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MP3 Honeycreeper - Freakqualizer

Honeycreeper: Funking up Ska & Punk since 2003

11 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Ska, ROCK: Punk


It''s been over a year since Honeycreeper''s three-song demo - which has been circulating hand-to-hand among musicians, artists, and music fans in the galleries, bars and clubs of the band''s upstate NY home-base as well as their adopted hometown of NYC - was recorded. In the meantime, Honeycreeper has played shows and rocked stages throughout the Northeast and beyond. So, when it came time to record its first, full-length album, one of the band''s main goals was to capture their live show energy on tape. For Honeycreeper, their new album "Freakqualizer" is not only the product of an intense nine days in the studio capturing that energy, but also the culmination of distinct life experiences and a wide variety of musical influences.

"There''s not one specific thing that makes Honeycreeper what it is", claims Mandy Beck, who is the front woman, saxophonist, and lyricist of the band. "We are an eclectic mix of different styles- mainly ska, funk, and punk- and each song has its own distinct personality." And, while it is true that the band mashes a bunch of different musical styles on this record (usually within the same song) as one reviewer put it, "Honeycreeper never loses sight of what is truly important - the songs."

A recurring theme in Honeycreeper''s music is the idea of dichotomy- the existence of two contrasting ideas that combine to make a balance (think Yin & Yang). "Lyrically, our songs are about some serious life shaping events, like growing up with my father''s alcoholism, as well as religion and morality, but the music is very up-beat and positive with a strong punk undertone. This is very much our personality. We have gone through hard times, everybody does, but we figure there''s no use being whiney or negative about it." Beck says, smiling. "On the other hand, we have songs about everyday things like love and not wanting to go to work in the morning, but these songs also have the Honeycreeper spin on it. For example, our big love song, "These Days" starts with the lyric ''Punching people in the brain.''"

When listening to Honeycreeper, it would be hard not to notice the musical aggression of Mandy Beck, who grew up listening to female musicians who were far more demure than their peers. Beck elaborates, "I hope I can be a positive role-model for female musicians. I''ve spent the past 5 years teaching music as my day job and practicing my butt off to be the kind of player that deserves to be respected as a musician, period, not just a female musician. At the risk of sounding sexist, I strongly believe that females would have a more prominent role in music if they spent less time primping and more time practicing. I hope to spread the word to girls everywhere that you don''t need to be a man to play music with balls!"

Graduating from The Crane School of Music (as a Bassoon major) and taking lessons for many years, Mandy Beck is as serious as they come about music, but is known to be as silly as they come about most everything else. It is no surprise that she has teamed up with a drummer known mysteriously as El Mustango, who has been playing and studying drums for over 15 years yet still finds time to search for Incredible Hulk paraphernalia on eBay, collect Pez dispensers and often plays his drums without any pants on. Complimenting the duo is bassist Sean Fortune, who not only was impressive enough on his instrument to join the band at age 16, but also came to the realization that "poop" spelled backwards is still "poop". Fortune confides, "I feel really lucky not only to find musicians that I click with musically, but people who are as sick and demented as I am." Rounding the band out is newcomer Seth Fisher, Honeycreeper''s guitarist and resident ball-buster. Honeycreeper''s good-natured and off-the-wall sense of humor not only comes through in their music and live shows, but also in their entertaining website and emails. This helps to make Honeycreeper a particularly endearing band.

It''s not just Honeycreeper''s sense of humor that keeps people interested, but there amped-up live show as well. "They groove like there''s no tomorrow and they rock like mad. Honeycreeper can go from a laid-back groove to an all-out aural assault so quick they''ll knock your socks off..." is how one journalist explained a Honeycreeper live experience. Hoping to keep the performer/audience connection strong, one of Honeycreeper''s main goals was for "Freakqualizer" to capture the "live" Honeycreeper experience. "Our main influences are very energetic and dynamic performers on stage, and not only do we strive to be like that ourselves when we play live, but we also wanted that vibe on the album", explains El Mustango. With screaming sax solos, tight and funky grooves, vocals ranging from James Brown to James Hetfield, and serious hard rocking guitar solos, the album does seem to truly embody Honeycreeper''s high energy and eclectic live show.

Honeycreeper''s aggressive work ethic and DIY attitude is further exhibited in the self-financed recording of "Freakqualizer". In an age when most bands are turning out less-than-professional sounding albums recorded in makeshift basement studios, or spending months in a studio dropping thousands of dollars a day, Honeycreeper chose a different path. "We wanted a great sounding album, but we had to do it on a budget," Fortune recalls, "so we made sure we knew every song we planned on recording forward and back, and could play them in our sleep". El Mustango concurs, "The songs were recorded almost completely live and usually in one or two takes. When you listen to Freakqualizer you really are listening to a band playing together live." The band chose to record "Freakqualizer" at The Clubhouse, a world-class recording facility used by artists as diverse as George Clinton and P. Funk, Natalie Merchant, Rusted Root, Amy Fairchild, Fountains of Wayne, Joan Jett, and even Linda Ronstadt. Honeycreeper also felt it was important to spend the extra money and have the guidance and expertise of an experienced producer, and felt fortunate enough to work with D. James Goodwin. "We feel really lucky to have worked with Dan. He''s worked with some pretty important people, like George Clinton, but he''s also worked with a lot of up-and-coming, cutting edge bands like Murder By Death, so we felt like we could really trust him. Plus he''s got some great tattoos," El Mustango explains. Finally, when it came time for the all-important final step of the recording process- mastering- the band again decided not to skimp, and entrusted Chris Gehringer of Sterling Sound in NYC. Gehringer and Sterling Sound have mastered projects for everyone- AC/DC to Wu Tang Clan; from Ani DiFranco to Britney Spears; from the Beastie Boys to Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Finally, for the finishing touches, Honeycreeper enlisted the talents of graffiti artist Esoteric whose brilliant cover art and packaging layout bring Freakqualizer to life visually.

