Straight outta Perth, I present to you the 3-piece progressive punk band named Heligan. I caught up with Heligan’s very own Miles, Sean and Josh to chat about the band’s humble beginnings (including their quirky band name), their debut single Castaways and their very bright future plans!
Okay, first thing I want to ask you is about the band name. It seems like it’s a little bit quirky. and originally, when I first got your email Miles, I read it as ‘Helican’, like a pelican from hell. I was like wow this is the most hardcore thing I’ve ever seen and was like I MUST INTERVIEW THIS BAND! Haha. Could you please tell me the actual story behind the name Heligan?
Sean (drummer): That is a good story though.
Miles (guitar & vocals): Yeah that is a good story, we should use that!
Okay, Heligan... well when we formed the band, we wanted to come up with a single word title for our band that was quite you know kind of catchy and stuff. And I was thinking about all the places I've visited in the world, and back when I lived in England we visited this place called the ‘Lost Gardens of Heligan’, it was this place that got lost in World War One. It was this beautiful 200 acres worth of greenery and sculptures and everything and they've basically brought it back to life after rediscovering it. I guess that's what we named it after and, you know, I thought it was cool, it brought back some of my childhood memories and also you know it's about nature and I think you know nature and the environments really important. So to bring more awareness of, you know, places like this would be pretty cool. So yeah that's that's how we chose the band name.
Very nice! and how did you guys all find each other and became a band?
Josh (bass): Me and Miles went to high school together, I think 7 through 12. We had a small band that went through high school, and it kind of lost stamina, as it went out of school as most kind of musical acts do. Miles was writing some solo stuff around the time of lockdown, and I was really interested in what he was writing at the time and he asked me if I wanted to play bass on that, and I said yes!
Sean (drummer): As for me I was looking to play for a band for a while back in 2019/2020, and I looked online, like you know who's looking for a drummer in Perth? and the only one looking for a punk drummer was Miles. So, yeah, that's how we first got in contact.
Yeah, I find that a lot of those like the online forums of people trying to find other band members, there isn't a huge call for like punk rock, heavy metal or alt rock sorts of genres. So that’s very lucky!
I saw from your interview with Suze from a Recurrent Verse that you guys had your first gig as an open mic night in Perth. What was that like? Because you guys, you're a new band having just dropped Castaways, so what was it like playing your first show?
Miles (guitar & vocals): Well, gosh, we had probably been jamming together for a couple of months before we decided that we were ready to gig. So we booked in at this place called the Indian Ocean Hotel in Perth. I had done a couple gigs there before, and they've always, always been really, I don't know haha.... the energy at the place is really cool, it's right near the beach so everyone you know spends the day at the beach and comes back there to check out the bands playing, and because it's open mic night lots of people bring down all their mates to come watch like their bands playing stuff so it was quite a full room and everyone was really really into it and you know that really pushed us to continue, you know, putting all of our efforts into the band and, you know after that reception that we got in the first gig.
I want to talk about the new single Castaways, and you guys had it mixed, recorded and mastered by Sam Ford who has worked with Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and Birds of Tokyo, what was that experience like working with him?
Josh (bass): Working with Sam was actually a really, really amazing experience! Miles and myself have had some previous experience in the studio, and when we walked in, it was this cool little set up in some back areas of his house, and it was just a really cool setup he had! And the kinds of the techniques that he used for recording us were pretty interesting.
Miles (guitar & vocals): I guess his flair is kind of putting a vintage kind of sound on to things, so a lot of the bands that go in are looking for a more… you could say low-fi, but not really low-fi, it’s more like vintage sound. When we went in, we wanted to choose someone who didn't maybe wanted to over-produce us, we wanted to keep the raw energy that we had as a band, but still show off the technicalities that we have, so you know going with Sam Ford with the way he mixes that vintage kind of style, I think kind of suits us and the way that we want to go with the band.
