RSVP HERE: Honduras livestream via Launch & MORE!

Photo Credit: Jennifer Medina

Honduras are long-standing Brooklyn hometown heroes. Since 2012, they’ve recorded tons of catchy ’70s influenced power pop tunes that ooze with New York City lore, and have filmed many of their own music videos. They’ve played hundreds of shows in Brooklyn DIY spaces, opened for Blur and Interpol, and toured the country with other indie darlings such as Sunflower Bean and L.A. Witch. Despite a pandemic and a change to their original lineup, Honduras are moving forward with a record that they finished last January and will be playing their first livestream this Saturday 12/19! We chatted with the band’s vocalist, Pat Philips, about books he’s read in quarantine, his struggle with social media, division in our society, and the need for better access to mental health care.

AF: How has Honduras changed and grown in 2020?

PP: For a large part of 2020 I thought Honduras wasn’t going to be a band anymore. Tyson Moore, who I started the band with, got in touch with the rest of us in April and said he was ready to move on from Honduras. We couldn’t blame him. Him and his wife moved outside of the city, and the three of us had accepted he would quit eventually. But it was still a bit of a shock. And kind of heartbreaking. I have a long history with Tyson – we actually went to the same elementary school in Columbia, Missouri where we grew up. We’d been working on music together for the last 15 years, so I have so many life memories intertwined with him. After he quit the rest of us gave each other space. Fortunately, we all really believed in an album we’d just finished in January and wanted to keep going. We’ve been rehearsing the last couple months and we’re grateful for an opportunity to play a show, or a virtual show, or whatever.

AF: How was writing and recording “Remains,” the single you released this past fall?

PP: I really struggle with social media, and I think during the time of writing “Remains” I was acknowledging that it was affecting my behavior. It was written shortly after the 2016 election when everything seemed to be at a fever pitch. Anger, jealousy, insecurity, hatred, vanity, materialism, division are some things I believe social media exacerbates. I’ve also worked in nightlife in NYC for the last 9 years, and during that time a friend had just passed. That was surreal because he would close the bar with me every night, so it was weird adjusting to his physical presence being gone. We didn’t actually record the song until March of 2018 at Ultrasound Studios in Los Angeles. We were playing a few shows out there and fit in a session with Samual Shea and Julien O’Neill of the band Warbly Jets on production/engineering. The session was really loose and great. The studio was in downtown LA which I’d never been to before, and man it’s really scummy around there. The street the studio was on was a weird alley street, and the sidewalk was lined with all these Turkish men drinking espresso and chain smoking. We really enjoyed that session.

AF: Have you been working on any non-music things in 2020? Discover a passion for any unexpected hobbies?

PP: I’ve always had a passion for books and the free time was a blessing to read a bit more.  I read some James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Hemingway, the Joy Division oral history. But the book that actually had the greatest impact on me was called The Broken Heart of America by Walter Johnson. It’s this 500 page history of the city of St. Louis “and the violent history of the United States.” St. Louis is the most segregated city in the US and also has the highest murder rate. But it also has an incredibly vibrant history. Maya Angelou, Miles Davis, Chuck Berry come from St. Louis.  I was born there, but moved to Columbia, MO at 5 years old after my parents got divorced. St. Louis has always been the city where most of my family lives but a place I never really understood. The book helped fill in some missing pieces. I also helped my fiancé’s parents for a few weeks with moving into their new house in New Jersey. Did a bit of painting, and putting together furniture and shelves. I’m not very knowledgeable in some of that work but it was great to get out of Brooklyn for a few weeks and work with our hands.  We’ve been in our apartment this whole year, but this year has instilled our love for NYC. With that said, the few trips out of the city helped restore sanity.

AF: Can you tell us about your new line-up or is that surprise for the livestream?

PP: Maxi Motcham has been filling in on guitar/synth for us. We’ve only been rehearsing for a few months, but he’s really professional for someone his age. Plays both instruments well. I think we’re all just happy to be playing music again. We understand it’s a huge privilege, and we’ve had some cool opportunities over the years. But it’s not something we take lightly, or pursue for financial gains. We do it because we have to – it’s a release that I couldn’t compare to anything else. And I’d be terrified of a life without it.

AF: Do you have any plans for new music in 2021?

PP: We will be releasing a 12-song full-length LP called Redeeming Features. We’re putting out two songs in January, and hopefully the rest of the album shortly after.

AF: What would you like to see change in the world in 2021?

