What specific qualities of Honey Power facilitate a sense of camaraderie over competition?
MUKTA: Camaraderie over competition—that’s something we’ve all talked about. It’s a huge part of the Honey Power culture, being supportive instead of competitive. Instead of feeling envious when someone else succeeds, it’s about being supportive and happy for them, and figuring out how to help everyone enjoy and benefit from each other’s successes as well. I don’t know that we’ve ever really talked about this specifically, but I feel it in our culture: Honey Power is a way to grow your skill set, confidence, and feeling comfortable with who you are on an individual level and have a support system as you do it. It’s about growing individually, together.
CHELSEA: Mukta, you and I are friends; we obviously had a mindset in common. We invited their friends, who invited their friends…that mindset attracted like-minded people to Honey Power. That culture of positivity and liked-mindedness is created because we draw other like-minded people towards our group and events.
The successes of your culture-building are in the details. They might be as small as the fact that the show poster was drawn by someone who had never done one before, or that you hosted a show at a DIY space run by young women, as opposed to a for-profit venue. You don’t just have parties and tell everyone, “OK, BUILD COMMUNITY NOW!” You set up environments thoughtfully to attract people to them.
CHELSEA: Seriously, thank you for validating our love of decorations. I think a lot of people roll their eyes at that. We actually spend our personal money on this! People sometimes brush it off as girly, silly, whatever, but the people who actually show up to the events really enjoy it. It does contribute to the whole experience.
MUKTA: I’m going to stand up for our decorations, because I feel that too! We put so much thought into them. We recreated the same photo booth Tacocat had at their record release party! We matched that! Chelsea made the most amazing banner using emojis that represented the band at the Cell Out show…they weren’t just emojis, they were emojis that represented the band and venue and Honey Power. It’s something we’ve talked about: “Is this a silly twee thing, or does it enhance the experience?”
How would a girl who wants to book a show go about it as a total newbie?
CHELSEA: The first thing I think of is a daytime picnic show at a park or something.
MUKTA: That’s something we’ve considered doing, too. I remember being in high school and wanting to do that, and enjoying outdoor acoustic shows in parks that were potlucks. Those are totally doable [if they’re free/donation-based and acoustic].
CHELSEA: You could take advantage of a friend’s birthday party, or your own. If your parents are OK with having music at your house party, that’s awesome. My parents let us have the basement where we’d practice as Summer Twins. We’d throw themed parties down there for our birthdays and have our friend’s bands play. These were actually a lot like Honey Power shows!
How do you keep Honey Power cohesive in its events, aesthetic, and theme, but also open and inclusive?
CHELSEA: Recently, someone made a comment that Honey Power seemed like a sorority. Not everyone gets it. Since hearing that, we’ve discussed it ourselves, and we’re trying to find ways to make it more inclusive. At the same time, we can’t realistically expand too much right now, because we’re still trying to get organized. We 100 percent want people to feel like they can reach out and join in. In all of our zines, we include all of our social media and contact info. We encourage people to collaborate with us.
MUKTA: In terms of being cohesive, when you deal with a lot of people, there’s a lot of different goals and missions. We don’t have a set mission statement yet—we have ideas of what we want Honey Power to be, but we’re still very new and the exciting thing is, in a year’s time, we’re going to know who we are. More than what we think right now.
CHELSEA: On the other end too, it’s exciting to know that we can keep evolving. Our first meeting, we stressed that Honey Power can be whatever we want it to be. It’s a collective. We started off being a DJ collective, but then we started doing so many things, so we called ourselves a music and arts collective. And now we just called ourselves a collective, because it can be anything. We can do what we want with it. It’s an excuse to get a bunch of people together and do fun, creative stuff.
MUKTA: People have different goals, and that’s completely OK, as long as we’re supportive of one another and not inhibiting anyone.
CHELSEA: That’s where the committees come in handy. Some people are more interested in throwing shows, so they can join that one. Et cetera.
MUKTA: A bunch of us came together and made zines a few weeks ago. We did an exquisite corpse type of thing, but with words. We asked, “What does Honey Power mean to you?” No one else could see the other responses that they wrote down. At the end when we shared, it was so cool to open that up and see the variety that Honey Power is to people. One person wrote, “Community, fun, punk, empowering.” It means all kinds of things. It would be hard and foolish to lock down a set mission for what Honey Power is right now. End goal, big picture, we all want similar things, and a creative community. We’re all in it for different reasons, but to know we all have one another—that’s a good thing.
CHELSEA: The coolest part is that if we can inspire anyone else to do their own thing, that’s awesome. We were inspired by Twee Girls Club in Japan, and they were inspired by a DJ collective in the UK. It’s this chain. We’ve also been really inspired by Rookie, and there’s a lot of Rookie readers out there that have found their place on the internet through Rookie, and I want to encourage those awesome girls to go out and actually find it in the physical world too.
CHELSEA: It’s so meaningful to have that community in front of you. It’s one thing to have it online and know that those people are out there, but it’s another thing to actually surround yourself with those people and create something with them.
MUKTA: Having a physical space is really important. We’ve met up at so many different places. Our first meeting was a picnic on my front lawn. Tomorrow, we’re meeting at someone’s house. Having a physical space makes the more tedious work we do—responding to emails, sending contracts, and all the boring stuff—having in-person meetings makes it worth it. It doesn’t matter where it is.
One time, we had a meeting to make zines and I had gotten home from work and was really tired. I sat down on the couch and didn’t want to go. But by the time I got there and walked it, suddenly it was all worth it: Oh, right: This is why I do Honey Power. Even when you’re tired, and it’s hard work, you go and join like-minded people and end up making something that ends up being really fulfilling.
Sometimes you have to do shitty stuff that’s tiring, but in the end, when it’s something super awesome and invigorating, like Honey Power, it gives you energy to put the effort into it. It totally pays off.
MUKTA: None of us do this full time! All of us do SO many other things.
CHELSEA: We have yet to throw a show where we cover the costs of our zines, decorations, snacks, whatever. We put our personal money and a lot of our time into this. But getting to an event and watching everyone show up and contribute—like you said, it gives you that energy back.
MUKTA: I think about Honey Power on a practical level every day. Even if I’m not doing much, I’m always thinking of what we should do for our next event, or when our next meeting is, or I’ll see something on the street that looks SO Honey Power. It’s always there, embedded in my life. I feel like we just started with Honey Power. Honey Power is becoming more than just shows. I don’t see this slowing down anytime soon. ♦