Some things come together immediately. Others… take a little time. HÆLOS – known individually as Arthur Delaney, Dom Goldsmith and Lotti Benardout – fall into the latter bracket. But the way the music comes out sounding, you know it couldn’t have happened any other way. Each one of their vividly cinematic tracks seems to map the long journey from desperation to relief, stress to sanctuary – the basic dynamic of all urban life. If London tends to be a meandering, alienating hometown, there is a looming sense to HÆLOS’ music of a band – of three people – having found each other. Eventually.
Interview by Sophie. Live Photographs by Sophie Jarry.
You were the first act to perform today. Was it a good show ?
Lotti : It was a really good show ! We didn’t know what to expect, being the first act on but actually there was a nice crowd there and it filled out as we were playing.
Do you have some kind of ritual before going on stage ?
Dom : We really like to make ourselves feel big, we put our arms really wide, as wide as we can and we look into each other’s eyes. There’s something old-school about it. (laughing)
Arthur : Sometimes Nigel our tour manager puts on Cold Water Music by Aim and we all dance around like idiots!
Dom : We had a show at the Roundhouse, opening for TV On the Radio and we were dancing backstage and the coolest band in the world was watching us ! (laughing)
“There are so many different cultures in London, it’s a melting-pot of humanity so if we decided to go anywhere else it would have to be the same or better.” – Dom (Haelos) on London…
Haelos, your stage name, implies a dichotomy that can also be found in your music and in your lyrics. There’s always this subtle shift from darkness to euphoria and light or from fear to love.
Arthur : Our whole band is about cycles, moving through from one thing to another like moving from the day coming and going. Our music is the same thing. Maybe even in one song, you have like so much euphoria but kinda of find yourself also reflecting on your lowest times.
Dom : It’s because opposites actually attract so you need them for a balance, it’s a language.
There’s always a dark counterpart.
Arthur : yes, like sometimes you’re out clubbing and you’re really high and you’re thinking about your worst things (laughing) or sometimes you’re so low and you feel almost high because of it. That tension, there’s beauty in that.
You music is inspired by the dynamic of urban life. You’re from London, so what is special about it and could you imagine yourself living in another city ?
Lotti : We talked about maybe going abroad to write our next record and we even talked about LA but in London you have differences, differences in the seasons, in the darkness. We wrote the majority of our record in the winter in London when it’s dark and cold and quite, you know, beautiful but also miserable and that was a huge part of our record. So to go and write our record somewhere sunny would be a very different thing and maybe it would bring to light a whole different side to us but London’s home for us ! As much as you dread winter coming but there’s something else.
Dom : There are so many different cultures in London, it’s a melting-pot of humanity so if we decided to go anywhere else it would have to be the same or better.
Arthur : It’s a funny time in London, there’s a weird mood. Lots of our friends are leaving London because their artist scene is getting killed off by really high rents, it’s so expensive ! The nightlife is dying, there’s a Conservative government…The mood is quite low, people are leaving to go to Berlin or LA where it’s cheaper but that made quite an interesting time as artists. We are perfectly happy to look at the dark side as well as the light side. There’s a shifing going on and we don’t know where it’s going.
You were making music separately before forming Haelos, how did you meet each other ?
Lotti : Dom and I met through a mutual friend, we were both doing different projects and Dom wanted a female vocalist and then we met and decided to try do some writings together.
Arthur : Me and Dom have known each other for quite a number of years cause our last bands used to play gigs together. We moved on to the same road as Dom without knowing he lived there and bumped into each other at a party and said we should write together.
Lotti : The two projects were sort of going along side and we thought maybe we should try and put them all together. We did a session together and wrote Dust and it felt right.
Arthur : If you’re a writer and you meet a master of productions like Dom, ideas form around.
Dom : Basically all of us brought things that inspired each other and when we came together it felt like we were home. Everyday was painful and fun in equal measure and that’s the dichotomy again.
You’re often described as a mysterious band but I read somewhere it was not intended but rather due to a lack of time.
Arthur : A lack of preparation ! (laughing)
Lotti : We had a few songs we were working one and one afternoon we just thought to put it online and see if a few of our friends like it, it was literally just to get some reactions and we photocopied our faces !
Arthur : That was a weird thing, we liked it a lot ! (laughing)
Lotti : We didn’t intend to be mysterious at all but we were also quite happy just to have the music out. We never tried to create that mystery.
Dom : Nowadays when journalists don’t have enough information on a band they’re like « Oh, mysterious ! »
Arthur : if we didn’t come to the interview that would be mysterious ! (laughing)
The last part of your short film trilogy was released this week with the video of Pray and Dust. Did you have these images in mind while creating the music ?
Arthur : It’s weird cause I met Jesse in the first week of the band and we talked about doing a video together and the whole concept for the videos evolved over 6 or 8 months.
Dom : It kind of brewed together.
Lotti : He didn’t specifically have the tracks even when he was writing the treatment. It was more about the mood in general.
Arthur : The themes in the videos are very much the themes of our songs, they’re very sensitive. The kind of raw, upfront nature of the videos is very much what we’re trying to do musically as well, not being afraid of hiding things that are hard to talk about or painful, be really raw and real and make people feel something.
You covered “The Sun Rising” by Beloved. Why did you pick this song ?
Dom : One of the thing we’re looking to achieve is to make music that suits 5 am, the moment you don’t wanna go to bed yet but you don’t wanna stop partying (laughing). One of our favourite bands is The Beloved, Sweet Harmony is a massive tune but The Sun Rising has a melancholy as well.
Arthur : Weirdly I think again, this cover kinda comments the age we’re living in. The 90’s track was sort of optimistic, hopeful and careful and our song is dark and introspective. We didn’t mean to do it like that but it came naturally.
Dom : In our minds we had this idea of the lyrics (the sun is rising) of a mushroom cloud on the horizon (laughing), fairly morbid ! But it is just the sun rising,n don’t worry you’re gonna be ok ! (laughing)
Do you intend to see any bands tonight ?
Arthur : definitely Godspeed you Black Emperor ! and Beach House.
Since we’re on a festival, what is your best memory of a festival, either as festival-goers or as artists ?
Arthur : Oh god…I can’t remember any of them ! (laughing)
Dom : Radiohead in 2004, they were playing at one of the first festivals I went to.
Arthur : Probably Neil Young at Glastonbury.
Lotti : Mine would be Morcheeba at Glastonbury.
Finally, Sodwee stands for Sound of The Week, what would be your sound of the week ?
Arthur : You !
Dom : Your voice ! (laughing)
All #P4Kparis PhotosBy Sophie Jarry.
Last modified: November 24, 2015