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Helen Kelter Skelter Returns With 'Melter'

Dylan Johnson

Norman, Oklahoma's Helen Kelter Skelter's latest release is Melter. Once more, the band blends its psychedelic influences with deft songwriting and weighty performances. The group performs at Lucky's Everyday on Saturday, Feb. 10, with Cartwheel and Milkwave.

Jedd Beaudoin: It seems like Helen Kelter Skelter is one of those bands that enjoys using the studio as instrument.

Tim Gregory: Definitely. That's probably the most important part to us. We write the songs, piece the songs together, then make sure all the tracks are good. We clean ‘em up a little bit, then remix everything in the studio. We make the whole album — the sound of the album — in there. We kind of have an idea before we go in but then it's a matter of trying to explain that to Trent Bell, our engineer, just trying to explain to him what we want. Then it's about experimenting until we find something that we like. We definitely use the studio as an instrument, [it's] probably the most important instrument, I would say.

Are there moments where it becomes tedious and you say, "Why did we get ourselves into this in the first place?"

Definitely. You go down a rabbit hole for sure. You do that with everything though. We're working on a new video right now and we'll just go on tangents. It'll be really late at night, and we shouldn't be going on a tangent, but we'll go down a rabbit hole for 30 minutes and say, "Ah, well, it really wasn't that cool." So, we'll scrap it or something.

I wanted to talk about the song "Minding." I think that's a great example of how you guys use the studio and the production.

I think that Eli Wimmer came up with the beginning of the song. There's a specific chord at the beginning of the song that's very dissonant. He was just playing around with that. We went down to Psychfest in Austin. We drove down there in a VW van and he would just sit in the back seat and play that. He played it the whole time. That's where it got its start. It got stuck in my head. I thought, "That's a really cool riff. Let's go with that."

That was either the first or second song that we started to mess with on this album. It was that or "75." It's similar to a song on the last record, "You'll Get Your Money Back" that was just really heavy, heavy riffs. We brought that vibe to this song. Super trippy, Brian Jonestown Massacre-kind of melody at the beginning. It's trippy like you're out of your mind a little bit, up in the clouds.

There's one riff, I think it's during the bridge, we wanted that to sound super heavy. Almost doomy. That was one of the things in the studio that we had to come back to. That riff, with the effects that we had, it sounded Soundgarden-ish. That was cool but we wanted it to sound like us. We had to switch that up. It's probably our personal favorite song.


Jedd Beaudoin is the host of Strange Currency. Follow him on Twitter @JeddBeaudoin.

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