#FBF: The Hellp Dives Deep With This Insider Interview
Just when you thought #HOTMESS was old news, think again: we’re back with a final flashback, and it’s one you don’t wanna miss. Enter The Hellp: curators of a dope Friday playlist back in February, the trio, comprised of Noah Dillon, Eddie Liaboh, and Chandler Lucy, contain one very key #HOTMESS component—the aforementioned Noah Dillon, who starred as the key photographer for the #MILKxLUKA exhibition.
With a Milk Gallery show and JamRoom performance now under their belt, The Hellp is making moves towards their next big thing (trust us, this group’s always got something up their sleeve). Milk Editorial Director Mathias Rosenzweig sat down to help moderate a meta style chat, where Dillon, Liaboh, and Lucy interviewed each other, talking through goals, visions, and what’s next for The Hellp. Peep the full interview below.
Let’s start off with talking about how you guys all met each other.
Noah Dillon: We met through a mutual friend, Devin. Our town is really small so we all pretty much know each other one way or another. I really wanted to start a band, I just didn’t know anybody. And then Devin was all, “Yo, my friend Eddie is really hyped to start a band with you,” and I was like, “Alright, I don’t know about all that…Eddie seems cool but I don’t know.” And then the first night we hung out ever, well pretty much the first night we hung out, we made a pretty crazy song. And I was all, “Wow, this could actually be something,” because I just wanted to make a really terrible punk band just screaming into a mic and breaking stuff, you know, just for fun, and then it turned into something way bigger than that. And then Eddie and I literally sat in a college classroom for six months every night after school and work and just made an album basically. It was fire. Great times.
What do all you do in the band?
Eddie Liaboh: Oh yeah, so me and Noah were the two original people basically who started everything off, and essentially what it boiled down to was like maybe me showing Noah like a riff on my guitar or something, and then Noah and I building off from that, or Noah giving me some kind of vocal line or even a core projection or whatever, and we would just build from that until we had sort of a song ready. And we created sort of this album and we released it last year in February. But that was kind of… I’m not sure, we don’t really consider it our first studio album or anything.
Dillon: It was literally us just figuring out how to actually make something, because I would never consider myself a musician at all. I would laugh at myself even now; it’s almost disrespectful to people who play stuff because it was just Eddie and I, we wanted to be in a band but we didn’t have people to help us.
That’s interesting, you recently told me the same about photography: “I feel kind of weird calling myself a photographer.”
Dillon: The whole first album we released is all computer drums and just really synthetic. I hate it now, but a lot of kids hit me up… a lot of kids hit me up on Tumblr and said, “This album changed my life,” and all kinds of stuff. Like, “Oh my God, you guys have to keep going,” so we got really good responses and so we just kept going and now we are actually pretty confident about our material for the most part. At least I am.
Chandler Lucy: I am the percussionist in the band.
Dillon: He is the only one that actually plays an instrument.
Lucy: I am the self-proclaimed drummer of The Hellp and I was in the band after Luka introduced me to Noah for this #HOTMESS project about a year and a half ago. And then if that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have ever known Noah, and Noah would have never fucked with me and never wanted me to be in a band or found out that I could play drums. So then that’s when actual music really took flight and stuff; being able to bounce ideas from three completely different people, and having a tug and pull of different styles and stuff because we would listen to Radiohead and stuff and Noah always has a different genre of music he’s into, like literally every other day he listens to something new. If it’s Pink or if it’s fucking like 50’s doo-wop and shit… So we always have different inspiration dragging from three different polar opposites of influences, like actually really magical and insane.
Dillon: Chandler literally sleeps in full denim fits and cowboy boots, literally sleeps, he works construction with his dad and shit but he’s like the weirdest and genius person. He’s crazy and Eddie is literally 17 years old and is so ahead of his time, and then there is me and I don’t know what I would say about myself. It’s just this eclectic group of people, I don’t know. The stuff we are working on now, you couldn’t—it’s just crazy, can’t describe it. It could be terrible but either way—we have fun doing it. Either way we’re gonna think we’re cool I guess.
