I ventured 2,400 miles away from home to meet up with an energetic band, named Hunny, out in Los Angeles. Made up of Kevin (keyboard), Munk (guitar), Greg (bass), Jason (guitar/vocals), Joey (drums), and Jake (guitar); Hunny is a distinct, chill-vibe band straight out of an 90s indie film. These guys were gearing up to play a 21+ show, one of many now under their belt, before setting out on tour with The Neighbourhood and Bad Suns this Fall. Check out their story below.
AMBY: How did Hunny get together?
Greg: We all just hung out and it all kinda happened. We were hanging out and doing some stuff.
Jake: I had to put together a raid on World of Warcraft and I needed a bunch of people.
Munk: We all met in a support group for people who weren’t OK with the ending of Titanic. There was room for two on the raft!
AMBY: I know you all have been involved in a lot of past projects; did you guys all grow up together?
All: Yea, pretty much.
Greg: We all live in the same area. Some longer than others, but for the most part we just kind of played in bands together.
Jason: Yea, with each other, and with other bands.
Jake: Lots of co-mingling.
Joey: It was basically a cesspool.
Munk: We (Jake, Jason, and Munk) used to live together while we were in a band and they (Joey, Greg, Kevin) were in a band and we used to play together. It’s just kind of finally, over the last couple of years, solidified.
Greg: We’ve evolved.
Jason: The whole collective 20 of us weren’t in for sure, set bands yet. All of us in Bad Suns, Hunny, and The Neighbourhood were all co-mingling and finally saying “Now we’re in this band and we’re in this band.”
Joey: We’re the stragglers.
AMBY: Yea, I kind of miss all your old projects like Daydreamer and Buffalo Blackfoot.
Jason: Daydreamer was dope. Daydreamer was way better than Buffalo Blackfoot.
Munk: Daydreamer /was/ dope. Buffalo Blackfoot was also very dope though. They were a punk band that didn’t play punk music, it was awesome.
AMBY: How did the first official Hunny recording session go?
Jason: What even was the first one?
Joey: I guess it was Honey Blonde.
Jason: Technically, the first recording process was just me on Garage Band, but that was about 3 years ago.
Jake: It’s not the same.
Munk: But the Honey Blonde one was pretty much how we started the band.
Joey: But when we recorded the first version of Natalie everyone was all there for the first time.
Munk: Honey Blonde was more of a moment in the history of our band.
Kevin: The guys asked me to play a keyboard part on it and I went with it and they weren’t really that much of a band. We all put our parts on it, then it started to get a little traction, so we kept going with it.
Jake: In short, we’ve come a long way since then. It was scattered to say the least.
Munk: It got better after we booked our first show in a garage somewhere.
Kevin: Oh yea! We almost fought that guy there!
Jason: That was a weird show, dude.
Greg: What was his name? It was Ricky or Raul or something. He’s cake-on-drums guy.
Jason: Raul sounds right!
Kevin: Yea, we went up to this guy after the show who had started playing Joey’s drums and said “Hey man, we need to get those out of here.” and he just went “Nah man.” and kept on playing and wanted to fight us.
Jason: He was the guy whose party it was. It was our first show in someone’s garage about a year and a half ago because we were still playing all of my old songs. Honey Blonde is the only one that we still kind of play now. After we played, we all went out back to smoke or something and when we came back, this guy was playing Joey’s drums and got cake all over them. It was weird.
Joey: People went nuts when we started playing. They were all roughin’ it.
Jason: Well we were all punk then.
Joey: We were playing a garage and it was all fast and we were excited, then halfway through the first song you’re like, “Oh, a beer just broke. Alright, it’s this kind of party.”
Greg: It was a real hot start.
AMBY: When you go into record, do you all just sit down and bust out songs, or do you only go in if you have a set idea?
Munk: I think the song kind of already exists before we go in to record it.
Jason: It’s in diapers though, basically.
Munk: It’s a skeleton and then we throw skin and clothes on it. It evolves into a final version that everyone hears.
Joey: We all work on it together though.
Jake: Usually there’s a demo process too, We’ll record at least one demo and then listen back to that and kind of grow with that. So it depends on what stage the song is in. But before we put anything out, we put a lot of time into it, so it’s generally done before we go in (the studio) besides a few minor details.
Jason: We never write a song when we’re in the studio. We’ll do it all in practice and just jam out, and then in Munk’s bedroom we’ll record a demo, then we’ll tweak stuff and tweak stuff if we really really like it, we’ll go and record. That’s when we really dig into shit.
AMBY: Do you have any pet-peeves when it comes to recording or performing music? This goes for within the band and just other artists in general.
Jake: We’ve really haven’t been into the “Hillbilly Chorus”. That’s a trend in music right now.
Jason: Yea, we’re totally going to start putting more banjos and whistling in all of our stuff.
Munk: Banjos, stomping, and floor tom drums.
