An Interview with Honest Haloway

Honest Haloway

By Serenat Kivilcim

DC based Honest Haloway was formed by songwriter Tim Kratzer as a bedroom indie-electronica project, and subsequently became a trio including Charlie Karim and Jim Smalley (James Norman). Their first EP, The Towns, has been praised by fans across the nation, with Krazter’s soulful vocals and cherished songwriting drawing upon guitar riffs, harmonical drum kits, and an eclectic mix of dreamy electro-pop.
blackonthecanvas had an exclusive interview with the guys from Honest Haloway at ESL in DC about their music, upcoming EP, DC picks for good music, food, and more.

Honest Haloway 2Photo taken by Sara Nabizadeh


How did Honest Haloway get started? How did the name come about?

Tim:  I initially intended Honest Haloway just to be a studio project.  I just wanted to release the music online and videos for some of the tracks, which I actually did for about a year.  However, I really started to miss performing at clubs and house parties.  So I started a search for a drummer and tried out about or 4 drummers before meeting Charlie.  We clicked and started playing out as a piece.  After close to a year we decided to add a bassist.  For a while Jim and Fico were swapping shows, but eventually Jim took over the permanent show duties due to Fico’s hectic schedule. I was thinking about calling it Honest Hemingway, but feared the name might sound like a joke.  I liked the idea of having Honest in the name, because that’s really what this project was about.  We’re not trying to sell some over produced shiny product, we’re just trying to make good honest music.  And I just chose Haloway because I liked the way it sounded.

Let’s talk about your upcoming EP. Any stories or fun facts during the production?

Tim:  I call it a bedroom project, so as you can imagine almost all of it was recorded in my bedroom. Most of the Bits and pieces were recorded over the last years.  I experimented with a number of ideas but only tracks made the cut.

Charlie: We chose to record some of the album in the famed Inner Ear Studios in Virginia. While we were there, the band Grouplove was on tour and stopped by the same day to record a track so we got to meet them. Good timing!

Jim:  Tim’s work has always been at a very high level of production quality, even for one self-taught person doing the body of the work.  I was a fan of his songs before I got offered to play with the band, so it is fun for me, to get to play the songs as a fan of his work. honest haloway

                                                                                   Photo taken by Ergun Ertekin

Honest Haloway is a bedroom project. What do you guys do for a living?

Charlie: We all have “DC” type jobs…if you don’t get it, you’re not from here. 

So Tim, tell us a little bit about your Iceland experience and how it influenced your music?

Tim:  Iceland is certainly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  We rented a Jeep and really got far out there in the middle of nowhere.  Musically I wanted to something that sounded as grand as that place felt.  I think you can hear that especially in tracks like “1am Nowhere” and “New Year’s” where I tried to replicate that feeling. 

Do you have any upcoming concerts?

Saturday, November 15th at Bar Matchless in Brooklyn

Saturday December 6th at DC9

honest haloway

                                                                                    Photo taken by Ergun Ertekin

What’s your favorite release of the year so far?

Charlie:  Not sure if these were released in 2013 or 2014 but Walk the moon and Atlas genius’ latest, Joywave, Local Natives, Panic At The Disco, and The National. 

Tim:  I typically don’t have favorites and spend my time jumping from album to album.  Currently I’m listening to Papercuts Life Among The Savages.  Good album and I’m always been a fan of their stuff.

Honest Haloway

                                                                                   Photo taken by Ergun Ertekin

What are your DC picks for good music and food?

Charlie:Paperhaus, pleasure curses, me and karen, type fighter, drop electric, and black clouds. DC has a good variety of food from all over the world but I’ll go with the food trucks (all of them), lebanese taverna, medium rare, fat petes, meze, and hot n juicy! 

Tim:  I could eat “Daikaya” probably every day, and for some of the finest pub food around I’ll take “The Queen Vic”.  Local music I’m digging is some of the Prince Georges Records stuff, Pleasure Curses and Furniteur. 

Jim: I met Tim through the local music scene, going to shows at Black Cat among other venues.  We got to play the back stage in February, and that for me was a great experience, because I’ve seen so many good shows there over the years – Caveman, Tennis, Craft Spells, to name a few that come to mind.  Food-wise, I love the Italian Store in Arlington, Doner Bistro in Adams Morgan, and Total Wine is a wine drinker’s paradise.

honest haloway

                                                                                   Photo taken by Ergun Ertekin

Do you have anything you would like to say to critics or fans? Maybe some advice for start up bands?

Charlie: This EP is the second one we’ve released but the first as a live act so we hope to get out and meet new fans and have them spread the word. We love the DC scene and all who have backed us from day one. Come out to our shows and help us put DC on the map. We have a lot to give you in the coming year so get ready!

Tim:  I think Charlie covered it.

Jim: Thank you to all who have come out to shows, and supported us over the years!

Honest Haloway will be releasing one song every Monday from November 10-Dec 1.

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