Video Credit: Oh Honey Music Official YouTube Channel
Stingers are not something you usually want to get close to. But a lot of the time, in order to get to the good stuff, you have to learn to live with the things that can hurt you.
If it wasn’t for that logic, we may not have honey – or Oh Honey, for that matter.
For Mitchy Collins (26) and Danielle Bouchard (25), taking the hardships in life, and learning how to let them make you better is exactly what their message is about.
‘Oh Honey’ was the perfect name for a group that was meant to have stick-to-your-ribs good vibes – not to mention, it’s the name of one of his favorite episodes of the hit CBS sitcom, How I Met Your Mother.
“Oh honey is actually the episode where Katy Perry stars. We were going through band names, and I had a list of horrible ones. There was also this whole honey-harvesting thing going on [in Williamsburg]. Everything kept coming back to honey.”
The age-old ingredient is an organic, golden sweetner that can make nearly anything palatable. Likewise, the duo honed their craft in the bustling music epicenter of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and tends to create melodies, harmonies and lyrics that have a way of bringing out the best in the worst day.
Mitchy and Danielle met just three years ago through mutual friends, but they didn’t start playing together until about a year and a half ago.
“I was racking my brain trying to find this other person, and nothing was working,” says Mitchy. “He kind of turned me on to Danielle, and I was stubborn as hell, and I wouldn’t listen. He was like ‘dude, shut up! Let’s see if this works’ and then I did, and Danielle, just worked.”
Once they started to play together, things just started to turn around.
A year ago, Danielle was working two jobs, waiting tables greeting visitors at the Harry Potter exhibit at Discovery Times Square – located just across the way from the Best Buy Theater. She would run between work and the studio to work on the beginnings of Oh Honey.
Mitchy remembers 2013 as being the worst year of his life. He just remembers thinking, “Something good has to happen. This year has been so shit.”
So they started recording. They put out their first songs, – an EP that the pair called With Love, which they released in November of 2013. The standout single, “Be Okay” instantaneously attracted listeners with its infectious chorus, folky instrumentals and positive tune.
“We try to keep things optimistic,” Mitchy says. “Try to keep things positive. Life is too short to be pissed off all the time. The problems you have now aren’t going to be forever. It’s going to get better. No matter how shit your circumstance might be, someday its going to turn around.”
For them, it did.
In January of 2014, a tweet from a talking head at SiriusXM gave Oh Honey the boost they needed into the radio world. “Be Okay” was added to rotation on the station, and between that national attention, and the local intrigue that had already sparked as a result of the pair’s CMJ performance and numerous sold-out shows in the NYC area, Mitchy and Danielle realized they had created something great.
In February, the team at Atlantic realized it too, when they signed the duo. Danielle said the whole experience was like it was “out of a movie.”
“It was pretty wild,” she says. “Signing a record deal, you dream about it your whole life and then it happens. It was pretty wild. Being able to be like ‘Mom I did it!’”
Mitchy adds “This band happened quick, but it was a very validating thing after grinding it out for so long.”
While they may be validated in their work now, that grind hasn’t stopped.
Since they started the band in May of 2013, they have played with the likes of The Fray and James Blunt. When they signed with Atlantic in February, the pair also added their names to the Honda Civic Tour, alongside Grouplove, American Authors and Echosmith.
On November 7th, their work came full circle, when their names lit up the marquee at the Best Buy Theater in NYC.
For the duo, this experience has been “best tour we’ve been on.” Danielle says that their favorite part of being on the road is “Probably just seeing kids sing back Be Okay. We do a little thing, where we teach the audience the ‘Ohs’. We worked really hard this year, and its just so gratifying.”
For Mitchy, the tour has been more than just a space to showcase the music that he and Danielle work so hard to create “The last show of this last tour – 2000 people at Best Buy Theater. It was a rewarding ‘we’ve arrived’ kind of thing.”
In the midst of traveling around the country for this tour, the pair has somehow managed to also write some new songs.
On October 11, 2014, as a follow up to With Love, Oh Honey released a second EP of original music titled Sincerely Yours. The band says that 4 EPs, With Love, Sincerely Yours, and yet-to-be-released Wish You Were Here and Until Next Time would culminate as a full series called Postcards.
“Its sort of like, instead of going in and putting out a full-length record – because I know for me personally, when I hear a record from a band I listen to, I play the shit out of it until I get sick of it. So that, and then people being like ‘ when’s more music coming, when’s more music coming?’ we wanted to break it up into 3-4 EPs,” Mitchy says. “We just wanted to keep music coming to the fans instead of being like ‘here’s a full-length record! You’re not getting anything else for a few years or whatever.’”
Each of the four EPs will have a name that is usually used as a signoff to a hand-written letter. The discography, Danielle says, “It’s like our personal letter to our fans.”
When asked whether they plan to keep their “Be Okay” motto for the rest of their forthcoming tunes, the duo says, simultaneously: yes.
“I know for me personally, I listen to music, particularly when I’m going through something,” Danielle says. “It’s sort of nice to know that someone out there has sort of been through the same thing. It’s reassuring. And it’s reassuring to hear a hopeful, positive message in music.”
The hope, for Oh Honey and their team, is that they will be able to bring some of that reassurance, positivity and perspective to their audience through their music.
The band, which is rounded out by drummer Robbie Ernst and guitarist Ian Holubiak create harmonious, breezy songs that have a way of making the stuff that hurts a little easier, and giving listeners some perspective for the bad days.
As for the future, they are eagerly anticipating the release of their next EPs and future touring.
“We kind of just hope to get bigger – if we can make music and call it work,” Danielle says that would be ideal.
As for the coming months, Oh Honey was lucky to wrap up their tour before the holidays and got to enjoy some time at home before gearing up for whatever 2015 may bring.
With the release of two more EPs on the horizon, the pair will undoubtedly be on the road throughout most of the coming year. They are excited about potentially bringing new experiences to their audience, and connecting the places that they come from with the places that they go.
In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, the pair said they might want to connect with some of the Brooklyn-based bee farms to sell some of the sweet stuff at their shows.
They both agree that farming their own bees is not necessarily something they need to endeavor – because, well, neither Mitchy nor Danielle is really stoked about being surrounded by bees.
But the idea of having people leave their shows with a new perspective and something to sweeten their tastes would be a great way to make the experience immersive and complete.
Whether it’s sitting in the car after a long day, or starting the morning with a sweet and hearty breakfast, they just want people saying: “Oh Honey.”
**A version of this story was published by Naked Magazine in January 2015