There’s a good chance you’ve heard their music, though you might not know their names. Meet HONNE, the English electro-soul duo comprised of Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatcher. Today, they’ve dropped their new mixtape, No Song Without You. Written partially in LA and partially in their home studio in East London, the new mixtape is also a new, slightly different sound for HONNE. They’ve channelled more of a Beach Boys vibe and taken a more classic approach to songwriting.
HONNE released 5 EPs before releasing their debut album Warm on a Cold Night back in 2016, followed by Love Me / Love Me Not in 2018. They’ve amassed over 1.2 billion global streams (Warm on a Cold Night went 6x Platinum in South Korea) and have collaborated with a variety of people, ranging from BTS to Whethan to Anna of the North.
In honor of the release of their new mixtape, L’Officiel USA talked to HONNE’s Andy Clutterbuck about being creative, making a mixtape during quarantine, and binge-watching The Office.
L’Officiel: What have you been up to during quarantine?
Andy Clutterbuck: Oh you know - sitting on the sofa, looking out the window.. all sorts of shenanigans. Alongside that stuff though, we’ve been working as hard as we can on new music.
L’O: Have you felt creative during this time? Or the pressure to be creative?
AC: There have been moments of creativity which have been really great - there have also been moments of feeling the most uninspired I’ve ever felt, but I guess you’ve got to take the highs with the lows. We were about two-thirds of the way through writing our new mixtape when lockdown struck, but I forgot how liberating it was writing with just an acoustic guitar.
L’O: How did you guys first get started?
AC: This seems ridiculous, but we’ve both been playing music for about 20 years now. Although we didn’t meet until our late teens, we both started on similar musical paths - learning guitar and piano at a young age to being involved in bands at school etc. We both wanted to be in a band and travel around the world and play music ever since a young age and we’re extremely lucky and grateful that we can do that. Still many places we’ve yet to visit though.
L’O: Tell me about your latest single, “No Song Without You”
AC: We wrote this track in LA with Pomo. Not all songs are pleasurable to write. Some can be quite stubborn, and some need a lot of nudging in the right direction, but this one was so natural and effortless. We had the bulk of the song (lyrics, chords & melodies) down in a matter of hours and it was all completely finished by the time our 8-hour session was over. We went back to our Airbnb in Silverlake and listened to it on repeat. The crazy thing was, we ran into Pomo by pure coincidence.
L’O: Tell me about your new mixtape
AC: It’s a bit of a sidestep for HONNE. It was a chance for us to lose ourselves and to catch people off guard. There’s lots of bendy acoustic guitar, beach boys-esque harmony and it’s softly psychedelic in places. That said, there’s still an overriding theme of love and positivity that runs through most of HONNE’s music.
L’O: What was it like working on a mixtape during quarantine?
AC: As musicians, you could say we’ve spent the best part of our lives preparing for this kind of situation. Being locked away in a studio is not much different to quarantine, only this time, the studio was our bedrooms. James and I have also been writing apart for years, so that situation wasn’t too tricky to navigate either.
L’O: If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?
AC: Phoebe Bridgers.
L’O: What inspires you? Where or what do you get your inspiration from?
AC: I think the times I’m most inspired is when I’m directly exposed to something creative, whether that’s watching a film, listening to an album, being at a gallery or seeing a street performance. I’m quite easily moved (I get that lump in the throat feeling quite often), and when that happens, rather than talking about what I’ve just seen/experienced, I seem to keep it all locked up and then write about it in the form of music. Not a very good conversationalist, but okay at writing songs. Maybe I’ll put that on my headstone, haha.
L’O: What are some of your hobbies outside of music?
AC: James plays a lot of tennis. I’m binge-watching the American version of The Office at the moment. I can’t tell if I’m more like Michael Scott or Dwight.
L’O: What do you want people to know about you or your music that might not know already?
AC: I think there are plenty of people who might know our music but haven’t got a clue who we are, so we are Andy and James from London in the UK. I like Nutella a lot. James is pretty good at Yo-Yo.
L’O: What’s next?
AC: Well the NSWY mixtape is out July 3rd, so we’ll try our best to promote that in the current landscape and then we’re gonna write another album. We can’t get enough.