After taking home the major prize in Bank of Melbourne's Victorian music initiative, Melbourne Music Bank 2014, eclectic folk songstress, Héloise is set to release her winning single, This Is Home on April 17. Héloise will be launching her single at The Workers Club on Thursday April 30, supported by Julz Evans and Amber Isles.
This Is Home was inspired by Héloise's journey as a musician leaving her hometown of Tasmania to move her life to the big city of Melbourne. Her organic and unfettered folk sound, alongside her unique, quirky vocals complement the lyrics that express the feeling of being a stranger in a new city. 'I absolutely love the creative culture in Melbourne and have been so inspired by this place I now call home," she explains.
The video for This Is Home was shot and directed by acclaimed filmmaker and photographer, Wilk (Sarah Blasko, Ella Hooper, Spender). Set on a picturesque old V-line train in regional Victoria, the video takes the viewer on a journey that sees Héloise and a mysterious, handsome man inadvertently play a game of hide and seek through the train's carriages. 'It was so great to work with Wilk on this clip," says Héloise, 'he really managed to capture the playful, cheery nature of the song and put it in to visual form."
Off the back of her spot on the Falls Festival (VIC) line up and her winning performance at the Melbourne Music Bank finale (Melbourne Recital Centre), Héloise is keen to jump back on stage and show everyone what she's been up to over the past few months. 'Through each performance, I like to take my audience on a quirky journey of imaginings," she says. 'I want them to meet creatures and characters, experience the elements and feel as if they've travelled through my cerebrum and caught a glimpse of someplace somewhere else."
Héloise is set to release her debut EP later this year.
View the clip for This Is Home
Question: How would you describe your music?
Héloise: Hmm.. it's always tricky defining my own music but others have described it as a cross between folk and avant garde blues. It's pretty eclectic really. Sometimes it can be a bit grungy too. Nowadays you don't necessarily have to fit into a box, you can kind of build your own box and make the walls as high as you like. There are so many 'genres' floating about at the moment it's nice to be able to draw on all of them.
Question: What was the main motivation behind This Is Home?
Héloise: The song was inspired by my feelings as a stranger in a huge bustling city. Having moved from Tasmania only a year earlier, the song embodies my excitement at being in a new place filled with creative arts, diverse culture, new people and of course wonderful food. The creative scene here in Melbourne is buzzing and as an artist that's such a big thing.
Question: How did it feel to take home the major prize in the 2014 Melbourne Music Bank?
Héloise: Super duper fantastic! What an amazing collection of prizes! I'm so grateful to everyone involved in the initiative. They've given me a leg-up into the music industry which is invaluable (and they're all crazy lovely as well). I have tools now to help move my career forward, tools that I otherwise wouldn't have had access to.
Question: Can you talk about filming the video for This Is Home?
Héloise: Yes! We filmed on this gorgeous old locomotive out in rural Victoria with acclaimed Australian photographer, director and filmmaker, Wilk. It was so lovely, the weather was perfect and it was nice to be able to see some of the countryside as I hadn't really explored much outside Melbourne. We went from Maldon to Castlemaine which is about an hour on the loco. We only shot for about two and half hours (Wilk is a super-genius) but we were there from 8am til about 2pm. It was such an incredible day, I had two lovely hair and makeup artists pampering me before every scene, the train was incredible and the concept was just perfect for the song. I'm so pleased with the final product.
Question: How was it to perform at the Falls Festival?
Héloise: Falls was the bomb. Our set was at 1am on the 1st of Jan, (as in an hour after the countdown...New Year sets are very confusing) and everyone was ready to party to some folk music… ha! There were people everywhere, I was thrilled to have such a captive audience at such a whacky time of night/morning (we'll call it n-orning). It was our third year playing Falls but the first two years were in Marion Bay so it was great to see Lorne and experience the different setup there.
Question: Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry?
Héloise: I know the music industry is tough. You have to be determined and possess the willpower to just stick at it. My wonderful mum was signed to Warner Music in the 80's/90's and worked with some incredible people. She's such a big inspiration for me and it's so helpful having someone who not only understands my drive and determination but also the ins and outs of the industry. I think the hardest part of it all is that not everyone will like you or your music so you have to go through so much rejection before making any progress. It's all part and parcel of the industry I guess, so as long as you've got the determination, with a bit of luck, chance and the right people on your side, you can make music your career.
Question: Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration?
Héloise: I've been writing and composing since I was about nine years old (I still have the cassette tapes of the first songs I recorded...). There is much that inspires me; people I meet, movies I watch, stories I read, photographs, art, dreams, my surroundings, emotions, other artists. I'm visually stimulated so I write a lot about what I see. I'm a huge Tom Waits fan and I love his writing style, it's strange and sort of storyteller-esque. I like using words to create powerful visual images. I've always had very vivid dreams and they serve as inspiration for many of my songs. I want people to feel like they're being transported somewhere else, away from the day to day.
