[Q&A] Bad Honey’s ‘Awake Tonight’ Is the Bee’s Knees

Photo Credit: Lily Resta (@lilmoonpet)

By Alissa Arunarsirakul // April 3, 2020

Trust us when we say Bad Honey is the bee’s knees. Comprised of Lydia Clowes and Teresa Origone, this South East London duo produces the finest soul pop we’ve ever heard, and that’s not an exaggeration. With the tastiest vocals and deliciously sweet synths, Bad Honey is proud to present their immaculate new EP, Awake Tonight.

On Awake Tonight, Bad Honey reflected,

“This is the most summery and colorful music we’ve made so far and we hope it lifts up your days and nights. We learned so much from the process of making it and most importantly, had so much fun. Mostly produced by us–except for ‘Circles,’ which we made with Geo. Love to everyone involved.”

To celebrate the release of their new music, we recently chatted with Bad Honey about living simply, lo-fi, and of course, Awake Tonight

HH: Your soul-pop sound is so delectable and luscious. Who are your biggest musical influences?

BH: We both listen to a big variety of music so it’s hard to keep this brief, but maybe this is a good list: James Blake, Lianne La Havas, Laura Mvula, Tyler The Creator, and Bon Iver.

HH: How did you both agree upon the name Bad Honey?

BH: Coming up with a name for this project was such a long process and it took months! We both liked the idea of honey because it portrays the ‘sweet’ side of our music, with Lydia’s vocals sounding kind of pure and the music being a bit dreamy. But we wanted to have some kind of juxtaposition with that because if you pair a lot of words with the word ‘honey’ you end up with a lot of cheesiness. So that’s why we went for Bad Honey as we feel it portrays the sweet but also weird/adventurous/slightly unconventional side of the music.

HH: Not only does Bad Honey already showcase the most delicate vocals, but you also incorporate lo-fi electronics and soothing synths that are to die for. What exactly goes into crafting a Bad Honey song?

BH: I (Teresa) love synths and tiny lo-fi sounds. I prefer using real analogue synths (there’s a lot of OB6 and Korg Minilogue sounds in our new music) and don’t really use that many software instruments. I guess a physical instrument has some kind of ‘limitations’ that can help during the writing process, rather than having thousands of instruments and sounds to choose from on your computer screen. And also they sound amazing obviously. We often like to use a couple of drum machine ‘toys’ to start our drum beats, because I feel they have more of a fun personality and in the initial moments of writing they can be more inspiring in a way. Then we end up either keeping those initial drum beats in the final song, or just keeping parts of them and replacing some sounds with some fatter drum samples, or recording live drums.

HH: Awake Tonight is far more impressive than we could’ve imagined. What was the writing and recording process like for the EP?

BH: Thank you!! Making this EP was definitely a new adventure and it was so much fun because we decided to start producing ourselves, after our good friend Joy Anonymous told us we didn’t really need anyone else to do the production for us as our demos were sounding good already. We wrote some of the songs with some friends (The Naked Eye, Sharky, MEI, Geo), and some others were written by just us two. The writing process is always slightly different depending on the song: it’s always a collaborative process but sometimes Teresa writes the instrumental and Lydia writes the lyrics, sometimes one of us will have a finished song to show the other, sometimes we just make something together from scratch. We wrote “Stillness” with our friend Frenchie from The Naked Eye; we initially just wrote the words and a couple of melody ideas, and then went to the studio and added all the synths and the backing vocals to make it what it is now. That’s usually what happens in the process… we focus on the song first (lyrics and melody and chords), because that has to be a strong foundation, then go crazy with the synths.

HH: “Stillness” is about feeling overwhelmed in our great big world, which is something many of us can definitely relate to. What do you suggest we do to remind ourselves that living simply is refreshing? 

BH: I’ve (Lydia) just recently realized that simple living is the best thing ever. Having done a few trips traveling and living in a van in the last year, where you have to live very simply, it’s unbelievably refreshing. It made me realize that I only need about 1/10th of the things I have at home, and having fewer things weirdly clears your mind too. In the current situation with social distancing, it’s a good reminder to slow down and take care in the small things we do every day, even if that’s just making a nice lunch, going for a walk or doing some gardening. I think taking life a little more slowly, and doing things with more care is good for the soul, and you benefit from it more.

HH: Quite frankly, “Blissfully Unaware” can be applied to the world’s current state with the coronavirus pandemic. Why do you think some people aren’t taking this as seriously as they should? 

BH: Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that people feel disconnected to the NHS or that they feel invincible to the virus, and are only conscious of the bubble around them rather than the entire population. But either way, it’s a critical situation that should be taken seriously, and can affect anybody, you just never know. It’s easy to focus on these few people, but it actually seems the majority of people are taking it seriously.

HH: If you could broadcast a message to the entire world right now, what would you say?

BH: Call your friends, help people who need help, and let your hair grow (in all places).

HH: What are your three hidden hits (underrated songs by rising artists you love)?

BH: Her Songs: “4AM Disco”

Joy Anonymous: “JOY (Get Over Me)”

Eloise: “You, Dear”

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