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Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Since I really stepped off the hip hop front in the mid-90's when I thought it stopped being really cutting edge and interesting, I don't always spend much time in that world, but when the cool new stuff hits me in the face, I can recognize it. I like the LUPE FIASCO'S of the world or the COOL KIDS, I like the new spins, and then HONEY CLAWS showed up. I thought I received a mix CD because the self-titled album went everywhere, from the indie rock of "Shout Out", to the electro-indie of "Ambulance" to the hip hop joints of "Digital Animal" or "Zookeeper". I then took the time to creep onto their Myspace page and their web site, and fell deeper into the HC hole. I decided to get in touch with the band and learn more, and so I'm sharing the interview with you here.

While you read it, download "Shout Out" (mp3)

And, we were just given an exclusive track for download, "Ambulance" (mp3)

Q: Can you give us a brief rundown of the line-up of Honey Claws and their respective duties? I read that you have some heavy musicians in the mix?

Jon - vocals, beats and megaphone. Cuts often start with Jon in his room, holed up for days. Other times we feed him beats on which to spew his vocal brew.

Ben - Beats, MPC junkie and background vox. Ben is the 808 bassline master and resident booking agent.

Thomas - Beats, ableton. Thomas plays ableton the most folks play a piano. He's never happy with a cut until it's flipped, inside out and upside down. It has to sound original to make it through his filter.

Traey - keys, synths and engineering. I run the recorder and try to add some soul to our primarily digital production chain. I also spend quite a bit of time on promotions and the business of Honey Claws.

Q: Is there a leader of Honey Claws?

Its more of a collective than a hierarchy. At one time or another we all defer to each other. Usually the best ideas win out and the rest sink. Everyone is supportive and is willing to try out each other's ideas and methods. It's a very open and understanding unit.

Q: Honey Claws aren’t your garden-variety musical collective, it’s very electronic, yet very indie rock, but also hip hop infused. I even read that you have referred to it as “electric punk lyrical katana blade ninjary with a smile” – can you elaborate on your inspiration and vision?

From Ben: I know I always spoke with Thomas about not being quite like anything else out there... And seeing if we could combine our life time influences to make something fresh. Look at as bigger picture of music, I could then try be a little psychic and project that into the future and paint a world of music that we existed in. There is pieces of everything in the album... And we definitely wrote a lot of it initially with the idea of traveling the world following festivals. I remember a conversation one day between Thomas and I discussing the current trends in music and the voids of expression... I know I certainly felt like there were a lot of clones recycling shit Ive heard a 1000 times before. I guess it lacked sincerity to me. I thought to myself what would I like music to be like in 5 years...

Q: On that note of inspiration, name drop on us some of the collective’s guiding lights – what’s in your record bag? If I were to grab your IPod from you and check you Top 25 Most Played, what would rule your pod?

Mr Scruff, Isolee, Frank & Dank, J Star, Spoon, Citzen Cope, Al Haca, Gil Scott Heron, Latryx, Nina Simone, Utzz, Frivillous, Brazillian Girls, Kyuss, Led Zepplin, Mos Def & Tribe, Jamie Lidell, Herbert, Daft Punk's new live shit, panda bear, velvet underground, madlib, Stravinski, Monk, Herbie Hancock, Bill Withers, Roy Ayers, The Mizell Brothers

Q: Describe for all of us outside of Austin what the live version of Honey Claws is like?
Live is wild. we like to make a lot of noise and keep the party rolling. constant beats and chants. it's a lot of fun for us for sure.

Q: Any plans to take this on the road anytime soon? If you had your choice, who’d you go out on the road with?

Definitely planning to get out. We'd love to travel w/ Ghostland. Farfetched but it’d be tight.

We also saw pendulum and thought that could be fun... they have a similar expression as us but from a drum & bass perspective.... We're starting to piece together an Australian & New Zealand tour for southern summer.

Q: I’ve been extremely impressed by your self-titled full length, who worked on that? Are there label plans for this? Are you even interested in being on a label anymore?

Primarily the four of us worked on the full length. We had a few bits of help along the way Eddie Spettro, Claude 9, both from Austin. For the most part though it was our project from start to finish. Everything but mastering.

Mixed feelings on labels. We think it would help getting us out there more quickly and it’d be nice to have the safety net. However, the fear of shelving or bad deals is always in the back of our heads when the word comes up.

For now we think we're going to go it alone. Not that we have any labels currently beating down our door, but we're all of the mindset that a label can't help us much until we help ourselves. As soon as the album gets pressed (this week) we're going to hit the college radio and online radio stations and setup a little roadtrip. Beyond that we'll see how everyone takes it and where that goes.

Q: You’re obviously live in arguably one of the greatest live music cities on the planet, a place filled with all these hot acts like WHITE DENIM, GHOSTLAND OBSERVATORY and SPOON. How is the scene there responding to Honey Claws?

Haven’t played to many shows in Austin yet. just two during sxsw; which was rad. played overseas for our first set of shows December-February. They went very well. You could say we are a very young project. its been moving along nicely though. Awesome response and exciting breakthroughs. We just got together last summer to write the project, you could say we went at it from the opposite direction, at least for most live acts. We wrote the record as a studio project, but we always had the intention of taking it somewhere new for the live show.

Q: Future Sounds is always on the lookout for new bands/artists that might still be under the radar, the unsigned ones that could use the shout out, got anyone we should know about?

Those Peabody's. Noisey Stoner Rock. Its Pimp.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Austin? If I were to come visit you there, where would you take me for a beer?

We go to plush and Beauty Bar when we aren’t being nerds. Lots of girls and good beats. yep.
Wahoo's!!!!!!! Curra's!!!!! Maiko!!!!! and some where with shuffle board and cheap beer....and BARTON FUCKING SPRINGS!!

Big thanks to Traey and the crew for taking time to answer my questions.




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