(This was originally published in 2018)
So when did Helix form? What is the meaning behind the name ?
Mari: I'm not really sure when Helix formed. Helix is a product of a very long talked about collaboration that Tom and I had been discussing on and off for years. We were collaborating on other artists' work together and we decided it was pretty much a no-brainer to pursue our own project.
Tom:Yeah, it was kind of a case of, “Hey, why are we doing all this work together for other people and not working on our own thing?”
Mari:The Helix band name came from the idea that when Tom and I would collaborate, or even just how we interact on a personal level, everything just flows really effortlessly. Like two strands on a Helix, if you were to picture it! We are truly just one and the same, you could say.
Mari who are your musical influences? Sometimes there seems to be an 80s vibe. So I would say. Tom and Mari, is some of your music influenced by 80s new wave-ish stuff?
Mari:I'm really influenced by a vast array of musical styles to be honest, especially as I get older. I'm really into U.K. Wave music at the moment, which is a niche genre still in its infancy. I am also quite a fan of Future Garage. For all who are interested in what that is like I recommend checking out Klimeks, Of Dream, Vacant and Burial. I think for Tom and I however, this album was an expression of styles that we hadn't really dabbled in, but what moved us nonetheless. We have some trip hop style in our music along with some sounds which harken back to the good old 90's. We sort of ran the gamut on this album and you can see how far we stretched. It's interesting to see what tracks people like best.
Tom: I think there are tracks like “Bird of Prey” and “Like a Drug” that definitely draw an influence from the 80’s, which is an era near and dear to my heart, since that’s kind of the time when I was first getting into music. The album is kind of a jumble of a whole bunch of styles, too, though. There’s definitely the influences Mari mentioned, as well as trip-hop, UK Garage/2-step, film music, etc. We just kind of threw whatever we felt like doing together and somehow it works.
You guys are going on tour, and will be in Germany? Are you excited?
Mari: We are?! I'm the first to know! All kidding aside, we aren't touring Germany but man, how cool would it be if someone asked us. We are just taking each show as they come and would love to tour if the opportunity comes in the future.
Tom: I hope we can bring Helix to Germany some day, but we don’t have anything booked at the moment. Right now, we’re just concentrating on one-off shows and getting a feel for how to present the album live.
Morticia: Haha whoops, I thought I saw some tour dates for Germany, I must have confused them while writing band questions for multiple bands at once. Haha I am sorry lol.
What is “Bird of prey” about?
I don't normally like to talk about song meanings, I like people to sort of find their own message. For me, Bird of Prey is basically about loving someone from a distance and creating a sort of life within your own, that holds space for them while they are gone but also aches for their return.
Who writes the lyrics and the music?
Mari: I took the duty of composing the lyrics and vocals and Tom is the music man.
Tom: Pretty much, although I also wrote the lyrics for “I Might Be Wrong”. I really actually enjoyed handing the reins over to someone else to handle the lyrics and vocals so I could just concentrate on the music and the production, which is the stuff I enjoy the most.
A lot of your fans are really happy about the “Helix Remix” you guys released in bandcamp. There has been a lot of downloads, what does it feel like having so much success so early?
Mari: I think people really responded well to the remix album and we are so excited for that. We are also so thankful to all of our fellow artists who contributed their work to make it possible. As a new music project, the happiest thing is getting people to give us a chance. So, it was a gift to our listeners and supporters for the overwhelming kindness and enthusiasm.
Tom: Yeah, we’ve been blown away by how well-received its been. We wanted to give something back to the people who had supported the album, and a lot of people mentioned wanting some more dancey tracks, so this was a no-brainer. I really loved how drastically different some of the interpretations were. We have some talented friends!
Morticia: That is rad! I am so happy for you guys!
One thing a lot of bands love to hear, is advice. Whether it’s a one person, 2 person or 10 person band. What advice would you give to newer bands forming. As far as online and in person promo of the band, getting shows, and getting music?
