Mix help wanted for my crazy darkfolk cacophony - Honeysuckle Tree

There has been some chat in the forum about how and why we write songs…
this one came to me complete, while driving home from performing at a folk club some years ago… I had no paper in the car so wrote it down on the back of an old meat pie packet - true! Got home and threw some melody at it and here it is…

I have performed it live a few times, with no accompaniment other than a set of wooden chopsticks that I rattled around the piano keys and hit various other things with while singing… hmm… So making up some instrument parts for a recording seemed kinda obscure… I’ve been working on it off and on for about three years now - hah! Time to move on I think…

So, how is it sounding? Thoughts/impressions/improvement ideas??
As you may guess, it has been something of a mission to mix up, I had these ideas in my head… ah well…

Thanks for checking it out… :beerbang:

Updated version with less staccato snare…


Ha, one of the best things I have liked from you Emma! It’s got a rawness about it, a fun time, of course it seems like it needs tons of edits and more effects - but that would probably ruin the vibe!

The doubled vocals from 2:34 to near the end are a bit distracting. While I tend to like things like that, they need to be at least somewhat coincidental most of the time in the track to make sense.

I do praise the rawness. Long live the rawness! :beerbang:

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Shambolic Folk Rock? I’m pretty sure Dylan paved the way with “Like a Rolling Stone”, but this is definitely an “Emma-ized” take on the genre.

Loving the feel of this track - it has that Music Hall thing going. Yes, it’s a novelty track, but hey! The Beatles, The Kinks and many more highly credible acts have walked that line (and crossed it)! Let’s face it, everybody takes music far too seriously most of the time!..

About the only thing I picked up was the slightly “machine-gunny” sound of the drum fill @ 1:16 (just after “dinosaur poo”) and later on as well in another spot. Maybe mess up those velocities and make them a bit more uneven, and the drum fill a little more “inebriated- sounding”.

The mix sounds great to me.


Emma My toe is tapping already:) You are one crazy gal. I absolutely love it. I sounds so live…almost like playing in a bar. You don’t give a shit. ha ha My fav word. I can’t wipe this grin off my face. You sound 22 years old. I think the production is spot on.



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I love it. I wish I was this creative.


Great stuff Emma! Comes across as an antipodean commonwealth version of a Tom Waits song, sort of like “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw” with much more class.

I agree with Andrew about the drums needing to have some velocity variation in those places, but otherwise I would leave it ragged like this! Really suits the vibe of the song.

I’ll bet it’s a crowd pleaser played live!!

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Very cool! I like it a lot. Maybe add some jaw harp or wacky banjo licks? And what is ‘darkfolk’?

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Yay, thanks so much to you all for listening and commenting… I’m caught up in babysitting for the next day/night and have only a moment - will reply in more detail later… it’s just been such a buzz for me to read the responses. It’s such a crazy song and I suspect I’m very close to nailing it… hooray!! I thought it would be parked forever!!

Thanks for that Emma - somehow encompassing both your Scottish (I think?) heritage and cockney bravado.

Please tell me you sang this with your thumbs in a pair of braces? :grin:

I like the way it’s obviously a lark but you’ve put a lot into it at the same time. I like it!

By the way - it took me back in some respects. “Where the bee sucks” was a staple of my 80s Music Appreciation class at school together with other classics such as The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies & The Flowers in the Valley & …oh god I don’t even want to think about it

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Hi Emma,

I’ve had a good listen to the Honeysuckle Tree. You definitely need to buy more meat pies so that you can write more songs on the wrappers!

I suppose it all boils down to how you want the final cut to sound? I like it as it is, raw, fun, primitive, almost “live” sounding! It’s inventive too, using chopsticks for additional percussion! Keep it as it is!

It kinda answers the question I raised about how one is inspired to write a song… in this case spontaneously!

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Thanks for checking this out Stan!
Must say that I’d sort of lost perspective on it… heh, you can probably understand why… I had this challenge to keep a raw crazy live sort of vibe - complete with chickens running round on the stage - but it started off so totally loose it was a real challenge for me. I hear you on the doubling vocals, perhaps they could be more differentiated… i did have a lot more crazy backing stuff going on and ended up chopping most of it out… will re-visit that later on… thanks again.

