Helen Love

email questionnaire
January 2022
by Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T
'This Is My World' is available here and from good record shops nationwide from January 28th.
Review here

It's unusual for me to chose an album of the year. Especially before that year even starts. But that is the case with Helen Love's remarkable, striking and incredibly powerful new record 'This is My World'. The layered textures, melodies and sounds allow space for some breathtakingly moving poetic and personal lyrics, making the album instantly stand out as something very special.

We thought we'd better ask Helen how she managed to create this life affirming beauty, stuck in a seaside town in the midst of a global pandemic.


* How are you coping with the continued pandemic?
Fine, I am lucky, I can work from home. My studio is in my house and I am not one for going out much. I know so many people whose lives have been decimated by it though; I do count my blessings.

* This is My World was recorded at home in Swansea. Would you have chosen to do it this anyway regardless?
Yeah, we always record in the house. The only time we didn't was when we were on Che records and they paid for us to spend three weeks in a studio in Monmouth,for the Love and Glitter Album. We lived like rock stars. Geoff Downes, Buggles and ASIA owned it. He told us lots of great rock stories,how he married Miss Sweden, how he co-wrote Video Killed The Radio Star... He had all these old musicians staying with him, I have never seen so many bandannas in my life!! In the end though it wasn't for me and it was a waste of money.

* The production (right word?) on the album is incredible – layers of melodies, textures and sounds. Are you pleased with how it sounds, and how was it different to record than previous records?
Well it's easier recording acoustic guitars and strings etc than it is recording amped up electric guitars, I have never got the sound I have in my head on record before. With this one I have, and that is very satisfying. There is not much I would change on this record. I did think at time 'what the fuck am I making here?' but decided to stick with it until the end.

* Was there any sound you were aiming for – any particular inspirations (musical / lyrical)?
I had in my head 'Jackie' by Scott Walker, that really big sound he had, it's nothing like that sadly but that was the vibe for a lot of the songs on the record.

* The striking lyrical content of this album is a contrast from some of your other songs, much more personal, autobiographical and sometimes downbeat. Did you adapt the music to go with the subject matter? Was this deliberate?
The songs just came out, I didn't have to think about it, easiest record I have ever made, the fastest too, from no songs to a finished album in 3 months, I surprised myself. Look, I am uneasy discussing this like it's a work of art or something, it's not Sgt Pepper,its just me and my world.

* How did you find it putting so much of your own life into the record (mention of your mum, your childhood, your daughter) – was this a deliberate departure from previous records and did it feel alarming sharing so much of yourself? Are you anxious about the reception it might receive?
I just wrote what was on my mind, I thought 'fuck it no one gives a shit anyway, it's not like we sell millions of records, I can do whatever I want to do!' The last album had loads of songs which should have got on the radio but didn't, so I thought 'fuck this, if I am not going to get on 6 music any more, don't worry about it, let's make a record where there is absolutely no chance of any radio play, let's make a record solely for me.' I wasn't going to release it, I thought I will finish it as an exercise and put it away in a folder with all my other unreleased material. It's an honest record : me, where I am right now in my life. When Jack Alcopop persuaded me to release it, I was worried, I sent the album to Adam Walton [invaluable BBC Wales champion of new music], said to him 'look, this is prob shit, no one will like it, have a listen and tell me I am right.' He really loved it and 'got it' straight away, and I thought 'hmmm, let's fucking stick it out then, nothing to lose.'

* The shadow of the defeat of the miners hangs heavy of many of us. You've put a Coal not Dole poster on the record sleeve; why is that?
I remember the strike,Thatcher the evil cunt, the struggle in South Wales, The Met police coming here and taking the piss; I was young but I knew what was happening. Watching The Miners marching back to work on that dark winter frosty morning behind their flags will live with me for ever. Defeated yes, but with pride and honour. I will never forget it.

* There's a lot on the album about Swansea. How would you describe your relationship with the seaside town? Do you wish you'd escaped, what pulled you back?
Sometimes I hate it, sometimes I love it, sometimes I wish I had left, sometimes I am glad I stayed. It's a hard town, takes no shit, not easily impressed by anything. It can be bleak, hopeless even, but it has a never say die spirit, everyone seems to make the best of what they can, it's funny and it's fucking sad. And it rains all the time. Look, we have Gower, it's fucking stunning, fills your heart with joy, that pulls me back... Of course the rich live there now, no place for us there anymore.

* Although there is a wistful, nostalgic, slightly melancholic feel to the album, a big part of it is also a celebration of communities, families, histories. Why are these elements important to the record and to your world?
Because community is everything, where you were brought up shapes everything about you, family, friends, the mundane ordinary shit means everything, I wanted to celebrate that,...the social club the hub of your estate, it's important, sticking together, taking the piss, being there for each other, living through the same shit together, the gossip, the celebrations, the weddings, the divorces the funerals, that's it, that's fucking life.

* How are you planning on promoting it? Will the songs work live?
I won't promote it apart from interviews like this. Will the songs work live? No because we are shit, and not good enough to pull them off.

* What was the last 'quite good time' you had?
When Cardiff beat Preston yesterday.

* I am often having to climb and bike up and down various Swansea hills (Townhill Road, Mayals Road), what's the best hill for Go Karting?
Well its not Constitution Hill, that's for sure; somewhere with a bit of grass at the bottom when you crash is what you need.

* What are your hopes for the album?
Sell a hundred will do me, I have no hopes any more, maybe one day in 30 years time a kid will find a copy in a second hand store pick it up and think 'oh that's alright.'

* This record feels like it might be a milestone in your musical career. What's next?

I don't know, take the dog down the woods.

* Have you managed to get yourself some Roma chips during the pandemic? If not, how have you coped?!
Yes Batch and chips, a good working class treat, well it was.

Many thanks to Helen for her time, songs, inspiration, social media solidarity and continued support for diversifying and improving our world. Follow her on Twitter here

'This Is My World' is available here and from good record shops nationwide from January 28th.
Review here




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?