Dillon: It also started because I wanna make music videos and I wanna be an icon and nobody was going to let me do either of these things, so I said, “I gotta make the music I guess,” and then the music took off, kind of, and then we made a music video for every single song and it wasn’t just one of those lo-fi videos where you have a VHS and are lip syncing. We were putting our lives in serious peril. Literally, we would dedicate days for shoots. Still one of the only things I’m proud of besides this gallery is one of the music videos for one of the songs that’s iconic; the song “Confluence” definitely has the best video. So check the “Confluence” video. I don’t know… we are just these loner weirdo people basically who have no actual friends and just sit there and think about what we can make to move music and video forward all the time; it’s wild how this is going on, this gallery and everything. It’s just weird how things work, like I met Chandler through Luka in this #HOTMESS thing and he’s mad young.
Liaboh: None of us are necessarily dedicated to one specific thing too which is really interesting. We all are doing a bunch of different things. Like, I’m writing some short films right now and working on a bunch of different stuff, and we got the gallery and he’s in the band. Chandler is in our band and he’s working on UFO paintings right now.
Dillon: Yeah, everybody thinks you can just do one thing, I always come back to this. It’s like the Kanye thing, where nobody would let him do fashion. Now he gets to do it, but he was so frustrated because he’s a musician, and he obviously has so many other talents, I mean look at his music videos.
Lucy: A true artist can really show their creativity through tons of different mediums if they truly are creative. Why is everybody so afraid that somebody can do more then one thing well? It’s like even in high school, if you’re a theater kid you better never go for the football team, like God forbid you go into that too.
I think designers get insecure when they see other types of creatives starting to make moves in what they consider to be their industry, outside of musicians.
Dillon: Yeah, that has to be it. I think people are very insecure. I know that the reason I’m even in this position with this kind of little success I’ve gotten so far is just because of my insecurity. I’ve been so insecure my whole life, I’ve wanted to prove myself to everybody, and I gotta prove myself and I can’t look like a loser. I don’t know why, it’s just… I feel like most people are insecure, and of course that breeds jealousy and all those great things that come along with that. This is Noah Dillon psych hour.
Lucy: I think it works really well because we don’t have any privilege. We’re literally just small town sack of shit kids who have never had enough money or been above a middle class family, like lower middle class. Me and Noah both worked tons of manual labor jobs and worked at grocery marts. Eddie has worked plenty of minimum-wage jobs. I think having all of that come together really—being in situations like that when you are growing really does breed creativity because I know plenty of kids—not to name names—but who come from privilege and shit like that who claim they’re creative, or start becoming photographers and stuff and their work has no merit because they never had to like be forced to come up with creativity because they were so broke and fucking so lonely.
Dillon: It’s a decade-old idea that misery breeds creativity and that’s like the romanticized version of it. It’s so romanticized, it really fucking sucks. I have literally had times—I talk openly about it—I have been on the verge of killing myself. Very close, like very, very close, but it is what it is. But that’s not something you should post on tumblr and have kids reblog.
If you do a deep dive into Instagram, it’s pretty crazy to see all the young kids who are posting about killing themselves.
Dillon: Suicide and depression are definitely, I hate to say it, pretty trendy right now you know and—even I fall into it. Half of my Instagram captions are showing how depressed I am. I’m usually so depressed and so I caption things like that but that doesn’t give a good message to kids.
Liaboh: I think we want to represent appreciating life and, you know, fucking appreciating shit because there is so much beauty everywhere, in everything. If you were working a shitty minimum-wage job like I do or if you’re working construction like Chandler and Noah do, there are some things that you can key in on and really appreciate them. They will make your day better and happier.
Lucy: That is my philosophy—that everything in life, everything that is designed in mankind or civilization, genocide or whatever we’ve done as a species, but like nature itself and all the beauty in the world, and all of the different animals and stuff, I think all of that, if there is going to be a higher power or God, those are all specifically designed so life does not hurt so badly.
That’s a cool concept.
Lucy: Like look at the grass and the trees—that’s fucking tight.
Dillon: I always trash where Eddie and I come from, but it’s a tourist destination. People from all around the world come to Durango because it’s so beautiful, and all of my photographs that aren’t in the show basically are of horses and mountains and deserts, etc. It’s so beautiful but you take anything for granted in long run.
Well you can always find something to be depressed over.
