United Fox: An Interview With Honey Radar

Honey Within in seconds of hearing Philadelphia’s Honey Radar for the first time I had one those, stop everything, why I am just finding about this band now, who the fuck is this, moments.  Those early releases were such a revelation to me that I quickly sought out every recording available and jumped right in. Luckily , Honey Radar release a considerable amount of music in quick succession. Over the past 10 years Jason Henn has been writing and recording concise and compelling lo-fi pop songs under the moniker of Honey Radar. Their is a timeless quality to the music, as if these were long lost recordings of the mid 90’s 4-track renaissance or perhaps a shelved Elephant 6 project. Henn’s has a gift for recording songs that sound vaguely familiar yet, completely unique. At times Henn’s vocals seems to effortlessly float atop guitar fuzz and tape hiss while tossing out gigantic and lasting pop hooks. In advance of Honey Radar’s performance at Rhode Island Freak-Out I had the chance to speak with Jason about his creative process, growing up in Indiana, and how he came to release music with Henry Owings Of Chunklet Industries.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: Back in April you released Psychic Cruise, can you tell me about the creative process that led up to the EP’s release?

Jason Henn: It was a pretty roundabout process. It came together almost like a comp. Alexa from RAYS visited around Christmas 2016, and we filled a tape with jamming. The song Moon Director came out of that. The song Knocked Out was dropped from our last album for reasons I don’t remember, and Medium Mary Todd was trimmed off our next album for reasons I don’t remember. The songs Psychic Cruise and United Fox were recorded last summer while I had the 8-track set up in the kitchen. I took over the downstairs of the house and had a lot of guests over to make noise. We’d done two other pressed singles with Henry Owings at Chunklet, and I knew he wanted to make it a trilogy, so the concept and artwork all came together with his encouragement.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: Is writing a daily activity for you at this point or do the songs come in bursts.

Jason Henn: I definitely don’t write new songs everyday, but I try to pick up a guitar and play through my list of unrecorded song ideas everyday. Then, new songs will come as they come, sometimes a few at once. I keep a bunch of notebooks and record a lot of voice memos. I have two albums-worth of songs at the moment and hope to record them all before the end of the year and decide exactly what to do with them later.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: Once again you have teamed with Chunklet Industries for the latest release. How did you forge that partnership?

Jason Henn: Henry (Owings) wrote me out of the blue a few years ago and asked if I’d consider doing a 7″. It was a surprise, because I’ve been a fan of his design work and writing for a long time. I always assumed he heard about us through Dynamite Hemorrhage magazine, Chunklet had an ad in the same issue where I did an interview, and it was really soon after that that we started working together a lot. At this point, Henry’s invited us down to Atlanta a bunch of times, crashed at my house in Philadelphia, and invited us to tour with him earlier this year with Bardo Pond and Major Stars. We’re on the bill for his 50th birthday party later this year. We’re lucky to know him.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: It seems most coverage of Honey Radar inevitably links you to Robert Pollard/Guided By Voices. Apart from the lo-fi aesthetic how much do you feel he’s influenced you as a songwriter?

Jason Henn: His volume of output is definitely inspiring. I think archival releases like Acid Ranch and the Suitcase boxes, the way they show how he gets from the germ of an idea to a complete song and the way he reworks and recycles ideas over time, have affected the way I brainstorm and some of the editing decisions I make. I probably have more confidence not to second guess and go with certain absurd lyrics or other strange ideas because of him.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: How did growing up in Indiana effect your desire to create and make music of your own?

Jason Henn: I think my first role models for making music were my family. My dad attempted a career as a country singer and self-released a couple singles in the early 80s. So I had it demonstrated to me from a young age that anyone can make a record and send it out into the world. I forget about that sometimes, but it must be where I first got the urge to put out records. Some of my aunts and uncles also played bluegrass and gospel music. I grew up in Richmond, Indiana, and looking back, it had a more active music scene for its size than you might imagine. There were a lot of townie punk and hardcore bands like Dryrot, Kid With A Stick, and Dagmar’s Fiasco. There were artier bands that went to the college in town, and I made friends with a group called Melba that was sort of quirky and had weird songs about drawing animals and did Velvet Underground and Vaselines covers. They were legendary to my group of friends, because they had recorded an album with Kramer that was never released. Lance from Melba is the person who taught me how to use a 4-track.

The AGP
: You will play the inaugural Rhode Island Freak-Out at next week, what can those who have never experienced the Honey Radar Live experience expect?

Jason: People who haven’t seen us before sometimes comment that it’s heavier or noisier than they expected. We have three guitars buzzing pretty much constantly. We figured out at some point that we had to play to the situation and not try to replicate some of the weird arrangements on the records, so we mostly just rock things out.

The AGP: What’s in store for Honey Radar in the foreseeable future?

Jason
: We finished an album earlier this year called Ruby Puff of Dust, and it’s coming out sometime soon. We’re also doing a few more split singles before the end of the year.
Don’t miss Honey Radar at The Ash Gray Proclamation Presented, Rhode Island Freak-Out Sunday August 26th at The News Cafe. Event details can be found here.

