A Q&A with The Ghost of Helags
Cinematic dream pop duo from Sweden, here’s Teresa from The Ghost of Helags…
How did you get the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
It is the name of one of our favourite songs called ‘Anthem (We Came from the Stars)’, also on the album which is out March 5. Didn’t we all come from the stars? At least this visual image is very beautiful.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
The pandemic. It is sometimes hard to keep on keeping on with all this doom and gloom in the air. But also, sometimes you want the album to be perfect and go over and over it again and think it through too much. Then you are saturated just like in a perfume shop, when you smell too many fragrances at once. So, you need to get some distance from it and also decide to call it done at some point.
What do you enjoy most about producing your own material?
It is fun to bring all your ideas into the production, try out new plugins, synths etc. Working on the production for a period of time is like escaping into a different realm of soundscapes.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
That is for them to decide. Hopefully they make their own story and have their own personal feelings when listening to it. We just make the music. They bring the emotions they want to feel when listening to it. Quite exciting.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
I am glad you asked it this way, and not the other question that almost comes in every interview, which is: ‘What comes first for you – the melody or the lyrics?’ 😊 But yes, first there is some inspirational incident – it can be a song on the radio or just some city vibe or even a good cup of coffee or a person, the way he/she is dressed, acts, etc. Then you get into this almost manic state of wanting to create something and ramble on with some beats, words or melodies. When we are lucky, it turns into a song, a good one. When we are not, it is just rubbish, but was fun! Of course, then comes the work after it. The putting together of the verse, chorus, lyrics, hooks – it needs to take off, or maybe not. But that’s just boring geeky stuff, which is of course as important to make it all work. And then, actually right now, you want to play these songs live. We are almost exploding because we need this outlet so much. And it is really painful not to be able to perform due to the pandemic.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
Fever Ray, Bicep, Moby, Kate Bush, Chromatics, Portishead, Depeche Mode, Christine and the Queens, M83, Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Robyn, Cat Power… this is endless. Why? Because they spark something in us. Either through a beat or an arrangement, an attitude, the production. And you become addicted to that artist, or a certain song and want to hear it over and over again. You almost can’t live without it for a period of time. So, it all comes in phases. Right now, I am having a Bicep phase. I don’t know how many times I have listened to ‘Apricots’ in the last month. Especially in the car while driving through grey Berlin. The best feeling! You should try it.
When the world is back to normal, where would you like to tour, and why?
UK 😊. We love the UK; Alex used to live there for many years and London gives us so much inspiration to create new stuff. And it would be nice to also tour the US. New York, LA, Nashville, New Orleans…
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
Can I pick 2? ‘Mary’ is one of our favourite songs that has all the elements that make The Ghost of Helags who we are. Listen for yourself. Number 2 pick would be ‘Chemistry’, as we enjoyed writing and creating it so much, while being on a road trip from Vienna to Prague exactly one year ago in the deepest, ice-cold, dark winter. And the video for it is coming out together with the album on March 5! And it makes you want to dance in your kitchen!
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
Play live and reach as many people as possible with our music. Make them dance. Make them cry. Make them scream! And touring with the new album. Fingers crossed.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
No words. Just a bow. For the incredible audience who came out to see us.
For more info visit: facebook.com/theghostofhelags