Honeycut Pimps Its Sugar

San Francisco band Honeycut have had a busy 2007: they released their debut album, performed at the Virgin Festival Toronto and had a song in a Mac commercial. "Pimpin' ain't easy," laughs Tony Sevener. "If someone wants to use our music, then we'll evaluate it on a sliding scale. The lamer it is, the more money they better put on the table."

- Dara Hakimzadeh
Photos by Sheila Busteed

posted November 2, 2007

Honeycut Pimps Its Sugar

     Following their performance at the Virgin Festival in Toronto, keyboardist RV Salters and drum machinist Tony Sevener of Honeycut talked about the reasons why commercialism is more accepted in the music industry these days.

     “I think the music industry has become such an ‘every man for himself’ kind of thing. CDs are not selling the way they use to. Ways to make money off your music are vague; they’re not clear now. You can look at licensing as a way to keep making the music that you want to make,” says Salters.

     This year, the San Francisco-based band released its debut album, The Day I Turned To Glass, which features the song “Exodus Honey” – a tune that Apple Inc. used in a television advertisement in August for its new iMac.

     “On Monday, they asked us, ‘Are you down?’ And we said, ‘Hell yeah!’ By Tuesday, Steve Jobs was presenting the new iMac and the commercial with our music,” recalls Salters.

     Other artists to license their songs to Apple, specifically for its revolutionary gizmo the iPod, include N.E.R.D., the Black Eyed Peas, Daft Punk, U2, The Vines, and Gorillaz.

Honeycut Feature Article

     “The vibe in the track is a Brave New World, sci-fi/soul kind of thing,” says Salters. “It fits the aesthetic of their commercial with the iMacs dancing a little waltz.”

     Sevener agrees with Salters’ statement and adds that he’s been noticing a lot of independent bands using commercials to get their music to new audiences.

     “I’ve been seeing Feist all over television on several different commercials and she’s one of my favorite artists of the last couple of years. It’s so hard to figure out how to make money and sustain a band financially right now because the industry is kind of up in the air and everyone is grasping at a new business model,” he says.

     So far, fans have been reacting positively to the band’s decision, says Sevener.

     “People have been calling us and emailing us and congratulating us on getting this ad – rather than saying, ‘Uh, they sold out’ or anything like that. I think the whole attitude surrounding advertising has changed a lot,” he says. “The album was recorded on a Mac. It was mixed on a Mac. So why not?”

Honeycut Feature Article

     Part of the reason the band actually made it to the Virgin Festival was due to the money generated from licensing their music for the commercial.

     “It allowed us to fly out to Toronto to play one show. For an indie band, it’s not cheap to do that,” says Sevener.

     “We’re just happy it’s giving us a chance to reach more people that we would if we didn’t have this thing,” adds Salters. “Everyone is pimping somehow and it’s a way for us to pimp our stuff. As far as pimping goes, I think it’s a good way to do it.”

     “Pimpin’ ain’t easy,” laughs Sevener. “If someone wants to use our music, then we’ll evaluate it on a sliding scale. The lamer it is, the more money they better put on the table.”

Honeycut Feature Article

     As part of the Bay Area scene, Honeycut was Salters’ brainchild. Originally from Paris, France, Salters moved to Berkeley in 1999. He eventually met up with Sevener for a solo project titled General Elektriks, which was also out on Quannum Projects. Vocalist Bart Davenport fronted Bay Area bands The Loved Ones and The Kinetics before becoming a part of Honeycut in 2005.

     “We made this record and we were very proud of what we came up with and thought we’d come up with something a little different. Since we’re proud of it, the more people that hear it the better. And since we’re in a situation where it’s still hard financially, if something like this happens, it’s still our track. It takes stronger people than us [to say no to] it being used on a commercial like that,” says Salter.

      “We just feel lucky that our song got picked,” he says. “It’s kind of become a prerequisite now – for a cool commercial, you need a cool song.”