Helena Legend will be releasing a fashion line soon, and the L.A.-based DJ/producer thinks the clothes, which are based on what she likes to wear both on stage and in her downtime, will be out by the end of the year. She also just released a three-song EP in December, and she wore samples from her line in the new music video for the lead single “RU Feeling It (feat. LYRE),” which was shot in Shanghai.
But with the impending release of a follow-up, three-song EP in February, Legend is keeping her focus on the music - at least for the time being.
Ahead of her stop at OMNIA San Diego on Thursday with Kennedy Jones as part of the pair’s “Beauty and the Beard Tour,” Legend took a break from recharging in Mexico to speak with PACIFIC about the biggest part of her multifaceted career.
PACIFIC: Can you talk a bit about your path to music?
HELENA LEGEND: I grew up in England playing the cello and the piano. And I was hooked into music from a very young age. Everyone around me was into music and my brother was a DJ. I snuck into my first dance festival with him when I was about 14. Daft Punk played, and it was the best thing I’d ever seen in my life. From then on, ultimately, I’ve been hooked. And it’s been very natural. My music career wasn’t preconceived; I’ve just pursued what I love.
When did you start DJing?
I started off DJing as a hobby - just doing it in my bedroom. And I also got some pointers after school from a good friend of mine, Eats Everything, who is really big in England and across the world now. He was the one who really taught me to DJ first. We went to school together and were friends. He’d give me pointers and lessons out of his house every week. And, of course, my brother was an influence. But from there, I just stowed away in my bedroom and kept practicing and practicing. I also started working in the music industry in England. So I was running these events, but I was continuing to practice and the better I got, I just started thinking about how I could do some of the back rooms at these parties. And it snowballed from there.
What prompted you to move to Australia?
Standard of living. Before I left for Australia, I was living in Birmingham - and I wasn’t very happy in Birmingham. I wasn’t happy with any of the people I was surrounded by. And I’ve got family in Australia and dual nationality there as well. My sister was living there and she was posting all these amazing photos on her Facebook every day. And there I was in Birmingham, feeling miserable, surrounded by bad weather and bad people, and I was like, “What am I doing?” But at that point, I wasn’t thinking about career. I was just thinking about happiness and standard of living. So I decided to pack a suitcase, move to the other side of the world, and just see what happened. And that was it. I spent eight years in Australia.
HELENA LEGEND + KENNEDY JONES
When: 9 p.m., Jan. 26
Where: OMNIA San Diego, 454 Sixth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter
Your three-song EP “No Explanations, Pt.1" came out in December. A three-song follow-up (“No Explanations, Pt.2") is being released on Feb. 10. Are all of these tracks from the same session?
Originally, I wanted to do one EP with six tracks on it. For me, it was going to be a mini album. It’s a bit of a shift in musical direction and I wanted to make a big statement with six songs. But when we were going through it with Sony Music Australia, they told me I shouldn’t do it because I had “too many good tracks.” They said if it were up to them, they’d release every one as a single, and that’s not what I wanted to do. But they did have a point that some of the songs may have gotten lost if we released them all at the same time. So we did it in two parts instead.
Electronic music has brutal release standards.
It’s very different with dance music and electronic music. And even though I’m moving into the electronic pop category a bit, it’s still completely different. But it’s even shorter if you’re releasing a club banger. Three weeks after you release one, people are asking when you’re going to release another. Ugh! I just released one! Club bangers have a shelf life of about a month or so. Unless it’s a really, really big hit, people are over it. And I got sick of that. I really want people to listen to my music years later and say, “Wow - that’s good.” Even I will listen to some of my old club stuff now and cringe. But with a shift in focus to more musicality and great vocals, it gives it a slightly longer shelf life. It’s just more listenable. I mean, I’m still listening to my EP even though I’ve heard it probably a million times. It’s just good music, I feel. And that’s what I want to continue to make. Now, it’s just about working hard, keeping going, and continuing to build.
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to firstname.lastname@example.org.