Helena is steadily becoming one of Australia’s most prominent producer/DJs, dominating the world of electronica with her progressive electro/house beats. Seducing dancefloors globally, the UK-born, Australian-bred Helena says she is ready to live up to her reputation as the boss of electronica at next year’s Future Music Festival.
“I’m so honoured to come back to my home ground and play Future. The lineup is pretty epic. I can’t wait to play my set and be able to deliver my sound, vibe and what I’m about there, and tour with everyone on the bill. I’m sure I will come offstage flying. When you’re learning, you look at these guys who are successful and that’s what you aspire to be doing, playing a festival like Future. To reach those levels, to kick those goals, you really are playing out your dream as an artist; it’s so exciting to be involved in this kind of thing.”
Becoming the first female artist to be booked as the support DJ on the main stage for Miami’s Ultra Music Festival in March was an experience Helena will never forget. “It’s the highlight of my career so far. I got booked on the main stage alongside Swedish House Mafia, Disclosure and Major Lazer. I ended up doing 24 sets on the live stage, so I was playing in between all of the main acts. I was literally running backwards and forwards all day playing sets every hour, on the hour. It was pretty intense; at the end of it I almost collapsed and died, but it was worth it.”
Helena says she is proud to show other women that they too can dominate main festival stages. “It’s a huge honour, to be leading the way in that sense and opening up future opportunities for female artists. It’s a privilege; I get a lot of emails from girls who want advice on different things, like how to go about furthering their careers. It’s really cool to think I’ve been inspiring other female artists. To see girls up there kicking it as hard, when it’s been such a boys’ club for so long, is a really positive thing for the music industry.”
Helena’s recent decision to relocate to LA, where the club scene is exploding, was an easy one. “I’ve been touring the States since January, and did quite a few shows backwards and forwards, so I decided to relocate to LA three weeks ago. The shows I’ve been part of here, and the clubs I’ve played, have been ridiculous. There’s been such a positive response everywhere I’ve played, and it’s really exciting that I’m building a strong fan base over here.”
International chart success has seen Helena collaborate with the likes of Dutch sensation Disfunktion. “I spent a few months in Amsterdam last year, and decided to work with some of the Dutch guys. The track ‘Detox’ actually came about because I was on this hard core detox for five to ten days, and in the studio Disfunktion kept trying to feed me truffles, so I was trying to make them eat celery sticks and carrots. When we finished the track, it only seemed fitting to call the track ‘Detox’.”
Growing up surrounded by music and DJs, Helena says she didn’t have a choice with music, it chose her. “My love for music originated back in the UK; I was obsessed with music in general, it was my passion and love. My brother’s a DJ, a lot of my good friends are DJs and I was also involved in running nightclubs in the UK, so becoming a DJ was just a natural progression. I would steal my brother’s equipment, and make quite a hobby out of mixing. I never set out to become a DJ; I just loved it, which makes me incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of a hobby.”
Helena says she owes her talent for mixing to her background in classical music. “I grew up playing the cello and classical piano, which definitely helped train my ear and helped me to pick up mixing techniques rather quickly. Once you understand musical theory, you can naturally feel the beat and how it’s all put together. When I’m playing, I’m naturally mixing tunes because I can hear what tracks are going to go with others.”
And whenever she’s on the decks, Helena makes sure every person in the crowd has the time of their life. “I try to have a really big stage presence and showcase my attitude and passion towards my music. My sound is pretty upfront. I keep it unique and play mash-ups no-one would ever think to play. I always try to deliver and create a really good atmosphere. I put a hundred per cent into everything I do.”
Releasing a full-length album isn’t on the cards yet for Helena, who wants to focus on singles first. “I want to establish my sound a bit more before making an album. I have just finished three tracks, ‘Breathe, ‘Decoda’ and ‘Wake Up’ which are bubbling away for release. The plan of attack is to whip up a bit more of a storm and keep getting my name out there.”
BY FRANCIS WITSENHUYSEN
Helena plays Future Music Festival at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday March 8, 2014 with Deadmau5, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Phoenix, Hardwell, Rudimental, Eric Prydz, Kaskade, Porter Robinson and more.