The ability to shut off the world around us is something we often take for granted. When our creative freedom is limited by public expectations, the final result of our work often panders to them, resulting in a subpar product. Enter Helena Legend, whose new EP No ExplanationsVol. 1 is innovative, boundless, and anything but lackluster. Out now through Sony/Ultra, the forward-thinking 3-track EP showcases a fresh musical direction from the UK-born bombshell, and the fearlessness of one of electronic dance music's leading ladies.
Oozing with island vibes and lyrical charisma, No ExplanationsVol. 1 demonstratesHelena Legend straying from her typical big-room sound to offer up a smooth crossover record to the masses. Eschewing a proven sound in order to pursue something more creatively inspiring takes guts, but it is merely routine for Helena. Having been trained on both the piano and cello in addition to learning how to produce her own beats, her musical boundaries seem limitless. She even makes her own vocal debut in the soaring future bass track "Illusion," powerfully crooning about how refreshing it is to live life by your own rules. EARMILK had the chance to pick Helena's brain about her newfound sonic direction, the inspiration behind her EP, and her advice to aspiring female artists.
EARMILK: Congratulations on the EP! Can you shed a little light on the project's title?
Helena Legend: Thank you! With the title of the EP, it’s a new direction for me so I knew there would be the few that question what I am doing. So I thought "No Explanations" seemed appropriate, as in – this is what I want to do and what I want to make, and the music speaks for itself.
E: "No Explanations, Pt. 1" shows off a fresh musical style for you. Why did you choose to go in this direction and what was the process like?
HL: I wasn't vibing anymore on what I was doing, I found myself making music I thought others would like or what might get me in the Beatport Top 20 or what certain DJs might play. I decided that I needed to go in a fresh direction and ignore everyone and everything and make music that I loved, and I haven’t given one thought to Beatpor. I don’t even know if the tracks are on there. I have found the process to be more creatively inspiring and fulfilling than anything I’ve ever done and I think this comes across.
E: "Illusion" seems to be a little bit more deep and poignant than the other tracks – what was the inspiration behind it?
HL: When writing I didn't think, "maybe I’ll make this one ‘more deep’" – tracks just seem to come together in the moment of writing it. I co-wrote this track with Lyre and we were all in the room writing and singing and we just got so hooked into "Illusion" as it came together. Tt’s about living your life the way you want to, even if it’s in your head, thoughts are very powerful.
E: What is your favorite track off the record and why?
HL: My favorite track is "RU Feeling It (feat. Lyre)." This is why I choose this track to be the lead single, the vocals are super catchy and Lyre nailed the vocal. Annalise sounds incredible and the drop has great dirty energy with unusual percussive twists. I love all the tracks on the EP but "RU Feeling It" gets me that bit more.
E: You started out as HELENA but eventually changed your name to Helena Legend. How has the rebrand affected your career?
HL: Changing to Helena Legend was about giving a more unique identity than having a solo girls name and moving away from being seen as just a DJ (as everyone seemed to call me ‘DJ Helena’). It has been great! Now I have my own unique identity and brand, which I am able to build much further than just “Helena’. I am developing Helena Legend into other areas including working on my own fashion label, which I will launch in 2017. For stuff like this, it’s a huge help, as well as now being easily searchable on Google and music outlets.
E: You're known for your energetic live persona. How do you prepare for a show?
HL: I like to keep fairly fit, during the week anyway, which helps me prepare for shows and give me more energy on stage. I like to burn my playlists last minute so I am fresh on new music for the show and sometimes I'm making edits right up until I get on stage as I’ll get inspired by something. If I'm tired, usually a shot of tequila helps me prepare for my set, though I hardly drink anything at all when I’m playing. I’m too in the zone to think of anything other than the music.
E: You are one of the leading female producers in the game – what do you have to say to the aspiring female artists following in your footsteps?
HL: Don’t give up, be persistent. There is no reason why you can’t do this and do it well. Set your mind to your goal and go get it. Everyone has their own journey, some people get there in a year, others in 10 years. Whats most important is to stay true to you and do what you love.
E: What can we look forward to for Pt. 2?
HL: Part 2 switches it up a bit. Some sass, some dancehall, and some catchy shit. Feb 10th keep your ear out!