Honey Revenge, ‘Retrovision’ | The Album Story

Honey Revenge's Devin Papadol and Donovan Lloyd guide us through the making of their debut album in our latest digital cover feature. From combining emo and punk influences with a shiny pop production to their self-deprecating approach to lyrics, this is the inside story of ‘Retrovision’.

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It all started in a skate shop. A viral video of music graduate and dedicated scene kid Devin Papadol performing in the unlikely venue caught the attention of Georgia-based guitarist Donovan Lloyd who soon sent over an audition tape, ready to move across the country to pursue their passion.

As other band members came and went, Devin and Donovan quickly realised that their shared influences and values would be more than enough to drive them forward as a duo and thus Honey Revenge was born. On the eve of the release of their debut album ‘Retrovision’, they talk us through their development as artists and bringing an alternative edge to their relentlessly catchy pop-rock.

Honey Revenge are ready to take on the world – you will be impressed.


While Devin cites the likes of Paramore as being a key influence, having previously been lucky enough to make it on stage with the band for a ‘Misery Business’ singalong, the band’s musical style veers between emo, pop punk and a shinier pop sound, particularly on the production of the instant earworm ’Habitual’.

“I was initially into radio pop music. All of pop radio rock like Katy Perry” she says. “The All-American Rejects were one of those bands from the scene that I thought was just a pop band at first because that’s how I discovered them, through the radio, when I was young. Demi Lovato, Pink was a really big one for me. That’s a rock star, she’s just on pop radio. We even love Disney rock – ‘Lemonade Mouth’, ‘Hannah Montana’.”

“There’s an age group that are starting to make their own music who were inevitably influenced by that sort of thing. That was rock music to us before we discovered rock music.”

She cites wider cultural touch-points like movie and TV soundtracks as being important introductions to a wider scope of alt music, from the ‘Jennifer’s Body’ soundtrack to hearing Taking Back Sunday on ‘Degrassi’ and Plain White T’s on ‘iCarly’.

“Those bands made their way into our lives at very formative years and I think that shows. We really are trying to make rock and pop co-exist in our sound.”

Donny meanwhile, who just turned 21 two days ahead of our interview, cites heavier artists as being key to the development of their playing style, as is evident on storming album opener ‘Airhead’.

“Growing up, I was just into a bunch of metalcore” they explain. “Yeah I was into the scene, hella rock music growing up but my Uncle showed me Korn in the truck one day and it was over. So I was thinking, I like metal, I like rock, I like pop, how can I make everything fit into one? Then beyond that, when we get into the verse we get the funk influence in there. Just drawing from anywhere we can think of to create something I want to listen to.”


“We got very lucky as a small band” says Devin. “We got to work with people who made a lot of records that we love listening to.”

Among those was producer Zach Jones who had previously worked on a song with Telltale that Devin was a fan of. The pair had talked about working together ever since.

Then there is KJ Strock, formally of The White Noise, and an old friend and mentor of the band, and Kris Crummett who brought them in to stay at his home studio.

Mike Green was also on hand to work on the single ‘Are You Impressed?’, known for his work with State Champs and Set It Off to name a few.

“He really got that pop aspect we were going for – he’s a king at making pop-rock music” says Devin. “I went to school for music so they pound into you a certain format so you make bangers but after a while, it becomes a little derivative and lacking in creativity. I brought in the idea for the lyrics and he helped me chop it up and break it around so that it came out a little different which felt cool and fresh.”

Skyler Acord also helped out on a couple of tracks, much to the delight of the band.

“I was a massive Issues fan growing up” adds Devin. “They were hugely responsible for a lot of the sounds you are going to hear on ‘Retrovision’. I saw them probably 20 times growing up.”

Beyond the record itself, Honey Revenge have also become part of a wider community and scene of bands with similar aims and ambitions, touring with Loveless, The Home Team and Arrows In Action as well as collaborating with members of Not My Weekend.

“We have a great, supportive community…we’ve gotten to watch each other grow. I feel like the internet has really accentuated that.”


“I almost quit music about a year and a half ago” Devin reveals. “I was at my wits end with things. We had lost so many bandmates and I just felt like people were coming and going. I started to question if it was me. I think it was just the times – some people were getting crazy touring opportunities and I knew and they knew we weren’t in that place yet. But I started to wonder, am I just not worth it? Is this project never going to catch on? Do people not give a fuck? Am I the problem? I thought I wasn’t cut out for it for a second. I felt very lonely and isolated and was working multiple retail jobs to try and pay for the band before we were signed.”

Tracks like ‘Airhead, ‘Rerun’ and ‘Fight Or Flight’ are full of self-deprecation, occasionally wrapped up with some witty asides but mostly focused on the idea of recognising your own flaws and growing from them.

“I’m trying to just be a good person and I think everyone struggles with that battle” Devin continues. “That bleeds through a lot in the lyrics – ‘with the best intentions, I can’t make it right’ – I’m trying, but it doesn’t always come across that way.”

Still, that contrast of difficult subject matter set to a catchy melody is at the basis of all great emo music, both past and present.

Fall Out Boy man, they are one of the kings of that” Devin agrees. “Super self-deprecating shit but put to something that makes you wanna shake your ass. That’s what we are trying to do. We want people to dance but we also want people to cry. We want the whole spectrum.”


“I always knew it was gonna be someone looking over a lava lamp like it was a mystic ball. I had the plans for it for years.”

Devin enlisted the help of her oldest friend Areli (aka KiNG MALA) to appear on the cover itself, having the perfect body art to fit the theming of the record.

“She has gorgeous hand tattoos and I always knew I wanted it to be her hands. She has a heart (tattoo) – an anatomical heart with tree branches through it – and I just think it’s very growth inspired. It just all ties in so well. I’m so happy with it. It gives that retro vibe but it is so punk still.”


“It was originally called retrospect…It wasn’t always Retrovision but it was always Retro-something. We even had a couple of songs that didn’t make the record called ‘Cassette’ and ‘Barbie’.”

The actual concept of a retro record was part of the original intention, touching on different decades and soundscapes through the album. But as work progressed, the term took on a whole new meaning inline with the its emotional context.

“I am also very self aware and I think that’s a big part of ‘Retrovision’” says Devin. “Your assessment and view of life is not just one way or the other. It’s just how you are viewing your experience – it could be half empty or half full. My way I approach things can shift in a second.”


Live shows form the main agenda for the rest of 2023, but as Donny explains, they view these gigs as almost a separate entity from the album rather than an extension of it.

“We are not a ‘play it like the record’ band. If you come to our show, there is not a single song that sounds exactly like the record and that is on purpose. But especially with the new stuff that is on the record but people haven’t heard yet, it’s watching people get progressively more into it as the song keeps going. Or people who don’t know us, starting out with their arms folded to being in the conga line halfway through, that’s so fucking cool.”

Their wide range of musical styles should allow them to play in front of a variety of different crowds, winning over heavier music fans who may not normally listen to something this poppy.

“I think we come on looking like a couple of gumdrops and people don’t know what to expect” concludes Devin. “It’s sugar-coated sad music. Or maybe honey-coated is the best way to say it.”

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