East coast duo Honestly, composed of Eric Canto and Dalton Winters, have released their debut full-length album 'Inside Your Eyes, Without You Beside Me'. The 10-track album is an eclectic fusion of electropop, 00’s R&B, 90’s emo rock, and 80’s new wave, embodying themes of youth, love, and heartbreak.
To Honestly, the record is a time capsule of their summer in 2019. During that time, Winters was lost and devastated, having just gotten out of a serious relationship. Canto believed that writing music would help Winters take his mind off of the situation, and so the two began their intense songwriting process in Winters’ home studio. The duo emerged from that summer with their friendship strengthened and the birth of their first full-length album.
The album is a dynamic, yet cohesive piece of work with plenty of sonic twists and turns. The melodies, in a constant flux of tension and release, will captivate your ears while the lyrics may provoke you to reflect on your past relationships.
It aims to share the ubiquitous experience of heartbreak: love, pain, longing, acceptance, and happiness - all the while sharing unique yet comparable soundscapes to contemporary artists like joan, The Ivy, The Millennial Club, and THE WLDLFE.
“This album is a reflection of the tallest peaks and deepest valleys of human vulnerability and falling in love. It is also a testament to the value of friendship to pull you from those valleys. It’s about feeling euphoria, feeling bad, then trying to feel better.”
“‘Inside Your Eyes, Without You Beside Me’ is a poetic audiobook with a soundtrack. This album spans the entire spectrum of the emotions involved in falling in love and subsequently feeling loss and emptiness. We were honest and raw in our words, and [the album] so well represents who we are as musicians, friends, and humans. We’re proud of what we pulled together and excited about the future.”
- Dalton Winters
We had a chance to speak with Honestly on their debut album release, inspirations, and plans for the future...
You began writing the album early Summer 2019 and drew on some quite personal experiences. Will those come through in the songs?
"Absolutely yes. The whole album is very personal, candid, and honest, and every song draws directly from the personal experiences of being in love and feeling the ensuing heartbreak and loss when that person left. Not just because the story is personal to us, but we feel that these songs are very emotional and paint the story of Dalton’s actual experiences very candidly."
Would you say listening to the album is a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions?
"Yeah, of sorts! It’s 10 tracks, split down the middle where “side a” is the “we’re falling in love and life couldn’t be any better” side, while the back half is “wow everything crumbled and my world is falling apart, I’m completely lost and distraught, please take me back”. On another level, the album takes some peaks and troughs sonically too. We tried to explore dynamics and employ a variety of influences and musical stylings that we’re fans of and relate to across the whole LP. The result is what we think is a pretty cohesive yet dynamic set of songs that will take you up and back down again in mood and tempo and sounds."
Musically where do you guys pull your inspiration from? Are there any particular artists that inspire you to do what you do?
"We both find our origins in emo, punk and metal/hardcore music, and actually met/started our first band in that vein of music. Eric screamed and played drums, Dalton played guitar, we did the whole “tour in a van and play DIY shows in VFW halls” thing (IYKYK) and did a few EP’s in that project. So some of our favorite artists and influences from that vein are bands like Refused, Saves the Day, Underoath, A Day To Remember, Senses Fail, BMTH, etc. We also adore modern contemporary pop, and share a lot of the same favorites like The Neighbourhood, LANY and ‘75, and then some of our Indie-pop contemporaries like joan, Hotel Apache, The WLDLFE, The Millenial Club, and The Ivy.
Individually, Eric’s really into 90’s and 00’s R&B, and Dalton’s super into 80’s New Wave and ambient music. Our inspirations are definitely wide-reaching and all across the board, it’s hard to pin-point just one artist/band. But as corny as it sounds, we’re inspired by bands who are bands, and who embrace themselves as songwriters and artists and not just figureheads with backtracks. We’re also super inspired by each other… Dalton might come to a session with a tape machine and a bunch of reverb pedals, and Eric might whip out a hybrid 80s gated/808 sample drum kit, which can inspire a lot of interesting writing when you’ve got a variety of stylings at the table."
An album is a really big statement, to come out and put a whole body of work out there and take your listeners on that journey. What do you hope your fans, and new listeners, will take away from their first listen?
"Well on the nose we hope they enjoy the songs and the piece of music in its entirety. While we realise some people will only ever listen to the singles (and that’s ok!), we hope people can relate to and absorb the whole album, because to us, it really is a cohesive front-to-back story both in lyrics and in music. We know it might be a little unconventional for a full-length to be our first real release this early on, but this album started the band, and it was a full-length story from day one, so we’re excited and proud to share it with people. We hope it can help some people heal their heartbreaks or at least make them feel a little less alone in those dark times, while lifting others up and inspiring them to tell their s/o’s how much they love them."
Which tracks should we look out for that you think stand out as your personal favourites?
"Our favorites change depending on the day, but 'Warm Flowers' is an undeniably important and emotional cut on the record. Eric primarily wrote the lyrics for this song during the end of the writing process and tried his best to summarize and close the story of the record. When Dalton heard the demo for the first time it made him very emotional, and actually cried while listening to it. That was a pivotal moment for us where we both kind of realized we had captured something very special. We knew 'Warm Flowers' was going to close the album, so we had treated it like it was the last song we were ever going to write. We left everything on the table for it, and I think you can hear that in the structure of the song."
What are your plans now that the album is out, are you straight back to writing more material, are you going to enjoy some downtime or do you have any live plans in the near future?
"We’re always in the mood to write new material as inspiration comes to us. We haven’t really taken a proper “break” from that. Aside from our own music we have some collaborations with some of our friends in the industry that we’re very excited about, but that’s all we will mention. Before the pandemic we were preparing relentlessly to begin playing shows, so as soon as we have the opportunity, we’ll be ready to rip some gigs."
Thanks so much for talking with us, it's been a pleasure. Good luck with the release!
"Thanks for having us! 🖤"
Listen to 'Inside Your Eyes, Without You Beside Me' HERE