Honest Iago formed in 2004 with former members of A Park Tradition, Next to Impossible, and Cetera. They play with a rotating roster of backup players, they say "so that listeners focus on the music, not [our] personalities." They often invite others to join them for concerts, so that the sound is constantly changing, never giving audiences the same show twice.
Each song centers on a character and his or her story as seen through the eyes of Iago, a narrator (taken from Shakespeare’s Othello). In the baroque/classical tradition, piano and strings, as well as polyphonic vocal lines, are prevalent, giving the songs, which are punk tracks at heart, a unique texture and widely palatable flavor.
These separate stories, when completed in entirety, combine to create the world Iago inhabits, said to be "a mirror of our own." Members have participated "from far and wide," one contributing piano tracks from Las Vegas, another mailing electronic beats from Paris. Lyrics often refer to Los Angeles and San Diego.
The band’s album Straight On ‘Til Morning) was released in September 24, 2009. “We’ve spent the past two years writing and recording, in three countries and several states,” says singer/guitarist Nick Norton, “with us sending stuff to each other in San Diego, Irvine, London, Paris, Portland, and Boston. A few times, we actually jammed on Skype.”
Norton was in Paris due to having won a scholarship from the European American Musical Alliance, to study composition at the Ecole Normale de Musique in France. “I got to experience adventures like having to sleep outside a train station, in pouring rain, in a little town in northern France, where Radiohead and Sigur Rós had played, until after the last train back to Paris, where my apartment was.”
Improved public transport and budget accommodations were among the perks behind his relocation to London, where he spent most of 2009. “The modern classical music scene here is unbelievable. Concerts of music by Messiaen, Xenakis, and many lesser-known composers of the 20th Century and today are extremely well attended. There’s an attitude that truly progressive music is a worthwhile thing to spend time on. People [in London] tend to take ‘art music’ — though I hate that term — to be more important than we do at home.”
“The British music industry isn’t all that different from the American one, but I’d say the average Brit seems to have less of a knowledge of the underground than the average American. Brighton has an incredible punk scene from what I’ve seen. The modern classical music scene, which we (Honest Iago) take a lot of inspiration from, is unbelievable here. Concerts of music by Messiaen, Xenakis, and the many lesser-known composers of the twentieth century and today are extremely well attended, and there’s an attitude that truly progressive music is a worthwhile thing for people to spend time on.”
In Autumn 2010, their first video was released online, for the song “All Prophets in Their Houses,” directed by Alec Contestible. By 2013, “Honest Iago is still technically playing, but doing the living in four cities thing has made that pretty hard lately,” singer/guitarist Nick Norton told the Reader. His new band Better Looking People With Superior Ideas is mostly based in L.A.