Track By Track: Kit Grill – Swimming in Honey

KitGrill_SwimmingInHoney_Artwork – 72DPI

A guide to the radiant leftfield synth pop of ‘Swimming in Honey’, the latest album by artist, producer & NTS resident Kit Grill, a record inspired by New Order, flourishing relationships, cinema, R’n’B, the American Midwest & more.

Vivid vermillion sunsets, synchronized dreaming, Summer stillness and coastal climes, vast landscapes like paintings, falling in love and getting caught in the rain, saying goodbye and familiar figures sliding from view, disappearing over the horizon, the endless fade.

In an impressionistic track by track guide to his latest record ‘Swimming in Honey’, Kit Grill describes his first ostensibly pop album as a chronicle of such indelible imagery and life-changing experiences; a heartfelt articulation of love, longing, and everything in between. 


KitGrill_37_Press Photo – GenevieveLutkin

Across a seamless nine-song odyssey of leftfield synth pop, Grill captures a sense of drama, tied to alternating states of bliss and melancholy, and bestowed with dazzling atmospheres which seem to evoke sun-dappled utopias. It’s not all blue skies though, there are moments which betray the inevitability of departing certain picturesque time capsules, the bittersweet feeling of Summer ending. 

Grasping what Grill has built towards over the course of a decade, making music that thrives in the threshold between unbridled synth pop and sumptuous ambient, ‘Swimming in Honey’ is a beatific work of vitality and rumination. The soundtrack to connection, suspension and escape, it’s a record that also suggests the inverse of this all-encompassing honeymoon of the heart; the experience of being brought back to reality and to the heartache of idyllic remembrance. 

In all this, there are traces of New Order at their most idealistic and unabashed, The Cure at their most romantic and buoyant, The Durutti Column in gleaming dream pop mode circa ‘Future Perfect’ / ‘Fidelity’, alongside brushstrokes of rich, crystalline ambient reminiscent of Jefre-Cantu Ledesma and Gigi Masin. With myriad touchstones filtered through Grill’s own uniquely understated style – radiant synths, rough-and-ready drum machines, soft sprechgesang vocals – ‘Swimming in Honey’ is a record to get lost in, recalling the way cult pop masterworks like The Blue Nile’s ‘Hats’ offer an absorbing gateway into enveloping scenery, coloured by especial states of mind.  

Shaped by flourishing relationships, holidays, cinema, the American Midwest, contemporary R’n’B and more, ‘Swimming in Honey’ more than lives up to the premise of its title, representing lustrous, escapist pop music if seen from a wide angle lens and an off-kilter vantage point.

Here, for your pleasure, Grill reveals a track by track guide to the stories and inspirations behind the record. Read each reflection and have a listen below. 

Photos interspersed throughout by Genevieve Lutkin.


1. The Vine


SeasonEarly Summer

The Vine is inspired by the idea of meeting someone close in your life and sharing an evening together. The song lyric ends with ‘Can we stay here again sometime?’, it has an uplifting tone but also a touch of melancholy because of the feeling when something intense and good comes to an end. I was at home in the evening when the idea & lyrics started to click with the sounds and mood of this track. Ideal listening is towards the end of the day, when the sun is starting to go down.


2. Country Boy

Colour – Maroon

Season – Late Summer

Country Boy is inspired by my own experiences of living in London with a filmic twist. It’s about two people meeting at night, a rough country boy and a refined city girl. After listening back to the finished track I felt the aesthetic of Midnight Cowboy and Wild at Heart suited the music. Musically, I was listening to Bad Bunny, Rosalia and pop / R’n’B during the making of the album and tried to incorporate a more ‘pop’ production / influence. For listening, this has more of a night-time feel to it for me.


3. Swimming in Honey


SeasonMid Summer

This is a song about floating away into a state of bliss with someone close to you. I imagined two people floating above themselves, transported to the same dream. The words Swimming in Honey came one afternoon whilst I was writing the lyrics and I ran with it as the backbone for the song. One of my favourite songs ‘Ladies and Gentlemen…’ by Spiritualized was a tonal influence and something I was trying to aim towards.


4. Madeleine



Inspired by the summer in Marseille and capturing the feeling of being relaxed in a beautiful setting with friends, moments filled with stillness. The ideal time to listen to this would be amongst friends in the summer or on a train journey.


5. The River Runs Blue

ColourSilver Blue


This is inspired by the west coast of Ireland and merging the feeling of meeting someone with the landscape you’re in. Musically I tried to bring elements of the sea to life through the sounds in this track and was inspired by Mike Dean’s productions. I wanted to mix roughness with something delicate. The ideal time to listen to this would be anytime but perhaps ideally by the sea.


6. In a Landscape


Season – Autumn

An instrumental song that, after finishing it and listening back, I think has a feeling of ‘perseverance’ to it. The rural parts of the American Midwest came up in my head as a visual setting for the track, a place I think of often when writing music. Images of sparse, desolate but beautiful open country. The ideal time to listen would be during a car journey.


7. Crimson



This is about falling in love with someone and becoming intimate. It’s about capturing the rush and feelings that happen between two people before they fall down together. Musically, I wanted to have a faster track towards the end, add some pace before the album closes. I’d say during the evening would suit listening to this one.


8. Lying In the Rain



This is a song about surrendering to a feeling rather than fighting it. I felt the end of the album needed a bridge between songs and a rougher sound to balance out the record. Musically, it feels like an instrumental brother to Swimming in Honey. Ideally the time to listen would be during a restorative rain that washes everything away.


9. Fly Like a Swan



A song about longing for the return of a person who has left your life. It ties in with the album arc and worked out as a good ending. The album starts ‘brighter’ and it worked well to end on a more reflective tone. The alternative to this was a fully-fledged song but I preferred the stripped down bare bones version. For inspiration, my favourite records I often go back to have sparse production so it was about removing as much as possible but still hearing a ‘song’. Ideal time to listen to this would be when you’re lying in bed or travelling.

‘Swimming in Honey’ is out now via Primary Colours Records, info / listen HERE.