A talk with indie-pop duo Oh Honey
For indie-pop duo, Oh Honey, it was a time of dire need when the lives of Mitch Collins and Danielle Bouchard intersected. The pair who initially met years prior to their musical venture reconnected during what Collins recalls as the lowest point.
"I was dodging eviction notices, I didn’t pay my rent for months, anything to just try to make this work. I started this and I was working more just trying to get by, producing records. I put everything on hold to start this band and make a go at it," said Collins during our interview.
It's without a doubt that the two were bound to reconnect for purposes beyond simply making music, but it's their collective talent, passion and dedication to living out their dreams that has fueled their succes to date from the success of their single, "Be Okay" to inking a record deal with Atlantic Records.
We sat down with Collins and Bouchard to talk about their musical venture, touring, and the trials and tribulations both they face both personally and professionally as a result of being involved in the music industry.
strong>CN: What inspired your group name and when did you decide to come together and pursue music?
strong>Mitch Collins: What inspired our group name was definitely How I Met Your Mother. It's a Katy Perry episode, that's the name of the episode, Oh Honey and I'm a big Katy Perry fan.
I was kicking around this idea for Oh Honey for awhile and I was just kinda going back and forth in my brain, like "what is this going to be?" I knew I wanted to kinda put together a guy-girl duo kind of vibe. And a buddy of ours kind of-- I met Danielle a couple years prior to us reconnecting musically. A buddy of ours sent me a voice memo of her singing and I was like, 'who is this?' and he's like 'that's Danielle Bouchard' and I was like 'no way' and we kinda fell back into that way and she was the missing link.
strong>Danielle Bouchard: At the time for me, I had just graduated college, I went for acting. I was living in the city just auditioning and also trying to do music on my own, just trying to figure out my life. And then I got a call from my friend and he's like, 'you need to stop what you're doing right now and sing into your phone and send it to me' and I was like 'okay' so I just sang Acapella into my phone and sent it over to Mitch and we connected
CN: How does living in NYC influence your music?
MC: It's New York City. It's our favorite city in our opinion. It's the best city, we love it. It's definitely a melting pot. It is what everybody thinks it is. It's a melting pot, it's chaotic, it's stressful, it's a whole lot to deal with but there's different things popping up everywhere you turn, there's music, art and culture everywhere you turn. It's an interesting thing. Like the subway, I always think I'm sitting across all these different people but I'm never going to see them again.
DB: I feel like when you live in New York it has a tendency to bring out the worst and the best in you. I've lived there for like six and a half years and I feel like I've lived a lot since I've lived there and I've experienced all kinds of things like heartbreak and happiness and success and a lot of failures so I feel like it also gives us a lot to talk about by just living in such a crazy, diverse place like that.
CN: Who would you say are some of your musical influences?
DB: I love Bon Iver, he’s my favorite. I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac with my parents. I love Stevie Nicks, she’s my idol for life. I listen to a lot of Sara Bareilles, Damien Rice, a lot of artists like that; singer-songwriter kind of vibe.
MC: I’m a big Bruce Springsteen fan. I grew up in Jersey, so. My mom was big on him as well. Michael Jackson, I’m also big on Ryan Adams. I definitely love the new Taylor Swift record.
CN: You recently signed to Atlantic Records last year and since you’ve released your debut EP, With Love and your single "Be Okay." What has that ride been like for you?
strong>MC: It’s definitely wild. We were in a really unique position I think compared to a lot of bands-- we hear it all the time from friends of ours like “Oh my god, it’s crazy that you guys released that so quickly.” We were in a unique position because we had a lot of momentum going on with the song on its own like Sirius XM was playing the record and the song was selling and we had tour offers coming up. So to wait was going to be very detrimental to what we were doing so we were definitely in a unique position just getting stuff out, like pouring gasoline on the fire.
CN: Be Okay was picked up by Glee, what was your initial reaction to that?
DB: That was unbelievable. I went to school for acting, so I used to watch the show so I was like, ‘What!’ It’s so crazy. We watched it together at a friend’s apartment and had a little watching party. We kept rewinding it and watching it over and over again but it was cool to know that half the country was watching this at the same time as us. It was cool seeing our YouTube and Twitter and Instagram blow up, it was a really surreal moment.
CN: How would you describe your songwriting process?
MC: Different. Every song has a different beast. Sometimes songwriters have one way that they do it. Every song takes on its own different thing like sometimes I’ll wake up and I’ll have an entire song in my head or sometimes Danielle will have lyrics and we’ll just fidget with it and put music with it and try to figure it out. Sometimes we’re in the studio and we’ll just play a guitar riff, sometimes I’ll not write a song for six months. It’s just one of those things where every song has its own beast.
