Sweet, spacey and inventive: Moon Honey has island link

Moon Honey is a band whose inspired musical journey takes in elements of baroque folk, psychedelia and rock.

 

Not only are their original songs full of virtuosity, delicate sound scapes and intriguing rhythms, there’s also a Cayman link in the form of Andrew Berkeley Martin. The co-founder of the Baton Rouge-based outfit is the grandson of Caymanian stock. 

Indeed, he and vocalist/cover artwork star Jessica Ramsey were recently spotted relaxing in Grand Cayman to recover from a 35-day U.S. tour that ranged from California to Washington and a host of other venues in between. 

The band has toured extensively since 2010, under previous moniker Twin Killers. The band came to life when Andrew Martin, a self-taught guitarist who trained himself using a Jimi Hendrix tab book, left his home in Cayman. When he combined his talents with the celebrated drumming abilities of Jermaine Butler, Moon Honey began writing their first EP, “Lemon Heart Opera.”  

Jessica Ramsey joined two years later when she offered to paint Martin’s guitar cabinet. She ended up trying out for the band. Her inexperience in music and unorthodox voice are two of the main reasons that their EP, released in 2010, was such an explosive and innovative work. Such is the success of the band that all members have now quit their jobs in Louisiana to go full-time with music.  

The band is noted for collaborating with string quartets, choirs, additional musicians and art installations in its quest to go way beyond a few chords and explore more esoteric truths. 

Martin credits the Cayman Islands with inspiration, and he has many friends and family on island. The man himself concentrates on music, not necessarily words, so Weekender caught up with the vocally blessed Ramsey to fill in a few gaps about a band that has drawn great praise from the likes of the New York Times. 

Explain to us what Moon Honey is about. 

Moon Honey interprets the struggles and joys of mankind! Moon Honey sounds like an exotic jungle bird in New York. Conceptually, we make noises according to how we feel, but with style. 

 

Who are your greatest influences, musically, artistically, spiritually? 

Jimi Hendrix, E.E. Cummings, Frida Kahlo, The Rolling Stones, King Crimson, Fela Kuti, Joanna Newsom. We consider these influences spiritual. 

 

Where do the boundaries lie between inspiration, dream and art? 

One is created inside you by choice, one is created inside you without choice, and one is created outside of you by you, according to what you chose to be inspired by and what you subconsciously absorbed. 

 

What does Cayman mean to you guys? 

Peace. It really is the one place on earth that isn’t littered with our musical baggage. Cayman is a place to breathe, along with the warmth of family and close friends. Andrew grew up on this island – it was also the first place he picked up a guitar, and where he learned to speak, read and write. It will always be home to him. 

 

What are your plans and dreams for 2014 and beyond? 

We are going to be pushing our album as far as possible – hopefully Europe by fall. We’ll be working on new material as well. We simply hope to continue collaborating and doing what we love! 

You can find out more at moonhoneyband.com. Moon Honey’s album, “Hand-Painted Dream Photographs,” is out now. 

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Moon Honey, from left, Andrew Martin, Jessica Ramsey, Jermaine Butler and Jeffrey Livingston.
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