“It’s A Privilege!” Black Honey Interviewed

"I've experienced a bit of an awakening..."

Black Honey are a force of epic proportions, and long have been. The Bad Black Honey Club, their loyal fanbase, have been fully immersed in the band’s world since long before their debut album graced the world with all the femme fatale power of a cherry bomb about to explode, and through their extravagant, feature-film sophomore record ‘Written & Directed’, the fanbase has only grown in numbers. As they approach their third album, ‘A Fistful Of Peaches’, Black Honey are a band who’ve done a lot of delving and a lot of discovering who they want to be, who they need to be. The band’s fearless frontwoman Izzy B. Phillips talks us through what it looks like from the Black Honey director’s seat. 

As we get started, Izzy is in remarkably good spirits for someone who partied into the night at a Fistful of Peaches listening party along with a few lucky fans, contributors, friends, and the Black Honey family. It’s a very different lead-up than the band had to their last album, which came out mid-COVID – “last time, we had nothing to do on the album release day,” she reminicisces, “so we just wandered around London and looked at our billboards.” This time around, though, the gang got to party with Elvis (or, an Elvis impersonator from Essex), “our main dudes” (the Bad Black Honey Club, fans who’ve been following the band mostly from the start), listen to the record, play darts, and soak in the joy of being this close to release. 

You’d think it would be nerve-wracking, being in a room full of your biggest fans and watching them listen to your record right in front of you, but for Izzy, it’s a treat. “It’s not like release day comes and you’re sat there at 10am like, oh my fucking god, do people like it? You can feel the love, people aren’t just numbers on the screen, you can see their lives and their stories and the people that fell in love to your music… It has a very powerful effect on how I feel – it’s a privilege.” 

 Black Honey have been voices for the outsiders as long as they’ve existed as a band, and Izzy takes comfort in the community: “I love how it’s just full of total weirdos, outsiders, and nomads, half the audience is on the spectrum, it’s awesome. I wouldn’t change it.” She’s always been outspoken, but in the time between Written & Directed and now, as the conversation picks up in wider culture, her ADHD diagnosis has been a particular topic of conversation. “I feel like I’ve experienced a bit of an awakening from how other people are talking online. I know that we’re all just like, self diagnosing via TikTok and stuff these days, but I actually don’t see the negative connotation so much to that when when I’ve realised how much I’ve learned about myself from it. 

“I feel very connected to other neurodivergent people, and especially women, and I think I’ve been very lucky to be diagnosed early. It sounds really fucking stupid, I have to say I’m lucky for that – I don’t want to feel like that. But you do feel lucky, because a lot of women don’t present very much so then they don’t get diagnosed.”

Izzy, as she inspires the rest of the BBHC to do, finds power in her neurodivergence. “I’ve always been taught that like, like, you know, being wired differently is a good thing,” she continues. “And I think I’m probably quite lucky in that respect that I wasn’t made to feel stupid. I’ve felt like I struggle to keep up, sometimes I feel like I’d say dumb shit, but I don’t feel stupid. A lot of other people will have felt like they were stupid because they didn’t have some didn’t have someone telling them hey, Einstein is dyslexic. Hey, your brain’s wired differently. Hey, this world isn’t designed for you. It’s designed for this other fucking thing that we have to fucking figure out every day, which is a nightmare. I spoke to this kid yesterday about their autism, and they said that Up Against It [a single from A Fistful Of Peaches] is a song that really spoke to them because their parents told them that they were just a bad kid. And they weren’t. Their parents just didn’t know how to parent an autistic child. 

“That was really, really intense. It was like, quite emotional. To partake in someone’s journey. That’s bigger shit, isn’t it, than writing a happy little clever pop ditty? I feel like the sentiment and the why of why we do everything is called becoming clearer somehow. I feel like I found my people or my purpose.”

To the Black Honey fans who have found solace and community in the band from the start, this will come as no surprise. But for Izzie, it’s a newfound vulnerability that’s allowed her to step into it fully. “I still don’t know how songs happened, but I’ve got a few where I’ve managed to be personal! It’s trying to get to that feeling where i’ve satisfied an urge in me to pinpoint the bit that hurts and poke a fucking needle through it. This album got a lot more personal because of doing all of the therapy that I had to do, and now i’m balls deep in probably 17 years of therapy… When I first started therapy, I was really ashamed. But as soon as you actually get stuck into it, you’re like, this is super brave. It’s the biggest thing to try and stop being a dick and deal with your shit.”

Black Honey’s strong characters and cinematic universes have felt like a big, beautiful source of escapism across their work so far, but for Izzie, it’s been freeing to step away from them a little. “ I think I’ve unlocked something where I was in denial and disguising all of my problems as being villains, in Westerns and being a superhero, or anything like that. But now I’m like, I feel like a little cat or something. Just really tiny. And I really enjoy the idea of bringing power to that little cat – when I go out on stage and they sing, I want to inflate this huge power to other people who are so aware I am or have been struggling… Maybe I’ll always draw on the villain, elements of that character. But being vulnerable and exposing yourself, it’s a complete masochistic thing to do, in such a public way, but I have to. I have that itch to scratch.” 

‘A Fistful Of Peaches’ is out now.

Words: Ims Taylor
Photo Credit: Jamie Noise

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