Courtesy of Corona Capital
HONNE On Showing Their True Feelings, Being Covered By Chris Martin & More
Made up of James Hatcher and Andy Clutterbuck, Honne, which means "true feelings" in Japanese, have two full-length albums under their belt, their most recent being Love Me/Love Me Not. Projecting smooth, sensual vibes, Honne are Inspired by artists like Al Green, Radiohead and Quincy Jones, among others. They continue to take their interpretation of love on tour worldwide, most recently in Mexico.
The Recording Academy caught up with the longtime friends in Mexico at Corona Capital Guadalajara, where they talked about touring the world, how they connect with fans, collabs they'd like to do, new music and more.
Is this your first time at Guadalajara?
Andy Clutterbuck: Yes, it is. We've never been here before. We've been to Mexico quite a few times. But it's great. We love it. We're having a great time.
James Hatcher: Wonderful.
Clutterbuck: The crowd were amazing. The weather is great. We couldn't ask for much more.
Tell me about the crowd vibes. The Mexican audience. What is their vibe? How do you feel in their presence?
Hatcher: They're amazing. Everyone is. They sing along a lot. They're very present in the moment. They get stuck in... get emotionally involved, yeah. It's a good time ... One of the best audiences in the world.
Clutterbuck: Yeah, they clap when you want them to clap. They sing when you want them to sing. It's very easy. It's a pleasure to play here in Mexico.
How does it feel to be able to play in front of an audience in a city you've never been to before?
Clutterbuck: It feels great. We love traveling. That was one of the big perks of this job, to be able to travel and see different places. So yeah, coming here and doing it all over again, completely fresh to a new audience is great. It's like everyone is losing their own virginity. Well, apparently everyone has seen us like four times already, the people who have come, so not like that at all.
What's the story behind your name?
Hatcher: So, Honne is a Japanese word that means "true feelings." Just after we started writing, I was living in London, and Andy was living in Japan for two or three months. We just felt we had like eight or nine songs and we stumbled across that word and it just all sort of fell into place. It just fits in with what kind of songs we're writing about.
Speaking of true feelings, how does it feel to be vulnerable in front of so many people?
Clutterbuck: Well, it can be really scary. If, you know, it depends on what size room you are playing and how up for it the crowd are. But I mean when you get out here to play to a big audience, it's fine because I guess you do feel vulnerable, but not really that vulnerable. Everyone's on your side and it's great. You know, you just do what you do. But in a small room, when everyone is a bit shy, and you're building up to it all, it's scary. You can feel a bit scared, and everyone's looking at you, but I don't know. You just... it's nice that people are obviously there to enjoy your music so you have just got to remember that.
So when you're performing in front of a crowd that doesn't speak your language, how do you connect to them?
Clutterbuck: We try to learn. Like we learn even those small amount of words. Just the very basics like "hello" and "thank you," and "we love you." Generally that gets everybody on our side, because it shows that you care.
Hatcher: We're very lucky that around the world, people sort of learn a lot of English, or at least learn the lyrics in English, so we're very, very fortunate that people sing along with our songs even though it's not necessarily in their language. Which is amazing in Mexico, that so many people would go and do that.
So Love Me/Love Me Not is your latest album. What inspired it?
Clutterbuck: It's a story of two sides, or two halves. We all go through ups and downs, so it's sort of about our ups and downs over the last couple of years. Being away on tour, and ... Yeah, it's just an account, again, of like our lives over the last couple of years ... Warm On A Cold Night was much the same and this—you know, things change. But we're just talking about true, honest things that happened to us. So that's it.
You also wrote a song that Chris Martin is now singing!
Hatcher: Yes ... It's our song "Someone That Loves You" that we wrote with Izzy Bizu that came about just by Twitter.
With both Izzy and Honne, we were mutual fans of each other, and we said let's get together and just write a song. We ended up releasing it together. But then she went on tour with Coldplay in the U.S., and Chris Martin always said that he loved that song and they performed it together there at this little event. He said, "I'll record all of Andy's parts," so they bloody took Andy off, didn't they? They took Andy off and put Chris on, and it's still lovely, but it's a little bit different. It's made to be more like how Izzy played it live, so it's a slightly different groove.
Clutterbuck: Basically, if you would have told me 10 years ago that Chris Martin would sing a song that you wrote, I would be like "hell yes, that sounds great."
What's next for you after Corona Capital? Where are you off to?
Clutterbuck: Back home.
Hatcher: Yeah. So just did the two week U.S. tour. Finish here in Mexico. We go home and we're going to write a load of new music and over the summer and toward the end of the year, we're still doing a few festivals and a bit of touring, but the focus is shifting more towards writing new music.
Anything you could tell us about that new music?
Hatcher: It's going to be lovely.
Clutterbuck: It will be lovely, glorious, sensational... [Laughs.] There's also a collaboration on the way as well with SG Lewis, that's going to be coming out at some point. Just various bits and bumps that we've kind of got in our back pocket that are coming.
Any collaborations that you haven't had but you want to do in the future?
Hatcher: There's lots of like, pipe-dream ones that will probably not ever happen, like Chance the Rapper, that would be nice. Kehlani, that would be nice. We just did a remix of one of her tracks actually. Came out yesterday. Who else have we got?
Clutterbuck: Anybody, I mean I don't mean anybody, but anybody we like
Hatcher: There's loads of artists that we really, really like. It will be interesting to see how things unravel and opportunities come up.