UK-born, Australian-raised HELENA is one of the fastest rising female DJs in the scene. After releasing “Raven” back in September, HELENA came back with another single this week called “Shake It” on Tiesto’s Musical Freedom Records (which you can now get on Beatport). With the support from some of the top DJs in the world, as well as earning a residency at Drai’s in Las Vegas, the Aussie icon has been getting a lot of attention from artists and fans alike. I caught up with HELENA to learn about how she got into the music scene, her production process, experience playing on the stages of some of the largest festivals around the world, and her upcoming projects.
How did you get your start with DJing and producing?
My love of music spans back right into my childhood. I started on the decks at around the age of 14.
Since then it was a natural progression into the music scene. I started working in the industry in the UK running club nights and was DJing on the side purely for fun.
I would say though professionally it all really started for me about 5 years ago in Australia when I decided to concentrate purely on my DJing and take it seriously as a profession. This is when it really all started in a sense. I started producing about a year after this.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I have lots of musical influences, I think you can hear this in my style of mixing. I can play very hard but then flip into a big progressive house driven track or then into a big vocal.
I love artists such as Dannic, W&W, Steve Angello, Tiesto, Alesso, Kryder, Showtek, Bassjackers, Sick Individuals.. I love to mix it up in my productions and in my sets.
You’ve gained support from some of the top DJs including Tiesto, Avicii & Hardwell. What was a moment in your career that really helped bring more traction to you and your music?
I think it was when I heard that Tiesto liked ‘Shake It’ and wanted to sign it. This was a big moment for me, even though I have already had a fair few releases previously and some great support on stuff it’s really amazing to actually get support on a track signed by one of the biggest DJs in the world and him really believing in the project. It helps so much on getting your name out there and really getting traction on your music.
You just released a new track “Shake It”. What was your process of creating that track?
“Shake It” came together in about 2 months. The process started with the break which was sounding huge. Originally it had a different drop to the current one. I went through about 4 versions of the drop trying to get it right. I just felt with the idea and theme of the track being “shake it,” the drop needed to have a big buzz about it for people to “shake it” to (if you get me!)
If I launched into a big progressive cool drop, it just would not have suited the idea behind the track. So it was more about getting that part right. I wanted to make a big festival style buzz track; that was my aim.
In the electro-house scene where a lot of tracks have a very similar sound, how do you keep your sound unique?
It’s very hard to sound unique these days. I thought I had a more unique sound on the drop of “Shake It,” but then you see comments saying, “Don’t you think it sounds like….” which I would not have picked up on. You are always going to get this, as it’s very hard to capture something that really hasn’t been done or sounds a bit like something else as everyone has access to the same synths, plug ins and samples. Sound design comes into it a lot to try and stay unique. You just have to keep pushing forward experimenting with new sounds to try and stay fresh.
You’ve performed at some of the largest festivals such as Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival and Stereosonic. What’s been a memorable event from one of your sets?
Tomorrowland stands out in particular as very memorable as it was on my all time list of where I wanted to play. Even just being there in Belgium and being part of the experience of the festival was unreal. I also got to carve my name into the bridge which was cool. Even though midway through my set there was a big out pour of rain, it didn’t stop the crowd from going nuts. All my team was there with me too, so it was really special.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
In January, I am back to Australia for a big tour, and then I start on a 3 month “Shake It” tour around the States which will be crazy. Musically, I have about 3 tracks currently in the works. I am finishing up one at the moment including one with Vassy (from David Guetta’s “Bad” track) which is sounding so catchy, so I’m excited to get this one wrapped and released! There is lots of music to come in 2015 so it should be an exciting year.
As one of the few solo female DJs in a male-dominated industry, do you face any challenges? For aspiring female DJs and producers, what advice would you give them?
To be confident and persistent. Generally people love to criticize female artists; before they have even heard you, they will write you off. You will always be proving yourself in every aspect, so you need to have a thick skin, work hard and be very determined. Don’t let people knock you off track. If you want it go for it.
For this week’s flashback Friday, we are taken back to the end of an era. It’s coming up on almost two years since the disbandment of Swedish House Mafia and most of us have yet to move on from the transition. Yes, Axwell / Ingrosso are great and Steve Angello is also doing well, but I can’t help but feel a void that their individual acts cannot fill.
The reality of the situation is that for those who entered the EDM scene circa 2009-2011, Swedish House Mafia most likely played a vital role in their introduction and immersion in the EDM culture. With their departure, we are older and wiser and our tastes have changed and evolved; yet, as we look back on what it was like just a few years ago, we can’t help but get a good kick in the nostalgia feels.
