Boston-based band Honey Cutt is led by singer/guitarist/songwriter Kaley Honeycutt, and they’ve made quite a name for themselves since emerging from the robust indie rock scene in Boston—and New England, more broadly—a few years ago.
Honeycutt, who’s originally from Florida, came up in the New England music scene with bands like Bully and Palehound, and started Honey Cutt relatively recently but has garnered tons of buzz in that short time. There’ve been just two singles released under the Honey Cutt name, but it’s been enough to turn some heads and ultimately lead to the upcoming March 13 release of the band’s debut album Coasting on Kanine Records.
Ahead of Honey Cutt’s performance at Savannah Stopover Music Festival on March 6, we talked with Honeycutt about all things music.
When I hear a song like “Vacation” it feels both California-centric in its jangle pop-ness but also has an inherently 80s British slant to it in performance and production. I imagine the sound comes from a variety of influences, so I’m curious as to who the overarching musical influences are on the band?
I have a variety of songwriters that influence my writing. The Cranberries, Alvvays, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Best Coast to name a few. As far as my recorded sound, the late 80s UK indie pop sound of Sarah Records bands is something I would get compared to a lot with my first EP. It wasn't an intentional aim for the jangle pop sound it was honestly just me recording with the best gear I had —which happened to be a tape deck in my friend's living room in Florida.
With my new record Coasting, I’ve grown to take pride in creating with instruments and gear that some folks find ramshackle. That “cheap” sound definitely carried over in a more intentional way on this new record. I’m proud of where I come from and what I had access to, you know?
How did Honey Cutt get started?
I was living in Florida and I had just lost my financial aid for college when something clicked in me. I spent everyday joyously sweaty, biking around Orlando writing and playing music with friends. That summer, I recorded my first EP that got picked up by Yellow K records. They had just released Japanese Breakfast’s album Pschopomp and I was blown away that they reached out to me. I was like, “Okay, I can really do this.” That’s when I moved to New England and put a live band together.
You come from an era of lots of musical richness in New England, and came up with some really great bands. How do you think Boston in particular and its music scene influenced the direction of Honey Cutt?
When I moved to Boston I was scared. There’s endless talent from musically educated kids at top notch universities. I wasn’t necessarily influenced by the local sound but more so by everyone’s drive and dedication. I was pushed to have a better live sound. I was also inspired by the community there. I’ve grown a lot as a musician and person since my move and I’m thankful for that.
This being the first proper album for this project, how did you navigate what you wanted the album to sound like? Did you have a sonic goal in mind?
I write with a more organic approach. I think each song on the record has its own unique influences of how I was feeling/what I was going through at the time. I wrote the record over the course of a year and my only goal was to record a 10 song album with writing I was really proud of.
On a similar note, do you find yourself going back to any particular themes lyrically? What do you tend to gravitate towards on a lyrical level?
I’ve written music since I was very young to cope and help process my emotions. My childhood was full of change, movement and inconsistency. Music was and is my grounding. My song lyrics are a vulnerable response to what I’m currently experiencing in the present moment. I typically sing my lyrics out while writing and I try not to edit my words too much. My hope is that by sharing my knee jerk emotional responses to my life experiences, maybe someone can relate. So I guess in short, the answer is no. There is no theme!