What happens when you mix a saucy female fiddle player from Ohio, a bearded rocker from Massachusetts and an intense adoration for Tenacious D? You end up with folk-rock duo honeyhoney featuring Suzanne Santo on violin and lead vocals and guitarist and co-singer Ben Jaffe.
Honeyhoney recently spent a couple minutes with Blast before their Boston show at the Paradise Lounge supporting Rocco DeLuca to talk about their debut album “First Rodeo,” tour and rock siblings.
“This tour has been so much fun because we’re playing with two incredible musicians “" Mike Greene and Wendy Wang. Basically they make us sound more like our record and they give us friendship” Santo said from a booth at the top of the bar after sound check, “Playing with a full band sounds more like ‘First Rodeo.’ After this when Ben and I [tour] just the two of us it’s a little bit different of a style.”
The road has been full of bumps and bruises for the band though, including having to sit out South by Southwest because Santo became ill shortly before the Austin festival.
“That was a pretty depressing moment for me because I didn’t even get to see a show let alone play a show. I was just deathly ill” Santo said.
Jaffe added, “At least every tour I’ve been on has been like a roller coaster. It’s very cyclical. Suzanne got sick for a little while and we had to cancel a bunch of shows. It’s a good time if it only sucks 30 percent of [the tour].”
After the DeLuca tour honeyhoney will immediately be hitting the road with Gavin DeGraw. All of the work on the road is to support “First Rodeo,” the duo’s debut album that came out last November on Ironworks records. The record’s framework is a series of stories written by Santo and Jaffe together and separately before recording the LP.
“I like to try and be as creative as possible. Generally it comes from imagery, describing a setting or a specific time. Sort of cinematic view, I like to pretend I’m in a movie and just describe little vignettes” Jaffe said.
Santo picked up right where he left off: “I actually get a little insecure about having a story be too specific when I’m writing a song. It’s sometimes a little more fun, more fulfilling if I add more fantasy to the story. At the same time I don’t feel like we have a specific process when we’re writing. It changes every time.”
Stories are not the only things that inspire honeyhoney. Jaffe and Santo are also huge fans of Tenacious D, the rock duo of Jack Black and Kyle Gass.
“They are like our rock soul siblings!” exclaimed Santo but Jaffe corrected, “Except they have no idea we exist. What I love about them, first of all the music on any level is amazing. It doesn’t take itself seriously. It just has a lot of things I like about music and they’re hilarious.”
The hilarity is definitely something honeyhoney tries to include in their mixture, which becomes obvious when Santo tries to open the top of her beer with a water bottle cap but fails after several attempts. Eventually a bottle opener is found and the duo start making plans to get dressed for the show. Before they leave Santo leans across the table and answers why everyone should buy in to the honeyhoney flavor as if she’s about to whisper something top secret.
With a sly smirk she says quite bluntly, “It’ll get you laid.”
Do you have a better reason not to?