“HELSOTT” Interview by David Maloney
First off I would like to thank you for taking the time to talk with Metalheads Forever Magazine. How is everything? How are things going in the World Of Helsott?
Thank you for your interest in Helsott. Things are well, thanks for asking… been very busy lately. We just released a new CD, a new promo video and have plans to tour Europe for the first time, followed by a west coast US tour.
Helsott formed in February 2010, from what I understand the name means “Fatal Illness” in Old Norse Folklore. Is this accurate? You hail from Southern California, where in Southern California out of curiosity?
Yes that is accurate… it can also be translated to Death’s/Hel’s Journey, but we prefer Fatal Illness. We are from the Inland Empire… Menifee to be exact.
I am not a big fan of labels and genres but you are considered by many to be a Melodic Death Metal band who pays homage to a unique mix of Pagan, folk, Symphonic, Death, Thrash mixed with traditional Classical and Rock, while keeping true to their American influences. Wow that’s quite a Mouth full, is that a fair assessment of your sound? How do you feel about the whole Genre Mongering subject? In your own words what would you consider your sound to be?
We are electro-magnetic, gravity crushing, solar wielding, pop-powered, pagan jazz, with a dash of whatever the hell you want… haha. It is true that we have a wide range of influences and techniques so it can be a mouthful when describing our sound. I like Pagan Death Metal… Easy.
In 2013 Helsott caught the attention of fans on a large scale performing on the Paganfest, North American Tour. You guys shared the stage with legends such as Ensiferum, Tyr and Trollfest. How was this experience? What was it like to play with such amazing bands? How were you received by both your peers and the fans?
Don’t forget Heidevolk… That was an amazing tour. All of the bands brought the intensity every night. We were very well received by both the bands (some of which we are still friends with) and the fans. We were very proud to be a US band representing the genre in a big way… It was an amazing experience and we would do it again in a heartbeat.
In 2014 you successfully crowdfunded your debut full length album titled “Woven”. What gave you the idea to go in this direction? A lot of bands are taking this route to have control over their material. It’s no secret the music landscape has changed over the last 20 years. Bands can record high quality albums themselves without record companies raping the band for expenditures and control of their intellectual property and their products for X amount of time. Which in turn gives the band control and freedom in what direction they wish to pursue and any given time. Is that fair to say? Did this factor into your crowdfunding endeavors? What other reasons are there for giving Crowdfunding a try?
We simply do not have the $ to record and mix and master our albums. Back in the day you would get signed and the label would put you in the studio and you would make your album and then you would go on a rigorous tour cycle to try to pay the label back… Then do it all over again. This day and age, with the shift in the industry, less and less labels are ready to give smaller bands that kind of investment or attention. It’s too much of a risk for them. So you turn to your fans for help recording your album. It’s not like a donation it’s much more like a pre-order. When the album is finished you shop the album to labels and see if they want to license it. We shopped “Woven” to labels for 2 years before we moved on to do the same thing with our new EP “The Healer”. Crowdfunding has become a very necessary venue these days. Even bigger signed acts are trying to get their labels on board with the crowd fund thing. To us it has been nothing short of amazing. It puts you in direct contact with your fan base. We have made lifelong fans and friends because of crowdfunding and I think as long as there are real fans out there that want to support the bands then there will be a need for crowdfunding.
Was it a successful campaign? What was the reaction after your self release?
It was a huge success. We got amazing reaction from the fans but not so much the labels.
2015 saw you touring the US once more headlining in support of “Woven” how was this tour? Do you consider it a success? You also went on the road as supporting act for Arkona and Heidevolk, Was this a successful tour as well? Would you prefer headlining a tour or being a supporting act?
The “Woven” Tour was less than amazing. The Pagan Rebellion Tour was amazing. It was smaller than Paganfest but we made friends with Arkona and we had our buddies in Heidevolk with us so we had a blast. We like headlining a lot and if the show is right we like supporting a lot. It would depend on the night/tour on which we would prefer.
In 2016 you recorded your follow up album “The Healer” which was mixed and mastered by J-F Dagenais (Kataklysm/Ex Deo) what events led to working with J-F? Were you satisfied with the end product?
I have been a fan of Kataklysm and Ex Deo for a while now. I have been following what the guys were up to and saw that J-F was a very talented studio guy. I asked him if he had time for Helsott and he said absolutely… We are very happy with the work he does and have already hired him for our next full length…
Congratulations on signing with M-theory Audio, owned by former president at Century Media Marco Barbieri. The band is in good hands and would you agree the future looks bright for Helsott?
Thank you! I have said since we got off the stage after our first performance back in 2010 that this band has a bright future… I stand by that more than ever today…
In closing, what’s in store for the second half of 2017 and heading into 2018?
We’ve been focusing on the first part of the year but now we’re submitting for some Fall tours going… We have a M-Theory Audio showcase show in Hollywood July 30th with label mates Apothesary and Sicocis. We are planning to release our next full length album next year via M-Theory Audio so at some point we have to finish writing and recording that this year.
Do you have any advice or a message for your fans and readers of this publication?
Just want to thank everyone who has stuck with us over these past 7 years. We will be working harder than ever and will need your support more than ever.
Thanks once more for taking the time to speak with us and all the best in all your future endeavors.
Thank you, we appreciate it.
David Maloney/MHF Magazine