Interviews

A Chat With Scott Helman

Scott Helman Interview @ Century Plaza - November 13th 2015

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Concert Addicts: Well, I have some brief questions for you. I will try not to take too much of your time. So ya, I love the Bungalow music video. That cabin and forest, is that somewhere, like where abouts is that?

Scott Helman: Oh, where is that, Where were we. Oh man. It was just outside of Toronto in this small town. I forget where the town was but funnily enough, I think that was the cabin where they filmed some of the shots for that movie Hannibal.

Concert Addicts: Oh really?

Scott Helman: So it was super creepy. That was my introduction. We woke up at like 4am to go there. Then I’m sitting in the car with Xandi, the lead girl, and we’re like – Ya Cool. We are like super tired and I’m like all coffee’d up, you know, my hearts racing. The drivers like – Ya, so this is the Hannibal movie set. And I’m like – Holy shit! This is so crazy. But I mean it was cool. It was a cool little cabin that … this lovely lady owned it. She was super kind to us. She came by and gave us like granola bars and stuff. I mean it was really cold because it was kinda like the middle of fall/beginning of winter,
and I had to wear like a t-shirt and jeans.

Concert Addicts: Ya, it looks like it was all foggy in the background.

Scott Helman: Ya. We would do like a … and like Xanthia had to like, you know, open her shirt a couple times. It was funny ’cause like we would do a shot and then we would like rush to the couch and wrap ourselves in a blanket, and like shiver and then we’d like get warm and then they’d be like – ‘Kay, another shot. Then we’d be like – Damnit. So we’d have to go and go and do it again, but it was cool. It was my first video so it was quite fun.

Concert Addicts: I mean for something so simple its just a really interesting video. I mean that cabin is really strange, and I just wondered where it was. If it was like something from your family or if it was just something used for the set.

Scott Helman: No, I think they just found it. I forget. The director Aaron A. found it somehow, I can’t remember but ya it was a cool little spot.

Concert Addicts: It definitely worked out well. It was an interesting video. So, I was watching, just on the internet watching Youtube videos, and saw your Riptide cover. Super simple, its just you in your home studio, or something?

Scott Helman: Ya, that was my A&R guy Ron, from the label. I was living in Kensington at the time. So his studio was just like right by my apartment, and he just hit me up and was like – Lets do a video today. So I just walked over with my guitar, and I may or may not have been hungover. And we just did like a cool video in his little studio. He has like an office studio space, and we just did a cool video. We don’t know if we were even going to use it or not, and then we just put it up. Then we were like – Holy crap, it got like 100,000 views.

Concert Addicts: Ya, its really well done. Yours is a little bit more almost dancier, or bouncier.

Scott Helman: Ya but he had an 808. So we were just like – Cool, lets use the 808. And then I used my loop pedal. Ya, it was fun.

Concert Addicts: It seems really similar, but ya, yours is a little more like up beat, I guess. Has a little more dance in it. It turned out really well.

Scott Helman: Thanks man.

Concert Addicts: Since your debut came out last, almost a year ago, I guess just a little over a year ago, obviously you’re working on some stuff right now. Any plans for some new releases or any singles? Or anything on the horizons?

Scott Helman: Ummmmmmm… Well. I’m not sure about new stuff coming out very soon, but I’m working on a record right now. Always writing, I mean as you can see. But I have a bunch of new songs that I’m really, really excited about and stoked on. So ya, a records coming, I’m just working on it.

Concert Addicts: Any chance you’re playing any of those new songs, trying them out live yet?

Scott Helman: We’ve tried out one, once live because we had an hour set and we needed to fill some time. So, people seemed to enjoy it. But, ya, I’m not sure whats going to happen. It really depend. I mean I have a song that I wrote with this girl from L.A., and it’s a great duet. I mean who knows, like I’m always open to just like putting out tracks and stuff. It’s just about timing and doing the right thing. Ya, there’s stuff that I’m like, I’m always like the one whose just like – Let’s just do stuff. But you know there’s a timeline and there’s a way to do things. Ya, but soon enough, I mean.

Concert Addicts: I’m sure people are excited and waiting. There are people waiting on baited breath for you to.

Scott Helman: Ya, I hope so.

Concert Addicts: Ha ha ha, ya. So, I guess you just came back from your European tour, opening for Walk Off The Earth.

