Music

Handgrenades Drop Video for Stomping, Fuzzy New Song "Honey B" (premiere)

Photo courtesy of the artist

Urgent, aggressive, and still melodic, Handgrenades' "Honey B" conveys the perspective of one in the throes of addiction.

A drone's flyover shot opens the video for Handgrenades' newest song, depositing the viewer in an outdoor amphitheater surrounded by forestry. Amid the faux-antiquity architecture (complete with a reflective pool behind them), the Detroit quartet offsets the tranquil setting as they play "Honey B". Laden with stomping rhythms and scuzzy guitars, the tune belies its sweet title, with its frayed, rough-and-tumble urgency tempered by the group's trademark harmonies in the ear-worming chorus.

This is the second song and video released by the band in the last few months, their firsts since 2016's Tunnels LP.

Jesse Shepherd-Bates, guitarist and lead vocalist on "Honey B", took a few minutes to speak with PopMatters on the song and what's in store for Handgrenades.

What was the inspiration behind the song?

The song is about addiction. The theme evolved during the writing process. At first, it was just a "Honey Bee; you got the best of me" line... basic guy singing to a girl who has a pet name stuff. Then "Honey Bee, you'll be the death of me" came out of my mouth and I realized I'd rather sing about drugs than women. I've lost some of my favorite people to heroin. I put myself in their shoes and tried to compare addiction to a deadly drug to an addiction to a harmful relationship, and the rest of the lyrics spilled out. We shortened the title to "Honey B" - the B being for Brian Miller, an integral member of the Detroit music community that we lost last year.

How has Handgrenades' sound, aesthetic, or creative approach evolved in the years since the release of Tunnels?

Joel Sanders left the band about six months after we released Tunnels to pursue other endeavors (we still love him), so the new material has been written as a four-piece, rather than a five-piece. This is the same lineup as (2014's EP) 52, but we're four years older and wiser. Well, we're older at least. The songs continue to be co-written. Nobody brings a demo in and just tells everyone what to play and calls it a day. We're still working with Zach Shipps at RV Audio Lab. He's the best producer in town, and we love him too.

Tell me about the shoot for the video. It looks like a unique setting. Where was it filmed and how'd you get access to the spot?

No comment.

Were you going for a Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii homage?

I don't think any of the guys beside me had ever watched that footage. Andrew (Pawelski, bassist-vocalist) just started listening to Pink Floyd last month, and he conceptualized the shoot. But after I got done editing the first cut of this video I sent them Live at Pompeii and said, "the video reminds me of this." Good question.

Is there any influence of Tom Petty's similarly titled "Honey Bee"?

No, nor is there an influence of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, if that was your next question. Those guys didn't invent bees.

"Honey B" is half of a 7-inch, the other half being "Vampires and Freaks". Is it also going to find a home on a forthcoming EP or LP?

Yes! Both "Honey B" and "Vampires and Freaks" are part of an EP that will be out in 2019. As far as the 7-inch goes - this is the presale link. "Vampires and Freaks" is cool, too. We pressed the 7-inch with Third Man Records and it sounds great.

What's next on Handgrenades' frontier?

We're playing a neat show at the Belt in Detroit on 28 September, then we're putting our heads down to finish a new LP. That one won't be out for a while, but boy oh boy, is it gonna be tasty.

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