Returning to our bread and butter, it’s time we highlight another local artist that’s been making some real noise in the scene lately. They’re all the rage and just dropped their debut album on Spotify and streaming services: if you’re reading this, give a warm, digital welcome to Honeyboys.
Our very own Connor Ellis spoke with the band about their musical processes, the talent of San Luis Obispo, and their upcoming performance at Shabang Music & Arts Festival.
Connor: So what are your guys’ names and where are you all from?
Reese: I’m Reese, and I’m from the Boston area.
Matt: I’m Matt Sato. I’m from San Carlos, California in the Bay – shout out to the Bay.
Nick: I’m from the Seattle area, and my name is Nick Reeves.
Ari: I’m from Napa, and my name is Ari Eisenberg.
Grady: I’m from Germany, and my name is Grady Gallagher.
Connor: How did you guys meet? How did this get started?
Ari: So I met Reese through the Music Production Union on campus my sophomore year when he was a freshman. Reese knew a bunch of other musicians. He knew Grady from being in jazz groups and stuff, and Matt from SLO Days. Then I knew Nick my freshman year because we jammed on the yakʔitʸutʸu lawn. I was just jamming with a friend, and Nick just walked by and he was like, “I play bass and wanna play with you guys”. And we just jammed.
Connor: That’s awesome. Also, I love Green Tea. Such a sick song. What were your guys’ biggest influences for that one?
Grady: Jacob Collier…
ARI: Yeah. And then For Green Tea, at least within the sound, it is very inspired by Dayglow. I looked up some Dayglow videos and admired how he produces his vocals. Kind of just hard panning and stuff, and that’s what I did with the Green Tea vocals. I was kind of going for that big delay, kind of a little Lo-Fi radio effect that Dayglow goes for.
Connor: What is your writing and recording process? Do you guys just jam or do most of your songs come from some work that someone brings in?
Grady: It depends, sometimes people bring in songs. Ari brought “Green Tea” in and then we worked on it together and made it what it is.
Matt: Recording wise, we’re able to record individually, and then we send our tracks to Ari. I personally haven’t had a drum set up until a week ago when I bought my first drum set. So I’ve been recording at this studio in Oakland, (shout out Skyline Studios), but it’s awesome because I could just go in there and there’s already a nice drum set. It’s all mixed up and we have a sound engineer who can quantize the drumming.
Connor: Do you guys usually like to quantize your drums?
Ari: So I’d say we have like two songs with quantized drums. We’ll do some time editing but we typically don’t like to quantize drums, especially on songs that are more about the feel. But we have a song called Funk Banger and Come To The Show that are really fast and the drums are really driving the song.
Reese: For 4/4 indie pop, It’s good just to have straight quantized drums that are right on the beat. But songs like Bordeaux are more swung.
Ari: Just to add to that, too, in the past we’ve used some electronic drums and stuff and so it’s really nice to have live drums on this album. That’s what we’re kind of going for on this album. We’ve only really released one song with fully live drums, so it’s really exciting for us to have more of the full band kind of sound coming.
Connor: When did you start playing music and when did you start writing music?
Grady: I started playing when I was in kindergarten, but I started writing probably at the beginning of College – like freshman year of college. Now it’s like yeah, I can do this shit.
Ari: For me. I started on violin when I was three. My dad just put me into violin because my older brother was doing it. And then I started writing music in the 6th grade when I got to ukulele, that’s when I first had an instrument where I could play along with it. Yeah, it was before Riptide. The first song I learned was Hey Soul Sister and I’m Yours and then I started writing some songs. I always liked writing.
Nick: I’m kind of the same as Grady, but I started songwriting in college and I’m still working on it. I’m still not that great at it, but I think I started playing bass when I was 15.
Matt: I started off playing piano. It’s pretty big in my family to learn piano when we’re really young. My grandmother was a piano teacher, so I started that in like second grade and then started playing drums in fifth grade. And I’m not a big songwriter, but who knows in the future?
