Leading up to Emalyth Arts Expo INFINITI, I spoke to Red Helen:
1) What are you most looking forward to at the Emalyth Arts Expo?
Wow! There are so many awesome things we’re looking forward to at this years Expo. Of course we’re looking forward to our show, it’ll be our first for 2016. We’re also looking forward to watching and hanging out with our friends from the other bands and hanging out with all of the awesome local music supporters. We’re also looking forward to supporting the local artists exhibiting their stuff. We’ve always loved the mix between visual art and music at this event and love being a part of it!
2) What are your thoughts on the local metal scene?
We love our local scene, does it have its problems? Yes, sure it does! Are there things bands, promoters, venues, etc could do better? Yes! There are many ways in which our scene could improve and grow, but our scene is also filled with some truly wonderful and supportive people that we are so proud to call friends as well as some truly talented and hard working bands who we are absolutely proud to share the stage with!
As much as we obviously need to address the negative end of things in our scene, it’s just as important that we appreciate the good in our scene; and there’s tons of good to be found if you engage it with an open mind and supportive attitude!
A lot of people have this idea that what’ll make our scene bigger and better are bigger festivals, more international acts visiting our shores, etc. Yes, all of that it is really important and pushes our scene forward in certain ways, but the major growth in our scene lies heavily with the people who support it, the fans! The fans that pay R50 to attend the small club shows, buy t-shirts from their favourite South African bands, share their favourite South African bands with their friends and constantly search for new and interesting South African music to enjoy and engage with. The real power in improving our scene lies with the fans and it’s all the small things that are really going to make a difference!
3) Do you have any favourite gig experiences?
We love performing live & have been extremely privileged to have performed at so many amazing places. Some highlights would definitely include Wacken Open Air 2014, Oppikoppi 2015, Krank’d up Music Festival & our latest Cape Town Tour! But honestly we love performing live so much and love our crazy, supportive fans so much every show is a highlight for us!
4) What does 2016 hold for Red Helen?
2016 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for us! This year we will finally be releasing our debut album, “Trading Past for Pathways”, the official release date of which we’ll be announcing soon! Once thats out we’ll begin touring and hitting shows hard to promote it all over SA. That also means new music videos and other interesting content for our fans to check out. There are a lot of big plans in the pipe line, but we can’t say too much about them just yet so stay tuned. Big things ahead!
5) What advice can you give to people wanting to start a band?
Work hard & practice hard. Be as professional as possible right from the start. Never play something because of a trend or because you think its what others want to hear. Stick to your guns, play what you want to play and what makes you happy. Never let the opinions of others change that or deter you from your goals!
Always choose quality & never take the cheap route. Be confident in what you do but don’t be a dick about it. Be friendly and enjoy meeting and talking to people. You are never big enough or successful enough to be a dick to the people who support you or anyone else for that matter, whether support is given or not. Respect others and learn from those around you. Don’t forget to apply the lessons you’ve learnt!
Always love what you do and strive to get better at it. Pay your dues, don’t expect big things, earn them! Be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices, if you’re not prepared to do that then you’re probably not prepared to be a musician! Be there for and help other bands. We’re all in this together and we need to help each other or none of us will get anywhere. Other bands are not your enemies or competition, they are your friends, colleagues and scene family!
6) If you could go back in time to any musical period, what would it be and why?
Oh! Thats a tough one! I’m sure all of our answers would probably be completely different! Every different era has its pros and cons! We like the idea of the early 2000’s New Wave of American Heavy Metal days and the 70’s or 80’s because a lot of us grew up on the music from those eras and so many albums from that era are still so utterly timeless. We also love the musical era we find ourselves in right now, we find it to be a very interesting time. It also seems like anything goes at the moment which leaves a lot of room for creativity! So it’s really hard to choose just one era!