Dark euphoric musicians, HAELOS, are a creation from slow, deliberate and considered decisions. While they are the first to admit their creation can cause frustration and conflict, they wouldn’t have it any other way and neither would we. To help celebrate their recent release, Full Circle, TWL had a chat with the 90’s rave/trip-hop influenced artists.
Congratulations on the release of the impeccable Full Circle, an absolute contender for one of the best albums of 2016. We honoured it a “Well Done!”, best you can get. Can you share with us how, when and why HAELOS was born?
Thank you very much, glad you’re into it. We started this project about two years ago when Dom, Lotti and myself wrote a track together called Dust. Lotti and I had been working together with Dom separately but Dust was the first time we all collaborated as a three.
Though many of the early ideas were starting to take shape and some songs had already been written prior, the complete HÆLOS sound was born in that session.
I think we started this band primarily from a burning desire to write honest music and everything else that has come since has been a bonus for us. We wanted to enjoy ourselves but also to push ourselves as far as we felt we could go in pursuit of our ideas. It’s been painful at times but always enjoyable and rewarding.
Perhaps through coincidence, we can feel and hear an underlying theme that took shape on the album, from the album cover that looks like a view into an endless black hole of some universe, to the lyrical content of love and its complicated moments, song titles like “Oracle”, “Cloud Nine”, “Earth Not Alone” and your band name HAELOS (like Halo – the optical phenomenon). Are we on to something subliminal here? Can you share with our readers Full Circles’ theme or have we have just completely over analyzed your music?!
I think it’s important that people find their own interpretation of the record and figure out what it means to them and It’s no fun if we tell you exactly what’s going on. What I will say is that there are many undercurrents to this record that are not present at the surface. If you dig a bit deeper then you’ll find it there.
We heard your cover of The Beloved’s “Sun is Rising”, a band that the Founder of TWL was a big fan of back in the early 90’s. Would it be a fair assumption to suggest that you have a good collection and passion of such bands that stemmed from this era? An influence through sound, idea and/or music writing technique? Any other personal influences you can share with us that has carved the musicians you are today?
We’re into a pretty eclectic mix of music. We covered that Beloved track because it was one of the songs we would put on at the end of a party to inspire a second wind. I think there is a dialogue between the complexities of the present day and the summer of love optimism of the late 80’s and early 90’s rave scene and our cover inadvertently commented on that. There are so many influences that have gone into this album. Radiohead deserve a mention, the consistent calibre of their writing and the way they construct their music is really inspiring.
There are some sublime samples that appear on the album including the opening vocal sample on “Intro/Spectrum”? Can you tell us a little about this? How do samples come together on your songs? Are they an after-the-fact consideration or a crucial part of your song writing?
We love the use of sampling in songs. Gathering samples is a bit like collecting records, you pick them up as you go along and fit them in as you can. Sometimes a track is screaming out for one and that can develop into a deep, hard drive sample hunt. If the universe puts one in your path that fits the song then it goes in. A great sample can add an interesting perspective on the lyrics of a song and give human depth to the music. That’s sort of what happened with the Alan Watts’ sample at the beginning of the album, we needed something to give a human focus to the intro we had written to “Pray” and didn’t want to write a melody or anything. We sort of felt that Alan Watts would be fitting. I guess if you believe in luck then we were lucky to find his “Spectrum of Love” lecture but it resonated so strongly with the themes of album that were sure it was always meant to be on there and we just needed to look a little to make sure it was.
“Earth Not Above“ features one of the most familiar, classic and timeless drum beats that we haven’t heard used in years. We have always wanted to know, is the beat trademarked?
Yes, we needed to get clearance to use that break. It’s owned by James Brown’s estate.
You’ve recently appeared at SXSW, how was it? We have read you are also doing a bit of touring all over the place, how has it been and what’s been a few highlights?
SXSW was a blast, we played 11 shows in 4 days so it’s a bit of a crazy blur looking back on it. It was cool to connect with a wide load of new people and perform our music that many times. It certainly took our live show to a new level. We’re currently on the road in the States and we’ve also been into Candada on this run. Working in music is like having two lives, you’ve got the intensity and introspection of the writing and the extrovert craziness of touring and you seek escape from one in the other. On the road we try to keep it on the lighter side of things.
The Wandering Lamb goes by the saying “a love for new music, an urge to share”. Did you discover any new music at SXSW that you can share with us?
We didn’t really have enough time to see many other bands but we did manage to catch shows by our friends in Puma Rosa and Formation. They’re both very good new young UK bands so well worth checking out.
Can we expect to see you on our sandy shores any time soon? If not, do we need to put you in contact with the right peeps?
Yeah, we would love to come. Hopefully we will get there towards the back end of this year.