Richard Davis is the songwriter behind Heliopause. An artist and animator at heart, he began songwriting and performing after working closely with Belfast’s music scene, directing music videos for local bands. This relationship brought out a confidence to use music to articulate what he could not express via visual art.
Developing a personal, soft and heartfelt style of songwriting, his music has taken him from Belfast to Berlin and now to Brighton, constantly evolving with various members along the way. Over the years, Heliopause has been renowned for interesting shows, playing intimate acoustic performances in cafés and friends backyards to full band shows in major venues or occasionally alternative venues such as Belfast’s Botanical Palm House, art galleries or a freight container.
After a series of early EP’s, Heliopause self-released their debut album Walk into the Sea in 2009, receiving great reviews and featuring various Northern Irish musicians who have performed with Heliopause over the years.
‘Lush-sounding, understated but cinematic pop' Rough Trade
‘A truly great album’ BBC NI Across The Line
‘These are simply beautiful songs, soft and evocative, seeping into the consciousness and demanding repeated listening.’ Brighton Source
In 2009 Richard relocated to Brighton to study a Masters in Digital Art where an exploration of digital software and sound art projects influenced his songwriting. Incorporating electronic beats with guitar loops and vocal layers, his music developed a new dynamic, recently receiving comparisons to the likes of Sigur Rós and Fourtet combined. Heliopause was named as one of Brighton’s ‘definite must-see's’ ahead of One Inch Badge’s 6 day Sea Monsters festival heralding Brighton’s talent. With the growing excitement towards the new direction, a new label, Precious Metal approached Heliopause to release tracks on limited edition cassette tape. What was intended to be an EP soon became an album due to the wealth of material being written. In May 2012 The Lumo Tape was released and the reviews again proved well for Heliopause.
The Lumo Tape is a bright, endlessly tuneful affair' Brighton Source
‘An album of impressive depth, the progression and inventiveness on display throughout The Lumo Tape will stand Heliopause in good stead’ AU Magazine
‘This puts them on our one’s to watch list’ Hound
The music in-turn feeds back into Richard’s artwork with the new songs finding home in his digital installations. His interactive Guitar Sculpture presents audiences with opportunities to mix and hear elements of Heliopause tracks in a playful way and has been exhibited in various galleries in Brighton and Belfast in the last year. The new electronic songs are also occasionally performed with his self-made visuals to create a more immersive experience for the audience. Art and music re-enforce each other.
Gaining continued recognition and support, Heliopause have been invited to play various festivals in Brighton, Leeds and Milton Keynes this year already, as well as flying to perform at this years NXNE showcase in Toronto. With another release and shows planned for the rest of 2012, Heliopause refuses to sleep.
Richard Davis - Guitar, Vocal, laptop
Chris McCorry - Guitar & Vocals
Dan Skelt - Drums, Guitar, Percussion
Zoe Byrant - Vocals, keyboards
(2012) “The Lumo Tape” (Precious Metal) Album
(2012) “Try To Lose” (One Inch Badge) Sea Monsters 2 Compilation
(2011) “BBC Introducing Session” (self-release) EP
(2011) “I Made Some Writing...” (self-release) Album
(2011) “I'm With You” (self-release) EP
(2010) “Walk Into The Sea” (self-release) Album
(2010) “Let The Silence Go” (self-release) EP
(2009) “Moment of Recognition” (Furious Tradesmen) Single
(2008) “Dark Matter” (Furious Tradesmen) EP
(2007) “Acoustic in Berlin” (self-release) EP
Various tracks have received radio airplay around the UK & Ireland on BBC 6Music, BBC Radio 1, Phantom Radio (Dublin), BBC Radio Foyle, BBC Radio Ulster, 2FM (Ireland).
Heliopause have performed live sessions with BBC Introducing: The South, and pre-recorded sessions for BBC Radio 1 Northern Ireland, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle.
