Helen Love returned earlier this year with ‘Double Denim’ a technicolour ode to the summer of 1976, The Ramones and the joys of doubling up on denim wear.
Helen will also be appearing at Shiiine On Weekender on 16th November at Butlin’s Minehead Arena alongside Ocean Colour Scene, Shed 7, Orbital, Peter Hook & The Light and many more. Helen Love released their eighth studio album titled Smash Hits in 2016 via Alcopop! Records. We caught up with Helen for an entertaining twenty questions:
Hi, how are you today?
Fine thank you very much, I’ve been out buying crash helmets to use for our upcoming show with Shed 7 and Ocean Colour Scene – it’s going to be great to meet our heroes. I’m really pleased we didn’t write any songs taking the piss out of them now.
How did the band meet?
We met in art college many many moons ago, in sunny Swansea.We were smoking fags in the toilets and SHEENA had a Mickey Mouse t-shirt on, it was love at first sight. We packed it in and formed a band—fuck ART.
Turned out ok though…
How do most of your songs start life?
Normally by banging away on the same 4 chords we know on our old Superkay electric guitars, or even a one fingered auto chord super magic casiotone 180bpm muck about. It’s very serious art you know, and I’ve been told by someone with great connections in the Welsh Music Industry that James Dean Bradfield writes in exactly the same way.
What was the first Helen Love release?
Formula One Racing Girls. It was a piss take, a nice piss take, of all that Huggy Bear Riot Girl scene – they fucking loved it.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you like to be?
I’d like a job in the Welsh music Industry, especially the one where you get 90 grand a year to do nothing. You must have heard about it.
What’s your experience of being female and in a band?
Oh I don’t know, no one fucks about with us, but then we don’t bother with people – we rarely play gigs and converse with our record labels by email.
John Peel was a great champion of your work, what are your memories of him?
Yes he was, although Mark Radcliffe was the first and still is, God bless him. Peel came on board when Girl About Town came out. We had 3 top ten festive fifties on his show, although we only recorded one session. We were supposed to make a tv show with him,where he went around the country meeting his fav bands, but the old label messed it up, although I’m quite glad now, it’s not all its cracked up to be meeting your heroes, although I’m sure he would have been great.
What is it about the Ramones that make them a constant in your work?
3 chords, Bay City Rollers with distorted guitars, maybe the greatest combination ever. I just love them, did you guess that?
Best gig you’ve played so far?
Indietracks. We headlined the Sunday, our first show in 14 years, there was glitter, a stage invasion and tears, to be fair it was fucking awesome, a bit like Queen at Live Aid.
Who does your on stage visuals?
Ricardo, our new keyboard wizard – it’s all very hi tech for a bunch of lofi super losers. We are boring on stage so its nice to look at the pretty pictures whilst tapping your feet.
What was the first single you bought?
Beach Baby by First Class. Such a tune, although possibly 2 minutes too long.
What is your favourite thing about being in a band?
Hearing your songs on the radio – brilliant!!!
Vinyl, CD, Download or stream?
What’s the best cover version you have ever heard?
I don’t know…I like the The Dickies/Banana Splits Tra La La song!
What would be your dream collaboration?
Oh without doubt little Kelly from the Stereophonics – imagine that, what a dream team. I think magic would happen. Like Kanye and Paul McCartney.
What are your views on the ‘Welsh music scene?
I.Think.It.Is.Lovely…although I’ve been blocked by most of them! Luckily I know they love us really. I’m pleased everything is so above board and transparent, that’s what I love the most.
What is it about the summer of 1976 that inspires you?
Chopper bikes, a heatwave, the West Indies killing England at cricket – what’s not to like!
Tell us about your new single?
Double Denim…well it’s a song waiting to be written really, we wrote it in April, when the cherry blossom was blowing down our street like confetti, the birds were sing like Neil Sedaka, and the first warmth of the sunny sun was hitting our faces like a calor gas heater in January.
What was the concept behind your new video?!
There was no concept, I made it all myself. I just slung it together. It looks good though – suprised myself. I think I may become a film maker…it’s easy really.
Are you playing any festivals/shows this summer?
We are playing 2 shows this year – Shiine with the big knobs from the 90s in Butlins (lots of old blokes with floppy hats) and a super Christmas show Dec 22 in the Lexington, London with my brother Simon (Love). You should come, in fact you should all come. Throw things if you want, it will be ace.
Photo credit: Alison Wonderland