Honey Butter is a revival of the jazz age. They are the audio embodiment of underground clubs where flappers would kick their feet up and bootleggers would smuggle bottles under their coats. It was a time of enjoyment, of pure survival. It was the Roaring Twenties then, it is the Buttered Twenties now.
Although jazz is too limiting of a descriptor for the Honey Butter sound, its influences are undeniable. Both Jacob Galdens and Oliver Holden-Moses, the co-leads of the Honey Butter band, agree. Jazz has been a strong foundation for the group. As Jacob said, “Most of us were jazz students in the Northwestern Jazz department. So that’s kinda where we’re from. So our earlier stuff was a mix, a mixture of punk and soul and jazz influences in there.”
Those same jazz influences can still be found in Honey Butter songs, but one would have to listen a bit harder than before. As the band has continued to release music since their first single in 2019, they’ve explored more genres. As Oliver put it, “We really are just making a synthesis of everything we listen to and we listen to a whole bunch of stuff.”
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A clear example of such being their most recent release, “February,” which took a more stripped sound than their other music. “‘February,’ was meaningful to me because it was both an exploration of a different, more acoustic sound that I had wanted to try for a while. Cause I love acoustic, folk, guitar music, and that’s not really folk, but it’s more acoustic than our other projects. So getting to explore that was really fulfilling for me creatively. Also, getting to remake a song that was written in 2019 was really powerful because it was kinda reminiscent of when we were all in a room together, writing songs,” said Jacob.
For Oliver, “February,” had a more tangible experience. Oliver said, “I felt really vindicated to be working on this project, having the files on my computer and knowing exactly what happens where, it’s just, you know, it feels a lot more intentional. Like everything we did was on purpose, it was our choice. You know, it’s an old song that was written collaboratively. It’s one of the only songs with, God, it has four writers on it. Most of our songs are two. But, yeah, it was a crazy experience.”
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Probably because the two took on more than creation and execution, they also dove head first into production and distribution during quarantine. “I’ve gotten really into designing synths and wavetable synthesis and learning everything, all the stuff you can do with Ableton which is really just an ocean. You know I could spend years and would not have it all figured out. Yeah, we’ve been surviving. I’ve been surviving by trying to make as much music and learn as much as I possibly can,” said Oliver.
Jacob, while he did unfortunately contract Covid, has also been keeping busy. “Having the time in quarantine to dedicate to learning how to craft the whole song for the band on the computer and learning how to collaborate remotely so that we could still make music was really what kinda got us through. And that’s really how we made, “We Could Be,” and “February,” really. Those are two quarantine projects, we were just sending tracks back-and-forth as I was in California and Oliver was in Oklahoma. Then other members were scattered throughout the country. So we just learned how to do it remotely and do it ourselves,” said Jacob.
While Jacob and Oliver have already paved the path for production, it doesn’t seem like there will be new music soon. Jacob said, “We’re just kinda in a writing phase right now. With these last two singles that we mentioned earlier, we’ve kinda started to explore our new sound. I think that we’re just trying to find our place and just writing it, just creating a bunch of stuff, seeing what kinda things we can make. So we don’t have any concrete release plans for the future. We’re just writing and figuring out what direction we want to take our sound in, in the future.”
Although growing their sound is also a path they’ve already paved previously. As Honey Butter was becoming a more concrete plan for Oliver and Jacob’s future, they visited one another’s homes to start working on their music. “So “Pages,” was the first track that Jacob and I worked on together. He wrote a whole bunch of it and the song was mostly done. And I wanted to fix some of the lyrics cause it was originally a kinda angry song,” said Oliver.
Which Jacob whole-heartedly agreed with, having said, “It was an angry song, for sure.”
So the two worked together to ease some of the musical aggression overpowering the song. Oliver said, “I had never written lyrics at the time. And I was like, “Fuck it, I’ll write some lyrics. Let’s see, I’ve always liked words.” So we kept working on songs. I kept working on lyrics and songs and it’s been very natural. A natural progression of getting to know each other better and our tendencies, the things that we each like to write and like to listen to. I think it’s just been a musical journey, in every capacity.”
One that doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. While there may not be new music gracing our lives in the near future, they did offer some kind words and odd stories for their fans before getting back to work. Jacob said, “Thank you for supporting us and what we’re doing and what we’re putting out. And also, take time for yourself and take time to care for yourself. Ollie and I were talking about this just earlier this morning. The last couple of months have been hard creatively, we felt kinda burned out and not really doing anything, just accepting that, you know, saying, “It’s okay that you don’t have motivation to make it today or you’re not really feeling it today.” Accepting that not everyday has to be go, go, go, 100%, is healthy. So yeah, taking time for yourself is important too.”
Oliver’s parting words were, “Oh my gosh, thank you! It feels so wonderful that with the release of the EP that it spoke to people. We don’t have the biggest audience in the world. And there are plenty of people on Spotify doing significantly bigger numbers than we are, but it means the world to me that people will reach out to us and say, “We love your music.” We had a fan from Indonesia DM us on Instagram a couple of weeks ago. Their friend bought them a bag of chips, honey butter flavored chips, and wrote the lyrics to a significant number of our songs on the bag of chips. And it’s just like, “Oh my God!” It feels incredible that people actually want to hear this and that, “Oh, we don’t have to pay people to listen to our music.” It’s great. Thank you all! Please stick around and rock with us while we write some more!”