Mad Honey is comprised of Tiff Sutcliffe on vocals and guitar, Branden Palesano on bass and synths, Keegan Ball on guitar, and Austin Valdez on drums.
Earlier this month Mad Honey released their debut EP “Theories”, we got the opportunity to sit down and talk to them about the EP, here’s what they had to say.
How did Mad Honey form as a band?
Branden: Tiff and I met in like 2013, we both did a church internship together and she showed me some of her stuff on Soundcloud. I was a very mediocre guitar player at the time and was like “hey let’s make music” but we never got around to it. A few years later we started dating and a year after that we started actually making music. I met Keegan at a New Years’ Eve Party at my house, I had never heard him play guitar before but I was like “hey do you wanna be in my band”, and then came Austin.
Austin: I met Tiffany at the coffee shop we worked at, she showed me her project at the time which was the Carole’s Slumber Party demo and I was like “I gotta get in on this however I can”, I met Branden like a week later, and then I met Keegan at the practice for our first show.
Branden: Yeah, it was kind of unorganized, a lot of trusting was going on. Which is good, it worked out.
What are some of your biggest inspirations musically?
Austin: My influences are very broad. I grew up playing in the hardcore metal scene but also playing in church, so everything in between there whether it’s blues or hip-hop. As far as drummers I would say Matt Grinder, as far as his technicality, I try to mimic that. Aaron Spears is another, for more soulful hip-hop funk stuff.
Keegan: I think in terms of my style it’s a lot of bands like From Indian Lakes and Her’s, and then some from the past that kind of creeps its head out sometimes is My Chemical Romance.
Branden: I grew up listening to a lot of grunge, like Nirvana and Bush. Right now though, a lot of shoegaze stuff like My Bloody Valentine for sure, DIIV’s new album is giving me so much inspiration. I love all the writing on that album, it’s just so dark and just really cool. Also stuff like From Indian Lakes. As far as keyboard and synth stuff, Cocteau Twin, I listen to them a lot when I’m trying to find cool sounds. Also, their bassist is the dude who gave me the idea to throw a chorus on a bass and I love it.
Tiff: I feel like right now Surf Curse has been really inspirational for me, it’s like angsty and moody like we are but way more upbeat. Caroline Polachek is everything to me right now, she’s great.
What has been your favorite part about being in a band together?
Branden: I like playing shows together, I feel like we are really in our element and it’s just a lot of fun.
Keegan: Playing shows, and just also having a home in the band and having a solid group of people you can count on and create with.
Can you describe your songwriting process and how that has changed with this new EP?
Branden: With Carole, it was just me, Tiff, and Keegan writing with no drummer, we just had some programmed drums. So now, writing with Austin he’s really good at moving songs along and more structural stuff and it’s a lot better because we have someone who can keep time. Every song though has been really different though like Old Blood was Keegan’s idea with the guitar and then Tiffany wrote something over that. Other songs it’s the same but like I’ll have an idea on synth.
Austin: Yeah, we’re really just all inputting our own ideas into the songs, and contributing to all of them because we’re all very musical. So it’s like everyone is doing their own thing and making a musical gumbo.
Tiff: I think the biggest thing that has changed is everyone being less afraid to share bold ideas. Like Euphoria was a huge group effort more than any other song. Branden and Keegan wrote a lot of it, and then Austin wrote the melody on the verses, and so it was really cool for us to write that way.
Keegan: I think it really helps out with being a more well-rounded musician in general, just getting to feed off each other and build it all together.
If you had to pick a favorite song on the EP, which song would you choose and why?
Austin: If I had to choose, probably Euphoria because it really feels the freshest, and we don’t have many that are upbeat and it really just flys by and jams.
Branden: Probably Theories, it’s just the coolest structured and it was really fun to record.
Tiff: Old Blood, I think it’s the moodiest song on the album in my opinion and it turned out to be pretty psychedelic which I really love. When we recorded the extra harmonies I thought it was really great. That song is really short, but it just feels scathing, it’s really raw and emotional.
Keegan: I feel like they’re all my favorite in one way or another. I’d go with Arms though, I have a distinct memory of like a year and a half ago of us rehearsing playing Arms, and I was really feeling it but no one else was and I just had this thought of “someday we’re gonna record this and it’s gonna sound great”, and now we’re here and I’m really proud of how it turned out, and I think it’s some of my favorite guitar stuff I’ve done.
You can check out Theories here: