Local musician Jordan Gomes-Kuehner talks musical beginnings, her project Heaven Honey, and what's next for her.
WHO IS IN HEAVEN HONEY?
JORDAN: It started out with Iain Donkin playing drums, then Nick Harley who was bassist but now is lead guitar, then we added Jacob Gumboil who now plays bass, then Rosie Ray has done backup vocals for us at the past few shows. And I sing and play guitar.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC?
JORDAN: Alternative pop and folk rock singer songwriter... those are the labels I use because that’s what I’ve heard from other people and it seems to stick.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH 1212 RECORDS?
JORDAN: Twelve Twelve Records is Collin Thomas, Bryan Berger, and Annie Skertic. They all went to IU but now they’re all in different parts of the country - Collin is in Chicago, Bryan is in Los Angeles, and Annie is in New York City. I met them in Bloomington last spring when I was still in Her Again. Fresh Kill is also on 1212 records. Fresh Kill hasn’t released anything with them yet but they just recorded a full length album and that’ll be out later this year. It’s just friends working on stuff together, helping each other out, and it’s been a cool experience so far.
They’ve helped me put out my music on all the streaming services, they pressed the Heaven Honey EP cassette tapes for me, and Annie will pitch my music to blogs and try to get coverage. It terms of booking, I was originally planning one for this summer on my own but I think now that’s gonna be taken care of thanks to 1212. I’m really excited, they’ve been really awesome.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START PLAYING SHOWS AND HOW DID YOU FEEL, VERSUS HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW PLAYING LIVE?
JORDAN: I’m definitely still growing, I started playing shows when I was 18 [with Her Again]. I never played an instrument in front of an audience before my freshman year of college. I started playing drums then I met Claudia. She asked me to be in her band and we started playing and it was pretty scary. I danced for years before I started playing music, so I’ve performed in front of people before, but I’ve never had to actually do something as tactile as playing the drums or guitar in front of people, it’s just a whole other kind of experience.
At first it was really just about getting better at the instrument itself and then translating that to a performance and being able to actually perform on top of playing the instrument well, so I did that for two years and eventually I got tinnitus in my right ear and [Her Again] dissolved so I stopped playing drums. I’d been playing guitar for a year, and I just started messing around writing my own songs and I figured I was almost 21 and I’ve never sang in front of people before that’s something I’ve always really loved, so I booked a solo show [at the Blockhouse last summer] and it was pretty weird. Then immediately after that I started playing with Iain and Nick. It’s all happened pretty fast. I feel like I’ve gotten better at performing, not just myself as a guitarist and vocalist, but also with the whole band and working together with all aspects of the music and making sure there’s a sense of togetherness while we’re playing. It’s still a learning experience for me, I learn all the time new things from my bandmates, and they’re very understanding of where I am. I feel a lot better singing than I did playing the drums because singing is something I actually really love and drumming was fun, but it wasn’t ever something I was passionate about, I just kinda picked it up when I was 18 and singing is something I’ve been able to do without needing any instruments or lessons, so it’s something that feels natural - guitar playing, not so much but that’s a work in progress.
WHAT ARE YOUR MUSIC INSPIRATIONS / WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING TO RECENTLY?
JORDAN: I’m extremely inspired by female vocalists/singer songwriters. Lana Del Ray, I absolutely love her, I don’t care what anybody thinks. Jessica Lea May eld, Fiona Apple, Sky Fierra, Lorde, Mazzy Star, who just put out new music so that’s what I’ve been listening to recently. I really like pop music, but whenever there’s an edge to it that’s even better,
so I like pop female vocalists who’ve taken the genre and done something different with it. The new Kali Uchis album is so good, I love that. The new Cardi B album, it’s awesome. The new Sun Flower Beam album. The new Breeders record. And the new Cherry Glazerr single, I’ve been blasting that. I’ve been trying to listen to new music, but also ABBA has been something I’ve been listening to a lot of recently. I feel like I need to get more into ABBA.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR HEAVEN HONEY?
JORDAN: I’ll be graduating in May and after that I really want to focus on my music and explore what I’m capable of as a singer songwriter. I wanna experiment with different genres and get to a point where I can decide what works best for me. I want Heaven Honey to go on a tour, which is in the works. We just put out an EP. I don’t know if I want to put out an album anytime within the next year. I think I might want to put out another EP and in that experiment a little bit more with whatever genre. Maybe do something that’s a little more punk or a little more dream poppy - I don’t know. Really it’s just about me learning, getting better and figuring out what I like and I hope that everything works out accordingly. I’m sticking around Bloomington because I don’t want to leave my band and I wanna continue to play with them cause it’s been a good experience so far.