PP: Oh wow. It’s really the division that gets to me. I hope this next year, after all we’ve gone through we can all lean into that voice that beats deep inside. It’s the human spirit, and it’s love. Love and understanding for others. A lot of the fears we share are false masks that people at the top perpetuate for their own profit. We’ve all been through hell, but 2020 illuminated a lot of what is wrong with society. A lot of the systems of the United States appear to be broken. A lot of marginalized people do not have access to opportunity. I think the government should spend more money helping its people, I think corporations should be taxed fairly like the rest of us.

On a personal note, I got to a place a few years ago I didn’t know I was going to be able to get out of. I’d repressed sexual abuse from my past, and was struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. I got arrested at work one night and spent 40 hours in jail. Something shifted mentally in those hours, and when I got out I was broken. It was a low point, but soon after, for the first time, I was able to tell my partner about the trauma I’d experienced. I had held that secret in for 12 years. Fortunately with my insurance in New York, CBT therapy was covered. I’ve been in therapy for the last two and a half years and it’s changed my life so much. I want to advocate for therapy, and hope it can become more available for people. After 2020 we’ve all been through traumas, and I believe therapy for millions more people would help put our society back together.

RSVP HERE for Honduras via Launched. $15, 9pm ET

More great livestreams this week…

12/18 Yo La Tengo Hanukkah 2020 Livestream in partnership with WNYC & The Greene Space. 8pm ET (Rebroadcast 12/19 at 7am, 1pm, & 8pm ET), RSVP HERE

12/18 &12/19 Vundabar via 9pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/18 Rachel Angel, Double Graves and more via Around TheCampfire. 7pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/19 Oh Sees live at The Henry Miller Library via Seated. 7pm ET, $3.98, RSVP HERE

12/19 Lucero via NoonChorus. 10pm ET, $15, RSVP HERE

12/19 Waxahatchee, Vagabon, Black Belt Eagle Scout, La Luz via KEXPY Awards. 8pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/20 Wonderville Benefit: Weeping Icon, Babay Jicks and the Ghoul Fiends. 8pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/21 Thick via FLV (recorded live at The Footlight). 8pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/22 Grace Potter via Veeps. 8pm ET, $25, RSVP HERE

12/24 War on Women, Chris Gethard, Slingshot Dakota and More via The Fest Holiday Show. 7pm ET, RSVP HERE

INTERVIEW: The Hum Kicks Off With Jessica Lea Mayfield & Rachel Housle

Brooklyn will be humming every Wednesday this May with the music of female-identifying artists and their fresh collaborations. Rachael Pazdan, the mesmerizing mind behind Hypnocraft, began curating wildly popular Brooklyn-based pop-up events at venues like Greenpoint’s now-shuttered Manhattan Inn. Arguably her most beloved brainchild, The Hum brings together a varied mix of sounds made by women, and May 2 kicks off its latest residency at the House of Yes in Bushwick.

Now in its third year, The Hum is returning with another run of talented performers, some returning to the residency and others who will become members of this musical family for the first time. Since its inception, The Hum has developed a powerful platform for women to share their talents, voices and artistry, while showcasing Brooklyn’s multi-faceted music scene.

Follow AudioFemme weekly throughout May as we meet up with a variety of artists who will be joining the ranks of Hum performers. This week we shared question and answer sessions with both headliner Jessica Lea Mayfield and Brooklyn-based drummer and second-time Hum collaborator Rachel Housle. Both women discuss the distinct difference between working with women vs. men in an industry that is still very divided by gender.

Jessica Lea Mayfield

Audiofemme: What will you bring to this week’s Hum?

Jessica Lea Mayfield: Two of the things I wanted to do may be happening, but I’m still not sure, so I don’t want to talk about it, in case it doesn’t happen. Whether those things happen or not, I will have Emily Maxwell from Daddy Issues on drums, and Audrey Whiteside on bass, and harmony vocals. Those are some of my favorite bands, one of my favorite lineups, and two of my favorite females to play with. So that alone is gonna be really energetic and fun.

AF: Do you work with them regularly?

JLM: Yea, I used them for a tour a couple months back and it was awesome. Audrey lives in New York and she plays with a ton of people, so she’s always touring. I was really fortunate that she was able to do this, because I really didn’t think she would be. She’s almost always booked.

AF: Have you been involved with The Hum before?

JLM: No. I’m excited to have been asked to be a part of it.

AF: Do you usually get to work with other female artists?

JLM: Over the past year I’ve tried to more. I used to end up working with a lot of men, and I kind of realized I wanted to make an effort to hire females that I respect and female friends and even younger females who I can help give experience to. That has honestly improved my life by like 2,000 percent – having female energy in my workspace. It’s insane how drama-free touring becomes when you get the right personalities together, male or female. Definitely when you have the right type of sensitivities and like mindedness, because you know everyone is trapped in a rolling box together, then they’re backstage, then they’re onstage, then they’re at the hotel. You’re always around each other, so you have to absolutely love the people that you are working with.

