A word with Honey Punch Magazine founders, Emma and Liz Watts
World, Meet Emma and Liz Watts. These two are Tulsa, Oklahoma based music fanatics and incredible photographers. An exposed musical childhood brought these sisters to follow a career in the entertainment industry. They've just recently opened up their own music media publication titled Honey Punch Mag, and we're here to find the inspiration behind their works.
Tell us about how you got started!
We both are huuuuuge music fans (obviously) and after a few years of going to way too many live shows, Emma got concert into photography, I, Liz, started doing interviews and writing. We both contributed to a few different music publications, and after about a year and a half of doing that then we decided that we just wanted to do things our own way! We sat on the idea for months, and in March we finally brought it to life! We both want to have careers in the music industry, have an eye for creativity, and are huge fans of a lot of bands/artists, so our music publication is really like a little diary for us, and a way to squish all those things together!
What are some of your goals? One month? One year?
In the next monthly so, we want to have a print issue in the works! We are constantly told that everything has to be digital now-since we millennials are addicted to technology, ya know- buuut we have grown up looking through the look books in our dad's old vinyl and our CD's, keeping our ticket stubs, and cherishing the things we can actually hold. It's so much more special than scrolling on your phone! When we started, we decided we were definitely going to have print issues on top of a blog. In one year, we are hoping to have expanded our blog, made incredible networking connections, and be able to reach readers throughout the world!
Who are you inspired by?
LIZ: I'm so inspired by women in the music industry and the power the hold. Being able to go to a school where females are taken just as seriously as the men has been incredible, and I've never felt like I don't have the capability and potential to do something bigger than myself. I see females on tour, running music festivals, and being the girl bosses they were born to be! Other women having successful careers and striving to "normalize" that had been a huge driving factor and inspiration.
Emma: THERE’S SO MANY PEOPLE. I started getting familiar with a lot of amazing photographers when I was added to a group called The Photo Ladies in the spring of 2015. I'm inspired by loads of people for multiple reasons; editing style, accomplishments, work ethics, attitude, etc. Some of my favorite photographers that I know of through the Photo Ladies are Anam Merchant, Jordan Hefler, Paige Wilson, Ashley Yu, Penelope Martinez, Adele Sakey, Aysia Marotta, Gina Scarpino.
Some other photographers I can't get enough of are: Cooper Fox (film photographer), Andy Deluca (freakin genius), CJ Harvey, Chris Braun, Anna Lee (Walk the Moon's photographer + she's from OKC!), Jennifer McCord (Half Moon Run's photographer), and Brad Heaton (Twenty One Pilots' tour photographer/probably a wizard).
If you can, try and explain how it feels to be in front of a barrier in the photo pit!
Emma: my heart just started pounding even thinking about it. My first time being in an actual photopit was in April 2016 for the band Knox Hamilton at a college here in Tulsa. I remember asking liz to walk me up to the pit because I was so nervous. (We bout to get deep here lol) I'm typically not one to draw lots of attention to myself, so the thought of being isolated, infront of the barricade for the crowd/band to see me was pretty nerve wracking (I cared way too much about what people thought hahaha). It actually went rather well, kinda just kept my eyes peeled, made sure to not stay in one spot too long and tried to figure out what I was doing. Thankfully, over the past year I've gotten over it and I've turned my feelings of nervousness into excitement. Now, I get butterflies walking up to the pit not because I'm nervous, but because I'm looking forward to seeing the smiling faces behind the barricade, and I'm getting the chance to capture some intimate moments that people in the crowd might miss.
Where are you from and how did you begin your career at Honey Punch Mag?
We are sisters, born and raised in Tulsa, OK! On top of having Honey Punch Mag as a creative outlet for us, we want to be able to get people connected. This has been one of the best ways to network in the music industry, which is huge! We've been able to share our knowledge and experience with our team members and hopefully they, too, can spread the word and meet some awesome people who can help them out with their careers in music!
What does success mean to you as women in the music business?
LIZ: I think success is measured differently by different people. Success to me means being able to be happy in whatever career I'm in. The music industry is a harder industry for women to break into, which makes it that much more intriguing to me. For awhile, I was so set on proving to the people around me who encouraged me to go into a "less risky" career field that I forgot why I was doing what I'm doing. I'm doing this to be happy! As a woman, I have the right to be a mom with 12 kids, or have a heck of a career in whatever field I choose, or both if I want! And that's the beauty of these times. I feel like women are finally becoming comfortable with doing what they want with their lives. Although the music industry is known to be a "boys' club," there's a huge part that's so open minded and constantly encouraging women to be whatever they've ever dreamed of being.
Emma: For me the list goes on and on. As a woman it’s easy to feel like you’re in the way with all these men around, or like what you try to do won’t make a difference since so much attention and respect automatically goes to men. But I’ve come to realize that if all of us women come together, helping each other grow and supporting each other, we can make a big impression on the music industry of how powerful we are. Success for me is accomplishing the goals that I set based on my own terms, and not what everyone else expects. Being able to inspire others by what I can do makes me feel like I’m actually going somewhere with all of this. I hope that people can realize your success isn’t just the numbers on your Instagram followers list, or if some band re-posts your photo, but that if you put in hard work and stay committed to the goals you have, you can do anything.
Beatles or Rolling Stones?
Emma: The Beatles. We grew up having our dad blast The Beatles on the speakers in our living room, so I have good memories tied to them! A while ago I watched a documentary about their fanbase and I fell in love with how hardcore everyone went for them, and it reminds me of my love for so many bands.
LIZ: This is SO tough for me! I honestly love each band equally, if that's even a thing. I love the whole "good boy" vibe of the Beatles and especially their original fanbase, which I definitely summoned when I found out about One Direction in middle school.. lol. On the other hand, there's just somethin' about the Stones that I can't get enough of. The famous phrase "Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?" and their signature bad-boy image (plus those amazing 1970's clothes) GET ME... real bad.
Check out Honey Punch Magazine on Instagram: @honeypunchmag