Sound & Vision with heka

With an audio and aesthetic style that stretches the conventions of both sound and time, heka is an artist that has no issue going about things in her own way. With a twisted and retro futuristic style of folk, the artist creates works that whilst noticeably influenced by automation still possess an inherent sense of human vulnerability. It’s this notion of hybridity that her music truly thrives on.

Ahead of her latest EP, ‘(a)’, out today on Balloon Machine records, we caught up with the artist to see just where she looks for creativity. These are her sound and vision picks.

Three favourite albums:

alt-J – An Awesome Wave 

Funnily enough when I first heard this album I really didn’t get the hype. I didn’t even listen the whole way through, I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe it was that everyone was talking about it and I’m a bit funny like that. But a couple weeks later I was doing some editing on my laptop and YouTube randomly queued a live performance of the whole album. Before I’d even realised who it was I was hooked. Proceeded to listen on constant repeat for the rest of the year. So unique and special.

Feist – Metals 

Sometimes I find it hard to describe why I love something as much as I love this album. It’s everything. The songwriting, the performance, the arrangements, the production. A beautiful collection of songs that immediately made me fall irreparably in love with Feist.

Bon Iver – 22, A Million 

When this album came out it completely changed my world. It sounded exactly like the kind of music I wanted to make and made me ache that I couldn’t just rock up at Justin Vernon’s cabin in the woods and make music with him. It succeeds where so many fail, in having a sound that is aesthetically beautiful and smart and complex, supported by the substance of poetic songwriting and beautiful melodies. All these elements are so intrinsically linked, they are not casually assembled but feel written for one another in symbiosis, combined in this perfect measure and balance; each track seamlessly feeding into the next  like some contemporary symphony. It’s this collection of sampled sounds and different textures and spaces and feelings and that really resonated with me.

Favourite film:

Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind

I was completely obsessed with Kate Winslet in my early teens and watched all of her movies fanatically. When I found this one it just completely blew me away and has remained my undisturbed number one favourite movie since then.

I mean combining the genius of Charlie Kauffman (screenwriter for Being John Malkovich too which I also adore) and the visionary directing of Michel Gondry, couldn’t have yielded anything less smart, heartfelt, funny, sad, philosophical and mundane at the same time. I love everything about it, the aesthetic, the soundtrack (!!!), the script, the title. Playful, eccentric and, through the absurd, true to life. Poetic filmmaking.

In 2014 they had a special 10 year anniversary screening at the BFI with a Q&A at the end and I went by myself and totally geeked out and had the best night. Feel like watching it again today ha.

Favourite book:

The Baron in the Trees – Italo Calvino

My mum used to tell me the story of this book before bed: about this stubborn little boy who didn’t want to eat his soup one day, so he got up from the table, walked across the room, climbed out of the window and onto this big tree that stretched its long branches right up against the house, and vowed to never set foot on the ground again. He stays true to his word and the book is the story of his life.

I was both stubborn and basically spent my childhood on trees so this particular hero held a lot of fascination for me. I always loved that story and when I was old enough to read it for myself, I fell in love with it all the more deeply. I am a real sucker for magical realism and this novel deals with surrealism so elegantly, pairing it with such vivid and rich descriptions that you feel you might actually be able to touch and smell and taste the world it depicts. A wonderful wonderful book that’s very close to my heart.

A song that is important to me:

Funkadelic – Maggot Brain

One of the most beautiful pieces of music ever made? The dynamic of the track and expressivity of the guitar playing are just from another planet. One of those songs you always think has vocals in it because the lead guitar is so strong that your brain keeps playing tricks on you.

You’re with it the whole way through and it just transports you somewhere else. The chord progression from heaven.

I have wonderful otherworldly memories of just lying down listening to this track. The kind of music that interrupts everything else and demands your whole attention. Just great.


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