Jordan Gomes-Kuehner always had an inner desire to write songs of her own. Following the end of her previous band Her Again, the Bloomington based musician decided the time was right to give it a go.
“I knew that I wanted to start writing my own songs and performing my own songs, but I didn’t really know how to go about it,” Gomes-Kuehner says. “It wasn’t until people expressed interest or volunteered [to play with me] that I had any confidence to actually form a band and start actually trying to do the thing.”
For over a year now, Gomes-Kuehner has fronted the band Heaven Honey, which has quickly risen to prominence on the strength of their 2018 Head Case EP. Having already gained committed followings in both Bloomington and Indianapolis, the alternative-pop group will embark on a stretch of Midwestern tour dates to close out the year. Following a tour kick-off show at State Street Pub with Radar Gold and Team Leader on Thursday, Nov. 29, Heaven Honey will go on to play cities like Chicago, St. Louis, and Nashville, Tenn. during the month of December.
Originally born in Honolulu, Gomes-Kuehner spent much of her upbringing in Terre Haute. “I’ll always tell people the first bit about Hawaii so they don’t think that I’m a born-and-raised Hoosier,” she says, laughing. Before moving to Bloomington for college, Gomes-Kuehner took some drum lessons, marking her first real foray into the world of music.
“I always enjoyed music, but I never let myself do it. I was too scared,” she says. “In Terre Haute, there wasn’t really a community or scene for it.”
She continues, “I started taking drum lessons the summer going into college. I just figured drums were a good entry-level instrument for me because I had been a dancer most of my life.”
Upon moving to Bloomington in 2014 for school, Gomes-Kuehner became quickly enamored with the city’s rich music community. “It was just really shiny and new to me, and I was just kind of in wonder at the whole thing,” she recalls. “I just had never experienced bands playing in basements.” Eventually, she found herself deeply immersed in the music community, first through Her Again and now through Heaven Honey.
“Over time, I feel like I’ve been humbled by the scene, and I’ve grown to accept it and appreciate it for all its flaws and strengths,” Gomes-Kuehner says. “Looking back on four years of being here, I’m just appreciative of all that it’s taught me.”
Recorded at Bloomington’s historic Russian Recording studio, Heaven Honey’s debut EP, Head Case, was released in March 2018 on cassette via 1212 Records. A collection of four emotionally driven tracks, the EP was written during a particularly tough time for Gomes-Kuehner.
“I had a pretty bad breakup around the same time that Heaven Honey was getting its start and playing shows, and I was writing the songs that are on Head Case,” she says. “I think at the time I just felt like I needed to document that really tumultuous relationship and its ending while I had the chance as a way to process it and put it away.”
With all of the grief tied to Head Case, however, Gomes-Kuehner admits she is trying to move forward with new material.
“I’ve been trying really hard to not play the old songs,” she says. “I’ve just really been trying to hone in on a sound. I don’t want to keep singing about heartbreak. I want to be able to grow from that experience, and then write about things that I’m feeling now.”
With this in mind, fans of Heaven Honey can expect to hear new material from Gomes-Kuehner and company when they’re out on the road. In fact, this Midwest tour will serve as a “test run” of sorts for potential songs on the band’s forthcoming release.
“We’re going to record at Russian again, and I’m going to put out a second EP,” Gomes-Kuehner says. “I definitely want to go full-throttle on it. If I did 100% [on Head Case], then I want to do 200% for this next EP.”