Style Points: An Interview with Honeyhoney's Suzanne Santo
  • TUESDAY, JUNE 05, 2012

  • Posted by: David Pitz

This stylish, artist Spotlight is brought to you by Nordstrom Rack.


Sweet, supple, and stylish; seems the perfect way to sum up Los Angeles duo, Honeyhoney. The tunes they crank on their latest album Billy Jack are timeless slices of Western Americana, impeccably styled in a healthy dose of dusty twang and unraveling romantic narratives that stretch far off into the sunburst horizon. Not surprising, the band follows their style through to the threads they bare. Recently we sat down with Suzanne Santo, Honeyhoney's beautiful and refreshingly laid back front-woman, to discuss the band's sound, their album Billy Jack, and all things style.





How do you describe Honeyhoney's music?
We have a folk-rock/bluegrass/country vibe, so we sort of cross over into a lot of genres, just a little bit of everything.

How would you say you stumbled upon the sound?
We developed our sound quite a bit over the first few years of being together; we've been a band for about seven years now. I've played the violin since I was a kid and I picked up the banjo about seven years ago. My bandmate (Ben Jaffe) plays guitar, so all of a sudden we have these other additives which gives it that country vibe.

Your album is called Billy Jack. How does the title tie into your country style?
Our music is totally that vintage throwback country vibe, and that's who Billy Jack was. He was a cowboy, and we fancy ourselves a cowgirl and a cowboy... cowpeople! We wear boots a lot. We actually spend a lot of time on our dear friend's gorgeous farm in upstate California. That's where we do the majority of our writing these days. So we ride horses during the day and then we'll go write, it's really cool. We shoot skeet. There are chickens, so there are farm fresh eggs in the morning. It's really beautifulalso day time drinking!

How does your country style affect what you wear?
I like to wear black it's as an off the cuff homage to Johnny Cash. I mean, we love comedy and we love to be ridiculous and have fun on stage. But there's definitely seriousness to our music. So there's a sexiness to our western vibeblack dresses and certain styles of form fitting clothes with my boots. It's a empowering on stage some times. Our songs are getting a little bit more rock and roll lately. We're writing a lot of new material, and it's getting a little bit harder, sonically. So, I don't like to feel "cute." I want to feel sexy!

Boots seem important
My outfits 90% of the time orbit around boots. I have motorcycle boots and cowboy boots, pretty much all the time. Except right now, it's a Toms day. It's a travel day. So, no socks, look out. Every time I'm on stage I have boots on. I can count on one hand how many times I've attempted to wear high heels because I wanted to go for this sort of chic side. But when you're playing you can't really move in high heels, and I've injured myself trying. It wasn't cute.

How important is it to feel comfortable when you're playing on stage?
It's really important to me, and to the band as I've come to learn. That's something that I've kind of had to embrace. I'm beginning to not feel bad about it. I mean, your comfort is pretty pertinent when you're on a stage, and there's a couple hundred or a thousand people in front of you. I like to feel comfortable obviously because I need to move. You really got to get down with rock and roll. So I like to be able to have movement. But I like to feel beautiful, so I wear black most of the time. I like sort of classic styles, like something simple, where I could wear a beautiful black dress and have a really cool necklace, like a nucleus focal point. That's kind of my favorite way to wear clothing. Today I have red pants on and the rest is pretty simple. I like to do that.

Is it challenging to stay fashionable while touring non stop?
I love a woman that's put together. In my world, that's not very realistic, with my scheduling. But, I have so much appreciation for someone with the coat and the shoes and the bag and classic style. I respect trends, but across the board I think that classic jeans and boots, things that are utilized over time over and over, are kind of my speed. These days, whatever I buy I have to carry around with me all the time. So it's really great to have things that can be like three different looks all on one dress, or blouse, or jeans. Like the "dress it up, dress it down!" kind of thing. Which is really funny because I live this hobo lifestyle. But I do love clothing that's well made, so if I go shopping I'm going to get something that I really appreciate. Something that I'm going to have for a long time.

Your new video for "Angel of Death" is pretty stylish.
We're really proud of that video because we fought tooth and nail to make it ourselves. And we're an indie band, so you have to get creative. We pulled a lot of favors from our friends in Los Angeles, and we have a few celebrity friends that were participating, which was really cool. We wrote and produced it with the director Brad Scott and it was a crazy experience and it turned out better than we possibly imagined it would. From a fashion standpoint, we got to spruce up a little bit. Ben's in a suit, I wore a gown, and I wore these jeans actually!

Any favorite fashion finds as of late?
Yeah, actually, this bracelet. I got it in Austin, Texas at a thrift store. I'm not going to lie, it makes me feel tough. When I'm playing my fiddle or my banjo, it's kind of like "he-man" or "mountain woman". I don't know, I'm into it. Every once in a while I'll find a great pair of boots or a jacket. It's a really interesting part of our career now that we're getting a little bit bigger. People give us stuff and it's really cool.

Who are some designers that you admire?
Obviously there are those glamorous designers like Marc Jacobs and Oscar De La Renta, those kinds of things that you see in the store, and it's almost like, they're on a mountain and there are angels singing, and it's this amazing $6,000 jacket or something. But on a regular basis, I think it's just mainly about what's comfortable. There are some pretty beautiful designers. Nordstrom has some incredible choicesa one stop shop. Go in there, get those shoes, but I have really bad feet, so I think I have to stick with boots.

