Shake It: Helena on Club Work Beginnings, Upcoming Singles, & Favorite Tracks
Helena has been living and breathing dance music since her early teens. After learning to DJ in her early teens from none other than Eats Everything, Helena began to work for clubs and festivals in Ibiza, London, and across the rest of Europe before beginning her own artistic career.
Now, the DJ/producer is riding high after the release of her single “Raven” on Ultra earlier this summer, and she has no plans of slowing down. With a new single on the way amidst a relentless schedule of performances, DJ Times connected with Helena to discuss how she got started, her electro DJing style, and what’s she has planned for the coming months.
DJ Times: The story goes that you learned to DJ from Eats Everything. How did you two get acquainted?
Helena: We actually went to high school together in Bristol, UK and have been friends since I was about 13 years old. He was a few years above me in school but best friends with my bestie’s brother, so he was part of my circle growing up. We have been friends a long time! He was the one that first got me on a set of decks; I used to go round his house after school and we used to mix in his bedroom at his mom’s house!
DJ Times: There’s obviously a bit of a difference in the style of music you play and what he plays. How did you move toward a more electro sound from his house leanings?
Helena: I have always been into the tougher sound, but I have always been into house music from the beginning. I used to play a lot of house when I first started out, but I actually still like to mix house into my harder sets to break it up.
DJ Times: You got some of your start working for clubs and festivals. When did you decide to pursue being an artist yourself?
Helena: Even while I was on the other side, running clubs, I was DJing for fun in my bedroom and at a few after parties. I just loved the scene and music and loved working in the industry. I didn’t think I would actually become a professional DJ at all; it just kind of happened. My passion started taking over, and I gradually started moving towards being on the performing side rather than the promoting side.I feel as though having had experience from both angles has really helped shape me overall as an artist. I understand what makes a good night from all aspects. I have also had to deal with shit DJs, bad attitudes, and egos, which educates you on what kind of artist you want to be yourself.
DJ Times: How would you describe a Helena DJ set?
Helena: “Energetic,” if I was to pick one word. I try to deliver good energy, vibes, and music I really love and feel the crowd will love too. I never pre-program my sets.I play off the crowd every set I do, so I’ll never play the exact same set ever. I like to think my sets are raw and exciting, I like to keep myself and the crowd on their toes, as it’s a lot more fun for both parties this way because we are truly in the moment together.
DJ Times: Your track “Raven” came out on Ultra in August. What went into the creation of the track?
Helena: Raven is a big driving electro monster. It has great energy and power, kind of along the tip of the “Buy Now For Sale” vibe. The name “Raven” comes from the big driving rave synths throughout.
DJ Times: Do you prefer to produce or DJ more? How do they give back to each other?
Helena: They are two completely different experiences, so you can’t really compare. Nothing for me beats the rush of performing to a big crowd, But I love the proudness and feeling of working on your own music and the creattive process behind it to really express yourself. The best of both would obviously be playing your own music at shows. This is the ultimate.
DJ Times: What are your top three tracks you’ve been playing this year?
Helena: Martin Garrix + Dimitri Vegas + Like Mike – “Tremor”
“This track just works so well you I can’t stop playing it. It’s so catchy it makes me sick! I wish I made this.”
Helena feat Shawnee Taylor – “Levity”
“I just love the vocal and message we delivered in this track. It’s uplifting and a real positive message.”
KSHMR + Dallas K – “Burn”
“I think this is one of the best produced tracks I have heard in a long time. I love this track so much. I am playing it every set.”
DJ Times: What projects do you have in the pipeline right now?
Helena: My new track “Shake It” comes out at the end of November on a big label, so I’m really excited for this one. It will be followed by some other great stuff I’m working on. I feel musically I am moving forwards with each track, which is very exciting,. Hopefully the next year should be a really big one!
Stream “Raven” below and go to Helena’s Facebook page for more information.