Some bands are just meant to be. HONNE would be one of them. Intimate, profound, romantic – it’s hard not to fall in love with HONNE’s music. Their sensual melodies and sincere lyrics have warmed hearts of music fans all around the world.
I met the British electro-soul duo consisting of long time friends Andy and James when they played their first ever Russian show at Bosco Fresh Fest in Moscow this summer. A month later they played a heart-warmingly beautiful set at Sofar Sounds London, casting a spell over a living room full of curious music enthusiasts.
The genuineness of their music comes from the duo themselves. They met in their first week of the university seven years ago and started writing music together three days later. They come from the same area in the South-West of England, they listen to similar music. They finish sentences for each other when they speak.
“We started HONNE two years ago. Before that we were kind of just experimenting, doing bits and bobs. But it was two years ago when we actually sat down and thought that we should do it properly,” Andy explained.
On July 22 HONNE released their debut album titled “Warm On A Cold Night” which is also the name of the first song written as a band. The duo says they are proud of their work.
“We’ve spent a long time writing it. We had about 30+ songs and we had to cut down. So we really feel we’ve got the best that we could make and hopefully it will take people on a bit of a journey,” James said.
Enigmatic and dark, HONNE have a very authentic sound, yet the duo cited Michael Jackson and James Blake as inspirations and said they would like to work with Chance The Rapper should the opportunity present as they believe his style and happy music would blend well with HONNE’s work.
When it comes to writing, the duo admits they normally come up with and polish their song ideas separately: “James would come up with an idea, for example, send it to me,” Andy said.
“I’ll do the lyrics on top and then we’ll get together to finish the track afterwards.”
The name of the band, HONNE, is a Japanese word that means “a person’s true feelings and desires”. Like with all the other things with the duo, it came to them very organically.
“I’ve been there (in Japan) a couple of times and he (James) told me: ‘Oh, I found this word’. And I was like, ‘yep, that’s it. I love it. That’s going to be our band name’,” Andy said.
“There have been a hundred band names going around and when that one came up, it was like – done,” James added.
“Yeah, we can’t believe it wasn’t taken and how well it was fitting in. The meaning fitting with our music and the lyrics,” Andy explained.
Apart from telling their own story, HONNE enjoy learning the stories of their fans. Branded by some music outlets as “babymaking music”, the band admits that jokes aside they heard that their music has a special effect on people.
“There’s a lot of babies on the way, I think,” Andy quipped.
“Not ours!” James added, laughingly. “We have an anecdotal evidence from people though. We had one guy coming up to us at a gig (in London) and saying, ‘I heard your music for the first time today. I put it on and within five minutes I was having sex with my girlfriend.’ So that’s a nice one.”
With most of their songs about love and true feelings, the duo says they believe in long lasting relationships in both professional and personal lives.
“What people think is falling in love is I think is falling in lust. It’s the chemicals,” James said. “Love, for me, is more like a family. You’re obviously attracted to one another but they are part of your live and that’s it, there’s no questioning of it.”
“People are always going to fall in love unless something really weird happens to the world. But it is one of the things that brings everyone together. And hopefully our music will still connect with people and will grow older with them,” Andy said.
Listen to Warm On A Cold Night here.
Buy Warm On A Cold Night here.
Watch HONNE play live in UK & Europe here.
Photography by Kamila Drobinska.