Hailing from the small town of Ocala, Florida, Honey Hounds is a three man blues and rock ‘n roll band featuring Nick Izzard, Nathan Ranew and Tyler Watts. With every performance, Honey Hounds delivers an experience that features classic blues rock with powerful rifts and energizing vocals. With a recent name change and an upcoming nationwide tour, you’ll be seeing much more of Honey Hounds this year!
1. Tell us about you guys, what were your past relationships with music and how did you come together to form Honey Hounds?
We all grew up in the small town of Ocala in central Florida, so we ran in the same circles, but never spent much time together until we reconnected in our mid 20’s. In the spring of 2015, Nick Izzard (guitar/vocals) invited me (a songwriter/drummer) to busk the streets of St. Augustine to make some cash and play some songs that he had been working on. Later that day, we found ourselves playing a gig at a local venue under the name N.W. Izzard. Looking back, we have been booked every week, all around the Southeast ever since that day. We continued as a two-piece for almost two years until Nathan Ranew (bass guitar) joined us to form a power trio, today we are known as the Honey Hounds. -Tyler Watts
2. Being from Jacksonville, Florida and having recently been in San Diego for Springboard West Festival, what is the music scene like in Jacksonville compared to San Diego?
Honestly, the music scene and overall vibe in San Diego is very similar to our hometown Jax Beach. Reggae and Surf Rock are popular with the kids on the coast, we don’t do much of that stuff so we usually stick out like a sore thumb. -Nick Izzard
3. Your EP Midnight Magic (2017) was released this past October, what was the process like creating the EP and do you feel as though the band has evolved since No Sleep (2016)?
‘Midnight Magic’ basically happened on it’s own. Our first record ‘No Sleep’ was a very progressive, almost “pop” album, and with bigger festivals on the schedule this year, we have been conjuring up a lot of funkadelic “party rock” vibes. ‘Midnight Magic’ came out of necessity between the two, a slower record that is closer to the roots of the Blues. I wouldn’t say evolving, although we are always learning and growing as a band, I guess we are creating new sonic spaces to pull from. It’s nice to explore areas that are not purely traditional or contemporary. -Nick Izzard
4. Your music has this blues, rock ‘n roll sound with a twist of soul and reggae, who are your musical inspirations and why?
The Beatles of course, their production, songwriting and impact on the world is unrivaled. No one did it like the Beatles. Led Zeppelin is always an inspiration, their storytelling, the performances, so epic. Cream’s interpretation of the blues is something that we strive the recapture every time we take the stage. I mention these three first because I wouldn’t even play the drums if it wasn’t for John Bonham, Ginger Baker and Ringo Star, nor would I write music without the inspiration from John Lennon and Paul McCartney. (Nick chimes in, “Jimmy page took the blues to the next level, and yes it’s true……Clapton IS God!) Of course we have to mention James Brown who had the best rhythm section of all time, David Bowie, Albert King……..we could go on forever. There is something to take from everyone, you just have to make it your own while bringing something new to the table. -Tyler Watts
5. Tell us about one of your breakthrough moments as a band and one you still look forward to achieving.
Our first sold out performance at the “Farewell to Freebird” show in 2016 was definitely a landmark for us. I had just convinced Nick and Tyler to move to Jacksonville from the Florida Keys, and to have 700+ people showing us love was a great motivator and affirmation that we were doing something right. Things started moving fast and I became fully involved shortly after that. Festivals are kind of a big deal right now, so I guess our next big landmark will be headlining some of these larger festivals. Getting a single to mainstream radio is always a goal. -Nathan Ranew
6. Both wine and music are a medium to talk to and connect with your audience. What are you trying to say and what do you hope your listeners get from your music?
I like to leave room for interpretation. Our lyrics can be taken at face value or you can dig a little deeper . The Beatles had radio singles that simultaneously created underground cultures. As artists, we have the opportunity to change the world through our message, it’s our choice whether or not to push garbage. I write about my experiences, aspirations, daydreams…. Our themes include travel, ambition, sex, voodoo, man vs woman, man vs world, money, a little righteousness here and there. At the end of the day, music is intended to evoke emotion, to make you feel something. There are so many people who are very talented and technical musicians in their own right, but if you don’t play with feeling and conviction, if your soul isn’t speaking through your instrument or your lyrics, if you don’t have something to say, then you will never turn anyone into a believer. -Tyler Watt
7. Mind sharing a funny story that involves wine?
One of our favorite fans Ryan always shows up with a bottle of wine. When he decides it’s time to go, he starts stripping naked until he gets escorted out. He’s pretty much coined this exit strategy after a half dozen times of perfecting it at our shows. -Tyler Watts
8. Following the dream of playing music can be challenging from time to time, how do you stay positive in the pursuit of your dreams even when times seem tough?
When times are rough, I try to remember why I play music in the first place. If you’re having fun, things will start to look up from there. -Nathan Ranew
9. With a recent release of your EP and future events such as SXSW; what’s next for Honey Hounds?
We are currently planning our first national tour for this Summer which is exhilarating. We also have a college radio campaign in the works and tons of music festivals that we are excited to be part of. We are currently working on some video and photo shoots, 2018 is the year of creating content and gaining exposure. -Nathan Ranew
10. Are there any pieces of advice or words of inspiration that wouldn’t mind giving to fellow musicians who are unsure of pursuing music?
Don’t be trendy, be yourself. -Nick Izzard
Say something in your music. Go big. Make yourself marketable, everyone is a potential fan. -Tyler Watts
Stay positive and have faith, even when the gigs are paying dirt and the van smells like ass. – Nathan Ranew