Scott Helman: Ya when did we get back? Two weeks ago, feels like two years ago.

Concert Addicts: ‘Cause you’re busy like a madman.

Scott Helman: Man, it was cool. Really cool. My parents are from London. So I always kind of dreamed of playing… like, ’cause its funny my grandparents were always like – You’re going to play Wembley Stadium one day. And I’m like – Ya! It was something I always just wanted to do. But I was at the Roundhouse, it was really honestly, equally as cool for me. It’s such a historic venue. Like The Doors played the longest encore in music history standing on the same stage. It was really cool. My grandparents and my family were there. And then we just got to trampse around Europe. Or Traipse around? Trampse around Europe?

Concert Addicts: One of those words works, ya.

Scott Helman: Whatevs. So it was really cool. I mean ya, we got to eat good food and like drink good beer. We got waffles in Belgium. Wait, did I get waffles? I think someone got waffles. Anyhow it was cool.

Concert Addicts: Is it any different out there with the crowds? Like is everything generally the same every where you go?

Scott Helman: Uh, no. Funnily enough I found it really depended on, I don’t know what it depended on. I mean ’cause, you know, you can play a show in like… what was the first show we played in Germany? Cologne! And that was unreal. I mean, you can play a show in Berlin and it’s like… it just depends on the day. It depends on the city. And Europe’s interesting, ’cause it’s not just…it’s a little different than North America. Each country has its own culture. But I mean each city has its own culture too. And there is so much that’s happened in each city from the next one. So I mean, like, you can’t just like pigeon hole like – This is how playing Germany is like – because each show is so different. I mean in Berlin, [a] crazy thing, Walk Off The Earth’s sound went down. ‘Cause I’m on my phone, backstage, downstairs, chilling, and then twenty minutes goes by and I haven’t heard a peep from upstairs in like twenty minutes, and I’m like – What the hell is going on. So I go upstairs and no one’s on stage. I’m like – Oh my god, what do I do? I need to help my friends. And I go side stage and they’re just sitting in a circle, like chill as hell, figuring out what they’re going to do. Twenty minutes later they come out. They rehearsed like a forty-five minute acoustic set in like ten minutes. Ten minutes later they like come out. They come on stage and are like – We’re just gonna play a couple tunes. They start playing and everyone is like – This is pretty cool. Then everyone int he audience sits down and makes a circle, and they like stood in the middle of the audience and just played four or five songs.

Concert Addicts: That’s pretty cool.

Scott Helman: Dropped like balloons and stuff. Like, dude, that was like one of the coolest things I have ever seen a band do. Regardless of being the opening act, if I was just at that show I would have been over the moon. That was cool. I mean, but ya, it’s hard to say because everywhere is so different.

Concert Addicts: I mean, ya, Walk Off The Earth is a great band and they put on a stellar show.

Scott Helman: Ya, for sure. But it was cool because their show there is so much going on, and as a person that had seen it a bunch of times it’s like…they drop balloons and friggin’ CO2 and there’s all this crazy stuff going on. ANd for all that to just like fail on them, and for them to just play those songs stripped down. Just chill. It was pretty special.

Concert Addicts: That’s pretty awesome.

Scott Helman: Ya!

Concert Addicts: So ya, you were talking about that you wrote a song with a lady from L.A. Is there anybody in the industry that you would love to work with? I mean your sound is so, it’s got such a unique tint to it. Is there anybody that you think would juxtapose you really well? And that you’d love to work with?

Scott Helman: I’d love to work with, I always say Arcade Fire at every interview. Because I would just love to work with them. But Alessia Cara, I would love to work with. She’s got great lyrics. Stellar singer.

Concert Addicts: You guys were both at Squamish [Valley Music Festival] together.

Scott Helman: Were we?

Concert Addicts: Or, she was there, and you were there.

Scott Helman: She was there the day before. Oh, ya ya. So that would be cool. She’s great. I don’t know man, like, those two. Those are right now, today. Because I just downloaded her album. Which came out today, or yesterday? Yesterday. And I just, I think its great man. I love her. She’s just like, she’s awesome. Who else would I love to work with? Ummm. I don’t know, there so many people. I mean, I like when it happens organically because I find when its like – Who do you want to work with? – it’s always like you never know until you’re actually in a room with someone.

Concert Addicts: It could be anybody, but until you down with a guitar.

