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In 2018, unless an artist has a Drake-like grip on the charts, it’s tough to directly gauge success. Seven-digit streams don’t always translate to actual fans at shows. One act might draw the attention of every tastemaker going, while still failing to sell more than a handful of physical records.
In the case of London duo HONNE – Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatcher – their time in the spotlight has been disorientating. Success has paved every step, but tracking where it comes from has proved a tough task. One week they’re selling out a 3,000 capacity show in their hometown, the next they’re headliners at a festival in South Korea, playing to 20,000 people, and shortly after they’re jet-setting to LA to collaborate with other artists. In this age when anyone can access music from virtually anywhere, HONNE’s 2016 debut LP ‘Warm on a Cold Night’ has been embraced by different corners of the globe (the album went triple-platinum in South Korea), a swarm of fans all equally obsessed with the pair’s skill in writing relatable, emotion-fuelled, romantic pop.
For their next move, instead of getting caught up in different audiences, vast territories and the demands of a world-spanning fanbase, they focused on themselves. Placing a microscope to their own lives – the jet-setting highs and lows of being in a band, the relationships they tried to hold up back home – they emerged with a touching, personal second album with its own universal appeal.
‘Love Me / Love Me Not’ - HONNE's new album coming out on August 24th 2018 - captures the duality of life’s ups and downs, and the balancing act of navigating between two states at once. Whether it’s the honeymoon period high of a relationship, the frustration of a long-distance separation, the fear of losing someone close, Andy’s lyrics dial in at the reality of most people’s lives. The record acknowledges that for every peak, a challenge is round the corner; and equally, that whenever life throws everything at once, better times are ahead.
Sticking to their London flat-turned-studio, HONNE worked with some of pop’s most diverse, exciting talents on ‘Love Me / Love Me Not’. North London drummer/vocalist Georgia stars on the jet-lagged ‘Location Unknown’; Norwegian singer Anna of the North gets caught up in the fidgety dayglow of ‘Feels So Good’; Jazz-pop prodigy Tom Misch and pianist Reuben James also make timely appearances. For some acts, collaboration is often a box-ticking exercise to cram big names into songs for the sake of it, but HONNE have a different motive, where they’ll only work with an artist who can provide something new. They scout out new music, track the artists down and promptly slide into their DMs. “These people have a lot to offer, a fresh perspective that maybe you wouldn’t otherwise see,” states James. “It’s a shame to limit yourself purely for pride, to limit it to just us two in a room.”