Honour Council is one of the two student bands performing at the annual Llamapalooza festival this year. The well-known group features Lena Farr-Morrissey ’19, Sam Fason ’18, Ian Huschle ’18, and Gwen Wolfenbarger ’19. This week, The Catalyst sat down to discuss their music and the upcoming performance. Make sure to catch Honour Council along with Promiscuous Stepsister for a great show.
The Catalyst: What did you find alluring about the college music scene?
Lena Farr-Morrissey: For me, it’s less the scene and more my need to be playing music and working with what we have with this scene, if that makes sense.
Sam Fason: I feel like we’ve definitely been making moves to branch out of the college scene and make there be less of a divide between the Colorado Springs scene as a whole and the CC music scene. I think having Cloud Factory shows at 315 Uintah, and 1020 Wahsatch [have done a lot]. Those two houses have been really good about hosting shows that have CC bands and Colorado Springs and even touring acts from around the country. So yeah, not to say that the current CC scene isn’t alluring, but it is just such a small little community.
TC: What is one of the biggest differences you’ve noticed between playing at CC versus playing off-camps?
Gwen Wolfenbarger: I mean for Seal Eggs, I feel like more people come to shows off campus than on campus. So in a way, it’s more rewarding to play off campus.
SF: Yeah I think off-campus shows are—with the exception of sometimes, like, SOCC [Sounds of Colorado College] having an on-campus [show] that is actually more official like a Battle of the Bands type situation—I feel like off-campus shows are just less stressful, and you get an actual sound check. CC shows are a lot of fun, but at the end of the day, it is just a lot of people you already know coming to your shows. But at off-campus shows, you’ll get a couple people you’ve never seen coming up to you saying, “Hey, I’ve never heard you before, but y’all are great.” That’s always a really good feeling.
Ian Huschle: Also, on that note, a really fundamental difference between those two things is that people are paying to see you play music usually if it’s off-campus. It’s more like they want to be there—they paid to be there. Whereas at an on-campus show, it’s usually— I don’t want to say you’re just there to make it a fun party or background music because it’s not true, but that’s also fine sometimes. It’s fun to see your friends and everyone’s having a great time, but it’s more like they’re going to go to this house because it’s a party night and there’s going to be live sounds there [as opposed to a real concert].
LFM: It’s just a weird dynamic. I feel like with our music too—which isn’t super “get down and dance, get really drunk”—it’s harder to do that to it. And then there’s this weird disparity between all these drunk kids who are trying to go hard, and we’re just trying to get you to sway.
SF: We played a show at my house on an obscenely cold night in February, and not that many people came. There were just drunk people grinding right up front. It was so weird, like this is not that kind of music. I don’t really see that off campus.
TC: After going through many name changes, how did you settle on Honour Council?
LFM: We were tired of changing our name. We also have a member of the actual Honor Council in our band.
IH: A former member—yeah, I used to be on it. I still feel kinda weird, but it’s OK because I like it.
SF: The name originally came about from an unnamed skateboard thief. It’s definitely a little tongue in cheek, but also, I have a friend who’s on the Honor Council currently, and some people were really confused by it.
LFM: I know someone who loves it—someone I know in the Honor Council was like, “Oh my gosh I thought we were putting on an event when you invited me to your Facebook post.”
TC: Who is a musician you look to for inspiration in your song writing?
GW: I mean, in the context of this band, I often look to the Cocteau Twins for inspiration.
SF: I feel like, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore.
LFM: That’s what I was gonna say! Sonic Youth, I don’t know, yeah, I’ve always been influenced by them; that band has helped me get through some times, especially in high school. I don’t know why; their music isn’t very comforting. And I like the way that the bass works within the wall of sound, and it feels more rhythmic, which offsets all the different sounds going on in their music, and I feel like that’s something that we do.
SF: Also Kevin Shields and My Bloody Valentine.
TC: If you could open for anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
GW: Body/Head would be pretty cool. Or, I mean, if My Bloody Valentine were still together.
LFM: I’m trying to think of something that’s, like, really different than our music but would maybe sound cool with. Robert Glasper or something? I love his music a lot, but it’s not like our music really makes sense with his.
TC: What is your favorite song that is currently on your set list? Why?
SF: I like Molecule. It’s dissonant but still really catchy. My friend Charlie was whistling it in the main line at Rastall today, and after about a minute he was like, “Wait, that’s one of your songs, isn’t it?” It’s really catchy but also probably the song that we’ve been able to take the most experimental liberties with. There’s a lot of weird effect manipulations going on. I think it’s catchy and gets pretty out there. Definitely my favorite at the moment.
GW: I love the new song we’re working on. We’ve got a sick new track coming out. I am very excited about it.
LFM: We wrote it a couple days before Battle [of the Bands] and it came together very quickly, which was cool.
SF: It kinda came together really organically; our songs that come together really organically. If it doesn’t happen that way…
LFM: It feels like putting in a circle in a square.
TC: If you had to compose a song about a block you’ve taken, which class would you write about?
LFM: I’ve done that before; I’ll be the person to admit that. This one, I wrote it while I was in Paris. It was just like that experience was really intense for me, so I don’t even know if it’s really about the block necessarily. But it was expressing a lot of questions that were coming up in the class and making me think about them. But yeah, it wasn’t like, “Today in class…”
GW: Three of us are in a block together right now, and I feel like there will be a lot of stories that come out of that.
SF: I feel like I don’t necessarily ever write songs about blocks but certain blocks are very conducive for writing a lot of music. When I was in elementary French, I wrote a lot of music and spent hours a day just jamming by myself just because I was so bored. I had too much time on my hands.
TC: What are you most excited for during Llamapalooza?
SF: Seeing Crumb. Also really hyped to play. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
IH: I mean, I’m really excited for it. I’m hoping it’s not raining.
SF: Also, the unlimited supply of bottled water backstage, which really is just such a savior.
GW: Oh my god, can’t wait. I’m also excited to play on an awesome sound system for once, with a sound guy who knows what they’re doing.
TC: What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever done on stage?
SF: I feel like we’re pretty tame on stage.
IH: Count Dooku last year was pretty weird: we had like 10 people or so, and we had a rabbit cage that someone was in, like half in, with these really tall boots. At one point we were crawling around, almost like human-centipede-y. That was pretty weird, definitely the weirdest thing I’ve done.
GW: In Seal Eggs I had a song where I hyperventilate into the microphone, so I guess that’s weird? I remember at one of my more recent shows, someone thought I was dying. At Ivywild, yeah. Someone just yelled, “Help her, she’s dying!”
TC: Do you have any big plans for Honour Council next year?
GW: It will get a little different probably. I’ll be gone for a semester.
LFM: But only a semester.
SF: Ian and I are both graduating, but hopefully we will be around the Springs. We might not play a lot of shows first semester just because Gwen will be on tour with Seal Eggs. But our EP will probably come out sometime this summer, and hopefully we can continue to use the studio and keep playing new music.