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Interview with Helena Pop - On loneliness, touring and their new EP, 'You Said You Loved Them'

Helena Pop released their first EP about a month ago and have been journeying across Australia sharing it with you all.  The Canberra locals have hit up Melbourne, Launceston, Hobart, Sydney, Newcastle and tonight will be in full glory back home at the White Eagle Polish club. I caught up with Jack and Ella prior to their last show on the tour, and was excited to hear about how it's all been going.

Photo Credit: Dave McCarthy

Congrats on the release of You Said You Loved Them. It’s a beautiful record. Tell me a little bit about the new EP and how it was crafted? I believe you recorded it out at Infidel Studios?

Thanks for saying that, we are really proud of the EP. Yeah we recorded at Infidel Studios late last year with Louis Montgomery. I think the recording time total was something like 35 hours over 3 days, so it was very intense, but we are all really happy with the EP. We tracked as much of the EP as we could live, in three separate rooms, which we found to really help with the energy of the EP. We recorded to 2” tape that was then mixed by Louis and mastered by our friend Becki Whitton. During the recording itself we ended up getting in a few guests like Tim Douglass (acoustic guitar) and Christian Renggli (cello), which added just what we needed.

My sense is that this is a pretty personal EP, Jack your lyrics on this are like heartbreaking journeys. Do you feel like you’ve been through a journey with this record?

I think in a lot of ways the EP acted as a journey for me dealing with my personal feelings of isolation and loneliness, maybe in some part acting as an attempt to recognise and remedy those feelings. The first track (Please Don't Die) comes from the isolation of having ‘business like’ friendships and trying to break away from that. The second track (How to do a FOLEY break and repair yourself)  talks about newfound loneliness, where you no longer have someone in your life. The third track (That's One Strange Love) talks about a political isolation, one of apathy and disenfransication. And the final track (Rhyme of the Seasick Sailor) representing a personal loneliness, one that comes from negative inward views. Each of the transitions on the EP act to ground the loneliness in a place where we are most likely to be in the company of strangers (public transport).

For a new fan who might be just getting into Helena Pop on the back of hearing this EP, how would you like to introduce yourselves as a band? What are your secret talents? Y’know aside from being all very accomplished musicians who balance various bands/ touring, and probably also day jobs/relationships/other hobbies…

We’ve always seen Helena Pop as a band of weirdos, for weirdos. We just want everyone to have a good time without negatively affecting anyone else. I (Jack) personally value the creativity of everyone else in the band, as well as the levity that they bring to our live shows and songs, sometimes I think I need them to soften the harshness of a sad sack like me. Our overall secret we think is that each of us comes from different backgrounds, we each have our own musical tastes, and everyone in the band is valued which in turn leads to interesting fusions of different styles and genres.

You’ve been doing a fair bit of touring, and from your Instagram feed it looks like you’re having fun! Do you have any good tour stories to share?  How was your single launch tour in Melbourne with Slagatha Christie? I’m sure that Melbourne are big H-Pop fans with you having played there a fair few times now!

The Melbourne single launch went really well and we love playing with Slagatha Christie. In terms of the tour I think the most valuable thing I’ve found is getting to play with so many talented performers around the East Coast of Australia.

More recently you made it out to Ella’s home state of Tasmania. Props to you guys too for not leaving out one end of the state, and making it to both Hobart and Launceston! Ella, how was it coming back home to share H.Pop with Tassie?

Tassie was a blast!  I’ve never been back home to Tassie with a band before so it was quite the treat for me.  My little bro James lives in Hobart and is really active in the music scene, so that made things like borrowing a double bass a lot easier… and we had heaps of people help us out along the way.  But yeah it was great, I mean, I’m pretty bloody Tassie proud and I know I talk about it a lot, so it was just grand to finally be able to bring my band mates home. Also my Mum really liked our set (she doesn’t mince words) so that was pretty good (and just as well!), as she had all five of us, plus Tim who came with us on tour to do sound, plus a duo from Hobart, all staying in her house in Launnie!

I was at the single launch for How to a FOLEY break and repair yourself, and I see you’re heading back to the Polish Club to launch your EP. That last Polish Club gig was incredible and I am sure tonight’s show will be no different. What do you hope people take away from your show?

We want people to have a good time above all else. We can’t wait to see the other bands playing (Jamie Leone, Boroky, and My Pet Ant)

Catch Helena Pop TONIGHT at the White Eagle Polish Club with Jamie Leone, Boroky, and My Pet Ant!

Here's some more stuff you should check out:

Helena Pop: Bandcamp | Facebook

Jamie Leone: Bandcamp | Video

Boroky: Website | Facebook

My Pet Ant: Bandcamp | Facebook

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