Over a series of majestic singles released through Bandcamp, which culminated in her most recent release, garden, Bristol based Herbal Tea has positioned herself as one of the UK’s most exciting new songwriters.
Herbal Tea’s bedroom recordings have more than a passing resemblance to the magic of Grouper – such is the melodic splendour in Helena’s work – but there’s certainly a air of originality in her expansive arrangements. With new material due in the coming weeks, we caught up to discuss influences. These are her Sound & Vision picks:
3 Favourite Albums:
Sparklehorse – It’s a Wonderful Life
If I was forced to choose only one, I’d probably pick It’s a Wonderful Life by Sparklehorse. Mark Linkous was a treasure to this world and this is my favourite piece of history that he left. The first song I heard from the record was the PJ Harvey duet, Piano Fire, and I just remember wanting to almost live inside the harmonies & fuzz. One of my biggest musical influences for sure. I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t made it through this album without falling in love with it.
Fog Lake – Dragonchaser
I really love Fog Lake. I remember hearing the song Rattlesnake for the first time and it just perfectly reflected how I felt at the time. (‘Live for the moment, I’ve been trying, Running out of reasons to control myself’). Like many, I write from a personal perspective and I love the intimacy of lo-fi, bedroom recordings that so many of our alternative contemporaries have achieved. Fog Lake is so sincere in his songwriting; it’s personal and tragic and I really relate to that.
Oro Swimming Hour – Penrose Winoa
I’m lucky enough to say that these guys are great friends of mine, but before I knew them I was a big fan of their music. It’s super cosy and has this eerie, slightly surreal beauty to it – equally parts dreamy and has a childlike-innocence, so perfect for sending me to dreamland that it was actually my sleep album for a while.
1 film I love:
Luca Guadagnino – Call Me By Your Name
One of my favourite things is when a film is so good that it totally entraps your life for a few days and you can’t get it out of your head. I was a bit late to the Call Me By Your Name party, but when I did finally watch it I was annoyed at myself for taking so long. It’s such a beautiful film and left me kinda speechless afterwards as well. I’m currently getting through the original book now, but Luca Guadagnino’s cinematography along with Sufjan Stevens’ soundtrack is a match made in heaven.
1 book I love:
Silvina Ocampo – The Mirror
Lately, I’ve been reading the poetry of this writer called Silvina Ocampo, she writes a lot about her personal experiences with memory & sense of self, my favourite so far being The Mirror.
1 song that’s important:
Sharon Van Etten – Serpents
It’s been really hard to pinpoint one particular song, but I remember when I was introduced to Sharon for the first time, I became obsessed with Serpents and also the rest of her Tramp album. Without sounding overdramatic, it totally changed everything for me – I began writing the music I’m making now because of it.
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