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Honeyrunners - Interview

  by Julie Cruickshank

published: 12 / 4 / 2022

Honeyrunners - Interview

Canadian band The Honeyrunners have released a debut album which, in their words, is "a Northern take on Southern Americana". With funk and soul thrown into the mix, 'Everything Is On Fire' is a complex listening experience which becomes more rewarding with each play. The band's keyboardist and lead vocalist Dan Dwoskin speaks to Pennyblackmusic about channelling anxiety into songwriting, being a musician in Canada and drawing inspiration from many genres to become a 'melting pot of music'. PB: Hi Dan, The Honeyrunners’ album ‘Everything Is On Fire’ is a fantastic debut. Was it in the main galvanized by the Covid-19 pandemic, as many of your lyrics attest? How are you doing? Was writing and recording the album cathartic for you and the band? DD: Hello! Thanks for the interview. We truly appreciate the support on this album. The big irony of ‘Everything Is On Fire’? We wrote it pre-Covid (mic drop). Goes to show you how much anxiety we had in our lives when there wasn’t even a pandemic to blame it on. We were going to release it March 27th, 2020. Needless to say, I’m a bit of an emotional rollercoaster these days, but mostly grounded and working towards building up this band with Guillermo for an eventful 2022. Writing and recording this album was a lot of things; cathartic, painful, inspiring, intense, and joyful. Working closely with Guillermo to get these songs to a place that satisfied us both was a welcome challenge, as we were both chasing things we weren’t even aware of yet. In short, we just wanted to make great music (without killing each other). PB: Were there difficulties with travelling and getting together in the early stages of the pandemic, and how did you cope with that? DD: We had just come back from Folk Alliance International in New Orleans January of 2020 when we saw hints of the oncoming mayhem. We were gearing up to promote the new album with Canadian tour dates that were soon wiped clean off the board. We tried our best to defy the cancellations by getting together and playing virtual shows, but the joy just wasn’t there – we love shows; we feed off of the energy of a room, and being terrified of getting each other sick wasn’t all that inspiring. Once things shut down and panic was in full swing, we took a break from it all to nurture ourselves, spend time feeding the soul. Most of us have young kids, so we focused on family and other means of earning money. Silver lining? I think we all needed the break, and we needed to figure out what really matters. Music and family need to coincide without always being a wrecking ball. Sometimes you need to leave music for a while to rekindle your love for it. I think we’re in a great place now – something has changed; there’s a new energy here and I’m into it. PB: Your sound is a mix of many things - Southern Americana, funk, soul, pop and much more. How does this work within the band - are each of you bringing in different influences or are you all pretty much in tune, so to speak? DD: We’re pretty genre-fluid. We always have been. I think these songs could be produced towards a number of different genres. For us, the draw usually comes down to this: infectious rhythm and strong timing, memorable melodies, a sense of space and pocket, layers of vocal harmonies, a good story, and a wrestling match between optimism and cynicism. We don’t typically set out to write to a specific genre. We just write to the song that’s on the cutting floor. The guys listen to everything under the sun; it’s no wonder we’re a melting pot of music. PB: Tell us a little about the band - who plays what, how you got together. DD: Today’s lineup is quite different than 2012. Each new musician joining this band has brought some magic to the table, and I’m grateful for those experiences. These days, we have Guillermo Subauste playing bass and singing back vocals. He also writes and produces with me, and often handles recorded and live sound production for the band. Lewis Spring plays drums and sings back vocals. Conor Gains plays electric guitar and sings back vocals. All incredibly talented musicians who play in their own bands, write, record, produce, and tour. I’m on keys (usually piano, B3 or Wurly) and lead vocals, doing most of the songwriting and lyrics for The Honeyrunners, along with management and PR. Nine years and we’ve still managed to remain independent, for better or worse, with some help from great friends along the way who taught us the ropes. PB: A lot of good music is coming out of Canada. In the past musicians such as Rush and Bryan Adams have produced albums with vast soundscapes which seem to reflect the size and remote areas of the country. Do you feel that living in Canada has an effect on you musically? I am thinking of long cold winters, travelling long distances and staying indoors when the weather is freezing. DD: Canadians are complex people. We are absolutely shaped by the ebb and flow of our weather. The coast to coast drive is quite unappealing for most, especially in the winter months where it can be downright dangerous. You deal with weather in kind, depending on where you grew up and where you live now. Just like some people get used to tornadoes or fires, we get used to -20c (aside: you never really get used to it, you just “cope”). Yes, it sends you to some dark places. The seasons in general make it worthwhile; summer here is incredible. Fun fact, there are only about thirteen days a year where Canadians don’t complain about the weather. I won’t speak for all of them, but here is what I believe: Canadians pride ourselves on understanding the world beyond our own country – we embrace differences, and celebrate them (though we could do a great deal better with our approach to celebrating our indigenous roots). A city like Toronto is an international peace conference in its own multi-cultural chaos. The music here reflects that, from coast to coast, with bits and pieces of a genre melting pot. Feist. Arcade Fire. Leonard Cohen. The Weekend. Joni Mitchell. Neil Young. Drake. Alanis Morissette. Bahamas. City and Colour. Blue Rodeo. Shawn Mendes. Avril Lavigne. Bieber. Alessia Cara. The Tragically Hip. Canada has heavy hitters who have straddled genres and created magic, and there are more popping up every week in our industry. We may not be as patriotic as Americans, but I am quite proud to be a Canadian musician. PB: Are there any British bands you admire? DD: I’m a huge fan of British music; The Stones, Adele, The Who, Gorillaz, Amy Winehouse, Ed Sheeran, The Kinks, Oasis, Dua Lipa, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Mumford & Sons, Johnny Flynn. The list could go on for pages. PB: What are your future plans for recording and touring? We’re already working on the next album, and we’re looking into 2022 tours for UK, EU, Netherlands, Canada and US – God willin’ and the creek don’t rise. Covid needs to go away. PB: Thank you.

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Honeyrunners - Interview

Honeyrunners - Interview

Honeyrunners - Interview

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Julie Cruickshank talks to Honeyrunners’ vocalist and keyboardist Dan Dwoskin about their debut album ‘Everything Is On Fire’, channelling anxiety into songwriting and being a musician in Canada,



Everything is On Fire (2022)
Canadian band The Honeyrunners’ new album showcases a taste of Southern rock with a soulful, funky vibe

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