Ari: A little on Grapevine.
Matt: A little bit on Grapevine, I did a few lyrics in there, but in the future, our next EP, I’ll hopefully write a song.
Reese: I started playing guitar when I was twelve, 6th grade, and then I started songwriting around like junior or senior year of high school. I play a little drums and piano too, but guitar is definitely my main thing.
Connor: Who’s your biggest musical influence?
Nick: I’d say for me, the artist that has been a tremendous influence on my playing style, and one that I’ve just made friends with people through geeking out over this band, is Vulfpeck. I absolutely adore them. I think they’re great.
Grady: Yes. Everyone knows my answer already. Jacob Collier is my favorite. Hopefully that shines through on the album.
Reese: I’d say for me, I’m a mixture of maybe more soul and indie pop. So for any indie pop, I’d say 1975 type stuff and then for soul I’d say maybe like John Mayer, John Frusciante, Tom Misch – just people who play strats. Kind of like that classic clean tone RnB sound, pretty much.
Matt: I listen to a lot of different music – just all over the spectrum- but my favorite artist is Dominic Fike and my favorite album of his is his Dont Forget About Me, Demos album.
Ari: I’ve been listening to a lot of indie music that’s pop driven. I’m really into Slush Puppy and Dreamer Boy, who are some of my favorites. I like people who are pushing genres for sure. And of course like Pink Floyd is also huge – I mean that’s just kind of a cop out answer. Nirvana too for sure. Yeah I definitely resonate with Kurt’s Voice.
Connor: So what are your guys’ plans for after you graduate?
Matt: That’s the big question.
ARI: I’m graduating in the spring but I’m not leaving Slo for at least another year, if not two, because I’m just trying to continue playing with these guys. Of course, I don’t see why I should leave and have a 9-5 corporate job, no offense to anyone who wants to do that. I don’t know, I’m just trying to continue playing music. I think right now we’ve talked about it as a band and we’re kind of playing it by ear. I know everyone is passionate about their schoolwork and getting their degree and having things other than music, but I think that if it’s working out and we’re able to do it full time, then I think that we all want to go for it. I don’t know.
Connor: Do you guys have any goals within the next year or any bigger plans in the future?
Ari: Well, we have our album release, which is called Come to the Show.
Matt: You heard it here first.
Ari: Yeah, and that should be dropping in early may, so pretty damn soon. We’ve been working on that since the beginning. One of the songs on there, we started working on right after we released Grapevine. So we’ve been working on the album for two and a half years now and it’s definitely been like a long time coming. A lot of the songs have like 100 tracks on them. It’s been hard to let these songs go in a way because we’ve been working on them for so long. But I think what we’re looking forward to is writing new songs. Obviously, playing Shabang is going to be amazing and I think our goal right now is to be more consistent as a band, with releasing every month would be really sick. Who knows if that’s possible but we want to be consistent with that and with content, too, as well.
Matt: I think another goal also is once the album is out there, we put an effort to advertise and stuff just because, to go back to the revisions, there’s 100 tracks on some songs and there’s also been like over 100 revisions on some songs. Like Come To The Show, we’ve literally listened to it 1000s of times, trying to figure out how we want the Master to sound. So it’s been a lot of work, but we’re all really excited to put it out in the world.
Reese: My goal is probably to streamline our recording process because we already released an album, so I feel like our next release or album or whatever, is going to be easier because we’ve already gone through this. I’m just super hyped to continue to release music and just see what else we have in the tank, other inspirations and genres and stuff like that.
Connor: So yeah, those are all the questions I had and just to kind of make it clear, tell the people when your album is dropping or when they can see you next.
Ari: Shabang Music Festival is the next big one on May 14th, but our album will be dropping on Wednesday, May 4th!
Connor: Well, those are all the questions I had. Thank you guys!
Honeyboys: Thank you so much.
Connor Ellis is .WAV’s Operations Manager. He conducted the interview. Ariella Cohen is on .WAV’s Photo & Video Team. She took the photos.