Helen Love
e-mail interview November 2020
by Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T

For longer than we care to remember, Helen Love has helped brighten the R*E*P*E*A*T music scene.

The mix of fuzzy guitars, wonky keyboards, great hooks, joyous choruses and upbeat lyrics (sometimes mixed with the occasional caustic put downs aimed at those who deserve it) are guaranteed to raise spirits when the going gets tough.

And in days like these, we need them more than ever.

Great news then that the new album, Power On, is to be released later this month (review here), and that after a quarter of a century of near misses and close calls, we finally get to ask the girl about (Swansea) town what makes her heart go boom.

Helen Love – Who What and Why?
Me and Sheena started all this a long time ago,just for a bit of fun, made a tape that ended up at Damaged Goods, that tape turned into a single, that single ended up on Radio One, and Helen Love were born.

How did you record this new record, considering the pandemic? I assume you made it in your home (you don't need a studio)?
Yes we recorded it at home, that's how we started making music, on a 4 track cassette machine, later we could afford a 8 track reel to reel which was very posh, and now of course everyone can record at home with a laptop. We have had the odd trip to a posh studio, we went to Sarm East to re record a single called Long Live the U.K Music Scene, it came out sounding worse than our home demo, so we used the home demo instead. We did record one album at Loco which was OK, but I have never liked big recording studios.

Although I have most of, if not all of of your records, I've never actually seen you play live (though I came within 5 mins of doing so on Camden Crawl 20+ years ago). Do you prefer recording to playing live?
Playing live is better now, we have a projector and it looks great, it's getting easier. The first gig we ever played was in NYC, Joey Ramone brought us over and we stayed with him in The Village for a week, the absolute fear of playing that show has never really left us, so yes recording is more fun for us.

Horrible times for grassroots music at the moment. Who'll save UK music scene? Is it worth saving?
Yes it must be a nightmare for all the gigging bands, I can't imagine how they are all coping, hopefully everyone is writing brilliant songs that will be unleashed when this bloody war is over. There will always be a U.K music scene, and it will always be worth saving.

I love your videos especially the ones featuring Swansea docks and the 'big apple'. And I know one of the (then) kids in 'Long Live the UK Music Scene'. Which are your favourites and why?
I really like the Thank You Polystyrene video because we recorded it in the Lexington before our first sell out show there. The U.K Music Scene was a great too, the last video shown on The Chart Show! It was exciting seeing all these kids running through the streets of London,and bouncing up and down in The Rough Trade shop.


Is it fair to say you define yourself by the music you dislike as much as that which you love?
I don't think so, maybe...I have never thought about it,I don't know...move on.

Do you have any interest in the local music scene?
When I was young Swansea had a fucking dreadful music scene, full of old cover bands like The Tremblin Knees and The Squirts, they would have residencies in one of the only places to play The Coach House,and although bands could support them for 30 mins, it was shit.[I remember - Ed].You had to move out to get anywhere. There was a great local guy called Graham Larkby (I think that was his name) and he would review all the young bands demos in the free paper the Swansea Herald. I need to go and discover the scene again .I have always thought that dodgy Swn fest should travel around Wales,a different city each year instead of Cardiff all the time.

You show great support for new bands, and especially champion women in bands. Would you like to give a couple of these a plug here?
I am loving Dream Nails, Femmebug (a local female artist) and All Ashore, who have their debut album out on Cardiff's Daytrip Records

One of the things I love about your new record is that, unlike most of the music I enjoy, it seems to be totally and deliberately ignoring the current shit storm we are living through, even though I know that a lot of that shit storm infuriates you greatly and you have strongly held opinions about it. How do you stay so cheerful in face of the modern world?
I don't actually see this record as cheerful, there's a few darker tunes on it; the thing is we have always been able to write a good chorus, and we never start a song in a minor key.

What does Dylan Thomas say to you? What would you say to him?

He says thank fuck we never got that City Of Culture shit, and I would say to him, cut down on the whisky.

Have you ever played a super Kay guitar?
Yes, Woolworth's Kay guitars were and are fantastic, murder to play but they sound great, always a few on ebay... my first guitar.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you began?
Never trust anyone who works in A*R.

Why support Cardiff City when you have a perfectly good team just down the road in Swansea City?
Because I am a Bluebird, and I always will be even though Swansea are miles better than us and have been so for a very long time...

You seem to have an incredible knack of being able to churn out catchy, bright and breezy memorable tunes, a skill that the likes of The Ramones and Wildhearts also have, but is quite a valuable rarity. Do you find it as easy as it sounds?

I believe you all live in different cities, how does this effect writing / recording / practising?
I write the songs, Sheena pops down and does her thing, Rick just sends his parts down. Easy!

You were kind enough to add some quality yelps to our recent flexi disc, what collaborations are your favourite, both that you've been involved with and ones you've not?
Well when Joey Ramone sings 'From Swansea Bay To The USA' with me on Punk Boy that's pretty ACE, and when I got to sing on Mr Punchy with Captain Sensible on his solo album that was pretty great too..

Does Chris Evans really still hold a grudge against you? Who else would you like to wind up?
well he blocked me on twitter. I was told when he first heard UK Music Scene he thought it was a compliment, twat. Oh that Welsh Music Prize shit,or any of those music prize things,..Industry music idiots and their cronies, that Welsh Music Foundation that was another money making project for the cronies that run it, I wonder if we will ever find out where all the money went?

When Debbie takes control of the stereo, what will she put on it?
Her platform boots and a glitter jacket.


This album is available on cherry cola coloured vinyl. What is your favourite colour vinyl (double denim colour!)? And your favourite cola?

In the current circumstances, how do you mean to ensure this record gets the notice it deserves?
I don't, I don't expect it to have any attention, I expect nothing from it. I hope it sells enough to make another one, that will do.

How can people hear your music, and why should they bother?
The usual fucking streams things I suppose.
Should they bother? I don't care.

What's best, chips or cream buns?
Roma Chips in Gorseinon.

And with that perfect place to stop, it's time to give many thanks to Helen for her time and tunes and inspiration over the years; you can order Power On on limited cherry cola vinyl here and read our review here.

Follow Helen Love on Twitter



wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?