel like they are the only one who truly cares for the character involved. In my head this song touches on all the darkness that is inside us, maybe it’s a dark past… but the story teller is offering a beacon of light to the character.
I’m interested in the fact that as a duo, you felt the pressure to expand the membership of Honeyblood. However, you both realised that you are extremely talented and “weren’t missing anything musically”. How did you get to the place where you recognised you two needed no one else to help create your art?
We didn’t think we were extremely talented! Probably the opposite! It was more the fact that we were winging it and it seemed to be working. Being a duo makes this a lot easier logistically, we travel light and can always get together to practise. 4 people seems like so many to me!
You have supported the Foo Fighters, Palma Violets, Sleigh Bells, Deep Valley, Courtney Barnett, We Were Promised Jetpacks, and Superfood. You have also played showcases for the likes of The Skinny and Vice and festivals including The Great Escape, Wide Days, and T in The Park. In 2015 you were joined by acclaimed producer James Dring who produced your album Babes Never Die, released by Fat Cat Records. All of these accomplishments indicate to me that you are on your way to a very successful musical career. How do you both feel about where your career has already taken you and will take you in future?
We don’t really think about it actually! Who knows what will happen next, I guess that’s all part of the fun. We will just keep touring and writing music and see where that takes us!