Scott Helman: Ya. I’ve worked with people that’s like, I got an email from a manager being like – Hey, do you wanna work with this girl, she’s in town and I know her from this. And I’ll be like – Ya, sure, whatever, we’ll see what happens. And sometimes it’s not good and sometimes it’s amazing. I’ve also worked with other artists where its like this persons prestige and then its like…it’s not like they are bad or you’re good, its just that there’s no vibe. Beyond all the celebrity and the prestige of it, I just want to work with great artists, and musicians and make good records.

Concert Addicts: Pretty good way to go about it.

Scott Helman: Ya, but Alessia Cara is fucking awesome.

Concert Addicts: I caught both of your guys full sets at Squamish. She’s so…she comes out like super minimalist and she just blows you away with her vocals.

Scott Helman: That’s what I like about her. I feel like she is in the same world artistically as like Ed Sheeran. I mean its such different music but when i look at the artist, their music and their vibe is representative of who they are. There’s like zero bullshit. And I like bullshit. Not that like The Flaming Lips is bullshit, I love when people get in hamster balls and run across the top of audiences. I love production. But when it’s just a talented artist with endearing lyrics and a great personality, its just like, that wins me over.

Concert Addicts: She was simply beautiful. But you guys were wonderful to watch. I didn’t get a chance to catch too many bands full sets, but I think the only full sets I watched were at the stage you played at. ‘Cause just so many good bands. But you guys killed your set. But the only, the last question I have is something we ask everybody. Are there any lesser-known artists that you listen to that you would like other people to check out?

Scott Helman: Let me get my iPhone. I’ll give you like twenty bands. Have you ever heard of AC/DC? No, just kidding. Umm, lesser known artists. Let me see whats on my phone right now. I really like Ben Kweller, he’s awesome. Brett Dennen’s great. Bright Eyes. But those are big artists. Let me think of something. There’s a great band called Fort Atlantic and there’s this song that I’m loving right now called There Is Love. And it’s like this beautiful song about just like don’t worry about a thing. It’s one of those kinda like make you feel better songs. When its like late at night and you’re like annoyed about something, or somethings like getting you down, like that song is just so lovely. And funny enough I found them in this show Californication.

Concert Addicts: Oh really?

Scott Helman: The end of one of the seasons something really devastating happens to the main character and they play this song. And I never really looked up sync songs because I’m usually like – Okay, on to the next Netflix show. But this song just grabbed me and I was like – Wow, that is just so beautiful. Fort Atlantic is definitely a band you should check out. Also, umm, I’m just giving you like straight up just singer/songwriters shit right now.

Concert Addicts: That’s like my favourite. That’s my wheelhouse.

Scott Helman: There’s this great song by this guy named Jordie Lane called I Could Die Looking At You.

Concert Addicts: That sounds intense.

Scott Helman: It’s so pretty. It’s the prettiest thing ever. That song is awesome. Then I know the Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ are popular, and Karen O is super popular. But her, I mean this is an old record, but her soundtrack for Where The Wild Things Are. Its like one of my favorite albums. And Kurt Vile, and Little Dragon, and Milk Carton Kids, and… no, no, I’m just kidding.

Concert Addicts: Ya, Kurt Vile is pretty talented.

Scott Helman: Kurt Vile’s awesome.

Concert Addicts: I mean that’s great, we just like to…

Scott Helman: Oh, one more. So those are my top, those two I just said are in my top two, but my top three would also be Sun Kil Moon.

Concert Addicts: Sun Kil Moonm, you can’t go wrong.

Scott Helman: He put out this record which is called Benji, and its just the most…like its sad and its personal and it can be hard to listen to at times, but if you like listen to it a couple of times it’s like he is talking to you. It’s like this conversational record about love and death and sadness and happiness and like middle-aged depression. Which, I mean, I can’t relate to on a literal level, but there’s just something about the way he writes and his artistry and his lyrics that is just ridiculous. So that is definitely my favorite record this year, I think. So ya, that’s me. That’s a great question. When people ask me that question and I don’t have my phone, I’m like … umm … Justin Bieber.

Concert Addicts: Ya, we just like to share music, but it’s [more] for selfish reasons I like to discover find new artists I haven’t heard of. There’s always like those hidden gems that artists share amongst themselves. But that’s all I have for you and I really appreciate your time.

Scott Helman: Ya, sweet man.

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