[Q&A] Honestly Pours Their Entire Heart Into Stellar Debut ‘Inside Your Eyes, Without You Beside Me’

By Alissa Arunarsirakul // July 27, 2020

Comprised of Eric Canto and Dalton Winters, Honestly is certainly making a bold name for themselves with the most eclectic offering of electropop, R&B, rock, and new wave. Following countless vigorous songwriting sessions, Honestly is proud to present their stellar debut album, Inside Your Eyes, Without You Beside Me. Tackling love and heartbreak in every way, Inside Your Eyes, Without You Beside Me is exactly what’s going to earn Honestly a spot on your music map. 

On Inside Your Eyes, Without You Beside Me, Honestly shared,

“‘Inside Your Eyes, Without You Beside Me’ is a poetic audiobook with a soundtrack. This album spans the entire spectrum of the emotions involved in falling in love and subsequently feeling loss and emptiness. We were honest and raw in our words, and [the album] so well represents who we are as musicians, friends, and humans. We’re proud of what we pulled together and excited about the future.” 

To celebrate the release of their new music, we recently chatted with Honestly about vulnerability, White Claws, and of course, Inside Your Eyes, Without You Beside Me.

HH: How did you two meet and form Honestly? 

H: We met in middle school via our school’s talent show and eventually formed a post hardcore band. We did that for a number of years but ultimately disbanded in 2015 and kind of stopped being friends… Two years later, we reconnected and found a shared love for much of the same electro pop and indie pop music, and totally rekindled our friendship. We’ve been best friends since, and after a tough breakup that Dalton went through we started writing for what ultimately became Honestly. It was super natural and organic; Eric had been doing some solo music at that time, but Dalton wasn’t doing anything musical. We just started writing as a therapeutic release for all of Dalton’s pent up emotions, and found that not only did we still like playing music together but that we had some exciting material flowing out of the well. Eventually we decided to pursue the project more seriously, and thus was born Honestly in July/August 2019. 

HH: You guys incorporate pop, 80’s new wave, 90’s alternative, and 00’s R&B into your soundscape. Which artists influence this hypnotic sound of yours?

H: We’re very influenced by our contemporaries like Nightly, joan, The 1975, etc. Also more classic acts like The Blue Nile, Pink Floyd, The Cure, New Order, and Go West. Vocally and melodically, we pull influence from artists such as The Weeknd, Bryson Tiller, and Drake. There’s also definitely an underlying edge that comes from our roots in post rock, hardcore, and emo. Bands like Underoath, Caspian, and others really influence the way we approach guitar based music.

HH: How does it feel to finally have your debut album out in the world?!

H: It feels absolutely incredible. The album has been finished for about a year now and while it was difficult to sit on this hold with this project for so long, we’re so glad we made the decision to delay its release. We were so eager to just have the world hear it, but as opposed to having released it to a fanbase of zero we now have a small but stable fanbase that can properly appreciate the record. Eric always says, “The moment a song is released it’s kind of like seeing your kid go off to school. What you once held so closely in private is now subject to the opinions and tastes of anyone in the world that listens.” It’s exciting and nerve wracking because the songs are so deeply personal to both of us, but we’re definitely elated to have our debut album out in the airwaves. 

HH: If your listeners could take away one message from Inside Your Eyes, Without You Beside Me, what would you like that to be? 

H: We want people to allow themselves to be vulnerable, to never underestimate how another human can make you feel, and to love without apology or fear. What is beautiful about these heartbreaking stories is the dichotomy of its beginning and end. If a person has the power to make you feel so terrible they also have the power to make you feel like you’re flying. Don’t be afraid to emerge yourself in a feeling if it’s genuine. And remember, you’re not alone in your love or hurt. One thing that’s been cool to see is all the feedback from fans citing songs that they personally relate to. In one sentence: Be vulnerable, fall in love, and take risks because for every heartbreak there’s a lesson but similarly for every loss there’s a lifetime of happiness right around the corner. 

HH: Can you describe your creative process for Inside Your Eyes, Without You Beside Me

H: A day in a LP001 writing session would usually begin with excitement about a sound or song or idea, progress through sad emotional discussions about Dalton’s relationship, and end with a lot of White Claw and smiles. The creative process was always about capturing musical inspiration, and capturing the rawest, deepest personal emotions and moments. To always be as specific and honest as we could be. We approached almost every session for this album as a blank slate, and one day we might pull inspiration from vastly varying references but our ability to write together that we developed in our last project and our respect for each others opinions, emotions, and strengths in the writing process allowed us to mesh different ideas and sounds together pretty well. 

HH: We’ve had “San Francisco” on repeat since it came out. Do you have a favorite track on the record?

H: “San Francisco” was our shared favorite for a while but, it’s funny, our favorites change by the day. Right now our favorite would likely be “Warm Flowers” because it’s just a solid ending to summarize the story. Although Dalton’s partial to the groove on “Beside Myself…” 

HH: If you could collaborate with anyone in the music industry, who would you pick?

H: Eric – I would definitely want to work with producers like Benny Blanco, Cashmere Cat, Noah Shebib just to name a few.

Dalton – Kind of a throw away answer but I’d love to work with George Daniels or Lauv as a producer… I’d also love to write with Lyndsey Gunn (PVRIS), I think our shared penchant for pop and dark alternative/shoegaze/post-rock could yield really cool results… Maybe a neo classical composer like Max Richter could be cool too… there’s a lot for me.

HH: What are your three hidden hits?

H: Eric – “how will i rest in peace if i’m buried by a highway?//” by KennyHoopla, “Somehow” by Kllo, and “Fall Again” by Brandon Alexander.

Dalton – “Into You” by Fern, “Wrong Girls” by seasons, “Give it Up” by The Millennial Club… An out of left field one would be “Hesitation Wounds” by END; if you have any interest in lifting heavy weights or feel an urge to punch a hole in the wall, listen to this band…

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