Kevin: Auxiliary toms too.
Munk: We played a show a couple of weeks ago, and one of the other bands was an hour late and screwed another band out of a soundcheck. They were also just being dicks to the sound guy, yelling, “Can we get more tracks on the monitor?!” and the guy is saying “Dude that’s all I’ve got.”, but he just keeps yelling, “More tracks!”.
Jake: Essentially just artists being super rude and inconsiderate. We like to show up and be fun and professional.
Joey: Just playing tracks and being unprofessional is what we can’t stand. You can’t leave that much of yourself on your monitor. Like, can you not remember something that you made a year ago?
Greg: Yea, you should know that song pretty well by now.
AMBY: To you, what makes a show successful?
Jake: If it’s fun and people are dancing and having a good time.
Joey: If people are shaking their butts and saying “Dude that was so sick!!”, the you know you did a good job.
Jake: You can feel it when people are stoked. You just know.
Greg: And we play faster.
Jason: The faster we play, the more you know how great we think the show is. If we’re playing at lightning speed, that means we’re all excited and thinking “This is a good one.”
Greg: We can play a show that sounds mediocre, but if the energy is good, we’re happy.
Jason: I mean, we like sounding good too.
Greg: Sounding good is cool but sometimes it just doesn’t work out in certain rooms and whatnot. It’s just all about the people enjoying themselves versus us being perfectionists.
Jason: You can have a show that sounds really good, but if nobody’s feeling it, I’ll walk off stage and be like “That was fucking terrible.”. But if we sound OK, and everybody’s having a great time, then I’ll be like “That was the best fucking show ever.”.
Joey: People are here to be entertained and to enjoy themselves. That’s the whole point. That’s what we want to do.
Munk: All the very hip crowds in LA will just stand there like “Yea, that was good man.”, and that will leave us feeling like it was a bum show. It’s always a breakthrough when you can make one of those guys stoked.
Greg: Yea, to hear them go, “Actually, that was pretty cool.”.
Jake: As opposed to all of our friends coming and drinking and jamming out. Those are always the most fun.
AMBY: What equipment is essential to your set-up?
Jason: Chorus pedals.
Jake: That’s it.
Greg: All of us have a chorus pedal.
Joey: Except me.
Jason: Nah he does, you just can’t see it.
Joey: It’s hidden under my bass drum.
Munk: Yea, we got our secret sauce on our mystery meat.
AMBY: Well, if you lost all your gear on the road, what would be the one thing you would miss the most?
Joey: We could do without it (gear), that’s the thing.
Jason: That’s why we need to have a giant bubble for me to walk around in. So if we lost all our gear, I could just walk around in the bubble.
Munk: Essentially, you still sound like you no matter what gear you use.
Greg: I think what you sound like is a lot more of how you play opposed to the gear you have.
Joey: I mean, we just need clothes and water. Maybe beer. That’s how we get through it.
Jason: I’d take beer over clothes.
Greg: Beer is essential equipment.
Joey: Some tube socks and boxer shorts…
Jason: That’s all you need really.
AMBY: The instrumentation you have is really unique, how did you choose or happen upon that?
Jason: The three guitars thing was actually an accident! To be totally honest.
Jake: It’s become a huge thing for us too, everyone asks about it.
Kevin: What happened was that Munk was playing for another band, and we needed 2 guitar players, so we were like “Hey Goldstein (Jake)! Play guitar!”-
Jake: He trusted me enough to bring me in.
Kevin: Yea, and it was cool, lots of good vibes. It happened over a few months though.
Jason: Munk was on tour, he was our second guitarist because I was also playing guitar, and we had 2 shows. One of them was a big one too!
Greg: Yea, it was The Troubadour.
Jason: So we had Jake come in and play our songs, and then we ended up writing a new song with him that was different than a new song we had written with Munk a couple weeks before. We were like, “This song is really cool, and this song is also really cool.”. Then Munk came back, and I said “I really don’t want either of you guys to not play guitar, so you’re both just going to do it now.” And then we had three guitars.
Jake: I weaseled my way in.
Munk: It was kind of a weird learning curve. It took us a while to figure out how to do it.
Jason: Jake was technically the replacement, so he was playing Munk’s parts, so Munk came back and said, “Well who’s playing what now?”.
Jake: We basically split the difference.The guitar parts now work that way too, where they complement each other.
Munk: Yea, but it was something we had to learn how to do.
Greg: You’re basically dancing around each other.
Munk: I went back and I wrote new parts and had to find where I should be now that there’s three of us.
Greg: That’s what kind of made it unique, being able to adapt to that.
Jake: We’ve written a bunch more since then, and it’s just become the way that we do things now.
Jason: Yea, we’ve found our little niche in the system. The ‘New Groove’. Essentially, we started just taking what one guitar could maybe do, and putting it in two guitars and doing both of those things better. These guys (Munk, Jake) play the shit that I can’t so it works out.
