Interview: Helen Kelter Skelter

Helen Kelter Skelter is one of Norman’s faster-growing bands, being regular performers at Opolis and having a steady attendance at Norman Music Festival each year.  The group stands out with their niche blues vocals paired with an ounce of psych-rock but flourished in a way that creates their own unique sound.  Tim Gregory, one of the five members of the band sat down for an interview about the current news of HKS and their Opolis show this Saturday.

SW: Can you tell me your contribution in the band?

Tim: I’m kind of the “band dad” so to speak.  I still play guitar in the band but I also take care of most of the management for us.

SW: How many Opolis performances have you chalked up over the years as of now?

Tim: It’s been so many at this point, I’d have to say more than 30 times!

SW: Tell me how you nailed the main stage spot for NMF this year.

Tim: We just applied for it and because we’ve been hitting it pretty hard for the last few years at other smaller stages, I guess they thought it was time for us to be one of the big leagues.  It should be a lot of fun, though.  Playing on a larger speaker system will also do us a favor because we have such a heavy sound to work with.  I think the coolest part is that our music will be heard all across the festival which is something we haven’t quite experience before.

SW: Are you excited to play alongside greats such as Thee Oh Sees, Israel Nash and Oddisee?

Tim: Totally!  Also White Reaper and The Daddyo’s.  We’ve known those guys for a few years and we’re excited to play in the same festival together.

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SW: Your last record came out two years ago, I’d be willing to guess you’ve been working on some new stuff since then.  How has your sound changed in the past two years?

Tim: We have the next one done but we’re kind of sitting on it for a second until we have all of our promotional stuff ready.  We’re kind of looking for a new; clean slate, you know?

SW: Do you have any music videos in the works?  Do you think you need music videos to be a successful band in the digital age?

Tim: For sure!  Nothing recorded yet, but we definitely have some ideas rolling.  Having a video helps you stand out quite a bit, especially if it is a quality video.  More than anything, we want any video of ours to reflect the music that it’s paired with.  Something to add, rather than detract from the work.

SW: Is the Tame Impala/ [insert current contemporary psych-rock band] an annoying comparison for you, or do you like being grouped into that category?

Tim: We kind of get pushed into the psych-rock category a lot which is fine.  I’ll always be flattered to be compared to Kevin Parker!  With our first album, we just through a bunch of songs together that we had written because we thought they sounded good.  That sort of manifested into our own unique sound that we’ve continued into our 2015 record.  When our next album releases, there will definitely be a small difference to notice.  We’ve included more synths into our songs that I think a lot of people are going to like.

SW: How does Norman’s current music scene compare to when you all were first starting out?  Do you see an increasing growth in the talent that comes out of this city?

Tim: You can definitely see a growth happening right now.  I would like to see more out of town bands coming more often and I think that our music scene could be a lot better but it’s by no means awful.

SW: Have you ever thought of touring with groups such as King Gizzard or Twin Peaks?  I feel like your sounds would really merge for joint concerts.  What does your tour schedule look like this year?

Tim: That would be awesome!  King Gizzard is one of my favorite bands currently and they just dropped that Flying Microtonal Banana album which I’ve been loving.  We’re touring in over 25 places this year.  We’ll be going to Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas, New Mexico.  It’s our biggest stretch we’ve done so we’re hoping to gather some more fans along the way.

SW: Hype us up for your show this weekend!

Tim: We’ll be playing along with Mother Tongues and LCG & The X.  They’re both fantastic bands and we think that their sound is a great mix with ours so we’ll be making sure everyone is having a good time.  Come out and say hi!

Helen Kelter Skelter is performing Saturday, March 4 at 8 p.m. at Opolis in Norman.  Tickets are available at the door or online here.

Author: rednpinkfish

Kaelan Deese is a junior at the University of Oklahoma. He is currently attempting a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a minor in Spanish. Kaelan is a pretty cool cat so feel free to scratch him behind the ears.

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