Quannum is proud to release Honeycut’s “Comedians” in North America. It’s a stellar album.
Honeycut, the bay area based trio who invented future-funk, wowed audiences with an explosive live set and baffled critics with their debut release “The Day I Turned To Glass” back in 2007 are back again. They recently unleashed “Comedians”, their second album, produced by keyboardist, Hervé Salters (aka General Elektriks). Combining the rawness of hip hop with soundtrack sophistication and melodic, rock oriented song writing, Honeycut’s new album is a brave statement on where music can go in 2011. It’s the result of a unique collaboration, three musicians from seemingly disparate backgrounds making the utmost use of their diverse experiences.
Lead singer, Bart Davenport has been a west coast fixture for many years. Although best known as a singer songwriter of indie pop and folkrock sounds, he paid some serious dues as a youngster howling the blues with The Loved Ones. At that same time drummer, Tony Sevener was rocking sold out arenas in Japan with Summercamp, a power pop outfit enjoying the last moments of the alt-rock boom. When that band split, Tony reconnected with his early love of hip hop and DJ culture, developing unparalleled skills in beat programming and eventually, live playing of the MPC drum machine. Meanwhile, over in France classically trained keyboard wiz Hervé Salters was a force to be reckoned with on the Parisian funk scene. His band, Vercoquin achieved some national success but Salters yearned to see more of the world. Moving to the states, he had some eye opening experiences performing and recording with Afro beat heir, Femi Kuti as well as underground hip hop stars, Blackalicious. All the while Hervé had his mind set on breaking new ground with electronic production, eventually culminating in a solo project. Under the moniker General Elektriks, he has enjoyed critical acclaim in the U.S. and commercial success back in his native France.
Somewhere in between all that, these three accomplished musicians met while “in-between gigs” working a day job at Microsoft Corporation. The job itself was short lived but while briefly marooned away in the rainy northwest, the unlikely collaborators decided to try recording together. The result was undeniably fresh and they vowed to continue after an inevitable move back to California. This eventually led to the release of “The Day I Turned To Glass” on Quannum Projects. Suddenly Honeycut had to become a live band and augmented by a few different bass players, they did just that. Almost overnight, they were invited to perform on festival stages such as Treasure Island Fest and BFD in San Francisco as well as Bumbershoot in Seattle, CMJ in New York, South By Southwest in Austin and Virgin Fest in Toronto. With Davenport as the dancing frontman, solid MPC beats laid down by Sevener and virtuosic solos from Salters on his wah wah laden clavinet, live music this funky had not been heard in years. Yet there seemed to be something modern and gritty in the arrangements, the subtle use of samples, a post hip hop sensibility that would set Honeycut far apart from the retro soul bandwagon.
The band was championed by Apple when their track ‘Exodus Honey’ was chosen for an iMac TV campaign and became the audio logo for Leopard (the one all Mac buyers hear when they first switch on their computer). Meanwhile, both Bart Davenport and General Elektriks had solo albums to make and European tours to perform. The band that’s as sweet as honey but sharp as a knife went on hiatus.
Honeycut came back to the studio in 2010 with a new approach. Their second album would be much more organic with an emphasis on Sevener’s real drumming chops, Salters acoustic piano and horn arrangements with a subtle nod to Nigeria. In fact, Afro beat, funk, psychedelia and synth pop (among others) are all filtered through the Honeycut prism. The album’s departure from its more electronic predecessor showcases yet another side of Hervé Salters’ production talents. While Davenport had a larger hand in the writing process this time around, as the three were jamming in the garage, Bart on bass. His lyrics touch on many of the same dark themes as the previous album but Honeycut’s new grooves bring out a more emotional and sincere voice from Davenport. Spring 2011 saw the release of “Comedians” on Discograph in France with a highly anticipated French tour. The album will see a fall release stateside on Quannum Projects.