Honey by Vakili Band | INTERVIEW
Author: Thommy Delaney
The Vakili Band is a perfect blend of blues rock and psychedelic rock. Fronted by Lily Vakili, the band has tons of songs that will have people partying all night every day. The energy in their music and their live performances will surely leave you wanting more. Their upcoming album, "Honey," is to be released on September 8th! In the meantime, people have recently been treated to a taste of the upcoming album with the singles "Honey" and "To The Park." Time to catch up with Lily and talk to her about the band's upcoming album and much more!
Hey there Vakili Band! Congratulations on your latest singles "Honey" and "To The Park" off your upcoming album "Honey" which comes out September 8th of this year! Tell us the story of how the band started and how you created your sound.
Ben, our resident guitar god, and I met through a mutual friend and did a cover of Tom Petty's "Only a Broken Heart". Joel - not your typical harmonica player - and I got together through another friend. That's how it was with everyone in the band - connecting through friends and friends of friends. Then we built our sound over 3 albums - playing in my basement, playing gig after gig after gig. The sound is the result of open and free-flowing collaboration; each song reflects the strengths and idiosyncrasies of each band member.
I've heard that some of your influences include Patti Smith, Joan Jett, and Janis Joplin. Though Lily, you have also mentioned that you also listened to Iranian and Persian singers, and you have been a sponge listening to everyone from Sly and The Family Stone to Joni Mitchel among many others. Are there any other bands or singers that truly moved you to become a musician after being a biotech lawyer?
I'm the 5th of six kids, and as any younger sibling knows, that means listening to all of your older siblings' music (by choice or otherwise). I continue to learn from other musicians and performers - that's one thing I love about doing this - you never stop learning. In terms of inspiration, I always come back to Nina Simone - she was so masterful while also being intensely connected to her audience. And Billie Holiday and Amy Winehouse. I also appreciate musicians like Brandi Carlile - not just an incredible singer - but also for her generosity and support of other musicians (like the lyric goddess Joni Mitchell). I pay attention to bands that have an electric mix of wit, performance, and poetry - and that can mean DEVO as well as RATM [Rage Against The Machine] - and the one man everything - Iggy Pop.
Lily, you mentioned that "To The Park" is a song written to combat the claustrophobia of the pandemic. You also said while walking through an abandoned park, you were overcome by sadness and all you wanted was to be accompanied by friends. Are there any other songs off your new album that have been inspired by what was going on during the pandemic?
Well - I mean, we all went through it, so it's hard to say what wasn't impacted by that global nightmare. What I came away with most intensely was the need to connect - to love, to be in love and not be afraid of showing it. A lot of the songs on Honey reflect that intensity in some way.
"Honey" just makes you vibe out in another universe. The soulful vocals and beautifully simple yet memorable guitar parts truly carry the song to that psychedelic vibe the song contains. I noticed that on the track listing for this song, there is an extended version. How much did you jam on this song in the studio and is there anything we can expect from the extended version?
We decided to include the extended version on the vinyl version of the album - I love it because it has some additional sonic elements that really capture the feeling of being enveloped or wrapped up in love. It's like a little present at the end - it's a love song, so why not make it last a little longer?
Off your new album "Honey," what song is your favorite and why?
There's definitely one song that connects to me personally in a very deep way - it's called Mapplethorpe. It is like a form of emotional time travel each time I sing it - and based on the reaction of people who've heard it - I'm not the only one that responds that way.
What else can people expect to hear on your upcoming album "Honey" which will be released on September 8th?
They'll hear stories about the wild ways of love and wanting - expressed through some very persuasive bass lines, drum fills and guitar riffs. They'll hear references to Greek mythology with a funky back beat. They'll become reacquainted with Smeck and the magical sounds of the Dorow harmonica. They can expect to be surprised and really like it. At least that's what we're going for!
You are open to the idea of collaborating with other musicians throughout the industry. Who would you want to collaborate with and what kind of song would you want to write with them?
I'd really love to arrange a song with Christian McBride, a jazz bassist and amazing musician. Just putting that out into the universe. And, of course, Rick Rubin - anytime.
Being that you are a fantastic live rock and roll band, are there any more shows coming up this year that we can look forward to?
Thank you - yeah - we love the live gig like nothing else! We're working now on our Honey Tour that will start in October 2023. Dates and venues will be announced soon!
Aside from the two singles and your upcoming album, do you have anything else planned for the future?
We have a 3rd single coming out before the album drops, and it's a tune we absolutely love playing live - look for it soon - it's smokin'. ;-)
Is there anything that you would like to share with our readers?
Just to let them know how much we appreciate their listening to and supporting independent music and musicians - keep on Rockin!
Vakili Band is a fiery five-piece rock band with a trio of albums under their belt, fronted by Lily Vakili, a savvy street poet who finds the sweet spot in the nexus formed by Patti Smith's loose-limbed punk swagger, Grace Slick's inviting psychedelia and the throaty blues-belting of a Janis Joplin, not to mention the full-throated howl of a Grace Potter or Brittany Howard.
'HONEY' is Vakili Band's follow-up to 2018's 'OH ALRIGHT' and 2021's 'WALKING SIDEWAYS' (along with a pair of previous Lily Vakili solo efforts, making five releases over the last decade). Produced for the first time by Vakili herself, the album exemplifies the collaborative bacchanalia of lead guitarist Ben St. Jack, harmonica player extraordinaire Joel Dorow, and the four-on-the-floor rhythm section of bassist Matt Jovanis and drummer Gordon Kuba, having honed their distinctive sound in the studio as well as on tour up and down the East Coast. Recorded at Mozart Studio in Little Falls, NJ, 'HONEY' comes across like the band is playing together live in the same room.
"That's it - the whole objective was to capture my feel of how the band sounds live," Vakili, who also sat in on the mastering sessions at Sterling Sound with the renowned Greg Calbi, explains. "We set the bar for ourselves. It's what I've worked for these last 10 years, and the direction I wanted to go in. We're taking responsibility for our sound and not leaving it to anyone else."
About the Author: Thommy Delaney is a Senior Music Business Major at New
Jersey City University. He is also the lead guitarist and a vocalist in the Bayonne
Indie pop-rock band BreakTime: a four-piece writing modern pop tunes with
generous vintage allusions to artists such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Looking for something new to listen to? Be sure
to follow BreakTime @breaktimelivenj on social media and stream their music on