What happens when three expatriates with varying music backgrounds randomly meet in a foreign country like Hong Kong? The trio of Blood, Wine or Honey decided to form a band and actively produce music, which has led to the release of their debut album.
This band of brothers consisting of James Banbury, Shane Aspegren and Joseph von Hess released their first track together, “The Forest Is Expecting You” two years ago but, it was their debut at Sonar Hong Kong in 2017 that got everyone noticing their breakout track, “Anxious Party People”.
Their much-anticipated debut album, Fear & Celebration, is the result of a painstaking process of writing, recording and production for the trio. Banbury said: “Being in Hong Kong has helped us realise that the world doesn’t revolve around the music scene in any particular place. It doesn’t matter where you are or where you’re from”.
The trio elaborates on how Hong Kong has inspired them, the outcome of their debut album and their pre-gig rituals.
You are releasing your debut album not long after releasing two singles as a band. What’s the motivation in doing so?
We were imagining initially that we’d release a third EP before an album our first was Anxious Party People then came Loosefoot — but John from Do Right label contacted us to ask if he could put out our album, and it felt like the right thing to do. Having self-released the first two, it is a great help to work with a label with bigger reach and resources.
How long did it take to completely feel satisfied with the outcome of the album?
Our sketching, writing, honing, recording and mixing process is pretty intense and time-consuming. We’re all very opinionated and this can lead to happy conflicts in the studio. It’s all the better for this. So, in short, ages.
Where did most of the inspiration come from?
It’s essentially a combination and amalgamation of our three approaches to music and the things that we are in some way affected by, which may not be obvious even to ourselves.
Which are some of the tracks that are personal to each and one of you?
All of them are deeply personal to all of us in different ways.
Are you planning on a tour to promote the album?
We have a release party in Hong Kong on June 8th and summer festival in Europe booked. We are planning a European tour in October and November. We’re looking to play Japan also as we now have a Japanese label in place.
Can you describe the album’s vibe in three simple words?
Juicy mind fizz, an enforceable triad, late din forbearance.
You’ve mentioned in an interview it wasn’t easy at the beginning to produce in densely packed city like Hong Kong, what elements of the city made it easier for you?
The energy is good and the buses are regular.
Let’s go back to when you first went into the studio together as a band, how did you develop the compatibility with one another?
In a group it’s essential to listen to what people are playing, doing and saying, and react to it with sympathetic but challenging notes, deeds and words.
What are the most important things you’ve learned about each other since you started out the band?
We’re all control freaks!
Have you developed a secret handshake or a special pre-gig ritual?
Bloodletting followed by group hug.
It isn’t easy to pinpoint a specific genre for the band. What would the simplest description?
Hypno-tropicalia, wonky tactics, plastic pagan.
If you had to write your own promo for your debut album, what would it be?
We did write it. Check out the press release.
Blood Wine or Honey's debut album, Fear & Celebration will be released on June 8th. You can pre-order your copy here.