AF: Have you been a part of any other female dominated showcases like this?

JLM: I’ve done stuff with She Shreds; I love that magazine.

AF: What kind of impact do you think having those kinds of showcases, and ones like The Hum, has on the music industry at large?

JLM: I have mixed feelings. People will say to me “Oh, I saw your female drummer,” and they’ll name like three female drummers, and go “Well there aren’t that many.” And it’s like no, literally half of all drummers are female. But those aren’t the ones that you see everywhere and hear people talk about, so it’s good when things like this put them out there. But at the same time I think all female musicians strive for a time when things are no longer gendered. We have to fight to just say we exist first, before we even get to that point to where the gender lines don’t exist. Men shouldn’t be the normal thing and women are something different. It’s a weird gender segregation in music that is getting better but its still problematic.

AF: Do you feel inspired in a different or unique way when you are working with other women?

JLM: I think for me, I’ve noticed that playing music with other women that I’m close with, I feel I can be a little more comfortable. You kind of let down your guard, because there is that societal gendered thing in music where when you’re playing with men, whether they realize is or not, they treat you a little differently. So when you’re playing with women there’s none of that weirdness – we’re all the same.  

Rachel Housle

AF: How did you get involved with The Hum?

Rachel Housle: I performed at The Hum in 2016 for the first time. Rachael Pazdan approached me and it was kind of like a musical blind date with me and a few other people. I had a really great experience then, and I got asked back by one of the musicians that I originally performed with at the first one that I did. She sort of hopped on board with the two ladies from Fruit & Flowers, so Rachel Angel had asked me to drum with them. Getting together with them had a total communal feeling pretty instantly. I’d worked with Rachel [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Angel] before and she is currently playing with Fruit & Flowers, so it’s just a total connection.

AF: What is the approach that you took in creating your performance for The Hum?

RH: We each brought in a song that we had written previously. So it was actually cool to hear it played in this group of musicians. It just kind of adds a different life to it. We are also working on writing a song together.

AF: What is that process like for you, to come together with a group of musicians you haven’t worked with a lot and build a brand new piece together?

RH: I feel like at first there’s that moment where you have to break that threshold a bit, kind of break the ice. I feel like personally this time we gelled really well, the conversation was instantly happening, and the music sort of mirrors that level of interaction. So we just kind of dug in and started playing songs that we had sent each other voice memos or recordings of and then after that we got a sense of each others’ playing and musical personalities. There would be these little interludes where we would be playing through these ideas and we didn’t even realize we were doing it.

AF: What do you feel like The Hum adds to the music community of Brooklyn?

RH: I think something like The Hum adds so much. As somebody who plays in different bands, there are a lot of times where I show up to a gig and I am the only person who is not a man, or specifically not a white man, at the entire gig. I feel like there gets to be this very insular environment of dudes calling other dudes to play in bands. And when you can really showcase this entire network of people, not only do you have this one great guitarist who happens to be female on a gig that you know of, but then that person gets connected to all of these other people, and it becomes this network of musicians.

AF: How is the writing process different for you when you get to work with other female musicians?

RH: There is a different flow to it. I think they are more willing to work within the framework that you bring, as opposed to trying to change things right off the bat, or trying to educate you about something, when you’re trying to work through and idea. Which is not to say that all men do this, but I find that men in the room tend to be very used to taking a leading role. So when a woman comes in with her own composition it’s kind of blurry sometimes who is actually leading that moment. I think that it’s more of an equal footing, and a more collaborative process [when working with women].

AF: Is there a different essence that comes out of your music because of that more open collaborative feeling?

RH: I think there is. I think that energy gets transferred into how that song is played, and I think there’s just a whole different set of ideas that you can then follow through. There’s more of an openness to take it somewhere different and special. Now that I know this network of really great, female musicians, I feel more inclined to hire a woman for something that I’m doing. Now that I have all these people that I know, it makes it much more approachable to say, “Oh I really want to bring this person in.”

AF: How has being a part of The Hum influenced your own music?

RH: One of the greatest things is I developed a really cool musical connection with Rachel Angel and we’ve been performing together ever since. So the musical blind date worked out really well. It’s such a great showcase to be able to meet all these women in the same show as you, and make it accessible for future collaborations. It really brings each person to the forefront and highlights their individual contribution, whereas you might feel like you get lost in the background, especially on the drums. I think each individual person is very appreciated and recognized after the show.