Inspired #0051 Helax
In celebration of the release of his debut single and EP, ‘Tell Me, Tell Me’, Swedish-born, Berlin-based producer Helax talks to us us about some of the sights, sounds, people and places that inspire him and his sound.
Who are your top three musical inspirations?
Oh God, it’s impossible to come up with a top 3. But Davids Bowie is certainly there, obviously his Berlin trilogy when it comes to ambient electronic music. And Kraftwerk. Their old records still sound amazingly fresh. PJ Harvey is always an inspiration, and Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen. Portishead. And John Carpenter’s soundtracks. But having grown up in a village in the Swedish countryside, I’m also very much inspired by silence. When you can actually hear your own thoughts. The sound of the ocean is also very inspiring.
Is there a certain film that inspires you?
Mitt liv som hund (My life as a dog), Lasse Hallströms movie that broke him in Hollywood is amazing. It’s about Sweden in the 50s. Super good acting. Wim Wender´s Himmel Über Berlin. Beautifully shot in West-Berlin before the wall fell. They didn’t have much of a script apart from some already written poems, so a lot of it is improvised. Nick Cave is in it as well. He used to live in Berlin.
What city do you find the most inspiring?
I’ll always come back to Berlin. London also has a place in my heart. I used to live there. I spent some time in around the bay area and San Francisco which was nice. Antibes in south of France is another favourite. I can also miss the northers parts of Sweden, especially the mountains in the wintertime. But I guess that’s not a city, but certainly an inspiration. The clear skies and the fresh air.
What were your inspirations when creating the EP?
I come from a more traditional songwriting background so I wanted to make something less structured and more improvised. And sort of try to have an electronic jam around a vocal loop or something like that, and just see where the track went from there. So initially it was a bit "anything goes" really. But then I, of course, took the bits I liked and structured it a bit still. But I tried to keep this improvised feel until the end, and I still think you call feel that. There was a lot of live takes on synths and loops etc, and not so much copy and paste. I recorded 10-12 song pretty quickly so there’s more stuff coming soon.
How would you like to inspire people?
I make music first and mostly for myself. It’s my way of letting feelings out and expressing myself. I don’t really think about the fact that other people might actually hear the music when I make it. And if they hear it and get inspired? Well, that’s amazing and great bonus.
Interview by Karla Harris