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BottleRock 2023: Chillin' Out With Honeyboys Out of San Luis Obispo

BottleRock 2023: Chillin' Out With Honeyboys Out of San Luis Obispo

The Honeyboys were the ultimate mood-setters at BottleRock 2023, impressive with their unique blend of rock, funk, jazz, and cool ocean air. Team


4 min read

June 02, 2023

The Honeyboys took the stage on the final day of BottleRock 2023 and brought a little bit of the beach on over to Wine Country.

Emerging from San Luis Obispo, the Honeyboys are a low-key rock band that delivers immaculate vibes, intricate musicianship, and tangible love for one another that shines through in their music. Throw a little bit of surf rock, a little jazz, and some funk and the Honeyboys sound comes together.

The group is fronted by singer Ari Eisenberg, guitarist Reese Garnder, keyboardist Grady Gallagher, Drummer Matt Sato, Bassist Nick Reeves, and saxophonist Nathan Stanley. Donning bee suits, which they wore for their most recent music video for Parachute off their 2023 EP “Find My Way to You,” the Honeyboys brought the party to an overcast Napa afternoon at the Truly Stage.

Photo courtesy of BottleRock Napa Valley/Latitude 38.

There’s a lot to appreciate about Honeyboys' musicianship and thought behind their music. That’s why sat down with the band to discuss their music, what the music scene in San Luis Obispo is like, and how jazz is crucial to the band’s identity.

Tell me a bit about your performance today. How did you feel going into it and what was it like being up there?

Reeves: I would say going into it, we were nervous because we’ve never played a festival like this before. I think we channel our nerves really well. It was really fun

Eisenberg: Last night we all came together at my house, and everyone’s family was there. We had a nice meal together. We’re definitely feeling very communal going into this. It was everything we dreamed of.

Gallagher: It’s one of those things where we start off the nerves are definitely there, and we’re just excited. We just want to make sure we sound our best and that we get comfortable. It’s really our goal to encapsulate our energy and get the crowd motivated. Despite the fact is they know us or not.

Sato: I feel like when we started I was super focused on making sure the timing was good, but also we’ve been practicing a lot and now’s the time to just have fun. I feel like we really embodied the having fun side. Similar to what Ari was saying about having everybody at (Eisenberg’s) house, it was my first time meeting his parents or (Reeves’) parents. It was a huge family community gathering, that was really cool.

Gardner: We had a lot of our friends and family in the crowd too. They were really supporting and dancing. I think that also attracted people who were walking by to see what was up. It helped us to see our support system.

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I hear a lot of California influence within the sound. There’s a joyous beach vibe to it. What goes into the sound of the music you make?

Eisenberg: I feel like it's funny because we're all from different areas, but we've kind of all come together with different sounds. Reese and Grady both love surfing, so we definitely bring that fun energy. The music scene in San Luis Obispo definitely focuses on high-energy and house shows. We’ve always been a band that likes to play slower stuff but gets hype as well.

Gallagher: The mix of genres that we play is a testament to everyone’s different tastes. Also, its the fact that everyone’s willing to try different things. I think that the best part of being in a band is all the different creative ideas everyone brings. But, getting to that point where everyone’s happy, it’s the hardest thing to do. When we release a song and everyone loves it, that’s the best thing. We have a little bit of rock and jazz, and I love all that. I love being with people who love to be adventurous with whatever song we release next.

I love the sound of a saxophone. It adds such an interesting dynamic. Talk about how throwing that instrument into the music affects songwriting.

Stanley: I grew up on jazz. As a jazz musician, you’re typically the soloist. You’re always playing the melody. When it comes to the Honeyboys, I have to make myself more of a layer. I gained a lot from working with these guys, who are all fantastic musicians. Sometimes I’ll do a little bit too much, but it’s my goal to try and really hone in on the sound we’re going for and bring that to people who hopefully like it.

Photo courtesy of BottleRock Napa Valley/Latitude 38.

You mentioned the jazz influence, I noticed there was some improvisation during the performance. Tell me a bit about that.

Reeves: A lot of us come from jazz background, so it’s some of our favorite things. We all love doing it.

Gardner: I love the element of going into a solo and being like, I have no idea what I’m going to play. That’s awesome. That’s the freedom of improv.

Eisenberg: For me, I definitely come from more of a pop/folk perspective. I’m always thinking about the whole song and the structure. So, it’s really nice to play with musicians who are way more freeform and are able to totally switch it up whenever they want.

What are some of your favorite spots around San Luis Obispo?

Reeves: Slo Brew Rocks is a great place to go. A lot of artists come through there. It’s always a great show when you go to a Slo Brew Rocks show.

Eisenberg: Montana De Oro. It’s this state park. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

Catch the Honeyboys music and stay up to date with their live shows on the band’s website. If you’re ever in San Luis Obispo, look out for the Honeyboys and many of the talented local bands in one of California’s thriving cities. The Honeyboys surely impressed at BottleRock 2023 and it's looking like the sky’s the limit for this emerging group.

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