"That is a strength of mine, to write honest and simple songs."



Getting Personal With Helena Deland

Montreal-based singer/songwriter Helena Deland just released volumes three and four of her four-part EP titled Altogether Unaccompanied. Her music is hard to put into a box; and while there is no clear, cohesive theme to the EP as a whole, each song will undoubtably leave you with a nostalgic sensation. Every volume of the EP feels like a snapshot of memories—the perfect soundtrack to your 20’s and the rollercoaster of emotions that accompany that decade of post-adolescence. Her synth-pop songs are heavily influenced by the people closest to her and how they have helped shape her—covering universal experiences like loss of love, and wild nights spent with her dearest friends. Her songs are simple and honest. Her sound is diverse and dreamy. We caught up with Deland to talk about release day and her upcoming tour. (Click to listen to volume three and four of Altogether Unaccompanied).

How are you feeling about release day?

I’m excited for sure! It’s been a long time. Release day is fun!

The first part of your EP came out in March—the first two parts came out together and now the second two parts are out. What was the thinking behind releasing a four-part EP? Are they one body of work or should we view them as individual pieces?

It is kind of in-between. They were all recorded at the same time. I thought it would be an LP while recording them, but they were all written at very different times. When I was thinking about the pacing, I realized they weren’t coherent semantically. So I decided to make the smallest releases out of them because I didn’t feel like they were two EPs either—so I made four volumes.

Do you have one song that you are particularly emotionally attached to?

I am really excited to release Two Queries—which is the first song on volume three, because it is really old, but it still makes a lot of sense to me.

Let’s switch gears a little bit. How did you first get into music?

I have always done music on and off since I was a kid. I used to play the piano and I started writing a bit on the guitar—then I moved to Montreal and started doing it more. Eventually my roommates and friends started hearing it and encouraged me to keep doing it. It was a really slow process coming to terms with the fact that I actually wanted to make music and share it. It happened really slowly and organically.

I know that can be really vulnerable to put yourself out there like that. When it comes to your music what do you want people to feel? What do you want people to take away from your music? One word to describe it, if you can narrow it down.  

The word would be personal. That is a strength of mine, to write honest and simple songs. They might be vague, but that leaves people room to interpret the way they feel.

Do you have anyone you pull a lot of inspiration from when writing?

Oh my god, my friends for sure and the people I spend time with. And as far as artists, I always make the effort to listen to new stuff. Reading fiction really inspires me as well, with my lyrics.

You are going back on tour soon. How are feeling about that?

I am so excited! We haven’t gone on tour a while. Last year, I mainly went on solo tours, so going on band tour is very exciting!

What is your favorite aspect of touring?

I really enjoy it—it’s not like a holiday, but it really satisfies the need to travel. Being in places for that short amount of time is such an interesting contact with cities. You get to meet people at the venue and interact with the crowd. It’s an easy entry to cities. [Laughs] Like being in Glasgow for 24 hours, we tasted Buckfast, that cheap energy drink alcohol. You get little snippets of each place you go. I love that.

So what’s next for you?

I am actually writing my first full album which I am really excited about. I am glad these songs are coming out as a series of songs, rather than an album because I really wanted to work on something more conceptual—which is what I am doing now. We will be recording that this winter.

Images courtesy of Maya Fuhr

Stay tuned to Milk for more musicians we love.

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