AMBY: Does all of this instrumentation make it difficult to layer parts to create a cohesive song?
Jake: It doesn’t feel difficult anymore.
Greg: You just have to think about it a bit more. The parts all have to be well thought-out.
Joey: We all do whatever we do the best that we can. We all apply ourselves in the writing process. I feel like it all comes together pretty easily. We all walk in like “I play drums, what do I do?” or “I play guitar, what do I do?” and it just comes together.
Jake: We all know where we fit.
Munk: Now that we’ve got it down, we all know where we ‘live’ in the process.
Jason: And when we kind of think about guitars, we think more about textures over parts now. We should have parts with different types of feels.
Munk: It’s more like saying colors. “Yea, can you make that sound more green?”
Jason: If that makes any sense…
Munk: It’s a weird thing. We’ve all gotten pretty good at taking non-verbal cues.
Jason: There’s no time in our whole set where all the guitars are playing the same thing. We’re never just throwing guitars on top of each other for the sake of having three guitars, like Diarrhea Planet or something like that.
Jake: You know that band rips though.
Jason: Yea, that band’s super tight.
Munk: Or a Bang Camero thing with like fifteen guitars all playing the same thing.
Jason: We have three guitars playing three different things all the time. It’s better. It takes up more space. It’s kind of become our thing.
Greg: More space figuratively. Well, I guess it takes up more space on stage too!
AMBY: Who came up with the concept for the Cry For Me music video?
Jake: It was us and Timothy Garrett (director) basically.
Jason: Mostly the director.
Jake: He just kind of asked us what we wanted, and we curated about 150 images that we thought were cool, and he looked at it, and then we got together and we discussed it. We pulled from videos we thought were cool, some narrative ideas, and he brainstormed it according to what he thought would be coolest for us.
Jason: The only thing we really came up with was just, “Hey Tim, we want pink slime on girls. That’s pretty much it.”
AMBY: That’s a pretty solid base!
Jason: Yea, he worked around it really well! He made it actually make sense so it’s cool.
Joey: We gave him about 5% and he gave 95%.
Greg: When we showed up at the shoot that day, it was all pretty well thought out, the scenes were pretty well executed.
Joey: We did it all in one day, which is really cool.
AMBY: You will be going on tour this fall; do you have any expectations for tour?
Kevin: Have fun.
Jake: Sleep uncomfortably.
Munk: Eat very poorly.
Jason: Maybe somebody’s going to get sick.
Jake: I’m stoked because we’ve all been talking about it between the three of our bands for years. It’s been ridiculous. Just the fact that we get to go out on our first big US tour with those guys is the best thing.
Joey: It’s worth waiting for.
AMBY: You just finished up a residency and you hit capacity a few of those nights, how did that feel?
Munk: Every night was the night that I would say “This is it. This is the one that nobody shows up to.”
Jason: Yea we had no expectations, so we didn’t think that would happen at all.
Joey: We thought that our friends would be there, we’d play music, and it would just be chill. Then we’d walk out and hear “Hey, we’re at capacity!” and we’d just be like “Why?!”
Munk: It would be 8 or 9 o’clock and I’d walk out thinking “Nobody’s going to be here, it’s going to suck. I’ll just go back and have a beer.” then 15 minutes later it’s packed.
Jake: The thing with this band, we have generally low expectations, as far as the turnout thing so we’re always pleasantly surprised.
Joey: It keeps things positive.
Kevin: I’m always so negative about those things though…
Greg: He’ll be like “It’s the second night of the residency, nobody’s going to come!”, then we hit capacity.
Kevin: I’m usually proven wrong.
Jake: Which is cool, hopefully it stays that way!
Jason: I thought that the first night and last night were going to be chill, because that’s just how these residencies go. Then the second night we got more people than the first night so it just hit us like “Woah.”
Munk: I think one night we got four over capacity. We just got more people every night, like ”Why are you still here?”
Joey: It was because of the Wild Card song.
Jason: People that we didn’t know kept coming back. They might have seen us randomly the first time then were like “Dude this is sick, are you doing this again?”, and we’d be like “Yea, we’ll be here every fuckin’ Monday, man.”. A bunch of people came back every week.
Munk: And then they told two friends, and then they told two friends…
AMBY: What can you say to tease the release of your EP that’s coming this fall?
Munk: It’s going to be a lot sooner than later.
Greg: It’s going to be dope!
Jake: We’re stoked and we know that everyone’s been patiently waiting with the release of Cry For Me, and we’re stoked on the response that it’s gotten. We just can’t wait for you guys to hear it.
Jason: I like it better than Cry For Me. We all kind of came to the consensus after recording that we all liked all the other songs better than Cry For Me, so I think it’ll be alright.
Joey: So if everyone likes Cry For Me, they’re going to like everything else more.
Thank you HUNNY, for giving us your answers!
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Interview by Emilie Weinerman | @awarrenwriting