A Users Guide: Rhode Island Freak-Out

fof_3This Sunday we proudly present Rhode Island Freak-Out, a full day of music, vendors, food, and refreshment at Pawtucket’s News Cafe & Parking Lot. At first our intent was to attempt a full day show that would incorporate some of our favorite acts from Providence, Boston, and beyond. We weren’t sure how or if it would actually come together. However, once we started to reach out to these acts, we were taken back by how accepting and enthusiastic they all were of the concept of the little pipe dream we’ve coined, Rhode Island Freak-Out. Motivated by some of our favorite Live music experiences and the desire to bring together as many musicians, artist and music obsessives in one place at the close of summer. With all proceeds from this event going to our performers this event and the ones that follow (we hope) will be a way to celebrate and support the local music community. Below you will find a brief guide to this years event, performers, and a playlist to get you prepped for what is sure to be a special day. We look forward to seeing friends, old, new, and yet to be made. Respect the space and most importantly each other.
pines1 - Brian Daly1:30 Rye Pines
Bursting out the Allston basements earlier this decade, Rye Pines have evolved into a sinister and howling garage punk trio. The bands Live sets are something to behold, consisting of equal parts sweat, grime, and surf punk furry. Arrive early and bear witness.

2:15 Beverly Tender
The Providence by way of North Carolina duo of Molly Hastings and Tristian Brooks occupy a space filled with delicate atmospherics, jagged distortion, coupled with earnest and wistful vocals. I’ve been eager to book a show with Beverly Tender since discovering their debut EP and last years release of their remarkable full length, What Have You Done To My Water? only heightened my appreciation.
NHNH

3:00 No Hope/No Harm
Boston’s 90’s emo leaning supergroup that features members of The Good North, The Shelia Divine, Field Effect, and Sebio. No Hope/No Harm appeared seemingly out of nowhere and quickly released two impressive singles and earlier this year the band issued, the Swimming In The Charles EP frontman which finds fronter, Luke O’Neil leading the charge on 6 infectious guitar pop anthems.

3:45 Hellrazor
You may know Micheal Falcone as the drummer of Speedy Ortiz, but over the past decade he has been writing and recording under the moniker of Hellrazor. This is no side project, Hellrazor are a lo-fi fuzz punk trio delivering concise, varied, and catchy as fuck pop songs.

4:30 Halfsour
I originally discovered Halfsour a handful of years ago via debut cassette and followed along through bands evolution. The one constant has always been Halfsour write and record terrific and energetic guitar pop with nods to 90’s indie touchstones while delivering something wholly unique.
Lookers
5:15 Lookers
Providence’s dark pop super-outfit fronted by writer, performer, and 2017 FEMS Poetry Slam winner, Muggs Fogerty. With limited music on-line at this point when Lookers play out it’s an event to behold.

6:00 14 Foot 1
Providence’s venerable spastic math outfit were on a the short list for this event from day one. Sonic spender via dual guitar wailing and propulsive percussion awaits.
14 Foot 1 on Bandcamp

6:45 Twin Foxes
Sunday will mark our third show this year with Providence’s heavy indie set, Twin Foxes. So yeah you could say we like them. The band arrived on our radar back in 2014 and have managed to deliver terrific string of releases, most notably this years tremendous, Sleeping On The Attic Floor. Not to be missed.
BH new7:30 Black Helicopter
Boston rock veterans and purveyors post-punk sludge, featuring members of Green Magnet School and Krudgel. After a stint on Thurston Mooore’s Ecstatic Peace! imprint the band has amassed an impressive discography most recently with Everything Forever (EP). Anthems for the downtrodden with big riffs and even bigger hooks.

8:15 Saccharine
The recording vehicle of Boston’s Kevin King, formally of Maura who offered his debut LP We Both Become The Sky, a collection earnest and captivating folk tinged introspection in 2016. Next month Kevin will team once again with Disposable America imprint for Saccherine’s sophomore release, Hollow Space. Perhaps he will treat us to some new tracks? Come and find out.

9:00 Major Stars
Boston’s venerable psych rock stalwarts made their Live debut at Terrastock in Providence way back in 1997, so it was a total no brainier to approach Wayne Rogers, Kate Village and co. to join us for our first installment of Rhode Island Freak-Out. For over two decades and multiple line-up changes Major Stars have consistently delivered their raucous, exceptionally adept, and singular sonic achievements.

9:45 Honey Radar
Honey Radar is the uber prolific and euphoric hook laden project of Jason Henn and the first band we asked to take part in this event so,we’re beyond thrilled that the PA lo-fi pop dynamos are taking the long drive down interstate 95. With elements of 60’s British invasion, psych pop and 90’s indie these songs feel oddly familiar and brand new all at once.
kal_marks_press10:30 Kal Marks
We first Boston noise rock titans, Kal Marks earlier this decade at one their explosive Live shows and that’s all it took, we were all in. Led by vocalist/guitarist Carl Shane, Kal Marks explore darkness and personal hardship and offer a little bit of light through a unified concoction of crushing distortion, pummeling rhythms, and Shane cathartic howl.

Thank You To Our Participating Vendors:
Midnight Warewolf Records
Tor Johnson Records
Moonstone Message & Bodywork
Frayed Knot Electronics
Nick Jacobs
Lenny M Art
Justin Foster

///Sunday August 26th: Rhode Island Freak-Out at The News Cafe & Parking Lot///
12 PM ~ Doors 18+ $12 Event Details

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