INTERVIEW: Dirty Honey Take Rock N' Roll Back to Its Roots with Their Debut EP
Los Angeles' rock band Dirty Honey are set on creating excitement around good old fashioned rock n’ roll with their gritty, energetic and raw debut EP. With a sound that has been described "new-fashioned Rock ’n Roll,” Dirty Honey - Marc LaBelle (vocals), John Notto (guitars), Justin Smolian (bass) and Corey Coverstone (drums) - want to bring rock music back to the forefront of the music scene again. And we’re not talking tired, boring, radio-friendly modern rock music. Instead, the band’s sound and live energy will remind listeners of the artists that first sparked their love of music to begin with. In fact, the band has already won the praise of The Who, Guns N’ Roses, and Slash, all of whom they’ve supported on tour.
In March, Dirty Honey celebrated the release of their debut, self-titled EP; a five-song release that finds a definite place in rock ‘n roll, but also explores blues, jazz and even a little bit of funk as well. The short but sweet EP shows a ton of promise from the band, who are gearing up for a run of fall tour dates and certainly have more tricks up their sleeves before the year is up.
Read more about the band and listen to their single, “When I’m Gone” below!
Can you tell us a little bit about Dirty Honey for anyone who might be hearing you guys for the first time?
Marc Labelle (vocals): Dirty Honey is a Los Angeles based rock band comprised of John Notto, Justin Smolian, Corey Coverstone and me, Marc Labelle. The sound is derived from a shared love of rock n roll. We have a focus on creating a unique, familiar sound that is soulful and sexy, but also fresh and new.
Earlier this year, you released your new self-titled EP. Now that it has been out for a few months, what are some of your favorite things about the EP?
Certainly one of the best things we hear about the EP is that it sounds "Alive". The EP doesn't come off as stale, radio-friendly current rock music. There's plenty of nuance in the recording that makes it special and I think that's what rock n roll has lost in the last two decades. Additionally, I love hearing who everyone compares us to because the comparisons are so vast.
While they have a really distinct, solid sound, the five songs on the EP also definitely draw influences from different genres like blues, jazz and classic rock ‘n roll. Were there any artists in particular who really inspired you during the writing and recording process?
Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Guns N Roses, The Black Keys, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, Soundgarden, Audioslave, Stone Temple Pilots. Anything really from 70's/90's rock.
It being your debut EP, was there anything in particular you knew that you wanted to accomplish with it?
Just to create an excitement around rock n roll again. Letting people know that even in today's ProTools era there's still kids out there looking to create a performance on a record that is both new and timeless.
You guys have mentioned before that you want to be able to bring rock n’ roll back into the forefront of the music scene again. What is it about this specific genre of music (and the greats like Led Zeppelin, the Who, the Rolling Stones) that still speaks to people all of these years later?
Those bands created something completely fresh by being in the room together and performing together on a track. Even though they were clearly pulling from their influences and sometimes blatantly stealing from them their uniqueness that they created together is simply classic. No four people will ever again sound exactly like Plant, Jones, Page, and Bonham together. It's impossible. Their take on the blues and rock n roll is solely theirs. The Who is a band that pushed rock n roll forward quite a bit with its originality and use of opera in rock n roll. The Who’s influence can be seen further down the line in bands like Queen and even Green Day.
If you could change anything about the music scene or the music industry to better it, what would it be?
I just wish the streaming services could figure out a more suitable financial arrangement for artists. Coming up with $0.01/stream doesn't seem to me like it'd be that hard and for some reason we can't figure it out. Streaming and illegal downloading has really killed any sort of development of young artists. There's no money generated by these huge artists to nurture the up and comers. John Mellencamp said it best on Howard Stern. It took his band YEARS to actually get good. How could they be expected to be good right out of the gate? They had to develop as performers and songwriters and without that nurturing period by people who not only had money but cared about them as artists they'd never be where they are today.... Sorry if that was long.
You guys have been touring pretty much non-stop all year so far, and have even more tour dates slated for this fall! What has been the highlight of these shows so far?
Certainly the highlight for us is looking out and seeing people singing along to our tunes. There's no better compliment.
You’ve also had the chance to play with The Who and Slash this year. Were these some big “holy crap this is actually happening” moments for you?
Definitely. The Who was insane, there's only a few bands on the planet that we could play with still that would give me that same feeling. Getting to meet Pete and Roger at the shows too was icing on the cake.
Slash has also been a crazy experience. He's a hero to all of us and his saying nice things about the band and our music was completely surreal.
What is the rest of 2019 looking like for Dirty Honey? Do you have any other exciting plans coming up?
Touring with Alter Bridge and Skillet will be awesome. We're looking forward to getting in front of some different types of audiences. I think musically we fit really well with what Slash is doing but Alter Bridge and Skillet will be a step outside of our box, but in a good way. There's more coming that hasn't been announced yet, stay tuned.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just that we're really grateful to everyone for all the great feedback and their love for the band. There's a genuine excitement around rock n roll again that hasn't been felt in a really long time and for us to be a part of that is really all we ever hoped for. Certainly there's plenty more work to be done and we're looking forward to what this crazy journey has in store for us. Stay Dirty.