Originally appeared on the 405 as “The 405 Meets Honors”; view archived article here.
Honors, a Toronto-based band not-so-coincidentally named after a virtue, values qualities like trust, perseverance, and brotherhood. Yet their new album was borne of vices. The alternative pop group just released Feel Better, a moving 9-track LP written during what began as a dark moment, particularly for lead vocalist Patrick Gillett. Depression led him to substance abuse, which is what eventually left him unresponsive in his apartment. The band noticed his lack of communication and broke into his apartment without hesitation; the aid they lent him didn’t stop after the night was over. Tyler Armes stayed by Gillett’s side on a trip to LA to ensure that he maintained his sobriety during recovery. In that time, they wrote a lot of music and compiled Feel Better, incorporating themes of resilience and independence.
The 405 spoke to Armes about three key tracks on the new record, ‘Valleys’, ‘Compromise’, and ‘Run For Your Life’, exploring the writing process and the personal significance of the songs to the band. Find excerpts below. Read the full interview here.
How did you select the art for “Valleys”?
Armes: We have worked with this artist who lives just outside Toronto, Niko Nice, since the beginning of Honors. He’s just an amazing artist, photographer, and graphic designer. We send him the music and he gets a vibe from how the song makes him feel and he’ll send it back to us and unlike any other person we’ve worked with, there isn’t really a revision or an editing process with him. Whatever he comes up with is kinda what it is. We have this trust in him and it’s special because he does something we can’t do. We’re used to kind of doing everything, but for the artwork we’ve really given him free-reign to get behind this project and it be his vision artistically in terms of anything graphic related.
What role does fear play in this album? It’s very prominent on the album closer, “Run For Your Life.”
Armes: I’ve certainly felt this for a long time and I think like there’s a very healthy relationship to have with fear especially as an artist. There’s constantly a voice in my head and I know the other guys share it as well; it can be very negative and critical and self-destructive, and all of those things are completely normal. I think for anything you do in life, if there isn’t a bit of fear, then what you’re doing might not be worth it. For this song in particular the initial writing came from a dream that I had…