As part of their ongoing tour, English electronic duo HONNE made their second visit to Malaysia last weekend where they performed at a 2-day sold out shows at KL Live for Good Vibes Festival.
The pair consisting of James Hatcher (producer) and Andy Clutterbuck (singer, producer) entered the music world in 2014 with their first ever single “Warm On A Cold Night” which received generally positive reviews from music critics.
The name HONNE came from the Japanese word 本音 (hon ne) which means “true feelings”, and this matches the group’s music as they always write songs based on their own personal experience and honest feelings.
2 years later, the duo released their debut album “Warm On A Cold Night” in 2016 which debuted on #37 in UK Official Charts and went triple-platinum in South Korea.
Fast forward another 2 years, HONNE’s second album “Love Me / Love Me Not” arrived in August 2018.
The album explores the contrast of everyday relationships, capturing the duality of life’s ups and downs, and the balancing act of navigating between two states at once.
To understand more about their new album and future plans, we sat down and had a chat with them hours before their live performance in Malaysia.
How does it feel coming back to Malaysia after performing at Good Vibes last year?
James: We loved playing at the festival last time in an amazing setting. We get to come back to play at our own production.
Andrew: When we played at Good Vibes, we flew in straight to the festival. When we came back into town, we went to bed and went out really early the next morning. So we didn’t really get to see much of the city. So it’s nice that we’re able to be here for a couple of days.
How has your tour been so far?
Andrew: Great. We love coming to Asia. We’re going to a few places on this tour. Kuala Lumpur is kind of a new experience for us to be able to play in an actual town. Yeah, it’s been really great. Everyone is always very enthusiastic. We love that.
What does the little circles meant in each title of your new album?
James: The album is called “Love Me / Love Not” which comes about after we wrote the last song of the album called “Forget Me Not”, which has the first line “She loves me, she loves me not”. So that’s where we got the idea of this two halves. As we were writing the album, the music is kind of falling into two halves anyway, it’s just that we didn’t know how to describe it at that time.
We want to have a way of representing that visually. So we use unicodes which were like pre-emojis. So you can use it on any font or computer. We also decide to either fill in on the left and right hand side, kind of like a half-moon thing, depending on whether it’s a “Love Me” or “Love Me Not” track.
How is the making process of the album compared to the previous one?
James: It was quite different. Just like how it begins each time. For the second album, we kind of sat down and discuss where we both want it to go and how we want it to divert from the last album. The things we want it to be is more upbeat, and film more day time. Last album has a lot of night time and lo-fi kind of thing.
Andrew: We work with so many different people on this album in comparison with the first album. So it’s a progressive experience.
As a song-writer are you afraid of being too personal in your songs?
James: You don’t want to put names in there do you?
Andrew: I don’t know. I’m not really afraid of it. It’s just that you can’t go too far, or maybe you can, but I haven’t gone that far yet. This album is more personal than the first one, so the next one maybe will be…
James: …like a diary entry.
Heard that the third album is already in the making?
James: We just started it like 3 weeks ago. We’re working on it, which isn’t very long cos’ most people spent like 3 years.
Andrew: We’re very early on that. We’re not sure if it’s an album or if it’s a song. We don’t know what’s the next thing will be.
Will you guys sing another song in Japanese again?
Andrew: We need to learn some more Japanese. So it could be good, and may be do one for every Asian country as well.
How long does it take for you guys to compile the whole album?
James: It was quite quick actually. the problem now is that we’re still touring. But maybe a year and a half.
Andrew: One of the hardest parts is deciding which songs make it on the record. Because we still write like 30 songs every time.
James: Yeah. We got enough to release another 1 or 2 albums.
What do you fear most when performing on stage?
James: Trousers falling down. Technical problem is probably like the biggest fear.
Andrew: But in a way, if something goes wrong, it’s how you deal with it and how you overcome it. There always tend to be a nice moment when that happens.
James: Sometimes when stuff stops working then you have to perform acoustically while other staff men solve the problem, and people always appreciate seeing you struggle to still pull on a show.