Sometimes the best ways to find new music is to listen to recommendations from musicians willing to share their own discoveries. Minnesota producers Psymun and Distance Decay remain on the cutting edge, and with the new single they've produced for the London-based producer-turned-vocalist Helica, "Cellophane," they've got one of their best finds yet.
Speaking over Twitter DMs, Psymun told me how the song came together. "Me and Distance are really close friends, and he knows my taste really well, so he's always putting me onto artists that he thinks I'll like," he explained. "One day he showed me Helica, knowing that I'd like his voice. It blew my mind. I got really into all the songs he has on Soundcloud. I listened to 'Like Lead' probably around 20 times in a row one night at a party. And everyone there fell in love with it, too. I think Helica said a bulk of his plays were coming from Minnesota for a little while."
After producing for some time, Helica has started singing over his own production and the work of others. His sounds sits somewhere between modern, internet-friendly hip-hop and post-punk. It's a style that's wholly his own, and the way Psymun and Distance Decay compliment his subdued vocals works beautifully. "Helica is amazing, we're working on more stuff with him. We actually have a song for my solo album in the works," Psymun added.
Listen to the premiere of "Cellophane" below and continue for our full interview with Helica.
Could you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m 20 and from London.
How did you get into producing?
I played the guitar for a few years until I wanted to form songs with it. Went into software then forced myself to put out songs in 2015. They’re cute but I want to delete them.
I've noticed you make a lot of your own art, too. Do you have a background in graphic design at all?
No, started doing it just for song artwork. But then extended into designing clothing/art pieces, this cassette release in January etc. Love to everyone who bought that, me and Keagan Hoffman are working on a small capsule too.
I've seen your name associated with a number of P&P favorites in the past, but when did you start using your own vocals on your tracks and what lead to this decision?
I always wanted to but it took a while. Putting a voice on an instrumental brings it to life more, it’s more expressive.
How did you settle on the sound you conjured with tracks like "Cedar Tree" and "Like Lead"?
It’s vague, I’ll kind of map a song structure in my head visually. Different parts of a song start off in fragments and the end result comes out like a dream sequence, and I want to pursue that imagery more. Every detail makes the whole.
Did you have much interaction with Distance Decay and Psymun before working on "Cellophane" with them?
They were playing the two songs you mentioned at their parties and put their friends onto it. After that, Simon reached out but I’ve known Derek for a while. I appreciate them so much. We’re thinking I might visit in the future.
The scene on SoundCloud has gone through some massive changes over the past few years, especially with all the ways streaming has dominated the ways people discover and consume music. How do you feel about the current state of the platform?
I don’t know, I feel alienated by all of it so it’s hard to pay attention. I used to enjoy it more 3 years ago. Everything now feels more monetized and calculated, and too self aware.
I know that you've already started work on another track with Distance Decay and Psymun, but what else have you got on the way?
I’ll have my first EP finished by summer time, it’s self-produced but Distance Decay made one of the instrumentals. In London I’m working more with friends on songs, videos, live sets maybe. Trying to have fun.