Chatterbox: Brother Zulu talk us through their new single ‘Honey’

Hey guys, I’ve seen your Honey video with Lulu Stone, can you tell me how that all went down?

Noah: An idea arose involving a warm smile and lots of honey. Lawrence rang up his old friend Lulu who he had played with in a youth orchestra in Waltham Forest as kids to ask if she would be up for it. We were a bit unsure if she would go for it since she is in high demand these days as a model, but she got back to us straight away to say she was down and going to be in London very soon!

We just about managed to piece the whole thing together in time for the shoot; Youssef got us access to his University’s basement photography studio and I persuaded a friend of a friend in the film industry to borrow some kit and give us a hand with filming. Despite a couple of honey-pouring mishaps and a disgruntled member of the uni nearly ending the shoot, Lulu smashed it and got the vibe we were after perfectly.

What was the writing process for creating ‘Honey’?

Lawrence: We started working on this track towards the end of last year. Max had been living with the lyric idea for a while and tracked out a home demo to share with the band. He saved it to our communal ’Pandora’s Dropbox’, where we’ve got hundreds of ideas floating around for the band to write with when inspiration hits. Noah picked up on the track a few weeks later, seeing something special in the lyrical concept, and began re-shaping the groove of the track into a more R&B influenced vibe. I heard what the guys had been working on and went in on the production, transforming the track into what you hear today, Alex providing plenty of soul on guitar and driving the track forward.

After half a year of letting the track age like a fine wine, we had a listening session with fresh ears and realised it was time for this sweet, modern crooner vibe to have a release of its own. So we sat down with Steve Honest to mix the track and really dial in the period sound found on the record. We got a lot out of the mixing sessions with Steve’s immense experience breathing new life into the track, throwing in humble wisdom along the way from his time working with Quincy Jones and other legendary producers. 

Living in a city like London must have its own pressures, where is your favourite escape from the big city?

Alex: Well, we always manage to find ourselves in strange places! I think the experience of exploring the unknown in search of inspiration keeps us going as a band. Definitely keeps things interesting.

Max: Last week, Lawrence said to us before a gig, “I’m going out on Saturday…I’m either going to meet someone I don’t know or take a long journey out of town.” Fast-forward to midnight Saturday: “I’m going to St. Ives, I’ll be there for 7:00am” Lawrence tells Noah down the phone as he’s sitting on the night coach to Penzance, the passenger sitting next to him graced with his newest production leaking through his headphones. 

Noah: I’m planning a trip to Japan early next year with the band in search of young fruit blossoms for a multi-sensory one-off musical experience I’m in the process of developing. The band is coming along to meet a Japanese hip-hop artist we’re collaborating with on an upcoming release. 
Max: I suppose for us it’s not so much about where we like to go, but more that we are going somewhere. We’re always looking for the unexpected, in our lives and in our music, and that’s what keeps us going.

Where do you guys like to hang out when you’re not making music together?

Max: I always go to my home studio at my Dad’s house. I’m really keen to make sure I’m always writing, always trying different things with my voice. I had a period of time before I’d set up the studio where I’d have a great idea for a track and be frustrated that I couldn’t put all my ideas down at once, so I love the fact I have a place I can go that’s exclusively for me to get my ideas out.

Youssef: Typical engineer answer, but I head to the Workshop when we’re not music-ing

Alex: McDonalds…

Lawrence: (laughs) I tend to just wander around and explore at random. Just a bit of a nomad…


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