Since the 70’s, New York has been a hot-bed for the raucous sounds of punk and garage. Honduras is a relatively new band, founded in 2012, who are taking this historic aesthetic and bringing it into the modern age. They went upstate to record their debut full-length with the intention of capturing the raw and visceral experience of a live performance.
We caught up with the guitarist of Honduras, Tyson Moore, over email to discuss the new record, Rituals, which was just released today on Black Bell Records.
So, you’re about to release a new record. Can you give us some insight into the production process? Who’d you work on it with, where, when, etc.?
We worked with Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, Liturgy) and went upstate to a place in the Hudson Valley called Outlier Inn. We only had about four days there but we came in really prepared with material. We recorded live as a full band to an 8-track tape machine. Our approach was to do everything in the moment, get it right and move on–avoid second guessing and let the record stand as a reflection of the moment in that isolated world upstate. Jonny is great with a vibe-based approach. The little details of the studio process were overlooked in favor of capturing the right vibe and energy.
In David Byrne’s How Music Works, he posits that physical spaces and venues influence the music being made in a geographic area. Symphonies would sound awful in a dry rock club, punk would sound awful performed in a reverberant concert hall. Do you feel coming up in Brooklyn and playing the intimate spaces here has influenced your approach to writing sonically?
For sure–we started writing music together in a tiny basement where Pat [Philips, the lead singer] pretty much had to scream to be heard. But I think that process allowed him to find his true voice as a vocalist. As we’ve played bigger venues with proper sound like MHOW and Bowery Ballroom we’ve seen our songs expand to include more space and open grooves. Moments in songs can have a bigger emotional impact with proper sound and we’ve started looking to create more of those moments.
There’s a lot of influence from 70’s British Punk in your new (and old) record. What about it draws you to that aesthetic?
We’re more attracted to the first wave of punk in general, bands like The Heartbreakers, The Saints, Wire. We’ve gotten the “British punk” generality a lot but it doesn’t necessarily reflect our influences or our intentions.
In the context of the music you’ve put out thus far, how do you feel this record has evolved your sound?
The biggest evolution came on the last day of recording. We had a few extra hours and extra space on the tape. Pat had been messing with an idea the day before and we started jamming on it and structured it into a full song in about an hour. It was the first time the four of us had done something like that. It’s called “Mirror” and it ends the record, which is appropriate as a nod to our evolution as a band. We feel a sense of chemistry and cohesion that wasn’t quite there when we started the process.
Were there any hesitations in the production process to avoid or pursue a certain sound or vibe?
I would say the only thing we avoided was stagnation. The process was pretty smooth and Jonny was a big part of that.
What do the next few months look like for Honduras?
We’re currently on our first national support tour and hope to keep doing a lot of more of that. We’re also going into the studio again with Jonny in early December to record our second full-length [album].