On a Boat with Easy Honey

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    On a Boat with Easy Honey
    Published: June 22, 2023

    On a surprisingly temperate day in early June that was supposed to be dotted with thunderstorms, I sat down on the bow of a Hurricane with Selby Austin and Darby McGlone, the dual frontmen of local indie rock band Easy Honey. We cruised along Shem Creek, and I kept my fingers crossed that the clouds would remain far in the distance.

    Webster Austin, the bassist, was also there, serving as creative director. The boat had been his idea (and was supplied by Keegan Bittner, who also filmed the event). Charlie Holt, Easy Honey’s drummer, was there in spirit. 

    There’s been a lot of forward momentum, musically, since I first met Easy Honey over five years ago. They’ve released two full-length albums, two EPs, and toured the country together, and are becoming something of a cult favorite in the southeast, selling out hometown shows at venues like The Royal American and Charleston Pour House.

    On June 30, Easy Honey will play their first and only Charleston show of the year at The Windjammer on Isle of Palms with support from The Thing.

    “We’re kind of an interesting case because we’re not from here, but we’ve set roots here,” Selby said. “This is our biggest show yet in town, and we just love the family that it brings together.”

    Easy Honey has long nurtured an attachment to the beach, spending much of the time that they aren’t playing music trying to catch a wave, so they’ll feel especially at home on the NÜTRL Beach Stage at The Windjammer.

    The show will also kick off Easy Honey’s Tour, a six-week romp up the East Coast. In an effort to help sustain the environment they love, the band is pairing the tour with beach cleanups throughout the various coastal towns they’re set to visit.

    “[It’s] a new idea that we’re trying out this summer, going up and down the East Coast and bringing surfboards and some environmentalism along the way,” said Selby.

    “It’s an opportunity for us, since we have some more resources at our disposal, to do what we want to do with the shows and with the tour,” Darby added, “and to bring in this element that’s otherwise been a background interest of ours, and we can make it more of a priority.”

    Environmental issues have long been of importance to the band, particularly for Darby, who studied sustainable development in college. 

    “And it sort of goes hand in hand with surfing as well. The communities there, they inherently love the water and keeping the water clean and giving back to the ocean and everything and keeping the beach clean. So it was a perfect, like, hand in hand opportunity to to bring it all together,” he said.

    Finding a way to meld music and activism shows Easy Honey stepping into a new era, furthering the meaning of their work. 

    “It’s come to fruition that we can agree on this kind of mission together,” said Selby. 

    With a spring tour wrapping up and a summer tour up ahead, I wondered how travel impacted the band’s writing process; if the road was ripe with inspiration or being constantly on the move left them feeling stale.

    “I personally really like all the travel we do and I think it’s been super inspiring, and there’s just time for us to get up and write tunes, the amount of downtime is insane. When you’re traveling and touring, there’s a lot of time to pick up the guitar and come up with a tune,” said Selby.

    Darby agreed, but felt that there’s something to be said for being able to play together casually, during time at home, and work through new material with instruments in hand: “On tour, you’re not practicing. If we’re in the rehearsal space, or if we’re just hanging out, it comes a little more naturally, I’d say, because you have the time and the space for it.” 

    “But, the road has the intensity of all those adventures and the vivid experience of traveling, exploring new places and meeting all kinds of new faces and whatnot. So with that, it’s an endless source of inspiration for when you get back home,” he added.

    In addition to kicking off the Surf Tour, the show at The Windjammer will also serve as a celebration ahead of the release of Easy Honey’s upcoming EP, Ooooo, set to drop on July 7.

    The project will feature five songs, two of which have already been released as singles, and three that are brand new. Selby and Darby were able to give me a sneak peek on the boat, playing acoustic versions of two yet-unreleased tracks as well as “Orbiter,” which dropped in January. 

    From what I’ve heard so far, it seems Ooooo will present the sort of dichotomy of sound that Easy Honey has made their signature: breezy yet intense garage-meets-pop, at once nostalgic and innovative.

    The new batch of songs shows the band a little lighter on their feet, stepping into a kind of easy confidence that comes with a deep understanding of each others’ references and inspirations. 

    Selby and Darby experiment with the nature of their dual-lead-vocalist status, blending their voices together as a cohesive unit or jauntily singing around one another.

    Most of the tracks on the upcoming EP were, because of the band’s schedule, born on the road and recorded fresh, without a lot of practice time.

    “We were just kind of taking the lessons that we learned from how we’ve made music together,” said Selby. “We’re trying not to be too precious with anything.”

    As Darby and Selby played, the boat meandered around Shem Creek at a slow, easy pace. The bar-goers peppering the docks on either side of the creek nodded as we rode along, enjoying the musical addition to their evening beer.

    The rain held out, and we didn’t hear so much as a single clap of thunder, only the sound of two acoustic guitars mingling and playing off of each other, and two voices singing out into the clear summer sky. 

    Check out the video for the acoustic version of “Orbiter” below, and make sure you snag tickets to Easy Honey’s June 30 show at The Windjammer before they sell out.

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