Mari: I think the only advice I have is, never ever stop. Reach out, contact people personally, walk tall and be proud of what you are doing. Nobody is going to sound like you. You are unique, even if you aren't technically as "good" as someone else, you are your own and that makes you an artist, so believe in yourself and your product. There really isn't any quick solution. You have to want it and you have to be prepared to keep hustling for as long as it takes. There's so much music out there these days, so the saturation on the internet is incredible. It's hard to stand out, but do whatever you have to do to get personal with people who can guide you and advise you forward. It's a huge learning experience.
Tom: I agree, persistence counts. I’d been doing Assemblage 23 for ten years before I got signed. But I didn’t get discouraged because I was doing what I loved. Be true to yourself, have fun, and don’t worry about the rest. The music industry is tough, especially now, and especially for new bands. I think it’s the hardest it’s ever been for new bands to break. So just do what you love and you can never be disappointed. If the starts align right, then you can worry about the rest.
So you are playing “Darkside of the con III” in March by Vampirefreaks. Are you excited? What are each of you looking forward to at Darkside?
Mari: I look forward to Tom and I giving an epic performance and also getting to spend time with all of our awesome music friends who will also be playing. I also really look forward to speaking on the "Women of Goth/Industrial Music" panel. I've never done anything like that before and I look forward to answering whatever questions are thrown my way.
Tom: I’ll be honest, the thing I always look forward to at festivals and cons is seeing friends I don’t get to see that often. And of course performing is a blast!
Mari, do you do any warm ups, rituals, or anything special before performing, or practice? Talking about practice, do you guys practice? Or how does it work?
Mari: I don't really have any sort of rituals before I go on stage. I usually practice pretty heavily weeks beforehand so I'm ready for it. I have a few vocal warm ups I usually do before I sing, run of the mill stuff that I learned in vocal lessons growing up. Do Tom and I practice? Nah, practice is for schmucks, we just work it out as we go along.
Tom: I mean, we practice individually, just not together. It’s the same way in A23. The distance just makes it impractical. Sure, mistakes happen sometimes, but that’s the whole thing with live music. Plus, it lets people know everything isn’t just coming off the backing tracks. haha
Tom, what is one hobby, one cause you are behind if you are or have any hobbies?
Mari same question!
Tom: I like to cook a lot. I’m by no means a chef or anything, but I think I can make a good tasting dish or two.
Mari: Hmmm hobbies? I like to play video games. Bit of a nerd. I have a 3DS and a PS4, so you can usually catch me on one of those, at the end of the day. I'm a huge Legend of Zelda fan.
What genre would you put Helix under? I personally feel it could fit under multiple, this band is very unique. The sound is incredible.
Mari: I'm not sure how I would classify Helix. I'm honestly glad that I don't know how to. The more you pigeonhole a project, the more your narrow your audience.
Tom: Yeah, I’m not sure how I’d categorize it either. It’s kind of all over the place. I guess I’d call it Late Night Listening music. I wrote a lot of the music late at night, and it kind of “sounds” like late night to me. Just the kind of stuff you might put on your headphones after you get back from the club.
Leave us with a favorite quote , or even a favorite meme for fun!
Mari:<Sure, I'll leave you with a quote that sort of ties into the last question. "Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth." You can thank my favorite philosopher Alan Watts for that one.
Tom:< I always loved “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt” from Kurt Vonnegut. On the surface, it just sounds like an admirable way to live your life – find the beauty in everything. But in the context of Slaughterhouse Five, Billy is time traveling and experiencing individual moments of his life like a television show, and not with the continuity humans live their lives through. As a whole, life can be difficult and filled with ugliness, but that is what makes us human. We don’t just experience the highlights, we crawl through the lows too, and that’s what makes us who we are.
Anything else you would like to leave us with?
Mari: Thanks to all our fans for your support! We hope to see you/meet you at our upcoming shows!
Tom: What she said!