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Sex Helicopter Interview - Live And Die In Music

We finally got a chance to speak with Jeremy and Cary from Sex Helicopter.

LDM: First and foremost, congratulations on the EP – it is a promising and interesting record. How does it feel now to have your debut record out there?

Jeremy: Thank you!  It feels great to have it out now.  I’ve written these songs over the past few years and they’ve changed so much over that time, so it’s really rewarding to have the final product out for people to hear.  On top of that it’s exciting to have an official release of our music.  So much of what we’ve been about the past year has been our live show so it opens new doors to bring a recorded element to the table.

LDM: From what I’ve read, it seems to be going down well. The main sticking point though seems to be the name – in a nutshell, can you give us the back-story of Sex Helicopter?

Jeremy: We’ve all known each other and played together in various incarnations our entire musical lives.  When we put the band together I’d booked some shows and venues were asking us for a name.

Cary: I was on Logic at the time looking through a library of sound effects, and I misread “SFX Helicopter” as “Sex Helicopter.” Some things just stick I guess.

LDM: Now that the EP is out there for public consumption, what comes next for you?

Jeremy: Playing shows has been such a big part of what we’re about so we want to get back into playing consistently again; we haven’t played a show since June.  Now that the EP is out, though, we have a lot more time to start working on new material.  I have so many songs and sketches of songs that we want to start fleshing out and adapting into our set.  We don’t want to be one of those bands that gets up and plays the same set every night, we want to be constantly evolving.  Part of that is for the sake of our audience–we want every show to be it’s own unique experience.  What I mean is we don’t want people coming to a show knowing what to expect, we want to keep them guessing.  Another part of it, honestly, is just so we don’t get bored.

LDM: How did you all find it, putting everything together for your first release?

Jeremy: The recording process was stressful at first but got easier really quickly.  We’d booked three days at this place in Pasadena, Crown City Studios, but we were all out of town until about two days before we had to start recording.  We rehearsed pretty much all day for those two days beforehand and it was pretty overwhelming.  Four of the songs we all knew really well because we’d played them so much live, but “Kaleidoscope” was completely new to all of us.  I had the song almost finished for a while by that point but I never finalized it until those rehearsals.  That song was definitely the hardest part of it all, especially because even when we were mixing it we still weren’t sure if it was going to be any good.  Luckily, it worked out and we’re all happy with it.

LDM: From a personal point of view, it sounded as though your influences shine through on this record. What is the musical history of the group? Would you say that you guys share the same tastes in music, or are there some noticeable differences?

Jeremy: We all come from pretty much the same background musically.  The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd have always sort of been my main influences as a songwriter and producer but this EP was the first time I really got the chance to expand on those influences.  I’m also hugely into My Bloody Valentine, Big Star, The Smiths, T. Rex, and a million other artists.  Prince is also a huge influence on me, though I’m sure no one would ever know that unless they read this.  I just love the way he goes about making music.  We’re all rock musicians at the end of the day, though I kind of hate saying that.  We all play jazz and listen to classical and try not to pigeon hole ourselves into just turning on distortion and playing heavy riffs.

LDM: I think it’s fair to say that you guys fall firmly into the rock category, but when you get into the EP it’s as if there’s a split between a more psychedelic sound and then the big, bold, guitar-led numbers. Was that something that you wanted to do intentionally? Or could it be classed as more of a happy accident?

Jeremy: As I was saying before, we’re all rock musicians at the heart of it but we also like to think of ourselves as more than that.  Originally the band was all guitars and no keyboards or electronic elements or anything like that, so once we started expanding on it we realized how much further we could take these songs and our sound.  I wouldn’t say that what we did was an accident, but I also wouldn’t say that it was all on purpose.  A lot of things we do just sort of happen naturally because of the stranger stuff we’re influenced by–Mahavishnu Orchestra, Brian Eno, etc.

Cary: We like to use keyboards and synthesizers to enhance the sound of the guitars already present in the arrangement. I think because we all play different instruments we try and utilize equipment to its fullest potential.

LDM: We’ve touched on the groups that have influenced you as a band, but what’s everyone listening to at the moment? Are there any acts or records in particular that have caught your eye? Or ear, rather.

Jeremy: I’ve been really into MGMT’s most recent album.  I think it’s one of the most interesting records that’s come out recently.  Tame Impala’s new live album is really cool as well.  It’s refreshing that they don’t just get up and play the songs as they are on the record; their live act is completely different.  I also saw Boris for the first time at this year’s FYF Fest and it was one of the most mind-blowing concerts I’ve ever seen.  I didn’t know they were a three piece.  The fact that three people can make a sound that huge is so impressive.  Also, Yeezus is fucking awesome. That album made me completely rethink how I wanted this EP to sound.

Cary: Contest Williams just came out with a new EP. It’s pretty disturbing and I listen to it regularly.