Honeyblood Talk Love Songs, Blink-182 and Fake Blood

Maria Sherman

By Maria Sherman

on 07.17.14 in Features



File under: Caustic indiepop punk that’s breezy, never bored
For fans of: Joanna Gruesome, Vivian Girls, the Courtneys
From: Glasgow, Scotland
Personae: Stina Tweeddale (vocals, guitar), Shona McVicar (vocals, drums)

With a history that includes Orange Juice, the Jesus & Mary Chain, Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura, it wouldn’t be hard to make a convincing case for Scotland as the epicenter of indie pop. Glasgow duo Honeyblood probably doesn’t care about any of that, though. From the sound of their hazy, buzzing debut, they’d probably greet a history lesson with a punk rock “fuck you.” Their songs may sound sugary-sweet, but deep down they’re anything but. On “Super Rat,” Stina Tweeddale’s descending vocal melody carries the following message: “I will hate you forever/ Scumbag sleaze/ Slime-bag beast,” followed by “You really do disgust me.” These aren’t the words of lovesick teenagers — they’re declarations of defensiveness and hate. Let’s see Belle and Sebastian try that.

We talked with frontwoman Stina Tweeddale about fake blood, Blink-182 and writing love songs.

On playing as a two-piece:

We met each other by chance at a pub in Glasgow. I asked Shona [McVicar, drummer] if she wanted to jam on some songs that I had written. She agreed, and that was it! We kind of started the band that way. It was very organic. That’s why there’s only two of us in the band — we couldn’t find anyone that was suitable. We couldn’t find anyone that jelled with us. No one wants to, anyway!

On fake blood, ruining Halloween, and coming up with a band name:

Honeyblood is actually from a really lazy Halloween costume. One year for Halloween — the year before Honeyblood started — I was in another band, and we played a Halloween show where I couldn’t’ be bothered making a costume. I decided to just go as a big bloody mess. I made my own fake blood, which was a combination of water, corn flower, honey and red dye mixed in a big water bottle. I just spat it out on people and poured it them. I don’t think it was [very punk rock.] Everyone thought I was just being really annoying. It was a terrible costume. It was me, wearing all my normal clothes, with just red all over it. It didn’t look like blood at all.

On being a female musician compared only to other female musicians:

The Breeders are my favorite band, so that’s fine for people to compare us to them! But I also like Morrissey. I take a lot from Morrissey, who is clearly not a woman. There’s only a small percentage of people who have picked up on that. You always get compared to girls when you’re a female, because it’s hard to see the comparison with a different voice. Music-wise you can definitely hear the Breeders thing and Best Coast. It doesn’t really annoy us. We don’t just listen to bands with girls in them, so to be compared to bands with just girls in them doesn’t really make any sense. But it’s understandable.

On writing love songs for friends:

“Killer Bangs” is actually about Shona! We spend so much time together. We sleep in the same bed on tour. She had to leave the band for a couple months and I wrote that song when she left. Then she came back — it worked! It was me enticing her back into the band. A lot of the songs are not actually for me but for my friends. I write songs for my friends’ situations, because my life is boring. “Super Rat” is written for a friend. It has nothing to do with romance at all, but it’s pretty personal.

On Blink-182 and guilty pleasure pop:

When you’re on tour, you’ve got a lot of car journeys. It’s nice to have some rubbish pop music to take the time away. It’s fun! If we made a tour playlist, we would feel so shameful — it would be so bad. We listen to a lot of Blink-182. We love [bassist/vocalist] Mark [Hoppus] the best. Mark could go the distance, if you know what I mean.

We had a five-hour drive last night after our show. We left at like half past eleven last night. We got in to our hotel at like three in the morning, and our playlist was a lot of Drake and Solange. We listened to…JoJo! Remember JoJo?