Miles (guitar & vocals): Yeah, well, I guess Castaways is mainly about corruption and the abuse of power. I had like a friend overseas and they were experiencing this in the workplace, and people weren't getting paid, or getting, you know, fired for no reason, things that you know can't really happen in Australia. I guess just like the union couldn't get involved or do anything for some reason, so I decided to write the song about that, and also about people's experiences that I read lots of news articles and stuff about corruption. This was just about my frustration with that, you know, with greed and all that.
Yeah, there's a lot of grey areas with people in power.
Miles (guitar & vocals): Yeah that’s right.
Who would you guys say are the band's biggest influences, and going forward I assume that you have a stack of new songs ready to go or some songs in the works?
Miles (guitar & vocals): Gosh, we're all into different things...
Sean (drummer): Yeah, I mean my influences are definitely more the fast sort of melodic hardcore skate punk of the 90s stuff off NOFX and those Epitaph bands. I love all of those fast beats and hectic punk songs, with a focus on melody.
Yeah I noticed that Castaways is quite a fast punk song.
Josh (bass): I'ld say that my influences are probably a little bit grungier like Dinosaur Jr, maybe a bit of Nirvana, definitely Queens of the Stone Age, like Josh Homme I like his vocals a lot, it’s just like a really nice vocal lines behind like really intense guitars, there’s something about that which is just like really other-worldly to me.
And Miles who are your biggest influences when it comes to writing and recording for Heligan?
Miles (guitar & vocals): Well, I definitely wanted to take this band into like more of that kind of mix between, you know your pop punk elements and then you've got like the heavier almost thrashy kind of riffs happening there, with the guitar and you know guitar solos as well. I really like Metallica, and I love Green Day. So basically, I wanted to fuse those two things together, and just you know, do that kind of music, I'm obviously really influenced by like Dream Theater and more progressive music like that on Karnivool, as well as Rise Against is another big influence for us, I'd say.
What are Heligans future plans? What are you hoping to do in regards to music and touring? I know that Western Australia hasn’t been as affected by COVID restrictions and lockdowns as much as Melbourne, Sydney and now Adelaide. What’s it like on the good side of Australia? haha
Josh (bass):West is best haha.
Miles (guitar & vocals): Perth is a really isolated city, and I guess the music that can come out of Perth can be a bit different to everywhere else in the world. I noticed that there’s a huge indie thing going on right now with bands like Spacey Jane coming out of Perth who have just blown up. But yeah, I think it's a blessing and a curse to be here, especially when COVID hit ,I think we only had about a month or two of lockdown initially, and then after that we were able to go back out and do gigs, which is, I think, you know, perfect for where I was at as a musician, I was deciding whether I wanted to go to university or not and this this kind of pushed me to go towards University and start studying music in a more serious way.
I think we're very lucky to be in Perth and I guess for the future, you know, we'd love to tour around Australia, you know if the opportunity arises, and we have a lyric video that might be coming out soon as well.
Yes, I was gonna say. Is there a music video for Castaways coming?
Miles (guitar & vocals): Well we threw a launch show, so hopefully with the profits from that we can put it towards something but um, we've worked with a really cool guy in America who has put together this really interesting lyric video with all these different effects and graphics on there, and I think it's really cool, I can't wait to release it and show everyone.
Amazing sounds very cool!
What is next for Heligan? I know you’ve just dropped a single, but are there any new singles in the works?
Miles (guitar & vocals): When we went in with Sam Ford we actually recorded two songs so we do have another one that's ready to go, and then also I guess for us is about deciding if that song is the right song to release next or if we need to go in and record something else we've got a couple songs that we we really like playing live that we might consider that we've written since recording so I guess it's just about deciding about what we want to do next.
Do you guys have any final messages that you would like to say on behalf of the band to your fans?
Miles (guitar & vocals): I guess to make sure to like our socials and everything (links to socials at end of blog post), checkout Castaways on Spotify and Apple Music and wherever you listen to music.
Josh (bass): Basically thank you for listening to whoever is giving the track of spin, it means a lot to us!
Just keep your ears perked for what we've got next.
That was Miles, Josh and Sean from the Perth prog punk band Heligan, make sure to check out their debut single Castaways and follow their Socials.
HELIGAN's SOCIAL MEDIA
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