Just like the contradiction at the heart of their name, Glasgow/Edinburgh power duo Honeyblood are an amalgam of contrasting elements, teaming the sweetest tunes with the most visceral backing tracks to widespread acclaim over the past few years.
We spoke to frontwoman Stina Tweedale ahead of their gig at Saint Luke’s this weekend about some of the influences on their ace new album, Babes Never Die, starting with the songwriting of Belle & Sebastian with whom Honeyblood toured the States in 2015:
I read an interview Stuart Murdoch did, saying that when he was ill, he spent a lot of time indoors and he thought it was more interesting to write about other characters instead of himself. I really like that storytelling in songs. I spent a lot of time on the first album writing about myself which can get quite boring after a while so it was a conscious effort to put that aside for this album and write these little stories about these characters. We started writing the album as soon as we came back from that tour so they influenced a lot of things in general.
I think the scene is Glasgow is really supportive. A lot of people want you to do well. I don’t see myself as being totally in Glasgow or totally in Edinburgh, but Honeyblood will always have a certain attachment to Glasgow. Things like doing our first gig at the Old Hairdressers, starting off doing everything ourselves, very DIY, people prefer to come to that sort of show in Glasgow. We didn’t even really have a Facebook or anything, we just put posters up and people came, really old school.
I am really relentless when it comes to melody. I spend a lot of time on it because, for me, that’s the song – a melody that is simple, effective and singalong and all the words connect together and make a sound that’s effortless.
I am constantly in this state and I do it to myself. I love being scared and the idea of spookiness, and I like being in a heightened state. I’m so happy that we released a Hallowe’en album. It was going to come out in spring but it’s not really a spring album
The remote mill in Dumfries where they recorded some of the album
It’s a beautiful, big old water mill. It looked a bit gothic. We set all the gear up in the basement because that’s clearly what would happen in a horror movie. There was this massive painting on the wall with a dead moose and a wolf ripping its throat and a vulture, and someone had just thrown red paint at it to look like blood. I stared at that constantly for four days and I really think that painting had an impact on the album.
We wrote Sister Wolf there and I stayed up for a good three, four hours just doing vocals until I got it. I took my headphones off and realised I was in a heightened state of panic because I was alone downstairs at three in the morning in this scary house.
I’m obsessed with Dracula, it’s my favourite book.