The mighty Helsott have returned to pummel you once again….this time with a 5 track EP entitled “The Healer” being released on April 28th on their new label, M-Theory Audio. This time around, the Helsottians have done some new things, further broadening their already huge appeal and audience. Lead vocalist Eric Dow answered some questions for us regarding the new EP, the new label and a few other things… check it out…
Congratulations on your new EP “The Healer” even though it is not officially released yet, have you been getting some feedback regarding it?
“Thank you. Not much feedback yet on the EP as a whole but we have been getting a lot of great feedback from the lyric video we released. I am sure Helsótt fans are going to enjoy this EP.”
What has been happening in Helsott in between the release of “Woven” (2014) and up to now? Could you possibly go over some of the lineup changes?
We released “Woven” late in 2014 and did 2 tours supporting it in 2015. One was a headlining run and the other was in support of Arkona and Heidevolk. As far as the line-up changes go… Mark quit the band in 2015, Steph had stepped away from the live duties so we recruited Bri for the 2 tours. Things did not work out with Bri and we briefly had Steph back. Steph had to step away from all live activities as of Feb 2017. She is still working with the band but all behind the scenes stuff. We are still looking for her replacement. We briefly had a replacement for Mark on guitar but that only lasted for a few months. We are still looking for a permanent replacement for Mark. But honestly as a four piece we have accomplished a lot and our reviews just keep getting better so we don’t feel this sense of urgency in finding their replacements. We are looking for the right people and don’t need to compromise.
How did the signing to M-Theory Audio come about?
“Marco told me that he was getting his label running again so I sent him “The Healer” tracks and he said he was interested… so that was a no brainer for me.”
With the songs that are on this EP, did you want to do something different but also stay true to your core sound? What are some things that you added this time around?
“Since this was just a EP I wanted to give it a special touch. I wanted it to feel old, new, borrowed, and blue. The first 2 tracks are new. “The Healer” which sounds more like a traditional Helsótt thumper and then “Astralive”, which is definitely a different feel for us but you can still tell it’s us. “The Tavern’s Tale” and “Epic Battle” are the 2nd and 4th song’s we ever wrote back in February 2010. They didn’t make the final cut on “Folkvangr” or “Woven” but that wasn’t because they weren’t good songs. We dusted them off and added some stuff, changed keys, changed tempos, and changed lyrics. Gave them a feel that would fit “The Healer” vibe but still remind our original fans of where we came from. Then the borrowed song… “Unconscious Power” by Iron Butterfly. That song is rad and has always been one of my favorites. I feel like we gave it more of a 70’s – 80’s meets death metal vibe. Definitely different from what we normally do. It was fun.”
How has the song writing process changed (if at all) since “Woven”?
“We don’t have Mark writing songs with us anymore. That is all that has changed.”
You once again went to your fans to help crowdfund this effort…… how was the experience for this one? You also had Kevin from Heidevolk create a special shirt design….. how did you include his artwork in the process?
“This experience was just like the last 2. Amazing! We are constantly humbled by the support we get. I love Kevin! He has had our back’s since the day we met him. What an amazing person and talent that dude is. His design will always be one of my favorite Helsótt shirts. If you are reading this and contributed to any of our crowd-fund campaigns… THANK YOU!”
The EP features a killer cover of “Unconscious Power” by Iron Butterfly….. how did you decide on this song? Were there others considered?
“We considered many other songs. We are all just in love with music so there were way too many suggestions. And honestly there were not too many that were suggested that we turned down outright. We could have ended up with Yes, White Zombie, Rush, Johnny Cash… just to name a few. We were undecided until it was past time to decide so a decision had to be made and I made it. One of my all time favorite songs from an album I revere as one of the first heavy albums. Hell, it’s even titled, “Heavy”.”
It seems that you play a lot of shows with metal bands of all styles…… do you think your style is one that allows you to cross over into other genres as far as being able to be on all of these bills/shows? Have there been any shows that you should not have been a part of style wise?
“I absolutely think our style allows us to cross over into several types of bills. I am very proud of all the different styles of shows we have played and for the most part were well received as well. We played an indie-punk show in Salem, MA on the “Woven Across America Tour”. We showed up to the venue and the promoter had forgot that he booked us. Makes you feel real special right off the bat doesn’t it? Anyway, they threw us on the bill and the crowd loved us. We got free drinks all night, good food, and got paid less than half of what we were supposed to… all in all it wasn’t a horrible night. We’ve had much worse. We played with Kill Devil Hill once and the crowd just didn’t know what to think of us. Only half of the crowd was still there by the time we were done playing. 2 dudes in the back loved us and were clapping and cheering… quite awkward but amazing. Didn’t matter to us though. We had shared the stage with Vinnie Appice and Rex Brown. We were good.’
How was your experience on the 70K metal cruise again (as far as being a fan and not performing)?
“That is the best festival in the world. I love it. Always a great experience. My buddies TrollfesT played and they had me up on stage for “Toxic”. Our artist Felipe was there and he had a display of some of his album covers and he had the “Woven” print up for display… between that kind of amazing stuff and the amount of Helsótt supporters on the boat I always feel like Helsótt is very present regardless if we get to play or not.”
How will you be supporting the album tour wise if at all? What shows do you have lined up?
“The only two date’s set in stone are a free Cinco De Mayo show in Long Beach, CA May 5th obviously, and we are opening for the amazing Evergrey package in San Diego, May 14th. We are working on touring details at the moment. We plan on at least 2 tours this year.”
Have your obligations changed as far as promoting, touring etc since you are now on a label? Have your opinions on downloading music been changed now that you are signed?
“Nothing has changed since we signed with M-Theory. They are a small label still and the whole reason we are a good fit for them is because we were already doing everything we needed to be done. My opinion on downloading music illegally will never change. Go buy the record at your non-existent local record store.”
Favorite music from 2016 and 2017 so far?
“Borknagar, Kreator, Obituary, Moonsorrow, Charred Walls of the Damned, TrollfesT…man I could just go on and on with this one but keep your ears out for the new Malphas, Vesperia, and D.V.T. albums due this year. Gonna be killer.”
“Thank you for the interview, thanks to Folk-metal.nl for the support, and of course thanks to everyone who took the time to read this.”