Focus: Honne

For those who don’t know the meaning behind Honne and Tatemae (本音と建前), they are “Japanese words that describe the contrast between a person’s true feelings and desires and the behavior and opinions one displays in public” (as explained by Wikipedia).

Honne is a musical duo hailing from East London. Combining moody electronic beats with beautiful, soulful baritone and glittering cutting guitar, they create their own urban and bitter-sweet soundscape. What lifts Honne’s aesthetic higher than most Post-James Blake R&B peers are in their great songwriting skills. Both being music teachers, their sound juxtaposition is extremely well thought out, and chord progressions and song developments are at its most effective. We spoke to this up-and-coming duo through email to discuss the meaning behind their band name and association with Japanese culture, how the duo came together, and what is in line for their future activities.

Focus: Honne
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, April 10, 2015

First of all, I would like to ask you about the name of the unit, HONNE, and the name of the label, Tatemae. These two set of words are very familiar to Japanese people. Also on the cover artwork for “Coastal Love”, Japanese tranlastion of the title is used. What is your associasion with Japan? And what is the concept behind it?

James: We first came across the word Honne and loved it on an aesthetic level. But when we looked further into the meaning we felt it really encapsulated what the whole band and our songs were about. So we like the idea of keeping the connection with it. Andy (the singer) also has spent a bit of time in Japan over the last couple of years, and loves the place and people he met whilst visiting. Hopefully we’ll get to go over to play some shows in the not too distant future.

How did HONNE come together as a musical duo?

J: Andy and I met at university about 6 years ago. He was the first person I met actually. We started working on a few different projects together and realised that we worked well together, so have carried on ever since.

When did you realize you wanted to make music?

J: When I was about 12 I was given a guitar by a family member and became completely obsessed with learning how to play it and, since I became capable and able enough to play it, my focus has always been on playing and writing music.

How did you develop your sound as it is now?

J: We spent a long time working on electronic music and developing our production. Eventually we wrote a track that we felt had it’s own sound, so we went about writing more songs in that style, and that became HONNE.

Tell us the creative process of the new EP, “Coastal Love”. The title track sounds nothing like the previously released tracks. Are there anything that you tried to do differently?

J: To be honest, not particularly. The first part of Coastal Love that was written was the slightly house music-like drum beat, and I think that shaped the upbeat feel of the song, along with the summery concept of Coastal Love, which is maybe a slight departure from the more night time feel of our previous tracks.

After the release of the new EP, what can we expect from HONNE in 2015?

We’ve got quite a few gigs lined up in the UK and Europe. Hopefully we’ll get over to the States for a couple of shows. We’ll be releasing more music too of course. Whilst all that is going on, we’ll be working on our album behind the scenes, which is already beginning to take shape. We’re really excited to keep getting music out there, and hopefully play some fun shows.

Connect with Honne
Official Website

Twitter
Soundcloud

Their new Coastal Love EP is available to preorder from iTunes.

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listen: Howling, “Stole The Night”

Following a meditative effort as ACID, LA based musician Ry X has started up a new project with Berling producer Frank Wiedemann called Howling (possibly the name is taken from his own single of the same name). From an upcoming album which is out May 4th from Modeselektor’s Monkeytown, listen to dark and moody “Stole the Night”.

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stream: We Draw A, “Jumbo Love EP”

Poland’s electro outfit, ,We Draw A is set to release their new EP Jumbo Love from Brennnessel. 5 track EP includes remixes as well as a cover. Skeleton synths and refreshing melodies are as sweet and invigorating like summer breeze. Check it out.

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listen: Ben Khan, “Zenith”

In Jai Paul’s absence, (though his enigmatic activities are still totally unpredictable), 22-year-old Ben Khan is steadily getting in top form with his experimental R&B/Pop aesthetic. He has recently unveiled his new single, “Zenith” from his upcoming EP 1000, which will be out via Blessed Vice on May 11.

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listen: Oscar Key Sung, “Skip”

Our favourite Melbourne-based songwriter Oscar Key Sung is set to release his new EP Altruism on May 1. We heard stupendously sexy “Premonition“. Now check out this catchy new single, “Skip”, in which Oscar smartly combines its dark ambiance into a late-night discotheque.

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listen: Wilder Maker, “Fools”

Brooklyn’s folk-rock outfit Wilder Maker makes music that stops you. True, it is not a stadium sized good ole rock n roll, but it’s in their passionate but carefully crafted song-writing that invites you to make it your closer friend. Following last year’s excellent Everyday Crimes Against Objects of Desire, Vol I, which we loved so much we listed it as one of the best EPs of 2014, they are releasing its sequal, aptly titled Vol. II in April 7. They unveiled its leading single, “Fools”. Listen closer, and you realize it is gently pulling your heartstrings.

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Hear Me Out: Dead Sea

Chillwave is not a forgotten genre, and it is easy to imagine why this Parisian electro-pop quartet, Dead Sea wants to treat their music as ‘Turbo Chillwave’. It is a hybrid of Shoegaze and IDM. Their saturated beats and spacey beats simmers deep in your skin, while a female vocalist Caro puts a spell on you with her soulful melisma. We have caught up with the band to talk more about their background, inspirations, and the meaning behind their latest single, “Keep It High”.

Hear Me Out: Dead Sea
Introduced by Charles, Feb 6, 2013

Read more »
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listen: Cuushe, “Daze”

Traveling London, Berlin, Kyoto and Tokyo to feed her wanderlust, Japanese songwriter Cuushe reflects her western influence and eastern roots in her music. Dreamy, airy, pop and celestial, she paints a musical landscape that is both haunting and approachable. Following her last single “Tie”, Cuushe unveils “Daze” from her upcoming EP from Cascine/flau titled Night Lines (out April 7th). While flau’s label owner aus gives sheen to its production, Cuushe introspectively explores her restless night (alone) in Tokyo. It is a midnight disco cut that’s best played by yourself in your bedroom, and you dance intimately until dawn.

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watch: Role, “Holy”

Our favourite group from Madrid, Role is finally releasing their debut album How Distant this April. They have recently unveiled a new music video for “Holy”. It is an unnerving synth-pop track with ghostly choruses and mysterious visuals.

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