And apparently, Honeycreeper''s efforts are starting to pay off. Already, the band has played more shows- rocking clubs, all-ages DIY venues, house parties and college campuses- and finding themselves booked with some of the nation''s best up-and-coming bands as well as seasoned, well-respected national bands such as Fishbone, Black 47 and The Toasters. "Yeah, already in 2005 we''ve put quite a few miles on Buster" (the bands beloved 14 passenger tour bus) says El Mustango. In addition to the shows, Honeycreeper is receiving quite a bit of college and independent airplay (the count is about 200 stations nationwide and in Canada... and growing). "It''s great to see the work paying off," says El Mustango. "There''s nothing better than playing live and having a receptive audience returning the love and energy we''re feeding them. We are especially psyched when the audience is affected enough by our CD or our live show that they start spreading the word. Word-of-mouth is crucial for us since we''re not your typical sounding band. We wouldn''t be where we are without kids spreading the word about us. After every show we see the hits on our website jump, our mailing list grows and the number of emails increase, and that tells us the people who our coming to see us are telling their friends about us. That''s extremely flattering." The band is far from satisfied, though. "We are happy with what we''ve accomplished so far, but we will not rest until we''re playing 300 days of the year to packed houses."

In a nutshell (a rather large nutshell) Honeycreeper is a dirty, nasty, sexy, sweaty, high-energy rock band that''s funky as hell. This "stock" is seasoned liberally with punk and ska, and even a little hip-hop, metal, tribal, and reggae. Honeycreeper is serious but fun, edgy and eclectic yet easily accessible and danceable. They are freaky without being embarrassing, clever yet not pretentious, and sexy without being slutty. Honeycreeper has a sound all their own, yet it''s completely familiar and you''ll want to sing along to every chorus. The music can be sort of dark and mysterious, but you''ll want to give it a big hug at the end of the night. It''s music played by people who need to play music. It''s a stew that''s cooking on its'' own flame-all you need to do is show up with your spork and dig in.


In case you care, here''s what others have said about Honeycreeper and their debut album Freakqualizer:

"The members of Albany-area alternative rock outfit Honeycreeper are nothing if not ambitious: atop a pneumatic punk-funk base, the energetic foursome pile on weighty slabs of hip hop, reggae, hard rock and 1990''s American ska. And it''s proven to be a winning recipe, making the act a frequent club favorite locally and up and down the East Coast. Freakqualizer, Honeycreeper''s debut album, is a sharply produced, impressively realized first effort that, quite loudly
and literally, screams out for college and alternative radio airplay."
- Peter Aaron for The Daily Freeman

"The opening of Honeycreeper''s Freakqualizer grabs your attention with a jazz-infused rhythm that rages straight out of Mandy Beck''s saxophone. But when the multitalented Beck''s voice joins the fun, you''re suddenly jolted into taking a second listen. Shouldn''t be surprising, then, that the track is entitled "Your Voice". Honeycreeper do not need to rely solely on the strength of this kick-ass lead female singer/saxophonist, though; their personalized approach is enough to latch on to your eardrums and hold on tightly throughout the rest of the album. By "The Man", you''re probably thinking this band is certainly rocking your iPod and would probably be even more gratifying live. The punk, ska, hip hop, and reggae blend together for a sound that is eccentric, catchy and ultimately entertaining."
- Amy Tetreault for Face Magazine

"Those of us who grew up listening to Pantera, Tribe Called Quest, Bob Marley, Deee-lite, and the Dead Kennedys all
on the same mix tape won''t want to miss Honeycreeper, a funky, sexy mish-mash of all those genres. Leading lady and songstress Mandy Beck plays sax with a vengeance and her boys bring the funk."
- Amy Martin for The Portland Phoenix

"They groove like there''s no tomorrow and they rock like mad. Honeycreeper can go from a laid-back groove to an
all-out aural assault so quick they''ll knock your socks off. There were many musical moments during their set when Honeycreeper got things sounding sexy, sweaty, dirty and downright nasty. However, Honeycreeper never lost sight
of what is truly important - the songs. Honeycreeper''s songs sound familiar, yet they remained unique and special.
Most importantly, they were ridiculously fun! At this point, it would be easy for me to say something like "Honeycreeper is destined to be the next big thing." But I won''t say that. I wouldn''t want to jinx them. What I will say is that they have great songs, strong instrumentation and put on a wickedly fun show. They have a wonderful pop-sensibility while simultaneously being offbeat, wacky and eclectic. In my opinion, this fresh, young band is the total package."
- Alex James for https://www.tradebit.com

"Honeycreeper revives the odd concept that alt-rock doesn''t have to whine and self-possess. This hard-working quartet-
a perfect blend of accomplished musicians, tight songwriting, and a stage-ready front woman/saxophonist- becomes more polished with every show. Promoting... a roster of shows from New York City to New England, they return... to fulfill the promise of "Next Big Thing."
- Davy Lowry for The Chronogram

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