Dillon: This morning I woke up and I was really depressed. I just had literally the best night of my life probably and I’m still sad. It’s your choice to be sad. I don’t care what anyone else says. It is your fucking choice to be sad. And there is such a trend also just in art, for the past 20 or 30 years, that is centered around irony and just being so ironic and like, I don’t know, sadistic almost, and sarcastic, and negative. It’s just negativity, it’s so prevalent and… that’s what Curtis [Eggleston] was talking about the other day and in the interview. I think he said, “Every artist is so ironic right now and nobody is doing it for the passion—no one is doing it for the sake of fucking doing anything right now.” I think I am, I think we are. We are just doing shit because why not. And sometimes I try to check myself for the gallery images—I compare myself to some legendary photographer and I’m like, “Ugh my stuff is not on their level.”
Liaboh: That’s how I feel sometimes because I listen to so many experimental artists, even someone like Dean Blunt, I don’t know if you know who that is, but I don’t know, a bunch of underground experimental electronic artists that I listen to, that I really look up to, and that I kind of try to emulate.
Dillon: That’s why it hasn’t really taken off because people, even people who you think may be “dumb” or the masses of people who listen to Britney Spears who is actually fire but, that type of stuff, but they can tell if something is authentic instantly without even listening to you practically, or looking.
Liaboh: Think about, you know the movie La La Land that just came out. That movie is so fucking like, I haven’t seen it but from what I’ve heard of it, it seems like it’s just something that’s really…. a really positive movie. A not ironic movie with a simple message.
It kind of highlights all the things that people love about Hollywood, and we spend so much time hating on Hollywood and associating Hollywood with the Kardashians and whatnot. This movie’s about why people once loved it.
Dillon: I made this documentary in this town next to our hometown. It’s on the Indian reservation, which is a terrible, terrible place. Eddie did the score for it. Dazed ran it actually. Shout out to Dazed for that—that was fire because nobody else would run it. it’s just the desolation of Americans. I took a negative approach to it that was literally so overwhelmingly negative, I would hope people would see how negative it is and do something positive. But I’m almost feeling now the more negative you cast a light on something, the more people shy away from even helping it. Let’s say, I’m not going to get into politics, but I believe, let’s say Trump. A lot of people don’t like Trump and the media—some of the liberal media is trying to bash him so heavy that I feel like that is almost making people rally even more.
It’s like anti-smoking commercials. If you put up all the hard, disgusting facts about smoking, people who smoke just block the commercial out because they don’t want to know the truth.
Lucy: Yeah, now they’re at the point where they’re like, alright, fuck it. You’re going to kill your cat if you start smoking. Your cat is going to get lung cancer, so fuck you dude. People already have their own problems that are overwhelming, and then you give them some other negativity it’s like, nah.
Lucy: Because what I do is go on Facebook and sometimes my shit pops up, so I’ll put something like, “Oh, today sucks, let’s get drunk or something,” and I’ll get 40 likes. And I’ll say, “Damn, why do people care?” And everybody, and everyone of my friends, all my intellectual social justice warrior friends who pretend like they really care about the issues in the world but they are really doing it to like get more recognition and likes and stuff.
Lucy: All they would do is post Standing Rock stuff, like how much they care about the Native Americans and stuff, and I said okay if they really care, I’m going to post Noah’s documentary about the Navajo reservation on Dazed. I said alright, I’m going to post this and wrote this giant, heartfelt post about it, even Eddie liked it, posted this whole thing about how they really care about the issues and it literally got three likes. Three people fucking liked it and then the same people—and they weren’t even the same people who post everyday about Standing Rock and how we need to stand together and like go to GoFundMe and stuff. Even my friends who are into it, I personally sent to them, and said watch this if you really care about Native Americans and they were like, “Oh, okay bro, I will.” The next day I’m like, “Did you watch it? And they’re like, “No, I’ll watch it later.” Like nobody fucking watched that shit.
What do you guys think about the way that people are now consuming music? I mean, we’re all from the streaming generation.
Liaboh: I think on one level it has opened up for a lot of different genres to come forward, you know, like all these different genres. And people are getting really experimental in some ways, but then again it almost takes out the vibe of the song, like I remember even when I was younger, we would have certain songs growing up where everybody would be listening to five songs at once, like within three months maybe and everybody is listening to it. Now everybody listens to a hit song for a week and then it’s onto the next thing, onto the next thing, so I don’t know.
