I met Andy and James of Honne and it was my fangirl dreams coming to life

Photos by Gian Nicdao and Tin Sartorio

 

I didn’t realize how much of a Honne fangirl I was until I was minutes away from meeting them. I was waiting for my turn to interview them, familiarizing myself with all the questions I noted on my phone, when I felt that wave of anxiety crashing onto me. Shit. I’m really meeting Honne today, huh. I gave myself a pep talk. I took deep breaths and put on a big smile (which I hoped didn’t make me look constipated). As I opened the doors with all the courage that I could muster, I found myself face-to-face with Andy and James. They were mere inches away from me, on the way out of the room, and my first thought was that they decided to cut the day short. But instead, they greet me with pleasant smiles. Andy turns to me first, and excuses himself for a bathroom break. James does the same. I melt. The waiting continues.

There is a certain fear that comes with meeting your idols in real life. The fear, perhaps, could be attributed to the magnitude of idolatry, but also, in the possibility that the images that we have conjured up in our brains won’t come close to who they are in real life.

As I wait for them to come back to the room, I suddenly wonder how I would react if I they don’t measure up to my expectations. My mind wanders, but I am brought back to reality by the cheery greetings from Andy and James. They gesture me to my seat, and they wait for me to take my place before they plop down on the couch. As nervous as I am, I start off the interview with a bit of small talk. We talk about their ongoing world tour, their travels, and Manila. When the conversation moves to Filipino food, they asked me if I’ve tried “that weird egg thing”. “Oh, balut, you mean? No, no. I’m actually scared to try it,” I say. They laugh and say that they feel the same way. My anxiety is now long gone. All that is left is genuine fondness for the two guys in front of me.

“Love Me/Love Me Not” is Honne’s latest album, featuring twelve songs that tell a cohesive story of a love found and lost. As you listen to more of the album, the narrative shifts to that of a heartbreak. From being together to breaking up. From a gleeful, budding romance to the poignant acceptance of the end of a relationship. “It’s an account of our last couple of years, basically,” Andy shares. “We’ve always liked writing true songs — songs that mean a lot to us, about our lives. We wanted to have two contrasting sides for this album, so we have Love Me, and we have Love Me Not.”

The beat-driven “Love Me/ Love Me Not” is a fresh, new sound of Honne. Compared to the tranquil and subdued feel of their debut album “Warm on a Cold Night”, this album is more spritely, feature songs like Day 1 and Me & You.

For Andy, the difference in the sound came about after a change in the time of writing. “I think the biggest difference really is that most of the songs in ‘Warm on a Cold Night’ were written at night, and it showed a lot in the sound. For this album, a lot was written in the day time,” he says. “That’s why the songs sound summery, almost. Bright.”

At this point of the interview, I realize that there is a weird sense of familiarity hanging over us. I ask them which of their songs they like best, and Andy chooses Day 1. “I’ve always liked how Day 1 turned out. I really think that it’s one of our best written songs.” James, on the other hand, picks Location Unknown. Day 1 is great, yes, but I like Location Unknown because it speaks about something so personal to me.” He flashes a sad smile, turns to me, and asks me what song I liked best. My mind suddenly jumbles and I stutter. How do I even choose when I literally know all the words to all their songs?

“I cried once before, while I was listening to Sometimes,” I couldn’t help but blurt out. I tried to rack my brain for other songs but it has always been Sometimes that spoke so closely to me. I laugh it off, but James gives me a pat on the back. I laugh at his poor attempt at closing in our distance, and Andy gives me a somewhat joking ‘Awwww’. Right then and there, I was sure, that I would always treasure the 10 minutes that I shared with the duo.

Fast forward to Saturday, and I am in the middle of a huge crowd that’s singing along to Honne. My heart is pumping, and I feel as if I have a deeper connection with Andy and James already, even when I know that they probably don’t remember my name anymore. They are onstage, doing what they do best, and the feeling of seeing them perform, after having a somewhat candid conversation with them, brought me a feeling that I can only liken to catharsis. I have known them for years, by listening to their songs and watching their videos, and gotten to know them again when we met for an interview. And this time, I felt like I was seeing them in another light — the energetic, flairy duo onstage, playing music that resonated to the thousands of people in the crowd with me.

My expectations were surpassed, to say the least. I am now, and will always be, a Honne fan.

 

P.S.For crazy fans (like me) out there who want some inside info on what happens before shows, here’s a fun fact: James likes drinking gin and tonic, and Andy, the calm and collected person that he is, just takes a shower, “like a normal person.”

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#events #music #self

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