DB: We try to keep our songwriting as organic as possible and not force anything; write about what we know.
CN: How would you say you have evolved personally and professionally between your two EPs?
MC: Personally, yeah. The songs I think grew a little bit. A lot of the songs that we have released were written around the same time with the exception of maybe two or three. Personally we’re always progressing, learning more and more as we write more songs. Especially being on tour as much as we have. Being away from family and friends is hard so there’s always stuff to write about.
DB: I feel like I’m a totally different person since everything has gotten moving for us. You definitely live a lot touring in a van months and months out of the year. You definitely learn about yourself. I’ve learned how to relax because things get really hectic and crazy and can totally bring out the worst in people but you have to learn how to chill and go with the flow sometimes because otherwise you’ll drive yourself crazy.
CN: What’s your favorite and least favorite part about touring?
MC: Playing shows every night, honestly.
DB: Yeah, that’s mine too, just getting on stage every night in front of new people especially when you see people sing back your words there’s no way to describe how awesome that is, I love that.
MC: Least favorite, it’s really lonely touring. Touring is awesome, you get to be in a new city every day, you literally get to meet new people, and play music for a living, it’s a dream. But the other side to it is that it’s lonely and sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it’s hard being in a van hours on end, living out of a suitcase, being away from your friends and family-- your loved ones and your significant others-- you feel like people forget about you. I feel like you find out who your friends are really fast on tour because I found that a lot of friends that I thought I had were just out of convenience and you find out who your real friends are because they’re the ones that’ll stay in touch.
DB: Yeah, you find out who your real friends are and there’s a lot of value to that.
MC: I remember posting on Facebook something like loneliness is a vein and somebody commented about getting to play for thousands of people every night, people screaming your name and it’s an amazing feeling but sometimes there’s nothing lonelier than just-- literally this van is your life, you’re driving and traveling and don’t get me wrong-- it’s the dream. But at the same time you feel like everybody forgets about you and what you’re used to is no more. 8 to 9 months out of the year you’re in a van or in a bus.
DB: It’s like anything else though, It’s like everything has its up and its downs and its positives and its negatives. This is what we love, and we’re really thankful to be doing it. It’s just getting used to the extreme lifestyle.
CN: What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not on tour or in the studio?
DB: I love to shop and go to the gym. I love hanging out with my friends, especially my girlfriends because I’m in a van with a bunch of dudes.
MC: I like to watch TV. I love TV and I never get to do it. So when I have a day off I like to sit in my sweat pants and just watch TV. I love Law and Order. My dream other than this is to be one of the guys who finds the dead body on CSI. I’m a singer-songwriter by day as well, so I’ll be in the studio. I’m in the studio as much as I can be working with other artists.
CN: What would you consider to be the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome since pursuing music?
MC: I was very poor for awhile, it sounds cliche or whatever but before this band-- I’ve seen dark times. I was dodging eviction notices, I didn’t pay my rent for months, anything to just try to make this work. I started this and I was working more just trying to get by, producing records. I put everything on hold to start this band and make a go at it. Until we signed a deal, I remember the lowest point for me I was checking my balance in my bank acount and I literally had to ask a stranger to buy me a bagel because I hadn’t eaten all day and I had no money and I wasn’t getting paid until next week. That was the lowest point for me. Now getting to make a living, paying rent and not having to worry about that and doing music, it’s awesome.
DB: I think for me over the years it was always the fact that there was going to be failure and there was going to be rejection in this field and it was about not letting that get the best of me and keep going no matter how many doors were slammed in my face. I think you just have to grow from that, to grow and adapt and change and keep going and keep persevering until you get where you want to be. Sometimes you want to give up when you keep hearing no but you have to-- I think if you really want something you have to keep going for it. That’s what I struggled with over the years but have learned to accept.
CN: What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
MC: It sounds spiteful but honestly it’s being able to look at everyone from high school and family members and friends who have been like, ‘what are you doing? why don’t you go to college and get a job?’ and just being like ‘I did it.’ It sounds spiteful but it’s very validating, just being like ‘I was right, I did it.’
DB: I think for me it was the first time hearing our song on the radio because I dreamed of it. I was actually with my dad in the car, he was following our tour around and we were driving to the next show and I started freaking out and my dad started tearing up and it was just one of those moments. This is what I’ve worked for and it’s finally coming true.
MC: I felt like for a long time I was letting my family down because my sisters would give me money sometimes and my mom would at times when she could and I never asked for anything but they knew I was struggling. Being able to make them proud now, that’s definitely a big achievement.