Any style advice you would give?
I think for anybody wear what inspires you. Men as well, it's just as important for men to feel as comfortable as women. I think it's socially more acceptable for a woman to put in all this effort. And I think it's totally acceptable for a man to do the same thing. I really encourage that, because I love men, and I love to look at them! But, yeah, I say still go with what you care about and what feels good.


How do you describe Honeyhoney's music?
We have a folk-rock/bluegrass/country vibe, so we sort of cross over into a lot of genres, just a little bit of everything.

How would you say you stumbled upon the sound?
We developed our sound quite a bit over the first few years of being together; we've been a band for about seven years now. I've played the violin since I was a kid and I picked up the banjo about seven years ago. My bandmate (Ben Jaffe) plays guitar, so all of a sudden we have these other additives which gives it that country vibe.

Your album is called Billy Jack. How does the title tie into your country style?
Our music is totally that vintage throwback country vibe, and that's who Billy Jack was. He was a cowboy, and we fancy ourselves a cowgirl and a cowboy... cowpeople! We wear boots a lot. We actually spend a lot of time on our dear friend's gorgeous farm in upstate California. That's where we do the majority of our writing these days. So we ride horses during the day and then we'll go write, it's really cool. We shoot skeet. There are chickens, so there are farm fresh eggs in the morning. It's really beautifulalso day time drinking!

How does your country style affect what you wear?
I like to wear black it's as an off the cuff homage to Johnny Cash. I mean, we love comedy and we love to be ridiculous and have fun on stage. But there's definitely seriousness to our music. So there's a sexiness to our western vibeblack dresses and certain styles of form fitting clothes with my boots. It's a empowering on stage some times. Our songs are getting a little bit more rock and roll lately. We're writing a lot of new material, and it's getting a little bit harder, sonically. So, I don't like to feel "cute." I want to feel sexy!

Boots seem important
My outfits 90% of the time orbit around boots. I have motorcycle boots and cowboy boots, pretty much all the time. Except right now, it's a Toms day. It's a travel day. So, no socks, look out. Every time I'm on stage I have boots on. I can count on one hand how many times I've attempted to wear high heels because I wanted to go for this sort of chic side. But when you're playing you can't really move in high heels, and I've injured myself trying. It wasn't cute.

How important is it to feel comfortable when you're playing on stage?
It's really important to me, and to the band as I've come to learn. That's something that I've kind of had to embrace. I'm beginning to not feel bad about it. I mean, your comfort is pretty pertinent when you're on a stage, and there's a couple hundred or a thousand people in front of you. I like to feel comfortable obviously because I need to move. You really got to get down with rock and roll. So I like to be able to have movement. But I like to feel beautiful, so I wear black most of the time. I like sort of classic styles, like something simple, where I could wear a beautiful black dress and have a really cool necklace, like a nucleus focal point. That's kind of my favorite way to wear clothing. Today I have red pants on and the rest is pretty simple. I like to do that.

Is it challenging to stay fashionable while touring non stop?
I love a woman that's put together. In my world, that's not very realistic, with my scheduling. But, I have so much appreciation for someone with the coat and the shoes and the bag and classic style. I respect trends, but across the board I think that classic jeans and boots, things that are utilized over time over and over, are kind of my speed. These days, whatever I buy I have to carry around with me all the time. So it's really great to have things that can be like three different looks all on one dress, or blouse, or jeans. Like the "dress it up, dress it down!" kind of thing. Which is really funny because I live this hobo lifestyle. But I do love clothing that's well made, so if I go shopping I'm going to get something that I really appreciate. Something that I'm going to have for a long time.

Your new video for "Angel of Death" is pretty stylish.
We're really proud of that video because we fought tooth and nail to make it ourselves. And we're an indie band, so you have to get creative. We pulled a lot of favors from our friends in Los Angeles, and we have a few celebrity friends that were participating, which was really cool. We wrote and produced it with the director Brad Scott and it was a crazy experience and it turned out better than we possibly imagined it would. From a fashion standpoint, we got to spruce up a little bit. Ben's in a suit, I wore a gown, and I wore these jeans actually!

Any favorite fashion finds as of late?
Yeah, actually, this bracelet. I got it in Austin, Texas at a thrift store. I'm not going to lie, it makes me feel tough. When I'm playing my fiddle or my banjo, it's kind of like "he-man" or "mountain woman". I don't know, I'm into it. Every once in a while I'll find a great pair of boots or a jacket. It's a really interesting part of our career now that we're getting a little bit bigger. People give us stuff and it's really cool.

Who are some designers that you admire?
Obviously there are those glamorous designers like Marc Jacobs and Oscar De La Renta, those kinds of things that you see in the store, and it's almost like, they're on a mountain and there are angels singing, and it's this amazing $6,000 jacket or something. But on a regular basis, I think it's just mainly about what's comfortable. There are some pretty beautiful designers. Nordstrom has some incredible choicesa one stop shop. Go in there, get those shoes, but I have really bad feet, so I think I have to stick with boots.

Any style advice you would give?
I think for anybody wear what inspires you. Men as well, it's just as important for men to feel as comfortable as women. I think it's socially more acceptable for a woman to put in all this effort. And I think it's totally acceptable for a man to do the same thing. I really encourage that, because I love men, and I love to look at them! But, yeah, I say still go with what you care about and what feels good.

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