After college I started a DIY events project in Boston called Honeypump (2002). Named after Joseph Beuys’ work Honeypump at the Workplace, my goal was to bring the energy and fun I found at Mass Art to the wider Boston music and arts scene. This idea was also heavily informed by one particular show I saw: Thrones, Deerhoof and Lightningbolt in my friend Pete’s basement on Ashford St. in Allston. Still maybe one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Anyhow, I tried a lot of different things –organizing flea markets, boat parties, issuing grants, NYE parties, making posters for other peoples’ events, starting a record label, co-operating a message board (with Matt Sisto) and more. Most people likely remember Honeypump for “doing shows” … low ticket price concerts in nightclubs, basements, squash courts, YWCAs, church halls, etc. Some of this worked out great and in some cases, hard lessons were learned. I wrapped it up (2006) when I began a full time gig w/ The Milky Way, Jamaica Plain’s classic venue for concerts, queer parties, pizza and at the time, candlepin bowling. While not a perfect list, if you go over here … most of what I did between 2002-2006 fell under the Honeypump moniker.
Messageboard at peak had 1k+ registered accounts; big for Boston at the time.
Helped restart the venue Great Scott w/ Carl Lavin which ended up doing very well
Organized 10 flea markets, attended by huge crowds; kind of set up a new trend for Boston.
Produced Love During Wartime, a party where profits became local arts grants (2x)
Founded Dynasty, a semi-popular local DIY dance party that hosted bands from Noxagt to Chromeo
Co-produced N.E.S.T. twice, a week of 35+ events across the city
Donated $ to organizations like The Red Cross; scholarship funds at Mass Art
Honeypump was mostly known for putting on local concerts, making posters, throwing parties and other live events. I can take partial credit for all that but it was really a super wide network of people in the city making music, graphics, decorations, etc. Posters and flyers below are a sampling of the general vibe. Audio below is from a mix of places; a basement show, some legit clubs and one sketchy restaurant/venue called All Asia Cafe. Quality varies but is nice for the archives.
I suggest playing these (4) videos at the same time for the best idea of what this point in my life sounded like. The Coughs / Sightings show is particularly memorable as the room across the hall was hosting a dance / social event for young adults with neurological diversities (Downs, AS, etc) and a lot of their crowd wanted to come over and see what all the noise was about. We let all in who wanted in and everyone danced together –there was really no division; the room just felt like a bunch of people rocking out to some ear-damagingly loud jams.
Honeypump Records put out three releases: A split 12” from the bands Clickers and Night Rally, a LP for The Faux and the vinyl version of U.V. Protection’s self-released CD. The label barely got off the ground — I believe both Clickers and Night Rally broke up shortly after the 12” got pressed; U.V. got offered a national tour opening for The Gossip but had timing conflicts and The Faux LP was released only after co-founding member Kirsten Malone had sadly passed away. All this, and I’d made the decision to release all the MP3s online for free under a Creative Commons license. I thought this would help promote actual vinyl sales but all the shops in Boston —remember, this is 2004 or so— told me they wouldn’t carry the record since I’d already given the music away. The unsold LPs were given to Dan Shea of Bodies of Water / Brain Arts when I moved to NYC.
Left is a screen grab from the final night the board was up. Right is a scene seen at a lot of parties, shows, colleges etc - a bunch of kids grouped around a PC looking for into on shows, making fake accounts and having lolz. The board at peak had around 1k registered accounts but at any given time about 20-40 people were actually active. The board was coded more or less from scratch by my brother, Matt and grew out of the communities already established on the boards xAdamx and Just Another Scene. It was complimented by sites like Return to the Pit and The Noise Board which were different scenes but had some crossover. Some folks also cross-posted on Makeoutclub, Lipstick and Cigarettes, Williamsboard, Crewcial and Viva La Vinyl –but it was pretty Massachusetts-centric.
Bye-bye, Ben (Boston.com, 2008)l Sisto Act 2 (Boston Phoenix, 2008); Bostonian of the Week (Bostonist, 2008); Guide to Boston (Nylon Magazine, 2006); R.I.P. Honeypump (Weekly Dig, 2006); Hanging with Ben Sisto (Boston Globe, 2006); Let's Stick Together (Boston Metro, 2006), ; Working for a Song (Boston Herald, 2006); It Came from the Basement (Boston Phoenix, 2004); Punk Presenter is Making a Splash (Boston Globe, 2003)