Dillon: It’s a double-edged sword. This whole Internet, our whole culture, everything is a double-edged sword. I don’t know. All I want people to know is that you can… you can express yourself through any medium you want, etc. Feel confident doing whatever it is that you’re doing, but, I guarantee you our band is here to change thing. I promise you we’re gonna be big. People think that this gallery was big, like they don’t even know what’s coming with this, this …sounds corny for me to talk about but the people we have, we are so genuine about this, it isn’t blowing up overnight like Lil Yachty. This isn’t about anything like that.
Liaboh: I’m very concerned about longevity and we’re doing… like I said, it’s multi-disciplinary. We are all trying to create—you’ll see eventually in the coming months that we’re creating a universe here and like, it’s the real deal, and people don’t fucking do that anymore. People are scared to create a world you lose yourself in because it takes time and it’s about longevity. You can’t blow up overnight doing something like we’re doing. We’ ll see what happens but we aren’t going to blow up overnight. It’s going to take time for us to get a fan base and to get going but it’s all going to be worth it.
Dillon: I don’t even care—the stuff we have made has already impacted a bunch of kids and that stuff isn’t even that good… Alright, so just so people get to know you better, who were like your top couple icons, like who do you look up to?
Lucy: Okay, my top couple of icons is one the greatest American success stories of all time, the immigrant Arnold Schwarzenegger. Literally the biggest legend of all time, there is no argument, you can argue. “Oh, he might have been a shitty governor in California.” It does not matter, he is a legend, there is nobody that will ever be better then him. That and Tom DeLonge for furthering art and trying to push for UFO disclosure in this world where everyone ignores that and makes fun of it.
Dillon: What’s your favorite fast food place to eat?
Lucy: Well it’s been Jack in the Box… wait hold on, being in California, In-N-Out, but I feel like that’s too easy. But my straight forward answer is that it’s not my favorite fast food, it’s my favorite thing of all time, it’s not even fast food: Taco Bell is my favorite thing of all time. Like any movie I have or wherever, it’s just my favorite thing, it’s just better then anything else I have ever had in my life.
Liaboh: Yeah, you’re out of the band. I’m sorry.
Dillon: What was your favorite, what were you doing the most in 5th and 6th grade basically?
Liaboh: In 5th and 6th grade I was actually working really heavily with animation software and animating stuff like little cartoons with my friends, I mean, I would always be the one doing all the work but I always wanted to feel like my friends were contributing somehow and that’s pretty much… so that’s what I was doing. I was also doing a lot of, I don’t know, teaching myself how to use computers and stuff in 5th and 6th grade. I was a weirdo; I would stay inside all the time on my computer and would code video games and stuff. What happened actually was in 8th grade, I was making a video game and then I was like I should make music for this, so I made music for the video game and then I said wait, this music shit is way more fun and now I’m getting way more into the technicality of music production and sound engineering, and I’m, you know, building my taste level. And yeah, so, I guess what you do kind of really dictates who you are in the next few years.
When you’re doing art, when you’re making music or even when you’re doing photographs, where is the line between art you are doing for yourself because you need to express something and stuff you’re doing for someone else? For example as a band, when you get on stage, you guys are putting on a performance and you’re having fun but it’s also for the audience…
Dillon: That’s a really good question. It’s really blurry. I guess for photography, I think photography for me is 99% for the people because it’s a kind of a high when you’re shooting and that’s an immediate type of thing, but a photo lasts forever.
Liaboh: For me, when it comes to music, when I am doing something with Noah or Chandler, I feel like I have more of an audience that I’m trying to connect with, and like I’m trying to be more accessible with my choices and just like what I’m creating and what kind of ideas I am bringing to the table. And then when I’m alone in my room or whatever working on things, It’s a really masterbatory process and I’m just doing stuff over and over again trying to make things that are like as weird as I possibly can make them. I’m working on a lot of my own materials over the next few months again. I keep saying that but it will happen this time.
We’re getting ready to wrap up here. Was there anything else you wanted to mention?
Dillon: Shoutout to Milk always—releasing a five-six song EP at the end of Februrary or early March. We’re gonna do visuals with that… uhm yep, that’s all we wanna say. The Hellp 2017, it’s lit.
Featured image courtesy of Mike Sikora
Stay tuned to Milk for more #HOTMESS flashbacks.