Emily Ritz likes Honeybees. She makes films about them, and her musical ensemble, Honeycomb, resembles the intimate detail and dripping architecture of the complex kingdom from which the band so aptly takes its name. Perhaps queendom is a more accurate title, but not in the benevolent dictator sort of way; if the band of eight (five ladies and three gents) were to praise a higher being, she would be some creative goddess of divine rhythm.
An ensemble indeed, these are musicians of constant buzz. Honeycomb brings together many San Francisco projects: Kacey Johansing, Geographer, Stitchcraft, The Dirty Snacks Ensemble, and possibly more. The band is Emily Ritz on ukulele, guitar, and lead vocals; Kacey Johansing on guitar, percussions, and back-up vocals; Nathan Blaz on cello; Andrew Maguire on vibraphone; Joe Lewis on stand-up bass; and Karin Dahl, Courtney Wachtel and Heather Normandale with vocal harmonies.
Since they began playing together in mid-2009, Honeycomb has evolved into a dreamy orchestral wrecking force. Presently, they are poised to release their first EP, self-titled, to much hype, during their performance with John Vanderslice at the Swedish American Music Hall on February 26th, as part of Noise Pop.
On December 12th, 2009 One Night Music took over Blue Six Gallery, a homely space at 24th and Treat run by Joe, to record Honeycomb. The eight-member band (seven for the ONM session) was the largest session One Night Music has tackled. It went off smoothly with a flock of new contributors, face paint, pouring rain, and direct-trade coffee a la Radical Roasters.
San Francisco is often very small and the overlaps that appeared in that small gallery were no exception. In many ways it served as my own moment of reflection of the preceding months. I met Emily on my Pirate Cat Radio program in July of 2009. I was immediately drawn to her unique songwriting and stage presence. These are attributes that make Honeycomb as much a coming together of people as a fresh perspective of traditional instruments .
The band is a community and the session was a community event. Rigoberto Hernandez of the Mission based news blog, Mission Local, covered the session. Look out for Honeycomb: this band has the stamina for cross-country long distance runs. They may be touring Europe this summer. One Night Music hopes so.
Recorded in Blue Six Gallery, San Francisco, CA on December 12, 2009.