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Goldenvoice Presents
The Ouch Tour

HONNE

Artist Information

Deep down HONNE has always been about the friendship between two people. Sure, the UK alt- pop duo have reached incredible heights – from those initial humble recording sessions in Bow, East London they’ve notched up more than three billion streams, selling more than 210,000 tickets for their live shows. But alongside this, it’s been a story of growth, maturity, and kinship. On their enchanting new album – the playfully titled ‘OUCH!’ – James Hatcher and Andy Clutterbuck are ready to tap back into their foundations, and realise the kind of melodic effervescence and heart-tugging songwriting that only HONNE can provide.

2021’s ‘Let’s Just Say The World Ended A Week From Now, What Would You Do?’ pushed the duo as far as they could go. Laden with unbelievable features – including walk-on roles from Pink Sweats, Griff, Niki, and R&B titan Khalid – it reinforced their global stature. Closing their deal with Atlantic, the future is going to look a little different. The new album will be released through their own Smile More Recordings (distributed by AWAL), and for their radically ambitious independent era HONNE want to remove the gloss, and show the emotions underneath – little wonder, then, their name means “true feelings” in Japanese.

“We have to move on, and we have to do what we feel is right for us,” Andy reflects. “Our music has to re]lect our lives, and how we’re feeling at this speci]ic moment.” His band mate and close friend James adds: “It’s like a labour of love – we pour everything into it. We want people to love it as much as we do.”

‘OUCH!’ is impeccably detailed, and wonderfully entrancing. From start to finish it’s a radiant pop exhibition, matching elements of profound emotion to moments of bewitching sonic innocence. The work of two people operating free from expectations, it’s also informed by profound shifts in their own lives. Andy Clutterbuck has become a father to two young children, while James Hatcher married his long-time partner just before sessions began.

“It’s probably the most personal album we’ve ever written,” Andy explains. “Every song tells a story and ]its into our lives. This time round, everything is completely thought-through.” Lead single ‘Imaginary’ was a riveting comeback, a return that seemed to frame exactly what makes HONNE so special. Packed with quirky ideas and tonnes of character, it was laden with innate positivity. “The one thing that we always try and keep in everything that we produce is warmth,” James affirms.

But this lightness is just one facet of their upcoming album. ‘OUCH!’ isn’t afraid to deal with darkness, to discuss the fear of loss, the idea of doubt. “Love always comes at some kind of cost,” James notes sagely. “It comes with the cost of vulnerability. It’s something you can lose, which is scary.”

The album is built as a narrative, beginning with a teenage crush, and closing with the responsibility of family life. ‘Girl In The Orchestra’ may be a sweet tale of adolescent infatuation at a school music group, but ‘Dents In The Sofa’ is an incredibly powerful message from the brink. Andy’s wife had a dif]icult experience during the birth of their ]irst child, and it’s something he still ]inds hard to fully discuss. “If there weren’t any NHS staff or doctors around she probably would have died,” he notes. “The lyrics imagine she had gone, and there’s just a dent in the sofa where she once was. It’s a dark story, but it’s ultimately a positive experience to come through it.”

The ability to place such profound moments in their lives on record can only come through friendship. HONNE formed as two people using DIY kit in an ad hoc space in East London, armed only with a ridiculous number of pop hooks and unbridled enthusiasm for knocking on the doors of the music industry. “One of the things we've been looking forward to is for this album was being able to go back to how we started,” says Andy. “Everything we've done is made by us.” Take ‘Backseat Driver’: a paean to introverts everywhere, it emerged from a spell when the two underwent therapy, moving through separate but parallel sessions. The ]irst all-acoustic HONNE track, it foregoes using drums to embrace tenderness. There’s the playfully dream-like ‘Songs In My Head’, a re]lection of their open-ended creative process, or the blissfully sincere ‘Happy Day’, penned after a day of fatherhood. “At the end of a day together I was putting my son to bed, and I asked him if he’d had a nice day. And he replied: happy day!”

Touching on everything from early 90s hip-hop production to slick 21st century pop via torch songs and ballads, ‘OUCH!’ is testimony to the creativity only HONNE can conjure. Recently taking the decision to move out of their long-time studio, the pair decamped to South London, occupying a space in Deptford. Near-neighbours included Oh Wonder and Tom Misch, with this creative community – and extra space – re-booting the pair’s approach to music-making. “It was de]initely fun to make,” James grins. “We’ve re-learned how to relax, and try new things.” The arrangement for the song ‘Girl In The Orchestra’ unlocked an over-arching sonic idea for the record. Buying up all kinds of childhood instruments - tin whistle, cornet, glockenspiels, guitars, autoharp, and more all make their way on to the record – HONNE sought to re-create both the sound and atmosphere of their formative years learning to make music together. As a result, ‘OUCH!’ boasts some of their most surprising work to date. “We’ve got all of our gear – including the drum kit – fully mic’d up and ready to use, which means we can record at any point we feel like it,” James adds. “It’s been really liberating.”

Every single aspect of HONNE’s new album feels expertly detailed. From the cover art – a design taken from Shanghai based illustrator Sheng Chen – to the music videos, the pair have overseen every single aspect of the project. With the ]inal recording sessions now complete, HONNE are ready to share their new album with the world. A real-life coming of age tale, it closes with a tender moral from a father to his children. Andy states: “The album ]inishes with a message to my children, basically saying: life is good, but you only get one so make the most of it while you can.”

Seizing the day once more, HONNE are about to re-write their script, and push back the boundaries. A creative force renewed, they’re ready to embrace a new generation of pop possibility.

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  • Sat, November 23, 2024
  • 8:00 PM
  • All Ages
  • Buy Tickets