Musiciens Je Veux Frencher | Honheehonhee
@ Quai des Brumes 8/2/12
We arrive at the after party and I can only think of one thing. Gum. The tiny club is covered in mirrors and fringed lampshades. I’m headed to the bathroom as an excuse to ask everyone en route for a stick of Winterfresh.
Always remember gum, Emily. Jesus.
It’s the kind of after party where no one really remembers the pre-party occasion. I look back and my photographer (the amazing Mohamed Hamad) is at the bar taking a shot. I spot the WC and squeeze past the DJ booth. Oh, right, the Dum Dum Girls are mixing? There they are, all three of them wedged behind the turn tables. They’ve got really awesome haircuts. Someone distributes shots and a fashion photographer strobes them with his flash. They’ll make it to a sexy nightlife spread in Clin d’Oeil, whereas I try to rehydrate my cotton mouth in the bathroom sink. Not all forms of journalism are glamorous, kids.
I was still reeling from the gig at Quai des Brumes. Honheehonhee was fucking great. Trading instruments, scaling amps, thrashing, kicking, howling. They would occasionally collide cheek-to-cheek for perfectly executed “whaa-ohhs.” – in perfect four part harmony. The Quai des Brumes reminded me of some British bloke’s smoking parlor – dark paneling, sculpted ceiling tiles, Tiffany sconces. The elegant atmosphere teemed with beer drinking American Apparel Ts. Channeling house parties from Jennifer Love-Hewitt movies, it wouldn’t have surprised me if someone broke a vase or chanted for a keg stand. Honheehonhee rattled the small stage, slinging sweat into the crowd, stripping off t-shirts. We were pulled almost magnetically off our woodcarved barstools towards the frenzied crescendo. The stage shook. Frisbees ricocheted off light fixtures. The band hit a final chord and then drooped over their instruments in exhaustion.
“Did you see the show?” I ask. I bum a tic-tac off a girl applying orange lipstick in the bathroom mirror. “Amazing, eh?” she responds. I press my way back across the dance floor. Outside on the curb, the police have already been called. I pull the band mates in around me. Brandishing a pen I turn to Erin – the lone female member – Who do you vote has the best facial hair? “Between Greg’s hobo beard and Stefan’s porn ‘stache?” she asks. “Isn’t the better question whose is worse?” What’s with musicians and facial hair anyway? “Being on the road without razors?” Matt offers. “No. Reactions changed when we grew beards,” Greg says, “It means you’re serious about music.” Stefan leans in, “We’re really just playing characters of ourselves on stage. I feel facial hair to musicians is what stage makeup is for theater actors.” There is just enough ambiguity that I feeI I shouldn’t be laughing. I ask about the band name – pronounced “honey honey.” (Favorite mispronunciations include “horny horny” and “honky honky”). It’s a reference to a character in a Nintendo 64 game called Conquer’s Bad Fur Day. Why haven’t I heard of this? “It’s been grossly underrated.” “It’s a super violent murder game.” “It involves adorable teddy bears and squirrels.” “That shoot each other.” “Squirrels that storm the beaches of Normandy.” “Teddy bears with bazookas.” The bouncer is shushing us. I’m laughing and I can’t see my notepad (read: bar napkin. <link to: moleskin donation fund>).
“How many bands has she kissed exactly…?” Stefan hisses to Mohamed as the milling bar crowd gathers closer around us. Inside, bodies are pressed against the window and the bassline surges and muffles with the opening and closing of the door. So, why do people find musicians so sexy? We light a few more cigarettes.
Erin: “Probably because these guys literally take their clothes off?”
Matt: “It’s equal parts baring yourself on stage and actual sex appeal.”
Greg: “Well the guitar has been compared to a woman’s body, so you’re basically caressing a woman on stage? And, you know, having fast fingers…”
Matt: “I think it’s really about how music emits low frequency vibrations, viiiiiibrations, you know…” (hand gestures)
Erin: “But no, it really is about the expression of emotions. During the performance you’re connecting with people on a whole different level…”
Matt: “Yeah, Erin, with vibrations.”
The bouncer angrily shushes us again. I’m about to ask about their middle school days – Greg and Stefan played their first gig at 10 years old – when Matt cuts in, “Wait, so when are we going to make out?” I’m not sure if he’s eager to kiss me or get back to taking shots with the Dum Dum Girls. He smirks at me and I watch his eyes rest on my lips. I’m definitely not disappointed to learn Matt is the volunteered lipsnatcher. The first to strip off his shirt on stage, he has a big, expressive mouth and a pronounced Adam’s apple. He’s got crazy assertive eye contact. He’s sexy; the only thing that puts me off is how well he knows it. Better to remain unattached, I suppose. I smirk back at him.
“Yeah, okay, let’s do this.”
Mohammed steps into the street to frame the shot.
“How much tongue?”
The others step in closer.
“Are you just going to grab my face like that?”
“My mouth is really dry.”
“So is mine.”
“Are we recording?”
“Are you nervous?”
Mohammed adjusts his lens.
“No, are you?”
The kiss was perfect. Matt swept me back into a ballroom dip, foreground to the synchronized lip lock between Stefan and gf Meagan behind us. The wide angle shows us framed by a chorus of leering sidewalk voyeurs. Like their music: fun and intelligent with just the right dose of theatrics.
Photo: (l-r) (background) Erin Halpin (keys, vocals), Greg Halpin (guitar, vocals), Stefan Gow (guitar, bass, vocals), GF Meagan Smith; (foreground) Moi!, and Matt Raudsepp (guitar, bass, keys, vocals)
Liam Killen (drums, not pictured)
Honheehonee has made two hilarious music videos: Watch a fuzzy pink monster drink itself to sleep & hot Montrealers running (mostly) naked in the snow.
Stream their album “Shouts” here.
Photos by Mohamed Hamed.