10 Questions with ... Helena
February 24, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1) Where are you from?
I'm from Sydney in Australia.
2) Right now it's Summer in Sydney, Australia -- and it's zero degrees in N.Y.
It's really cold in N.Y. right now and I got a bit of shock coming from L.A. where it was really hot. When I left L.A. I flew into a blizzard so it was a bit of a shock to my system.
3) You recently moved from Australia to L.A., what's the big difference?
The biggest difference is the space. Everything is so spread out so it's always a lot harder to find things and to find your way around. I recently bought a car so I'm having lots of adventures driving around the city and trying to discover all the cool spots. You actually have to go out and find things where in Sydney its kind of all on the plain, so I guess that's the biggest difference.
4) How long have you been DJ'ing? And how did you get your start?
Professionally for the past five years, my start in DJ'ing came as a hobby. I loved the music; I just wanted to mess around in my bedroom on the decks. But my first real start was in Australia five years ago when I decided to try and actually focus on it as something and try to build a career out of it. I met up with a guy in Australia and we started playing together and started tackling the clubs in Australia. It was great; within a few months I had managed to secure spots at some of the biggest clubs in Australia. I started touring all over the country, building up my profile and building up my name ... and the rest is history.
5) Prior to DJ'ing in Australia you were overseeing a rather large club in England; did you ever book yourself?
This is true. Before I was a DJ, I was actually a promoter. I was always working in music and I was DJ'ing purely as a hobby on the side. My love of music and DJ'ing started taking over everything else. I actually booked myself to play in some of the back rooms; I think I even paid myself. That was a bit of the perk of the job.
6) Do you think being a club promoter gave you the opportunity to be a better DJ because you knew what clubs were looking for ... does it help or hurt?
Definitely it helps. You get to see the scene from the different side of the coins and you also get to appreciate how much work it is to be a promoter. Sometimes, DJs go to clubs and it's not busy -- and all they are worried about is their ego. They say it's not busy so this club is bad, but you have to remember that most promoters have put a lot of work into it and they probably lost a lot of money as well, so you have to learn how to appreciate it from both sides. From being a promoter, I used to watch DJs and see the DJs who would look at the crowd and there would be no interaction; you learn from this and what it takes to become a good DJ.
7) Are you classically trained to play the cello and piano?
This is true; I used to play both growing up and then I swapped them for a set of decks. I actually recently started taking piano lessens; I started going weekly in L.A., just to try and keep it fresh. It really helps with writing music and playing chords.
8) You were the first female DJ booked on the main-stage of Ultra in 2013. It seems that the DJ world is a male-dominated industry, but over the past couple of years more and more females have been breaking through and gaining more recognition. Is there something different that you have to do, or does it not matter if you are male or female?
There are pro's and con's to everything. There are definitely pro's and con's to being a female artist. I believe you have to work a bit harder to prove yourself as a female artist, to be taken seriously. It seems the boys like to look after the boys, you're a girl trying to get into the boys club. Everyone has been very supportive, but you do have to work harder as a female. On the other side of the coin you obviously get a lot more attention because you are in a lesser market as well. You have to take the good with the bad.
9) You started DJ-ing professionally 5 years ago, how long ago did you start producing music?
About 4 years ago I released my first song "Girl From Outta Space", which was the instrumental version of "Girl From The Sky" which I added a vocal to "Outta Space". The track had already been made and I was working with a vocalist Mr. Wilson in Australia and we were in the studio and trying desperately to write the lyrics and "Girl From Outta Space lyrically just would not work so I was like what about girl from the sky. Lyrically it just worked so much better, so when the vocal version came out we renamed it "Girl From The Sky".
10) Your new single with Vassy is just out and is called "Boss", how did this song come about?
Vassy is really cool, she is actually another Australian artist and we met in L.A. through a mutual friend. We hit it off and got together a few times and I had a drop of a track that I was working on and I just sent it to her on the fly and said hey this is the track that I'm working on and I only have the drop at this point in time but let me know if you have any ideas for it. I continued working on the track and got the breakdown finished and while I was doing that Vassy actually wrote a full vocal for that track based just upon the drop and so she sends it over and says hey about this and so I sent her the breakdown and we put the vocals straight over the breakdown and it just worked. It's very rare that you can write a track and the vocals separately and kind of piece it together. So that's how it came about.
I read that some of your early influences were Steve Angello, Wolfgang Gartner and Eric Prydz, anybody that you'd love to work with musically?
I'm a big fan of the House-y kind of stuff. Musically at the moment I think things are going a little more melodic and a bit more house driven. I would love to use some of the Size guys and make some tracks with them and the Groove Crew, Kryder & Tom Staar, I think they have a really good vibe going and it would be really cool to do some stuff with those guys.
You were in NY for fashion week what did you like most about the events you attended?
It's been great, I had never been to fashion week, it was very exciting. My PR company managed to get me front row seats at quite a few of the shows. It's been really interesting seeing what goes on. From having an events background like myself I loved the production and the way they style and put all their shows together, they were really cool to watch and I got to sit opposite from Whoopi Goldberg. I secretly snap-chatted her because I was a little bit in awe.
With so many celebrities that were in town for fashion week, if you could have sat next to any person who would have it been?
I would have loved to have sat next to Madonna, she is quite the queen.
If you were not working tonight and could go out and hear one DJ spins who would it be?
It would be Steve Angello playing a more Tech-y old school house set at Pacha.