WHEN stepping out of the comfort zone of the creative process, it's always important to be well-supported. Knowing there is a producer, band member or trusted friend close to hand is always a huge part of it. Just having a familiar place to turn to when the need for a sounding board or encouragement strikes is key to musicians at the best of times.

…But then what happens when it is not quite the best of times? When the world comes to a standstill; when the music industry descends into a cruel hibernation, entrenched by uncertainty. Where do we turn in isolation?

Stina Tweeddale had been halfway through the recording of a new Honeyblood album when the brakes slammed on the world. In the midst of an intense creative process, she was forced to simply stop and put all those plans on hold.

Those creative urges never stayed away, however. And when in need of a sounding board, she turned to those who had been as supportive of her work as any producer, band member or trusted friend – she turned to her Coven.

Indeed, not just her Coven, but her Babes… her Honeyblooders. They were going to help her make new music. Not just with financial support, but with genuine input. Major decisions about the project would be made democratically. For someone who admits to having difficulty giving up control, this would be a major personal trial.

Tweeddale tells The Weekender: "It's pretty weird to be sitting in, I suppose, a creative fishbowl and have everyone look in on your process."

The platform of choice was Patreon as she launched her Honeyblood Secret Society, giving subscribers access to HBTV, and others were able to purchase influence on the direction of her latest work. Those who paid the highest rate were able to join the top tier for the project – the Coven.

The end result of it all is a debut solo EP – released as Stina Marie-Claire called A Souvenir of a Terrible year. Fitting, sure, but with a sense of sheer resilience that many artists could certainly benefit from coming out of the pandemic.

Tweeddale continues: "It is, really, the most intense market research that I have ever done. There is no guesswork, they just tell me exactly what they like.

"And it's been pretty exciting to have music come out from this. They have heard all of these songs for about a year now, and they were a part of the whole process.

"It was a strange experiment, but it worked better than I could have imagined. And I really cannot thank those fans who supported me on Patreon enough – if it weren't for them, I wouldn't be able to release any music."

Handing the reins off to someone else would have been a daunting prospect to the Honeyblood frontwoman. It is not a situation she often finds herself in.


Honeyblood will continue in the future, Stina Tweeddale has confirmed, with a new album already half recorded

Honeyblood will continue in the future, Stina Tweeddale has confirmed, with a new album already half recorded


But no matter the success of the project, Tweeddale insists her focus will be on Honeyblood going forward. While the EP will serve as a major achievement of the Coven, they will also be huge contributors to making sure the latest Honeyblood album is completed.

"I am normally quite closed when it comes to writing and recording – usually. And that's one of the reasons that I decided not to do it 'as Honeyblood' because I could never really give up control of Honeyblood.

"There's a reason why I'm on my fourth drummer; I am a tyrant and need to be in complete control of that project. And that's fine – that's what Honeyblood is. It's an extension of me and always has been.

"But this project is not that. And although I did give it my name, I feel that is more of a collaborative project.

"It's also a completely different side of me. There is a kind of vulnerability in the songs and they are a little more soft than Honeyblood. That might be why I was a bit happier with other people coming in and having their say."

She adds: "And, of course, it's not like I'm stopping Honeyblood and that I'm going to do this other thing forever. I feel it is pretty liberating to know that this is a finite project. I do think I might release more material under that name in the future, but for those asking if I am still going to do Honeyblood, then the answer is definitely yes.

A Souvenir of a Terrible Year has already spawned two singles. The first came in the form of original track The Human Condition and Here's Where the Story Ends, a cover of the 1990 song by The Sundays.

Indeed, the latter is another instance of Tweeddale stepping away from her comfort zone and letting the Coven, Babes and Honeyblooders steer the ship. And while it was another road she had envisaged ever stepping down, she does applaud the input that transpired.

"I hardly ever do covers," she adds. "I used to do a cover every week, during my live stream for the fans on Patreon. I did so many – covered so many songs over the entire time that I was doing this – but we decided which one was everyone's favourite.

"And out of them all, it was this song by The Sundays. So, I thought, that I'd record it and put it on the EP then. So, it was a democratic choice. There was a poll, everyone had their say.

"Also, the name of the EP is A Souvenir of a Terrible Year, which is a lyric from that cover, which they all chose. I'm not taking anything to do with that creative genius – I think it's very fitting, though."

The EP is set for release on October 1, featuring The Sundays cover and three original tracks written by Tweeddale and influenced by her fans. A follower-led campaign. A journey that started at the end.

"It'll be great when it is finally out," the singer adds. "But, really, it's just been such an honour to know that I can still release music, after this year and everything that's happened."

To join the Honeyblood Secret Society, visit https://www.patreon.com/HBsecretsociety