Exposure: The Honey Farm
- David Pollock
- 23 November 2017
credit: Seb Singh
SweetHardt Dowt on the Scottish rap trio's origins, future plans and loud and fierce attitude
Anyone who caught one of their shows over the summer will know that all-female trio The Honey Farm are some of the most exciting new voices in Scottish rap. Frank, fearless and very funny, twentysomethings Gael (aka SweetHardt Dowt, 'like a fag-end'),
Bee (Pimpsess hAsha) and Gracie (Bitta DisGrace) – and their male producer Robin (DJ Honeybadger) – are brilliantly unbowed. SweetHardt Dowt tells us their story so far.
On being country bumpkins
We've known each other forever. Robin and Gracie are brother and sister, and I've known them since we were wee babies. Bee went to the same school as us (Dunbar Grammar in Dunbar, East Lothian) and she and I first met on a production of Bugsy Malone. We all live in Dunbar now, but we're country kids really, we grew up on the rural outskirts of the town. We're total bumpkins. I grew up in a hippie family, so I listened to Donovan, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead and stuff.
On discovering rap, and relating to it as women
When I was ten I discovered Eminem, and that was the first music that was really mine. I used to rap along to those first two records all through my teens, but it wasn't until years later that I started seriously listening to rap, and that was when Bee and I started writing together. I think I found a lot of rap inaccessible to girls, but if you're not relating to mainstream hip hop, then you have to delve into it and find what you do like. We love BWP (Bytches With Problems), these early 90s girls from New York, and we're really inspired by MIA, Die Antwoord and Princess Nokia. Bee and I met her the other week, which was unbelievable, we got the tenner bus all the way to London to see her. Now that I rap, though, I find it easier to relate to all rap in some way, to be really impressed with the flows and the beats. I love Necro, Ill Bill, Busta Rhymes… I absolutely love Immortal Technique, he's amazing.
On starting out
Robin and Gracie are the musical prodigies, their parents are professional musicians… they didn't even have a telly for a few years, it was all music, music, music. Bee and I were wee drama kids, we hung about the music department at school. I don't play music, but I wrote wee a capella tunes and I hit up Gracie to start a band. Bee and I had this song called 'Pussy All Day', which we'd written on ukulele and mandolin; it was quite a sweet love song about being sick of men and wishing we could be a couple, but not being gay. And it was Gracie who pushed us to do it as a rap. Bee and I used to text raps to each other as a laugh, and we practised them to metronome videos on YouTube, but we'd never imagined we could stand up and do it in front of people.
On playing live
Our first gig was an acoustic set with ukulele and covers at the stone-stacking challenge in Dunbar, which has become quite a thing down here, it's a really zen activity. We rewrote TLC's 'No Scrubs' to 'Pro-Scrubs', because why should men be paying for everything? You know, poor guys can still be nice guys, they're still worth your while. Then Robin stepped in and told us he'd love to produce our stuff. The first proper Honey Farm gig was at Audio Soup in July last year, and this year we've done Kelburn Garden Party, the BBC Rappers vs Poets gig and Hot Dub Time Machine. They asked us to get some hype going, so we did some covers and it was insane – we were onstage for three minutes each night and there were 7500 people there, the stage itself was bigger than any venue we've played.
On being fierce
We mostly write about stuff that we come across in our lives, as women. We've got sexy songs, but I worry that people think we're doing that to be shocking and get attention. As three women we're going to be sexualised no matter what we say, so we might as well own it, and define what we're into and what we're not into. The new track and video we have coming out is called 'Lads', which is all about inappropriate male behaviour that we don't find tolerable, and we have one about not wanting to be touched when it's not invited. Not taking any shit, stuff like that. Standing up for ourselves and being loud and fierce!
On what they're doing next
We don't want to rush into anything, and put out any music that's not good quality. We have a few tracks recorded, but we're sitting on them; we want to make videos for them, because we feel that's a good way to promote ourselves. We want to make an album too, but it'll have to be done really well.
The Honey Farm play Grrrl Crush #13 with My Bad Sister at The Mash House, Edinburgh, Fri 24 Nov.
Grrrl Crush #13
Parties run by girls for girls who like girls (and their pals). Straight friendly. Trans inclusive.