An interview with Red Helen
Come as you aren’t. Don’t be human, be weird.
The annual Fright-Night is back on Saturday, 26 October 2019! RAM, Griet and Halloween PTA have once again joined evil forces to bring you one terrifyingly fun night at Loftus D-Field, Pretoria! This year, the organisers have put together a killer lineup. Be sure not to miss out – get your tickets now.
I’ve caught up with Red Helen who is part of this year’s lineup to chat about the event and to find out what they have been working on lately:
What have you been busy with lately?
We’ve been super busy working on a brand new single with our good friends at Audio Militia. We can’t wait to share our new music with everybody and back it up with a long-overdue SA tour and some other awesome content. 3/4 of us are getting married this year so it’s been a big one on a personal level which has kept us all busy.
Oh wow, congrats! So, you’ve been around for just over 10 years – amazing! What have been some of your personal highlights over the years? Also, what has kept you going since then?
Yeah! It’s crazy and wonderful to think we’ve been together for so long! Erick’s the only original member but the current iteration of the band has been going for the last 7 years which is amazing. Man, I think we’ve been so fortunate to have done so much in our time together. We’ve played at Wacken Open Air in Germany, played all over SA and made loads of friends across the country. We’ve shared the stage with many of our favourite bands and played South African festivals/venues we only ever dreamed of. We really can’t overstate how lucky we’ve been in making such amazing friends over the years; people who make up our unique scene from other bands, promoters, photographers, engineers, fans etc.
I think what’s kept us going is our love of playing music together and performing for people. When the four of us get together there’s something electric that happens and it’s addictive! There’s nothing like the feeling of taking the stage, playing our own music and sharing that experience with fans. A cramped 12 Hour drive to play in Cape Town is always filled with laughs and good times because we’re great friends who enjoy each others company as much as we’re bandmates.
And how has your sound changed, if at all, over the years? You’ve won some awards in the past. Does this change the way you produce music (does it set a certain standard) or do you simply do your own thing?
Oh definitely! Fans often rag on us about how we sounded in our formative years, every now and then guys will shout out the name of an old song we’d rather forget, haha… But we all have to start somewhere! It took us a long time to shake the reputation that sound left us with! It’s no secret that our album, “Trading Past for Pathways” took 3 years to record and release, but it took closer to 4 or 5 years if you include the time it took to write it. It captures the sound of a time when we had few responsibilities and lots of time. We wanted our reintroduction to the world to be just right, and most importantly just the way we wanted it to be, not for anyone other than ourselves! We’ve won 3 SAMA awards for that album and received loads of praise for it which we’re extremely grateful for, but that’s placed a lot of pressure on us to out-do it. We’re all perfectionists and the fear of releasing something that doesn’t match up to our previous work is paralysing at times! To get through that, we write music for ourselves and our own enjoyment. The only taste, ideas and vision that count are those of the four members of RH and whoever we invite into the fold; In the case of our new unreleased single, producer Nick Argyros! We love and appreciate everyone who cares about our music, but it’s extremely important to make sure that WE love what we do. We’re constantly growing and changing as musicians and we hope our new music represents a more mature well rounded RH as opposed to a purely flashy one! We feel strongly that our new material is our best yet and can’t wait to share the creative risks we’ve taken!
So, you’re on the lineup for Halloween festival. What do you have planned for this event? Perhaps you’ll wear some costumes? Perhaps some new music on the setlist?
Oh yeah! We’re super excited about this one! It’s going to be our last show for the year as both Greg and Brandon prepare for their weddings. So, this one’s gonna be a banger! We’ll definitely be dressing up, no spoilers as to what though, haha, and we’ll be playing two brand new RH songs, the second time we’ll have ever jammed these songs live! This show is going to be great and we can’t wait!
Awesome! And any of the other bands you would advise us not to miss?
Oh man, there are so many amazing bands on this lineup! We’ve definitely gotta give our friends in Weed Dealer a massive shout out and every band performing on the Rocky Horror Stage. Don’t miss any of them!
Please share a link to one of your songs you think would give people a taste of what to expect at Halloween 2019.
BOOM! Let’s get a circle pit moving to this one!
So, what’s next for Red Helen? Anything we can look forward to the last few months of the year or 2020?
We’ve just about finished tracking a brand new single, temporarily but lovingly entitled “ABC” that’ll be mixed and ready for release soon! It’ll be accompanied by an SA tour and a bunch of new content in early 2020! This year was the first in a long time where we didn’t perform in Cape Town or Durban, so we’ve got some making up to do! We’re gearing up for a busy productive 2020! Can’t wait, stay tuned!
Finally, you’ve performed alongside some big names in the industry. Are there any other bands you still want to share a stage with?
Haha, this question will literally divide us as a band. We all have such different tastes in music and so many favourite bands between us, answering this question would be super tough! But seeing as I (Brandon) am answering this one (Haha!) I’d say Slipknot, Meshuggah & Devin Townsend would be massive dreams come true!
Get tickets for Halloween 2019
Saturday, 26 October 2019 at 16:00.
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, 416 Kirkness Street, Arcadia, Pretoria.
– R200 (PRE-SOLD) AVAILABLE NOW
– R250 (DOOR) Available at the door on the day of event *if pre-solds do not sell out.