In Conversation with The Honeyrunners, Part II

The Honeyrunners are a Canadian band that play rock and roll spiced up with Motown, neo-punk, soul, and rhythm and blues. Their first single, Jet Set,” was featured in a Bacardi ad campaign and their “My Garage” became part of Coca-Cola’s project 52 Songs of Happiness. they’re currently touring their new EP, titled EP II. Recently the band’s keyboardist-vocalist, Dan Dwoskin, took the time to answer Wanda Waterman’s questions about their musical tastes, songwriting methods, weird experiences, and plans for the future. (See the first part of this interview here.)

Describe a typical rehearsal.
We have a 20-minute warm-up jam and a few beers, and we then run through our songs again and again until they’re nice and shiny or until we’re too damn tired to keep playing. Then we all get in Marcus’s car and head to Apache Burger.

What music have you been listening to lately?
Album playlist on my iPhone this morning:

– Jack White?”Lazaretto”
– Half Moon Run? “Dark Eyes”
– Rival Sons?”Head Down”
– Ray Lamontagne?”Supernova”
– Ike & Tina Turner?”Proud Mary: The Best of”
– Souljazz Orchestra?”Solidarity”
– Kongos?”Lunatic”
– The Arkells?”Michigan Left”
– Kings of Leon?”Mechanical Bull”
– Valerie June?”Pushin? Against A Stone”

Has anything weird or funny happened on tour or during performances or recording sessions?
Two of the band members recorded the song “Muse” butt naked; if you listen closely, you can hear the nakedness.

Another funny one; Brandon broke a drumstick while playing live television on CTV’s Canada AM. It flew about 15 feet into the air. Without missing a beat he grabbed another stick and finished the song like a champ! Check it out here: The Honeyrunners on Canada AM (It’s at 1:42).

How does the songwriting process work?
We all write the music together; typically someone comes to a jam with a new melody, beat, chorus, etc., and we mess around with it until It’s a song (or send it to the junk yard). Dan tends to write the lyrics; they spew out of him like a fountain?kind of like Pentecostal gibberish at first?and then a story takes shape.

Why did you choose the specific musical instruments you play?
we’re all picky about our instruments; you keep looking for new gear until you find that tone that seems to fit with the alchemy of the band. Brandon used to (and still does) have an obsession with buying and selling his drum kits, though he’s been true to his Tama Starclassic Bubinga (Birch shell, Stewart Copeland Signature Brass Snare, and Shiloh Stave Snare 14 x 6.5) for a while now.

Marcus is completely in love with his ladies?his Ice Tea Burst Gibson Les Paul Traditional and his Gibson SG 61 Reissue. Dan’s workhorse is a Nord Stage Ex 73 (mostly for Wurly and B3) and his trusty Super 55 Sure Mic, and Mike is loyal to his Fender Jazz (with precision and jazz pickups, like a matador or gryphon).

If you hate gear talk: “We make pretty, gritty sounds that make girls look at us funny.”

Tell me the story behind “Muse.”
Muse is a song about a woman, but the undercurrent is about the fear of losing your inspiration for writing new music. I think all musicians face that fear of “when will the next song come?” My favourite line in the song? “I know I’m not the only one, who lies and waits for her to come.” Nice dirty little reference there. Got to love writing in double entendres.

What kind of music has the band been listening to lately?
we’re heavy into soul music right now. can’t stop listening to Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Charles Bradley, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Vintage Trouble, The Heavy, Janelle Monae?It’s nice to see that brand of music all over the radio right now.

What’s next for the group?
Tour season! we’re heading to the US in November for our first American tour (dates TBA here: The music video for “Under Control” is coming the end of September, and a vinyl release in December for EP 1 & 2!

Do you have anything to add?
“don’t take drugs.”?Mom from Almost Famous.

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