Stina Tweeddale, guitarist of UK based, crunch pop band, Honeyblood, spoke with me at length about many of the things: about the band’s past, present and ambitious future –including their upcoming North American tour.
Below are a number of additional, interesting anecdotes from the interview published here, where you can also find all the information on the tour.
Stina shares even more stories, –everything from her opinion on recording in a studio versus the live experience, to the time Honeyblood had a circle pit on their hands, to the tales behind the names of her much beloved guitar and amp and much more!
On one of Stina’s favorite shows ever and that time Honeyblood had a full out circle pit in the audience:
Stina: The London show [we played with Superfood] was one of the craziest shows I’ve ever played and the craziest show I’ve ever played. We had like, a proper circle pit at one point and there were people… there was like a group of kids right at the front because there was no barrier – cause we didn’t think we’d need a barrier – that were getting shoved onto monitors by the people in the circle pit. You couldn’t get out. You were pretty much like, f–ked if you were at the font. And then, people were like, crowd surfing and trying to smash Cat’s cymbals, like it was a game. So they were like, “Ah yeah!” and chuck ’em up and they were trying to smash her cymbals. So she’s like, grabbing her cymbals and saying like, “No, no! Don’t do that!”
Then when Superfood went on, it just got like, so much worse. It was so good. Then Emily [Baker], started trying to crowd surf and it was quite an epic fail but it was so funny. We all came off like, totally buzzing after that show. That’s kind of like, when you play live… when you go to see shows when you’re younger, that’s what you imagine shows to be like and when you’re kind of the one who’s conducting what’s happening, it’s… you don’t even feel like you’re in control of it at all. It’s like it’s a pleasure to be the band whose playing to this carnage. That was pretty good. I think that’s one of my favorite show I’ve ever played actually. The last couple months of last year we pretty much felt like we had to proper;y step up our touring game because our crowds were slowly getting better and so we better be a bit more mental cause they were going really mental.
On juggling being a musician and a fan –particularly among future tour mates, Belle and Sebastian:
Stina: I think sometimes you feel like… well people that I know that make music that I know, they are the biggest fans. They wouldn’t be doing it if [they hadn’t heard] someone they loved once made a song. When it comes to the band we’re going on tour with later on, Belle and Sebastian…I’m gonna like, I don’t know, I’m such a fanboy. To me, I’m trying to act really cool but I’m not gonna be cool when that comes around.
On what more music venues should be like:
Kira: Cakeshop is the kind of place, where you can just be in the Lower East Side and be like, “I have time to kill!” and you go in there and that’s how you could just find a band that might not even be that big – or maybe they are – and you just sit down, get a drink and you chill in the back. Then, afterward, you think, “Wow, that was really good!” and sometimes you get lucky and the band kind of hangs out. Then you have a conversation with them and suddenly it’s a story.
Stina: That sounds… perfect. That’s exactly what a venue should be like and there’s a lot less of those kicking about the UK now. That is… that is my dream venue. That is where I want to spend my evenings so, I’m definitely, if I have some time off, that will be where I go first I think.
On the diminishing parts of the UK’s music scene:
Stina: There used to be, where I live now in Glasgow, and talking about Scotland in general, it’s a sad fact that a lot of the venues got shut down. Like, the places where I grew up playing are all shut down. These are like, what you would call, casual venues and there are other ones that are springing up but they’re maybe just a little bit bigger and a bit more structured. Maybe they serve kind of, you know, gourmet… a bit more expensive food. I want to go to a venue where they serve just really standard burgers for like, a couple of quid, with like chips and they don’t do anything else. That’s all you need. Or you know, a pizza, and that only costs a pound or what have you. I don’t need a list of like all the different goat’s cheese salads. But yeah, a lot of those venues are shut down now and that’s the kind of stuff where, when I was 17, I used to go to those venues. They’re like little pubs, bars that used put on like local shows and you just go in a see a band and… I don’t know, maybe like two or three years later that band would be huge. That’s my favorite memory of going to live shows and there’s a lot of that in the UK now.
