Interview: The Honey Brothers
Mon, 15 Jun 2009 07:35:13
Adrian Grenier Videos
Adrian Grenier's got a lot going on right now.
With Entourage spicing up premium cable airwaves once more July 12th and various other projects looming in the wings, it's a wonder he has time to sleep. However, amidst everything, he managed to squeeze in recording an undeniable, fun pop record with The Honey Brothers. The Honey Bros' latest EP Demonstration is chock full of summery hooks and uber palatable melodies. It's the best way to kick off summer until Entourage ramps up again.
Adrian and "brother" D.S. Posner spoke to ARTISTdirect.com in this exclusive interview about Demonstration, summertime and much more.
On Demonstration, would you say there's a balance between experimental tones and classic song structure?
D.S.: That's actually very much the case. We're trying to get some cool keyboard sounds and some nice clanging guitar. It adds a lot of sections to the songs, which is sometimes hard to pull off in verse-chorus-verse structures.
Adrian: I absolutely feel the same way. I think one thing that keeps us motivated is being able to experiment and try new things, but we're all sticklers on making sure that whatever we come up with ends up being something that's catchy, fun and accessible.
There's a real summer vibe to the record. Was that intentional?
Adrian: We're summer all around [Laughs].
D.S.: We're the opposite of perennial. We're always summer.
Adrian: We're summer in the winter.
D.S.: Permanent summer! The opposite of tundra—how about sundra? [Laughs]
Do you guys automatically click when you're in the studio?
Adrian: Hell yeah! We are brothers. You hear about brotherly music unions all the time. It makes sense because brothers grow up together, they're in the same house, they're from the same rules so they tend to click. We're sort of continuing that tradition as surrogate brothers, but it's the same principal regardless.
You're brothers in art.
What's the story behind the song "Demonstration?"
D.S.: A bunch of us grew up in families who were active in the '60s and were hippie-related a little bit. Some of our parents joined demonstrations, and I think the song is informed by growing up in that culture and processing it a little bit. Also during the Bush administration, which we wrote that song at the tail end of, I think we had a sense of irony as if there was almost no point in demonstrating. The song is about the types of people who romance demonstrations like the BoHo hippie people in the '60s and the '70s. There's a little voice of futility that makes the song angrier and rockier underneath there. That's my slightly over-complicated explanation [Laughs].
It conveys a whole spectrum of emotion in one song.
Adrian: I appreciate the songs because they speak about sometimes very serious things, but they don't take themselves too seriously. There's real emotion, but the emotion doesn't weigh the songs down. I came into the band as a fan. I always appreciated the song. I feel like, to a certain extent, I have an objectivity about the songs. I'm continuing to have that even though I'm actually part of the band and the songwriting process now.
"Moonlight" stands out. What was up with that song?
D.S.: One of the things we like to do is keep the ukulele involved. It came out of this song where Hoyt was jamming this really nice calypso style ukulele line. I got really excited and I thought, "Wow, we could write a really happy, summer melody over that and keep the ukulele first and foremost rather than having off in the background and be too rock." I think it was a way to preserve a little bit of the old instrumentation and keep the groove and upbeat feeling alive. Lyrically, we tried to also keep the band's environmentalism up front because the song is green scenes and global warming images. The song uses it as a romantic metaphor. We were trying to mash that together too. The seas have risen on this romantic relationship, and they're trying to figure out whether or not they can salvage it.
Would you consider yourselves storytellers first?
D.S.: It's true. All of us write fairly often in our lives. There are screenwriters among us, and Andrew writes a lot of the lyrics. When The Honey Brothers write lyrics, some of that filters in. I don't think we write too slap-dash or too thoughtlessly. Maybe we do preserve some of that storytelling. I feel like our recent lyrics have less storytelling than we used to have, but it's hard to tell stories in pop songs. The coolest thing is to suggest a story in a song even if it isn't too obvious. If it comes across that way, that's ideal.
How connected are acting and performing music?
Adrian: I don't know why people always expect artists to choose between the two. But, to me, they're part of the same conversation that I have with myself in my life as an artist and just a human being. We're in a culture of storytellers. We all seek ways of communicating with each other and passing down traditions and ideas. For me, one language or one art form isn't enough. You need to use all of the different ways of expressing yourself that you have at your ready to communicate. They're very related, and one informs the other.