July 19, 2017

Put together an unrivalled sense of humour, a dash of glittering Americana and some incredible rock ‘n’ roll tracks and you get Brighton four-piece Black Honey. Fronted by bleach blonde femme fatale Izzy Bee Phillips, the group is made up of Chris Ostler on leader guitar, Tommy Taylor on bass and Tom Dewhurst on drums. With a sound that wouldn’t be out of place in a Tarantino movie and an aesthetic that captures the hazy days of ‘50s Santa Monica, Black Honey are making a name for themselves as rock ‘n’ roll’s next big thing. We spoke to them about their Americana vibes, their flamingo Jerry and blood, sweat and tears…

How did you all meet and start making music together?

It was kind of an explosion of writing a lot in different bands and formations. Black Honey was just kind of a happy accident.

How would you describe your sound?

Like kissing someone you shouldn’t, with grazed knees and tequila lips behind the bike shed.

You have a very distinct aesthetic – did you work on curating this aesthetic or did it come naturally?

It’s just what I see in my head when I tell stories in songs or things I consider to be weird, beautiful or iconic. I guess working in an American diner and a vintage shop growing up had a lot to do with it too.

There’s a distinctive Hollywood Americana vibe incorporated into your aesthetic – what about classic American culture inspires you?

I love cult movies, pop art, the femme fatales of history and the timeless romance of old movies. It’s like I paint with this lens on because it makes the shit in my life easier to process.

Your first two EPs are awesome – what was the process like for putting them together are they similar to what we can expect from your future releases?

The first EP was just a compilation of what we had put out so far and the second we curated our work out of the back of a barn in the countryside of France. We recorded the streams outside, the creaks in the floorboards and put the whole thing together out there. For the future I cant really say just yet… but I can promise it wont be boring.

Your flamingo mascot Jerry is making a name for himself – where did he come from and what instrument do you think he’d play?

Jerry was hatched beneath the H of the Hollywood sign and chased his dreams into chaos and the gutter along with all the other fated party animals of the late 60s, we haven’t seen him since he was lost in a Butlins hot tub last year, though he is rumoured to have been spotted on route 66 with a bottle of mescal and a hip flask of tequila. He is highly regarded as a multi instrumentalist and I heard once he played keys at Hammersmith Odeon 1973 during ‘Rock and Roll Suicide’ for David Bowie himself…. I mean… it’s probably just talk but I can vouch for his jazz drumming ability.


What can we expect from your live show?

Blood, sweat, actual tears… And mad fans tearing off the roof.

Your sound has a fresh and free feeling running through it, what excites you about how you approach writing your songs and what is the process like?

I’m really excited by tones and lyrics that to me are sincere. I’m so bored of being told to drink and party and put my hands in the air to music that to me sounds like synthetic. I guess I just crave a real connection, to sing lyrics that people can relate, a sad song to sing into the bottom of a bottle or a massive middle finger, you know.

You’ve done a lot of festivals and been on tour – do you have any wild stories that you can tell us?

This week we hung out with our friends Royal Blood in the hotel famous for Freddy Mercury’s most indulgent birthday party in Ibiza. We jumped into the pool off a 3 story balcony sang our lungs out in this secret karaoke booth whilst dressed up as magicians before swimming in the sea as the sun came up.

What is your favourite part of playing live and at festivals?

The fans are mad fun and are always up for a good time. I love camping, watching other bands perform and having a hotdog from every different burger van onsite.

Which other artists in the scene are you excited about?

Inheaven, The Amazons, The Magic Gang, Dream Wife, Blossoms and the new Wolf Alice album.

What’s next for Black Honey?

We finish of Festival Season with Y Not, Open Air Gampel in Switzerland, On Blackheath and Reading & Leeds. Then we hit the road with Royal Blood for a million dates across the whole of UK and Europe in Arenas. If you keep your ears and eyes peeled you may find some new music coming your way too… but you didn’t hear it from me.

Photography by Charlotte Patmore