On her secret dream of opening a venue:
Stina: Maybe I’ll just try and open a venue. Okay, that’s what I’m gonna plan to do. It’ll just be in the back of my house. I’ll just have like, a fridge with some bottled beer in it and I’ll serve pizza!
On Stina’s very first band:
Stina: (This was in reference to an earlier hypothetical around the idea of maybe one day thinking of having something non-typical to Honeyblood, like a flute part, in a new song.)
My first band when I was in school had a flute in it, so, that has happened in the past! We had a flute and we had a… what’s it called… a marimba? So yeah, [in that band] we just liked experimenting.
On the experience of playing songs live versus recording in the studio and the evolution of Honeyblood’s music:
Stina: It’s the same song but it’s completely different. That’s a good thing though. I’ll listen to a live CD, like, of a live recorded gig, and I’ll be like, “Ah, that sounds so much better live” because, I prefer the atmosphere or I prefer the way the singer sang it or, I prefer the added things the drummer is doing. And I think that’s good because the song is given like, a different personality and I definitely feel that with some of the songs that we have – especially now that Cat [Myers] is in the band – the songs have a different personality now. I like it cause it’s like they’ve gone into like… they’ve gone from like, their baby years into their toddler years or something. They’re growing up and changing and that’s good. I really like that aspect of it.
On the (stories behind the) names of Stina’s go-to equipment:
Stina: My guitar and my amp are named after this terrible program called “Randall and Hopkirk Deceased.” I don’t know if you have it over in the States but it’s a 1960s crime program – a light, comedy crime program – that is a really British program. It’s like, if you’ve ever seen “The Professionals” or something like that, it’s like that. Check it out cause it’s so good! That’s what my amp and my guitar are named after, cause my amp is called Randall and my guitar is called Hopkirk.
On personal preference toward getting gear second hand and why making music with it is better:
Stina: With instruments and stuff as well… I’ve got guitars and amps…that cost like no money at all. Sometimes, you just find it’s so much better to go into a second hand shop, pick up something that kind of, costs no money and then it sounds brilliant. It fits your style so well [for] what you want to achieve and sound –and you got it for an absolute steal! That’s always the most gratifying thing, is like, telling people [gear] only cost you like, 50 bucks or something. I love seeing the looks on people’s faces being like, “That cost you what?? That’s so good!”
On Björk coming under fire from critics who don’t believe Bjork can be as good as she shows herself to be:
Stina: Women I know, that [work so hard], they don’t do it to prove [anything to] anybody. Like, that’s the way to be because you know, you keep on getting your hopes–not hopes, what’s the word I’m trying to think of here…? You shouldn’t need to prove [anything to] anybody cause they’re still gonna have that kind of mindset.
Björk is probably one of the most defining artists of the last 20 or 30 years. Like, she has pretty much established a new sound. So how could [critics] then possibly say, “Ah yeah, but, it wasn’t her.” Well, who was it then? Who was it, this man in the shadows that you speak of? But yeah, it makes me feel a bit sad that it’s such a hot topic and sometimes I’ll read stuff on the internet or whatever and I’ll put it away like, “Ah, I just don’t want to hear about this anymore!” but when I hear someone like Bjork speaking about it, it kind of like, riles me up again and I think, “Argh, God, how can they even question Björk? She’s like a total queen!” [At the same time,] it’s kind of good in a way though because it makes me feel like all the stuff that I experience is not just on a level that I’m on. It’s actually like, [experienced] all the way through the industry.
On making up for some bad luck during the last U.S. visit:
Stina: We’ve been talking about [the upcoming tour] all day [and] we’ve been trying to organize all this stuff. I’m so excited. It’s going to be so good. I had such a good time last time; when we did the Teenage Fanclub shows, before we did the Jetpack shows. And last time I lost my voice as well, on last leg of the headline shows we did…I’m excited to go back to Philadelphia and stuff cause I lost my voice in Philly and Washington so fingers crossed I’ll be okay!