[follow id = “KassiLuja”]
Becky Filip and Jacob Wick aren’t your average couple.
They’re something out of a fairytale, a dream. Their chemistry is organic, their back-and-forth banter as fluid as their music.
I can’t let you go / You’re the place I call home / And you’re gone
Filip and Wick grew up in musical families, but now, they’re carving a journey of their own.
Their harmonies and overt chemistry add warmth to spring’s light chill. Their voices meet like they’ve known each other for years — and they have.
Nearly a decade after meeting in 2005 and five years after their Wake The Earth EP release in 2009, the real-life couple known musically as The Honey Trees released its first full-length album, Bright Fire, this past April.
“A lot of the songs we have on Bright Fire, maybe half of the songs, we had written and played live for a couple years and were able to kind of take them through different genres and try out different ideas for those songs,” Wick said.
Rather than classifying themselves in a more traditional genre, the 26-year-olds prefer the term “dream pop.”
“We like to call it dream pop, which is like still easy to listen to like pop, but a little more dreamy,” Filip said. “Some people call us folky. I guess we have elements of folk in our music as far as storytelling goes.”
If dream-pop-acoustic-lullaby was its own genre, that’s where The Honey Trees would take root.
“We pull from a lot of different genres,” Wick said.
Boo Boo Records employee Ryan East equates the duo’s music to that of The Civil Wars.
“I would describe it as folk, as it is beautiful,” he said.
The Honey Trees originally began as Filip’s solo project, with the Sacramento native posting songs and covers on Myspace. As much as they hate to admit it, this social media platform is where the two originally met, when Nipomo-bred Wick reached out to Filip.
The Honey Trees didn’t come to fruition, however, until the duo joined forces for Wake The Earth.
“Right after Wake The Earth we weren’t a seasoned band or anything,” Wick said, gently adjusting his brown-speckled socks under his leather shoes. “We didn’t really know what to do next, and so at that time, I was still doing my own stuff.”
The soft-spoken, subtle jokester was creating different music, but eventually, Wick said he proposed (Filip: “He didn’t propose to me, but he proposed the idea”) the idea of writing for The Honey Trees.
“We would just put the two ideas together, basically,” Filip said, in between sips of water from a mason jar.
The now-local couple had the opportunity of working with The Civil Wars producer Charlie Peacock for Wake The Earth, a recording process that lasted a mere eight days.
For Bright Fire, Wick and Filip took their time.
Igniting a fire
“We didn’t really have many resources and finding producers and stuff that were in our budget and that could do the same quality that we got with our first EP, so we were just taking our time and weighing our options,” Filip said. “We had a few opportunities, but it didn’t feel right, so we just wanted to take our time with the full-length.”
“From my perspective — I hope this is what comes across to other people — I feel like we matured a lot musically,” Wick said. “We definitely had a lot more time to really focus on the ideas of what we wanted to create for this album and how it all flowed together.”
This time around, The Honey Trees had Sleeping At Last producer Jeremy Larson on board, helping in the creation of the 11-track record.
“I feel like Bright Fire is a lot more layered with sound, and Wake The Earth was more like just regular band, you know, five-piece band sort of sound,” Filip said.
With more time to record the full-length album as opposed to the EP, the duo was able to experiment.
“Maybe half the songs (on Bright Fire) we had written and played live for a couple years and we were able to kind of take them through different genres and try out different ideas for those songs,” Wick said. “It’s a lot more of a journey for the Bright Fire record in terms of writing.”
As far as their favorite song on the album, Filip turns to the multifaceted “Wild Winds” — a song featuring more than 100 vocal tracks. Filip finished recording the song in a hotel bathroom on their way to Springfield, Mo. to record.
“It’s so different than anything we had ever done before and I really liked recording that one because it was really challenging,” Filip said.
Though the couple’s songs are filled with raw emotion, they don’t draw from personal experiences.
“I don’t write very personally,” Filip said. “I’m not like a Taylor Swift writer where I can write about what’s actually going on. I like creating stories and writing about other people and what they’re going through — being inspired by a movie or something like that.”
In retrospect, the duo hopes to inspire others.
“I like music that inspires me, so that’d be awesome if (our) music inspired other people,” Filip said. “Any time we’re feeling frustrated about doing this as a career, those are the type of things that kind of put a better perspective on it.”
The dark-haired, blue-jacketed Wick sees their influence in a different light as a quizzical expression forms on his face.
“If our lyrics influence the way someone thinks, that’s scary. I hope that I’m not dummying the society or anything,” he said, followed by Filip’s chuckle and an “I don’t think so.”
When it comes to getting ready for a show, Wick and Filip don’t have any set pre-show rituals. But they do agree on one thing that happens before every set.
“Get nervous,” Wick said. “That’s always a routine.”
But with this many years under their belt and the couple’s overt chemistry, it’s nearly hard to believe.
Planting a future
And performing isn’t the only thing they get nervous about. The music industry as a whole can be rather daunting for the laid back twosome, as they agree on the hardest part about being a musician.
“The uncertainty of whether or not you’re gonna be able to continue doing (music) without being homeless,” Wick said.
“Especially now because the music industry is so oversaturated with people trying to do music, it’s scary to think that it could just never happen,” Filip said. “But it’s also what we love doing, so we just keep doing it.”
The two interact back and forth, as if it were only the two of them sitting on the white picket-fenced patio, planning where they’ll be in 10 years.
Wick: “Probably here.”
Filip, laughing: “Here, on this patio?”
Wick: “No, I don’t know. I think I’m going to live here for a long time. But yeah, hopefully doing music and traveling and doing it a lot more.”
Filip: “It’d be cool if we were, like, scoring films or something.”
Wick: “Maybe video games.”
Filip says, jokingly: “Yeah, that’s my dream.”
Filip: “Yeah, just still doing music in some form … maybe married with kids. You never know.”
Wick: “Working with other artists.”
Filip: “Yeah, that’d be cool … hopefully we’ll have our own studio.”
Filip: “You’d be a good producer.”
Wick: “Riding motorcycles, hopefully, still. Not dead. Those are all things I’m hoping.”
Filip, laughing: “Not dead, that’s good.”
But for now, they’re basking in the journey.
“I feel like we’ve been really fortunate; I feel like we’ve been really lucky,” Filip said. “We’ve seen our online fan base grow, and it’s been really awesome to see people that really care about what we do.”
And musically, the organically twined duo isn’t stopping anytime soon.
“It’s always been something that I love doing,” Wick said. “I could never see myself not doing it.”