Vicious Presents: Héloise

The past few years have been a whirlwind for Heloise, winning the Melbourne Music Bank and getting some sweet airtime on ABC Radio and Triple J. This month she is touring to select venues around Australia.
We take some time out with this talented 22-year-old Tasmanian about everything – from being a mosquito ninja, to setting her up with Jack White. Oh yeah, and a bit about her tour and soon-to-be-released EP Nothin’ But The Bones.

What springs to mind when I say the words: first tour?
[Laughs] Um, well to be honest it was a bit of a logistical nightmare. It wasn’t very organised for a good while but I’ve had so much help and am so excited now. We are on the road and it’s all ready to go!

What’s the pre-gig routine?
I’m a shocker for not warming up so my routine is: work all day in retail, go straight to the gig, have a Pimms and dry and jump on.

Who are your dream tour bus buddies?
Jenny Lewis, I adore her and it would be an awesome ranga fest. I have loved Jack White since the day I was born and would marry him for sure, so maybe a tour with him would be a good way to get in on that dream. Oh, and Elle King! There are a lot of rock chicks that are absolutely killing it at the moment.

What can we expect from your new EP?
I would describe it as a blend of western, blues and country. It’s definitely a lot darker and moodier than the first EP.

What’s your sound like?
I think we kind of slip in and out of genres. We are a little like Nikki Lane – that Americana feel, and Fleetwood Mac. We have even kind of morphed into this slightly Stevie Nicks-esque thing. So basically a fusion of everything we love! We’d describe ourselves as wild, whimsical and sepia-toned.

First time you encountered music?
Since I grew up in a musical family – both my parents are musicians – there would always be music instruments around the house to mess around with. Then, when I was about 11, I picked up a guitar and tried to learn a few chords and I also used to go to the Newstead Rock Summer School in Tassie. That was a great thing that young musos could go to, then we’d get to perform. It was a really good starting point and that’s what really prompted me to want a career in music.

What was your first performance, were you nervous?
My first performance was at the Newstead Rock Summer School and I was super nervous. I think we played Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water and Californication by Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I still get nervous but I think because I’ve been doing it so long you sort of learn to juggle the nerves.

The band member selection went like…
I was probably 14 or 15 when Mallinson (guitar) and I started working together. I was playing in local pubs in Tassie and he was accompanying me but he originally played guitar for my mum and I poached him from her. Everyone has been around while I have been growing up or schoolmates – of course things get heated but we are like family.

Have you had any formal training or are you just a natural badass?
Bit of both!? Mum tried to give me lessons and pointers but I wouldn’t listen to her and would often end up yelling or leaving – never wanting to do scales. I had guitar lessons during high school and college but not singing – I’d like to have more! The lessons that I did get through with mum were definitely great but I’m a bit stubborn and lazy so they didn’t work that well!

How do you feel having won the Melbourne Music Bank and getting airplay on Triple J and ABC Radio?
It’s pretty surreal. Because you’re always busy with recording, tour organising and, uh, being broke [laughs]. It’s such a strange experience that people appreciate your music. It’s pretty amazing that people love and enjoy something that’s so close to you emotionally. There are not a lot of things that give you that feeling. We are also very lucky to have had support from people through the Melbourne Music Bank, Triple J, ABC Radio and friends and family too.


Where do you get your song inspo?
Since I am very visually inspired and stimulated, I get ideas from movies, pictures or books. Of course my emotions and the way I’m feeling often seeps into it as well and what’s going on in my life, which is what most people are inspired by I guess.

Do you ever get writer’s block?
Yeah I do. I go through weird phases of not writing for ages, being caught up with work or just not feeling the vibes! But then I’ll write three songs in two days or a couple of songs in a week – I’ll have these weird spurts and smash out a bunch of songs and that’s 6 months work done in two days!

What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
My insane ability to catch mosquitos, I’m really good at it. I think it’s because I get the worst reactions from bites and I have taught myself to catch them out of think air and kill them straight away.

So you’re a mosquito ninja?
Oh yeah, mosquito ninja, there we go!

That’s a weird talent for you. How have you found breaking into the music industry in Australia?
It’s a long road before you get to stop working a day job in the music industry so I think finding balance is the tricky thing – I work a day job then play gigs at night and in my spare time I’m organising tours, writing or recording…which is what I love, but it’s finding that balance of being able to pay rent and do what you love. It’s a tough industry and there’s a lot of luck and opportunity involved but you’ve just kind of got to roll with whatever happens.

Biggest life lesson so far?
That’s a tough one. In life, make sure you don’t owe your mum too much money by the end of your tour! Musically, you just have to keep at it. It’s an industry that’s a rollercoaster of emotions; full of disappointment and heartbreak. But make sure you keep going through the hardships and constantly having your heart out for people to critique and once you get through that it’s so rewarding. I’m really lucky to be able to do what I love on a daily basis.

What can we expect from Heloise for the rest of 2016?
Another EP! We will get straight back into it when we get back. People are so hungry for new stuff so no rest for the wicked!


Heloise’s EP Nothin’ But The Bones is available April 5th from iTunes. Also, check out more tracks on Soundcloud.

Heloise Australian Tour Dates

April 1st – Lass O’Gowrie, Newcastle
April 3rd – The Union Hotel, Sydney
April 6th – The Milk Factory, Brisbane
April 7th – Harvest Cafe Newrybar, Byron Bay
April 9th – The Loft, Gold Coast
April 10th – Harvest Cafe Newrybar, Byron Bay
April 14th – The Grace Darling Hotel, Melbourne
April 15th – The Reverence, Melbourne
April 20th – Republic Bar, Tasmania
April 21st – Bakers Lane, Tasmania
April 22nd – Club 54, Tasmania

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