Question: What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?
Héloise: Tom Waits, Jack White, Nikki Lane, Robert Plant, Butch Walker, The Delta Riggs, Cory Chisel... they're some of my biggest inspirations. I really love Die Antwoord too. They really do have their own thing going on and it's cool, I'm not usually into electronica or hardcore rap but I really dig them.
Question: What's next? Tour/Album/Single?
Héloise: We launch 'This Is Home' on April 30 at The Worker's Club in Fitzroy. After that we plan on going back into the studio to record our second EP. The songs are a bit darker than the first EP, which was all material I wrote when I was 15/16 years old, so very Alice in Wonderland-y and more playful and child-like. This one will be more bluesy/grungy I think. I've found my songs are evolving and changing as I grow and mature as an artist and human being. I'm really looking forward to exploring where this next EP will take us.
Question: Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?
Héloise: Not yet. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Write, create and perform. It may take different forms but I know whatever I do, it'll be creative. I can't really escape music, to not do it is like suppressing the urge to eat or poop. It doesn't really go away so I don't think I could throw in the towel even if I wanted to. Obviously it's hard being rejected but I've learnt quickly that you just have to push it to the back of your mind and find something else straight away. Shit happens and sometimes things that would have otherwise worked don't work under different circumstances. I'm just going to keep plodding along and hope that when luck meets opportunity, I'll be ready. I'm sure I will be.. I carry EP's in my bag wherever I go...just incase ;)
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Héloise: I love both equally. I love being onstage and performing. The high you get is like nothing else. Having people applaud after 'spilling your guts' through music is pretty incredible. I love being in the studio, hearing songs take form and having lightbulb moments where you all scream "yeahhhhh that's SIIIIICK"...is indescribable. When someone plays a riff, or something glitches and throws something somewhere else and it somehow sounds amazing....yep. I love both, I think when you hear something coming together or someone whoops extra loud in the audience, you feel like what you do is in some way validated. Not that it needs to be but it feels good when what you put your heart and soul into is understood and appreciated by someone on the outside.
Question: What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Héloise: I think I just knew that music is what I wanted as my career. There are artists I would give anything to work with which is a big motivator. Ultimately though, I just want to be able to write, perform, record and pay rent basically!!! I remember watching a video of Led Zeppelin playing Wembley when I was 13 and I thought, that's it, that's what I wanna do.
Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?
Héloise: I think as I've mentioned before rejection is the hardest part... thinking you've absolutely nailed something, something you've poured your whole soul into only to discover the winner is...not you. It's hard, but again it's just part of making a career out of your art. It's such an emotional and personal thing so when others don't experience it the way you do, it can be soul destroying. You've just got to stick at it. I'm motivated so much by emotion and struggle being objective about my own creative processes and so it's crucial to accept that not everyone will connect with the lyrics or the sound. I guess it's the same in real life, not everyone will be a friend... so just go find someone else who appreciates an out of control obsession with pizza and a burning need to save bugs that are trapped inside...
Question: What's a typical day like?
Héloise: Wake up, rush around because always late, find food, work or do things I didn't do the day before,eat, come home, eat, nap, rush around because napped too long, go to gig or if no gig, watch tv series until 2am until I'm really tired then finally get into bed and have a bolt of inspiration so write a new song, eat, sleep, repeat.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Héloise: Being able to do everything I love on a regular basis. I get so much joy from performing and writing. I think I'd go mad without a creative outlet. I write when I'm sad, mad, happy, in love, pissed off, feeling hopeless or just inspired by the art-house movies on late night SBS.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Héloise: Oooo definitely Jack White. If he could marry me while he's at it that'd be great.
Question: Can you tell us 5 things required for a happy healthy & enjoyable life?
Héloise: Animal companions, good food, laughing, loving and friends/family/framily (not necessarily in that order)
Question: What message would you like your music to say to your fans?
Héloise: There isn't always a specific message in my music, sometimes I just want people to experience what's in my head. I'd like my music to stimulate people imaginations and make them feel and see the hypercolour, insane, bizarre, weird and wonderful images that are floating around in my brain. Maybe that's the message...Let your imagination run wild.
Full Name: Eloise Victoria Thetford
Nickname(s): Ranga, Weeze
Star Sign: Aries
Favourite Food: Pizza
Favourite Actor: Johnny Depp...because Johnny Depp.
Pet: cat called Worm, cat called Reg, dog called Biscuit, dog called Jeff. Need more though...
Person You Would Most Like to Meet: Tom Waits
Hobbies/Interests: dancing, acting, painting, meteorology, astronomy, psychology.
First Job: Waitressing in a cafe.
Are you a Pub, Bar or Club kind: Definitely pub.
What Can You Never Leave Home Without: I always leave home forgetting something.
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning: what am I going to eat for breakfast?
Interview by Brooke Hunter