Get ready for the trillest track yet. The infamous Borgeous teamed up with Whookid, along with two of rap’s biggest stars, Waka Flocka Flame and Wiz Khalifa, for an absolute monster of a song, “Toast“. Borgeous has a knack for creating the most electrifying hits that simply turn dance floors into pandemonium. This latest track is no exception as Waka and Wiz both provide an incredible presence to this banger, making you just want to grab a drink and turn up with the crew. I couldn’t think of a better song to kick this weekend off, be sure to listen below and grab the free download as well!
Producers are always looking for things to learn. The internet is a great source for tips, but when a producer sits down to do a formal tutorial, you’re sure to get more from it than from your average lifeless Youtube video. One company, CREATIVELIVE, is offering a free tutorial from Ed Solo, who has worked on tracks with Krafty Kuts, DJ Fresh, as well as made sample packs for Bass Boutique and Loopmasters.
The free live tutorial will take place November 12th through the 13th between 9AM and 4PM PST. All you need to do is RSVP and be on the computer when the session is underway. For those producers who would like to partake you can reserve your spot through the following link. The focus will be on producing music with Logic Pro. Don’t worry if you don’t use that software, because CREATIVELIVE will offer more tutorials in the future that focus upon other DAWs. If you follow the RSVP link you will find the schedule with the list of other sessions.
The Swede Alesso recently partook in an AMA on Reddit after the success of his Chime For Change benefit shows in New York City. Alesso revealed fun tidbits like his affection for Hanz Zimmer and Swedish House Mafia, his favorite plug-ins, as well as his love for drawing, and fashion. Moreover, he teased us with letting us know that his album will have some different genres on it, as well as two specific tracks that Redditors asked about. There is no date set for the album, but with his recent single being released, as well as increased press visibility, we can be sure some more details will come soon enough. For the full AMA, check the source and peruse through the many comments and questions.
For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we take it back to the time Krewella absolutely destroyed a super bowl party. Lucky patrons at a bar in New York City were treated to a surprise performance from Krewella courtesy of Bud Light at the end of halftime during the Super Bowl this year.
2 months ago Avicii reported that he would be taking a break from DJing and proceeded to cancel all his future shows. As his recovery is still underway, Avicii’s name is back in the circuit as the EDM star is booked to play Australia’s Future Music Fest early 2015.
Reported by Billboard, Avicii will be joined by Drake, Martin Garrix and more as the popular festival will kick off this upcoming February. Last time Avicii was at Future Music Fest he was forced to cancel as he was rushed to the Hospital due to stomach problems but now that he is on the mend, we can expect a triumphant return.
You can check out the festival trailer below which reveals Avicii’s announcement:
Alright guys, we got a special ticket giveaway for all you Kill The Noise fans! As you know, he recently kicked off his Majestic as F*** tour, backed by one hell of a lineup featuring Ape Drums, Botnek, Milo & Otis, and Two Fresh. KTN is now returning to his hometown of Rochester, NY this Saturday, November 8, and is offering YOU the chance to win a pair of tickets to watch him throw down in his city!
He’ll be joined by Botnek and Two fresh as this home show is looking to be quite possibly the best of the tour. KTN has also been busy along the way releasing new music, like his collab with Feed Me, “Far Away“, as well as a brand new mix with Botnek titled the “Majestic Mix” that was featured on Sirius XM’s Electric Area. Overall, KTN is promising quite an exclusive experience for everyone attending this weekend as he announced:
“Rochester! Stoked to be back in town for a hometown show w/ my buddies BOTNEK and Two Fresh. Stoked to play lots of new music all of us have a lot new things to show you. We are ready to go!”
The show is 16+ and doors open at 8PM EST. This is a show you WON’T want to miss, so check the mix and submit your entry below!
Due to an error on iTunes, the upcoming SkrillexEase My Mind v Ragga Bomb Remixes EP has been released earlier than planned. Rumoured to be slated for a official release later this month the EP is jam packed full of quality. The EP contains 4 remixes from Skrillex & Zomboy,Teddy Killerz, GTA, and Jai Wolf.
The Skrillex & Zomboy remix should be special, seeing as they have such critically similar styles. This is the first collaboration they’ve been on together since the Foreign Beggars track “Still Getting It,” featuring Skrillex, remixed by Zomboy. Teddy Killerz have always been known to throw down amazing eclectic tunes, and it seems Skrillex himself has been playing out the Jai Wolf remix extensively live.
You can check out the previews and buy the EP here: iTunes.