About The Band
“We would make such a funny subject for a documentary,” Honeyboys drummer Matt Sato laughs as guitarist Reese Gardner adds, “you could title it, like, Making a Band in the Social Media Age.”
For the new, four-person band, based in San Luis Obispo, California, their story is a uniquely Gen-Z one - starting with social media follows, DM conversations, and Zoom sessions. It all began when Reese joined a freshman orientation Facebook group just as he was starting at California Polytechnic State University, hoping to meet a few like-minded newcomers. “I felt like all anyone in that group wanted to do was talk about partying,” he laments.
Reese had an entirely different intention for joining the group than most: he wanted to start a band. Growing up in a small suburb of Boston, the young guitarist saw college as his chance to start over and form his friendships around music. Soon, he found Matt, a drummer from San Carlos, California, through the Facebook group, and then Grady Gallagher, a keyboardist from Germany, through a campus jazz ensemble. “It was an instant connection for us. I just remember posting up at Taco Bell and talking about how we wanted to start a band,” Reese remembers.
In his first quarter, Reese also joined a music production club on campus, where DJs and producers met regularly to share their latest creations and give feedback. At one of the club’s showcases, he met the band’s now-front man Ari Eisenberg, a second year student, singer, songwriter and producer. “When I heard Reese’s stuff, I knew he was amazing,” Ari says. “I got his Snapchat and invited him over for a jam session.”
From there, the new quartet of musicians began to meet regularly in the self-made studio Ari built out of his bedroom near the university and started writing songs. Honeyboy’s original music quickly became a collage of the influences each of the bandmates brought to the session, capturing the do-it-yourself perfectionism of artists like Jacob Collier and Kevin Parker, the classically-trained (but edgy) crooning of Brendon Urie, and the beachy soulfulness of Brian Wilson all in a discography that feels avant garde enough to impress a music snob, but accessible enough to be enjoyed on a day trip down the PCH. For Honeyboys, their process for songwriting is truly egalitarian and that, in and of itself, is its magic. “We try not to put ourselves in a box. Not every song will sound the same and not every song is made the same way,” notes Ari, but across everything they create, Honeyboys always maintain an innate sense of optimism in their writing. “We want to put people in a happy state of mind. We want people to have a good time, you know?”
By March, the band’s work revolved around their self-made shows which Grady notes had become the “talk of the town,” quickly breaking them into the upper echelons of the SLO music scene in a matter of months. Hosted out of Ari’s house, Honeyboys became their own promoters and producers, engineering their own lineups with some of the area’s most sought-after acts and tailoring their music directly for the stage, so when COVID-19 lock downs halted their performances, Honeyboys struggled to adapt. “We were pretty depressed at first,” Grady admits.
Although Honeyboys originally saw COVID-19 as a setback, it actually became a boon, allowing the group more time to focus on recording and producing their music. Always the optimists, Honeyboys used their time away from performing to make a collection of their strongest songs to date, including their quarantine-produced single “Davinci,” out January 15th. Their first release of 2021, “Davinci” acts as a lead up to their debut project, due later this year.
The band plans to return to performing as soon as possible, but they admit this time has been instrumental for defining their identity as a group. As the new year begins, Honeyboys is undoubtedly hopeful about the future. “Our goal is just to make a living doing what we love and make people happy when they listen to our stuff,” Ari explains. “We’re looking forward to all that’s ahead.”
- Words by Kristin Robinson