Drawing upon influences from everything from jazz and hip-hop to synthesized R&B and soul, Honey Collective features the talents of four UA students.
Sophomore Walter Ferguson, junior Jordan Strickland, senior Erick Amaya, who are all music majors, and master’s student Austin Wilkins, who is majoring in political science, formed Honey Collective in August 2018, Ferguson said. Ferguson plays the drums, Strickland plays keys, Amaya plays the trumpet and Wilkins plays bass.
Honey Collective songs combine elements from different genre influences to create unique sounds, Ferguson said.
“This leads us to a lot of awesome new things that we can improvise and do a lot of cool things with our instruments that other popular styles wouldn’t normally do,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson and Strickland met in fall 2017 and bonded over their mutual interests in music, Strickland said. Ferguson and Strickland both study percussion at the UofA and were part of the same music studio.
Ferguson and Strickland write most of the Honey Collective’s music, Strickland said. Their “Liminal” album is all instrumental, but the music they are working on will have lyrics and vocals, Strickland said.
“When we play live shows, we have people come up and do songs with us so it’s not like we’re an instrumental band. That’s just what we have out right now. That’s our core,” Strickland said.
Balancing their lives between the band and school is difficult, Ferguson said. Both Strickland and Ferguson are in multiple UA ensembles, another band called Elephantom and they have also collaborated with Becky Adams, a singer-songwriter, to record her debut music.
“We’ve made it work out without blowing up. I would say we’re doing an okay job, but we don’t get a whole lot of sleep that’s for sure,” Ferguson said. “I honestly think the hardest part about being in so many bands is all the different rehearsals.”
They called the band the Honey Collective because they like to bring in many different people and instruments to influence the band’s sound overall, Ferguson said.
“I think we’re just trying to carve out a niche in the NWA music scene and really, you know, give the people music that they didn't know that they wanted but once they hear it they’re like, ‘Oh yeah!’” Ferguson said. “It's really interesting to hear people describe your own music back to you. That’s a phenomenon that I’d never ever encountered until we released this music, but we’re just trying to make some groovy music.”
Ferguson and Strickland started out by covering songs and making videos for Instagram before starting Honey Records in June 2018, Strickland said.
Honey Records is a production company that not only produces their own music, but the music of other artists who are trying to get their start, Ferguson said. The first project that Honey Records produced was the EP “Cardinal” for one of Ferguson’s old friends from high school. Honey Records also produced Honey Collective’s first album, “Liminal,” in 2018.
“We have a lot of people who approach us that have some great tunes but maybe not the means to really, fully flesh these ideas out and record them. That’s what we’re trying to do,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson and Strickland play every musical genre except for country and metal, so with Honey Records, they are open to wherever it might take them in the future, Ferguson said.
“It initially started as a way for us to just create music under one name and just put up all of these different types so people can feel what we’re doing,” Strickland said. “I would say to just keep it coming so we can keep doing what we can to grow.”
Ferguson and Strickland started producing music last year, but they are not just focused on producing music but performing as well and Honey collective has started to get more gigs lined up, including the shows at George’s Majestic Lounge.