The past couple of years have been a period of upheaval and regeneration for Honeyblood as they’ve morphed from a duo into the fully-fledged solo project of guitarist and songwriter Stina Tweeddale.
Stina has always been the focal point, but now with the release of third album ‘In Plain Sight’, her creative vision can be fully realised, heralding the start of an exciting new era for Honeyblood.
“It feels slightly daunting, but like the right thing to do,” begins Stina as she explains how she set off on her own. Following 2016’s storming ‘Babes Never Die’, Honeyblood embarked on an arduous touring cycle. “We were on tour for about two years. It was a very long time. I took a year off to write this new record,” she explains.
While Stina was taking some time out to reflect, drummer Cat Myers took on some other commitments that led to the two-piece Honeyblood fragmenting, leaving Stina to write and record on her own. It was a situation that ultimately has had a massive benefit to the band both creatively and musically.
“This record is very much me trying to work out what the next step was artistically and with my songwriting,” says Stina. With plans to leave behind the two-piece live format forever and employ a full live band behind, there emerged a strong impetus behind the songs. “There were a lot of constraints writing an album for a two piece. There became a point in the studio where it was obvious that I wouldn’t have those constraints anymore for the live show. There was a bit more freedom, and it was liberating in that sense.”
While the sound of the album is sonically more diverse with a broader range of sounds and a fresh approach, there are still classic Honeyblood hallmarks throughout. Stina’s writing has always had an edge of playful creeping menace, and you can hear that again on the likes of thrilling opener ‘She’s a Nightmare’.
“I said I wasn’t going to write another witchy album and now I’ve written two,” laughs Stina. “It was by coincidence that it was recorded over Halloween. I guess I’m just a bit spooky. It’s definitely a common theme that runs through this record, and the last one.”
A key player in pushing forward Honeyblood’s sound and bringing in different ways of working was indie super producer John Congleton who has worked with the likes of St Vincent, Wild Beasts and Future Islands.
“I wanted to work with Jon because he’s really good at making guitars not sound like guitars,” says Stina. “Sonically what he brought to my songs was ideal. It’s changed the sound of Honeyblood but progressed it in a positive way. We reached out to him, but it was kind of a pipe dream really. He agreed to do it though, and it was a perfect feel for me.”
The album is full of subtle dirty electronics mixing with warped guitars meshing perfectly with the classic Honeyblood punky rush. Just like the debut, it’s bookended with a tender piano ballad. I really wanted to put harmless on the end,” says Stina. “It’s a very sad song. A raw and vulnerable end to the record.”
The future looks bright for Honeyblood again after a period of uncertainty. With a new label, an exciting and progressive new album and a new live band that Stina is preparing to take out on the road, a stronger and more vital Honeyblood has emerged.
“It means that there are new possibilities for me to take Honeyblood somewhere else now,” says Stina hopefully. “My fear would be to just continue to do the same thing and stagnate. It feels like I have a brand new lease of life.”
Taken from the June issue of Dork. Honeyblood’s album ‘In Plain Sight’ is out 24th May.
Words: Martyn Young