Honne wants to make you feel warm and understood

Honne wants to make you feel warm and understood

The duo talks about friendship, collaborations, and songwriting that’s full of character and eschews pop polish.

Photos by Kitkat Pajaro

 

Andy Clutterback and James Hatcher met in college, without so much as an inkling that 10 years later, they would actually be touring all over the world, with thousands of people flocking to their shows. Back then, they were each other’s first friends in university, writing music just for fun. A few years later, when their music started to mature, they learned more about music production and songwriting, and they realized that they were actually great at what they did, they turned the hobby into something more serious. “Honne”, which is a Japanese term that roughly means “true feelings” became their namesake — a testament to the honesty and vulnerability that shines through their music.

There’s a lot that can be unpacked when you listen to Honne’s discography. There’s synth pop and soul, EDM and lo-fi, contemporary and retro. In their debut album, “Warm on a Cold Night”, the music is subdued — cozy, like a blanket that would, to say the least, keep you warm on a cold night. For their second album “Love Me/ Love Me Not”, which was released in August of last year, the music is more beat-driven, like a Saturday morning that embraces you with a cluster of feels. The narratives are heartfelt and raw in both albums, but the feelings are more personal in their latest releases. Andy shares that their songwriting has become more and more personal as time passes. He even says in jest: “If you want to hear more about my love life, watch out for the next album.”

Fourth time’s the charm: Honne’s seven-show Manila tour had them performing in malls with crowds that rivaled the hype of bigger venues.

Honne’s distinct sound is what has made them a hit, and it came after years of honing their craft and finding the unique sound that they wanted to be known for. Their songwriting process is all but a walk in the park, but their longstanding friendship and respect for each other as artists is what keeps them together. “We want loads of character in our music. We look for the little things that not make it like a polished pop record,” James shares. 

The duo’s rise to popularity came at a time when music was easily accessible on the internet. With songs that could resonate with just about anyone in the world, and well-thought visuals that accompany each release, Honne’s sound became a staple in the indie world, and later, to a much more mainstream crowd — and even more with the Asian audience. After the release of “Love Me/ Love Me Not”, touring in Asian countries was a no brainer, and the jam packed venues can speak for themselves.

Face-off: Because they’ve been friends for so long, we put Andy and James to the test — by drawing each other from memory.

When asked why they keep coming back to Asia, they both agree that it’s one of their favorite parts of the world. “It’s so different from the Western world,” Andy laughs. “The energy of the crowd here is different, and we love performing here.”

The seven-show Manila tour that concluded last Nov. 13 was Honne’s fourth time playing in Manila. Instead of vast concert grounds, they performed in malls, but the crowds were hyped up just the same. All the shows were filled with fans that sang through every song with the perfect pitch — which thoroughly amused the duo. “We’re not just saying this, but Filipino fans are the best singers out there.”

 

“The energy of the crowd here is different, and we love performing here.”

 

More than a year after the release of “Love Me/ Love Me Not,” which gave birth to crowd favorites Day 1 and Location Unknown, and collaborations with artists like Anna of the North, Tom Misch, BEKA, and even BTS’s RM, fans are anticipating for a new release. And with a hefty list of dream collaborations which include Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper, the anticipation is set to grow even more.

While nothing is set in stone yet, Honne shared that they’re working on something with Thai indie singer Phum Viphurit in December. They shared the stage earlier this year at the JOOX Thailand Music Awards, and have been great friends since — Phum even became their tour guide in Bangkok.

Glitz and glam, all-star collabs, and sold out shows aside, Honne still sees the value in making music that transcends the superficial. “What I want people to get from our music is that feeling of being connected to something, and not feeling alone. I want people to feel warmth and feel related to.” Honne will always be Honne — true feelings will always be true feelings. 

 

 

Follow Honne on Instagram at @hellohonne.

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