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Thanks so much Andrew, I really appreciate your ears on this one!
I’ve found it tricky to mix, especially because I kept throwing new things into the soup. Once again, I had this idea in my head and the process of translation was really challenging. Great feedback on the drums thanks… I’ve done a lot of faffing around with them and while I like that rat-a-tat-tat thing, it does sound just a bit too disciplined… just the sort of feedback I was needing ta. I had quite a bit of trouble with the bass and the percussion blurring together - glad to hear nothing about that hehe…
And it was really fun to not worry about certain weak musical bits,i just threw more animal sounds in to cover up that weakness… not probably a sustainable plan :wink:

Thanks heaps Paul! Glad to get your toes a-tapping… funny, I wasn’t sure how the ‘shit’ would go for my American buddies, you’all have a purer reputation than we kiwis :smile: It was a crazy song and i had a lot of fun playing with it!!
Looking forward to making some sounds with you soon… :beerbang:

Thanks for checking it out BigAl… sometimes I just seem to dive in without caring what an ass I might be making of myself… it’s a type of freedom that is on the cusp of total idiocy! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Yay, thanks Dave! Loved your description… I wrote this as a sort of anit-folk thing, which was not very charitable of me as folk venues were very kind to me back then… but sometimes the earnestness of that socks and sandal brigade seemed to bring out the mischief in me… I did find it really hard to strike a balance between ragged and wild and just plain sloppy… I’ve done a few of these ones where I really wanted to create a ‘live’ sense in the mix… maybe I can finish some more. Thanks so much!

Hey thanks Ingo! Lovely to get your feedback… hah… i once had a jawharp, back then, it was called a Jew’s Harp… man that thing hurt my teeth - and the thought of adding a banjo… hehe… reminds me, I must check out my old band-in-a-box software one day as there are some awesome cliche musical grooves in there that I did think I’d play with one day. I was sort of being ironic with ‘darkfolk’… I notice on soundcloud there are so very many different descriptors of folk music now…

Hi there Firedance! Lovely to hear from you!
Yeah i sort of think of this song as tongue-in-chic… hah! It’s sort of a spoof on a heap of things. When I was at College I was in a madrigal choir… that was really quite fun, we sang acappella and a lot of the songs were really old with all these amazing fol de rol de diddly i day thingies… so crazy… And as always, I find it very easy to laugh at myself!

And yeah, I have spent quite a lot of time on it… as usual, I threw everything at the track and then spent seemingly-forever trying to carve it into some functional shape. I had to look up that bee quote, o my, it’s from Shakespeare haha… well, the copyright will be free anyway. I just seemed to write it in a wild lyrical looseness that I kinda enjoyed and wanted the track to reflect. Thanks again!

Hi there Ailwyn, lovely to hear from you and thanks for checking out my song.
Great to read your feedback, yeah, I did want to somehow keep a crazy spontaneous vibe to the track… funny, I haven’t had a meat pie for a very long time… I have used all sorts of paper to write song ideas on… napkins, paper towels… cheque books… funny to remember that… :grinning:

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It’s very interesting. It reminds me of a kids song in a way(maybe not the lyrics), but the strange quirky nature is definately unique and cool. The only thing I’d suggest is trying to get everything glued together and sounding like it is recorded in the same space. Besides that its good.


Surely not!! We Americans are a very foul-mouthed bunch.

And you had me at “dinosaur poo…” :poop:


I just ‘swung’ that staccato drumbeat a bit… just a couple of tweaks but I uploaded it up the top just in case anyone was interested… think I have now done this song to death… hah… but thanks so much for the feedback guys… I’d actually forgotten that it was a bit um odd heh… listen to a thing often enough and it becomes almost normal… :wink:

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I listened to the updated version. Panning chicken sounds! You are the craziest awesome song writer I’ve ever heard:) I will buy everything you release. This is so sincere. You are genius and I am envious.


O Paul,
Thanks so very much for your wonderful comment… your words were like a gift to me.
It has been very hard for me to find time in my studio lately and I’ve never had much of an ego about it all and it can still take me quite a push of courage to post these things ‘out there’…
yay… thanks again!!

:beerbang: :beerbang:

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