Interview: Black Honey’s Izzy Phillips Gives Us The Lowdown On ‘Written & Directed’

Announcing their welcomed return, Black Honey are BACK! with second album, Written & Directedthat is set for release on March 19th, 2021. As the follow up to the outstanding 2018 self-titled debut, Written & Directed oozes with ‘pure and unfiltered female power’, that ‘plant[s] a flag in the ground for strong, world-conquering women’. Taking the director’s chair, we shine the spotlight on ferocious frontwoman, Izzy Phillips who defines the mission statement of Written & Directed as “The message of the album is, you are enough and you are perfect, in every imperfect way and just be yourself no matter what. Believe in that thing that you know to be you, and the truth of yourself”. 

Recommended to stream for covid compliance, latest single Disinfect is as explosive as its visuals. Labeled as ‘the heaviest song we’ve ever done’, we asked if this could be something to expect more of, “Yeah, we’ve always had like a few heavier songs and stuff in the background and, it’s been really fun to explore that side of things. I definitely feel like more connected to heavy stuff than I have in a long time and I think it’s because I just feel like I’m really harking back to my teenage-like life at the moment…I also like the softer stuff too, but the heavy stuff just feels good. It feels good to be a woman and have like a rage and like not be sorry about it”

Feeling like a premonition of things to come and bizarrely penned before the world changed, the songwriter tells us, “yeah, it was so weird when the actual pandemic happened and we were like, oh my god, this is literally like the story that we like wrote in that song. I was really worried everyone was going to think that we wrote it during the pandemic…people know that we wrote it before and they’re like fair play, guys…but a lot of what I was writing about was also about like global warming, I suppose and like the frustration that young people probably have towards like how stuff is going down”.

From running around the desert dressed as a nun, to Mother Mary, and Joe Exotic in the last four Black Honey music videos, we asked Izzy what’s next, “What’s left to do now? I’ve got a character I’ve just done for Back of the Bar, which is where I have me, but then have an invisible imaginary friend that is also me, who’s a latex mask version of me, that wears the same clothes as me, and follows me around and steals my phone. Which is quite fun. We actually got my friend Holly Barker to play her, which is funny because she’s quite a famous model. The fact that she’s wearing an Izzy mask in it, I find quite amusing”. 


With the character list extending to a granny, a vampire, Barbarella, and three versions of herself, the all-round badass shares how she keeps her game face on, “I think I am at my core, like quite ferocious and quite like unapologetic…I think because my Mum is quite feisty and she’s a sailor, and she would sort of self describe as a tomboy, and I have my own problems with that phrase. I think that a lot of it comes from my nature there and like I was never taught to like value myself on my image. I was always taught to value myself on my gusto and intelligence and like application to things and I think I’ve really, really like benefited from that. I think about a lot of women who must have a really hard time having like a self-critique of their own image”.

Produced ‘for your lockdown enjoyment’ and taking inspiration from the limited edition Zoetrope vinyl for our next question, Izzy inspires “The album provides an illusion that you’re vulnerable but at the root of it, you’re actually invincible.” With titles as ambitious as the songs themselves, we uncover the inspiration behind them, “the titles usually come at the end of the song. Sometimes we just have themes and stuff that they like are written around. I really like it when the title feels like it’s coming together as the songs being written”. 

Miraculously recording the outro to the album in one take via an iPhone, the lead singer uncovers her personal favourites, “I really love I Do it to Myself because I feel like there’s a really good inner dialogue and reflection on everything that I was kind of going through at the time and Gabrielle, as well actually, Gabrielle was the one like, so this has to go on the record, I just really connect with it and the version that we did on the record I love sooo much. I’m so proud of it”. 

With a string of live autumn dates, Black Honey exclaims “can’t believe we’re saying this but WE’RE GOING ON TOUR!!!” and continues “this has been a long time coming oh my god!!! GO GO GO GO!!’. From their side of the stage, the guitarist discloses what it’s been like to postpone “I just feel like it would be really dumb to try and do like full touring at the moment because it’s so dangerous, that being said like I’ve really missed it and it’s been really hard to have my sense of like purpose almost like removed during this year”. With the year on pause, the songstress details her other means of output, “songwriting has been pretty slow to be honest, it’s been hard to feel like creative all the time. But I’ve been doing well with it. I’ve like done a few sessions for other artists and I’m like doing a bit of pop stuff and I’ve got like some side projects I’m doing, got a couple of songs down and like feel quite lucky in that sense”.

Usually found at the merch stand (after performing), signing anything and everything, Phillips reveals what the strangest thing to add pen to was, “well, I’ve signed a lot of boobs. Like, in my time, like butt cheeks, body parts, that’s kind of like, I guess it’s kind of normal. Like, I love doing people’s converse and vans, that’s super fun…oh, I signed a lobster once. Like after we did the I Don’t Ever Wanna Love video and someone like brought like Belarus the lobster and I signed that. Think that must have been the weirdest like a plastic lobster, yeah”. 

Until ink can be added to anything, the Brighton four-piece are providing the next best thing – personalised signed records. Phillips expresses what she hopes from the message requests “I can’t wait to get in there and be like, What?… I’d be so disappointed if they’re just like, I love you, George, you’re my favorite person. I really want it to be like the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen”. Calling cut on the interview, and sharing gratitude for time well spent, we bid Izzy (who will soon be appearing on a stage near you) farewell for now. 

Written & Directed will be out on March 19th, 2021 and can be pre-ordered now.

Written & Directed – Tracklisting:

  1. I Like The Way You Did
  2. Run for Cover
  3. Beaches
  4. Back of the Bar
  5. Believer
  6. I Do it to Myself
  7. Disinfect
  8. Summer ‘92
  9. Fire
  10. Gabrielle

Tickets for the October UK tour are on sale now.

Full UK tour dates:
24th June – Banquet Pryzm, Kingston (Social Distant)
14th September – Jumbo, Leeds
15th September – Action, Preston
16th September – Vinolo, Southampton 
17th September – Sound Knowledge, Marlborough
23rd September – Brighton, Chalk
4th October –  Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
5th October – Birmingham, The Castle & Falcon
7th October – Glasgow, St Lukes
8th October – Manchester, Academy 2
9th October – Newcastle, Think Tank  
10th October – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club (Community Room)
12th October – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
13th October – London, Heaven 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *