Episode 189: Suzanne Santo
Air date: 8.23.2017
Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe have been making music as HoneyHoney since 2006, and they have three albums and incalculable touring miles under their belt. After over ten years of grinding it out side by side and making honest headway in the music business, the duo decided to get a little breathing room. Both Jaffe and Santo have things to say on their own, and Santo’s stellar new Ruby Red is the first of these releases. Santo’s solo flight started when artist and producer Butch Walker saw her play at a show and asked her to contribute to a project on which he was working. The collaboration was fruitful, and it led to Santo tapping Walker to produce her first record under her own name. That new record, Ruby Red, is evocative, haunting, and replete with a dark undercurrent that echoes the California-style stark sunshine noir that HoneyHoney long ago established as a leitmotif. Ruby Red’s ten songs (plus a bonus acoustic version of the rocker, “Regrets”) positively smack of longing - of both an emotional and a carnal nature. Walker’s production crackles - drums snap, guitars grind and screech, and keyboard pedal tones set a stage for Santo’s scorching vocals and melodic violin work. Santo’s lyrics pull no punches and spare no lives; she knows the effect of a vulgar word or brazen tease when it lands on her listeners’ ears. But if you ask Santo what Ruby Red is about - for all its lust, longing, blood and fire - she will tell you that the record is about accountability - a fine and resonant topic for an artist striking out on their own and finding that their wings will carry them as far as they’re willing to go.