Over the last few years, Brooklyn band Forever Honey has cultivated a sound that lies somewhere between the rattling Britpop movements of The Charlatans and the more dreamy rhythms of Wild Nothing. Built around the entangled creativities of Liv Price, Aida Mekonnen, Steve Vannelli, and Jack McLoughlin, their sound is a curious and often blurry-eyed distillation of countless influences, broken down and reshaped by the elemental reactions at the core of their shifting dynamic.
Their debut EP Pre-Mortem High was released in the spring of 2020, but any further band recordings were delayed by the ongoing pandemic, though Price and Mekonnen continued their independent rhythmic explorations in the comfort of their own homes. Last year, they shared “Satellite” and “Number One Fan“, two songs which originated during the isolation of lockdown. And now the band is back with a new double single, offering “Could I Come Here Alone” and “I’m a Winner, I’m a Loser” as further evidence of their growth as both songwriters and purveyors of gauzy heartfelt emotion.
“Could I Come Here Alone” opens with shimmering guitar lines, slight synth decoration, and a casual percussive thump. And it’s all anchored by hazy vocal ruminations of moving beyond the memories of failed relationships and trying to find new ways to process various experiences to change the associations you hold which tie them to those past romantic connections. It’s a slyly persuasive track, one that doesn’t hammer you over the head with its message of reclaiming your identify but allows you to come to your own conclusions about how you want to handle things. It simply provides a starting point for that healing to begin.
Inspired by a vintage amp purchase, “I’m a Winner, I’m a Loser” is grounded in the numbing feelings we experience as the world constantly batters us, personally, professionally, and any other way that matters. It approaches its emotional density in a different way than its companion single, using underplayed martial beats and softly swirling guitar notes to function as a stand-in for the mental fog that often settles over us when we are doing our best just to survive. As the song moves on, cymbals begin to rise and crest, driven by a voice calling out to the shadows. Come closer, it says, and rest for just a moment before going on your way.
The band explains: “Essentially, our entire creative process for this group of songs was based on us wanting to see how far we could take things on our own. This release feels like an unparalleled representation of us, our influences, our style.”
We sat down with Liv Price for a bit to explore the influences, processes, and personal experiences behind these new songs. Check out our conversation below.
I’ve been listening to your new double single and find that the songs inhabit a remarkable cross-section of genres and experiences. Could you tell us a little bit about each song? What inspired you to write these tracks?
Liv Price: Thanks so much! Aida and I split the songwriting 50/50, based on whatever’s going on in our lives at the time; and this double release is a perfect reflection of that.
The title track “Could I Come Here Alone” was written by me, Liv, and is about the particular emptiness felt when you’re trying to remain friends with an Ex. In my most recent experience, we broke up during my ‘chill girl’ phase, when I was trying to not seem bothered by anything, so my thoughts were in constant conflict with my actions. The lyrics are me processing how to remove this person from the center of my life…knowing that I need to start giving places and things meanings that are independent of my memories with that person.
“I’m a Winner, I’m a Loser” comes from the brain of Aida. Initially inspired by the purchase of a little vintage harmony amp (the song was originally titled “1959 Harmony”), the song was written during a time of some personal turmoil. It sort of describes the metaphorical seesaw she was experiencing. ”I would feel really good sometimes and try to lean into that positivity by going out with friends, afraid the feeling would be fleeting. After the partying and the shows though, there’s a sort of hollowness. It’s not a sustainable or good way to live, and I didn’t feel like I was getting what I needed to feel happy in a deep and meaningful way. So the converse of that good feeling, was this vacant feeling – feeling stuck in my job, in my hang up with an ex, in my writer’s block.”
Tell us a bit about your creative process.
When it comes to the songwriting, I think Aida and I tend to prefer independent (vs collaborative) writing. We’ve written songs together before and liked how they’ve turned out, but I think it comes more naturally to us when we can just fully realize something – at least in its skeletal form – on our own. So both these songs, and really most of our songs, were written from the confines of our bedrooms.
The production / creative process on the other hand was based on the band wanting to see how far we could take things on our own and without other influence. All the songs we’ve put out this summer were produced by Jack and recorded at his parents’ home in Baltimore. In the past, we’ve always relied on external producers to help shape our sound, so this release feels pretty authentic to our influences, our style. Between the DIY set-up of our recording space and the freedom from time and financial obligations, we could really texturally experiment and have fun with instruments we wouldn’t normally think to incorporate, like banjo, pedal steel, toy pianos.
And then our really good friend Kyle Joseph graciously and patiently took all of our ideas and blended them into the mixes you hear now, followed by mastering by another good friend Jennica Best. We’re overall just very proud of how everything turned out and hope it signals what’s to come from us.
Which artists have been your biggest sonic influences?
We all grew up listening to very different things, and maybe in a way that’s what helps shape our sound. I grew up listening to harmony-laden folk and rock (a la The Hollies; The Roches, The Monkees, Fleetwood Mac). Aida grew up listening to more new wavey stuff, like David Bowie, U2, The Chameleons, The Smiths). I know Jack is a big fan of Blake Mills’ production stylings.
So it’s a mixed bag really. We’ve all come to love each end of the spectrum though.
What would be your ideal lineup and venue for a dream gig?
This is a really hard one. I’m thinking a four band bill (including us) which I acknowledge is a doozy. We all saw Ohmme recently and were totally blown away so they’re top of mind at the moment. Fontaines DC is absolutely killing it right now too so I would want them on board as well. And then maybe also that Radiohead project The Smile would headline? We’ve been obsessed with that record since it came out a couple months ago. That would be crazy. I would want it to take place at Irving Plaza since I recently saw this totally absurd guest list for an OK Computer release show Radiohead did there in the 90s. A full circle moment, sorta. Yeah, that would be really really fun.
Anything else on the horizon for the band?
We just headlined for the first time, at Mercury Lounge, which was really scary but cool! Hopefully we’ll do more of that and maybe finally exit the bounds of NYC to play some shows. But we’re excited to take a bit of a step back from playing and just focus on writing and recording. We have about an album’s worth of songs just sitting around, so we’re looking forward to consistently and steadily putting out new ideas.