Frost laces the grass on a winter’s day in Braidwood, a small town in NSW’s Southern Tablelands. Usually the kind of place you’d go to live the quiet life, today there is music – the intermingled sound of guitars and a piano drifting along the main street in the centre of town. The source is the Royal Mail Hotel, throughout which the five members of Sydney-based indie rock outfit Wild Honey are sprawled, lost in the groove. Riffing wildly and instinctively, they are jamming the way most bands tend to when left alone with a few guitars and some good acoustics. Not for an audience, but for themselves, in a stolen moment – leading one another around chords and melodies in complete and untranslatable alchemy.
There is bass guitarist Sam Barron (the youngest of the five, with the sly sense of humour), Thom Eagleton (the quiet-natured drummer with that shock of long black hair), Jackson Love (the charmer of the group on keys, playing the weathered Hapsburg upright piano sitting in the bar), Adam Della-Grotta (magnetic lead guitarist) and frontman and founder Thom Moore (the anchor of the crew on guitar and vocals). Various Wild Honey collaborators have been and gone over the last few years, before time and circumstance allowed the current collection to find one another and, in turn, a sound that’s all their own.
“It all started around two years ago, I’d finished studying and didn’t know what I really wanted to do for work … since then, it’s evolved into more of a songwriting project and a full band line-up.” – Thom Moore
The sonic definition of Wild Honey is as free-spirited and smooth as their name suggests, with a sundrenched quality for all seasons. In 2015 they released their first, self-titled, EP, before embarking on a summer tour of Australia’s east coast. Soon after the catchy, coastal lead single Eye To Eye began doing the rounds on Triple J, the band was touring with the likes of The Delta Riggs and Twin Peaks.
Months of writing and new singles followed before they began creating their debut album, In Your Head, due to be released in November this year, distributed independently through Moore’s own label, Spillway Records.
“We all look out for one another despite our differences … None of us are without our own flaws and vices, but I think we’re the better for them, and in fact they bring us closer.” – Thom Moore
“[My hope for the future of Wild Honey is] making a few great records, meeting new and wonderful people along the way, a whole lot of shows, and hopefully [writing] a bunch of songs that connect with people all over.” – Thom Moore
Their group motto? “‘Hang in there’,” says Moore – a sentiment affirmed frequently in their lyrics – for one, the opening line of their 2016 single Pull It Together: “Hey kid, it’s not as bad as it seems.” “It’s not always easy to be in a band … you have to make a lot of sacrifices in the early days. You drive long distances to play supports for tiny fees and sleep six to a room in backpacker hostels. But eventually that begins to change …”
It’s a reformation Wild Honey have found themselves riding as their reputation as a tight, entertaining live act has seen them steadily command larger audiences both locally and internationally. “We just got back from Tokyo, where we played shows for the first time. It’s definitely one of the most incredible cities [we’ve] ever visited,” says Moore. Back at home, their focus is on keeping the magic alive: launching the album’s lead singles before releasing their first full-length album into the world.
PHOTOGRAPHY Adrian Price
FASHION Natalie Petrevski
TALENT Sam Barron, Adam Della-Grotta, Thom Eagleton, Jackson Love and Thom Moore
PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANT Leif Prenzlau
Special thanks to George and the Royal Mail Hotel.