Recently the lovely Australian producer, singer and DJ, Helena Legend (formerly Helena), stopped though Minneapolis, Minnesota with Kennedy Jones as part of their “Beauty and the Beard” tour. I was fortunate enough to chat with Helena about her thoughts on the tour, her music, and her new fashion label.
How did the connection with Kennedy Jones and the idea of the tour come about?
The connection came about through our agency, we’re both on Spin Artist Agency. We’re completely different people in many ways, but it works. We bounce off of each other well. We’ve both got the same kind of dry humor. Kennedy is a good guy. He’s always been a champion when it comes to females in the scene, which is amazing. We cross over a little bit musically, but we’re also sonically different enough for it to be a varied show. It’s nice to have someone to tour with since I’m touring 90% of the time by myself. It’s nice to have a touring buddy for a little while!
Along with the tour, you’ve also got Part 1 of the “No Explanations” EP out now, with Part 2 right around the corner. How would you describe Part 2?
Part 2 is a bit more upbeat. One of the tracks is called “Ghost Ya”. It’s a sassy, kind of fun track about guys being too clingy. If you’re too clingy, I’m going to cut you off and ‘ghost ya’. There’s another track on the EP called “Don’t Ya Love Me” which samples Dawn Penn’s “No, No, No” and is a trap, bass reboot of that track. And a more Dancehall inspired beat called ‘One Night’ Feat a girl from Miami called Sade Serena. Part 2 has slightly different vibes from Part 1, but it all ties back to my sound and what I love.
With that many tracks from Part 1 & 2, “No Explanations” is basically album worthy! Did you consider rolling it out as a full album?
Originally I did want to put it all out as a mini album. I wanted to put them all out together and progressing as a story. When I presented it to Sony Australia, it was flattering because they said there were too many good tracks on there to all be on one EP. They were afraid some of the tracks might get lost by there being too many, and that people might not get to hear them.
Since you also do vocals, what do you look for when you want to add other vocalists like Blake Rose to your tracks?
When listening out for other vocalists I look for the style of voice that I like listening to. At the end of the day, this EP is a direct reflection of me; what I like, my sound and what I want to put out there to be represented by. When I look for artists or vocalists to work with, although they’re their own artists in themselves, they also have to work with my brand and sound.
It’s actually hard to find good male vocalists. Blake is also from Australia. He’s 18 years old and very talented. We connected through mutual friends on FB, I went through his profile and said ‘This guy’s got some serious talent’. I contacted Blake on messenger, and he just happened to be out in L.A. that week, which I think was fate! He was in my studio two days later. We started writing the track, and two days after that the track was done.
The video for “R U Feeling It” is so dope! Was there any inspiration behind the style of the video?
I’ve been playing in China a lot lately. The market over there is blowing up! I thought it’d be interesting for my American, European and Australian audiences to get a glimpse into Shanghai and China and some of the stuff that goes on there. It’s (Shanghai) is also such a cool city! There’s only so many videos you can see of people driving through Hollywood in a drop top car, and you know it’s boring! The video theme is about ‘Ego Death’ losing yourself and death of your self identity in order to see things in different way (in this instance it being the city of Shanghai) The video is one big acid trip, it’s like a mini movie.
Did you get to keep that badass Mask??
Haha! So the mask was actually a cheap $10. It was nothing special. We were in this light room with lasers and mirrors, and everything was reflecting off of this mask like crazy! My eyes were lighting up underneath it and the lasers and lights were bouncing off of it. My amazing director/videographer Winterhalter was screaming filming it because of the footage he was getting! It looked so insane on Camera!
On top of everything else, you're also starting your own fashion label. What kind of styles can we expect from that?
The label also ties back to me changing my name to Helena Legend. I wanted to develop ‘Helena’ into more than just music. It’s very hard to do that when you have a singular girls name. As Kylie Jenner is probably finding out now, battling Kylie Minogue with trademarking haha. It’s hard to own a girls name. I wanted to have a unique identity I could own and develop.
Fashion is a big love of mine! I actually studied fashion design in college. Then, I went to Ibiza to work in the music industry and never returned. With my EP out, I feel like I’m on the right foot and it’s a good time to bring the fashion element back into play. I’ve actually been working on this for about a year or so already and am just bringing it to life now.
The stuff I’m making is stuff I’m drawing from all my experiences on stage, traveling and what I want to wear out. The main focus is high end, street wear / sports lux wear. Stuff that would look really good on stage / out at night. I’m focusing very much on eye-catching, breathable, comfortable, materials that look even better when you put a camera on it. I’ll also be doing a collection called LAX-Lux, The kind of stuff you can wear at the airport/traveling which will be focusing on super comfy wear with major swag. It’s all going to be made in L.A.. I have a great team manufacturing it downtown LA. All the designs are mine, I’m doing everything myself down to all the sourcing of fabrics. It’s a new challenge for me, which I am loving. It’s one hundred percent my style coming forward. Hopefully I should be launching it in the middle of the year.
I would like to thank Helena Legend for taking the time to talk with me, especially for having a ton on her plate right now. For such a busy woman, Helena was in great spirits! In fact she said, “I’ve very much found my place right now with where I want to go. I’m very inspired and clear at the moment. Now, I’m literally going to be firing out the tracks.”.