NXNE 2012: So good you won’t (or can’t) sit down
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"The weekend proper started off with shows by Oh No, Theodore! (Painted Lady), Goose Hut (Silver Dol..."The weekend proper started off with shows by Oh No, Theodore! (Painted Lady), Goose Hut (Silver Dollar Room), Heliopause (Cameron House), Paper Lions (El Mo downstairs), and Teenage Kicks (El Mo downstairs). Not that I expect these two acts to tour together but the one-two punch of Goose Hut and Heliopause made an argument for disparate, yet complementary tourmates, with Goose Hut pumping me full of such fun, melodic music then sending me on my way to see Heliopause, a calming tonic akin to Ritalin or, barring drugs, a hug. Montreal’s Goose Hut are talented enough to make certain other Montreal natives either extremely proud the city has such an abundance of talent or extremely nervous that they may be outdone in their pursuit for another Grammy next year. Three men played 2 drums (note, not 2 drum kits), a keyboard and a guitar. But you’d be flogged for calling them minimalist. You’d also be flogged for not having a good time. The question is, will it be the music that wins your feet over or the infectious grin on the singer’s face, as he yelps and gesticulates his way into your hearts? Go see Goose Hut the next time they are in town and let me know the answer.
Heliopause perform at The Cameron House as part of NXNE 2012 (Photo: Gavin Crisp)
Heliopause, originally from Belfast by way of Brighton, were similar to their predecessors by relying on meagre means (in this case, 2 guitars and a laptop) to create music that belied their origin. But that is where the comparison ends. Where Goose Hut gets you on your feet, Heliopause grabs for you a couch and invites you to lie down. Admittedly an act more ‘shoegaze’ than ‘shoestomp’ is not for everyone on a Friday night when hedonism after a long week is expected but after so many sputtered count-ins it’s comforting to know some bands don’t need a dancefloor to win over an audience. (It was also nice not being scolded for sitting down.)"
excerpt from blog
NXNE Day 3: Great Heart Festival, Wasted Away Again & Jägermeister’s Boneyard BBQ
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...."Wasted Away Again: A NXNE Day Party (MUSI Artist Development & Brock McLaughlin) When I walk......."Wasted Away Again: A NXNE Day Party (MUSI Artist Development & Brock McLaughlin)
When I walked into SIX20SEVEN, UK band Heliopause was nearing the end of their set. The duo of Richard Davis and Niall Harden certainly caught my attention with their lush, atmospheric sound and I wish I had seen more...."
taken from full arcticle
Heliopause Cameron House, Toronto ON June 15
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Hailing from Northern Ireland by way of Brighton, England, Heliopause hit the back room of the Camer...Hailing from Northern Ireland by way of Brighton, England, Heliopause hit the back room of the Cameron House for a quant presentation of soft and lovelorn shoegazer ditties for what would be the last stop on a Canadian mini-tour. Travelling light with two guitars, a laptop and vast collection of guitar pedals, the soft-spoken duo combined the restrained sounds of reverb-rich finger plucking, effect-laden electric guitar washes and on-again, off-again digital rhythms for a collection of songs you could imagine watching the stars to. Touches of sublime vocal harmonies added further depth to the set's already established dreaminess, while a characteristically late-'90s alt-rock drone helped -- for better or worse -- to further place the group's music among the works of fellow "sad bastard" affiliates many of us probably look back on with mixed emotions. Though sparsely attended, the show was greeted by the polite applause of an audience seemingly caught under the introspective spell of the twosome's sullen moods. While perhaps better suited to a dimly lit bedroom during a time of quiet reflection, Heliopause were a tougher sell on a Friday night at a rock club on Toronto's bustling Queen Street West.
Heliopause - The Lumo Tape
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With band members having relocated from Belfast to Brighton since their last release, the well-recei...With band members having relocated from Belfast to Brighton since their last release, the well-received Walk Into The Sea, the future of Heliopause had seemed somewhat uncertain of late. However, having tried out new material at a series of Brighton shows over the last 12 months, the band have returned with The Lumo Tape.
Recorded in Brighton, Belfast and Berlin, The Lumo Tape sees primary songwriter Richard Davis moving in a new musical direction to compensate for the difficulties presented by the now disparate nature of the band. Having undertaken the vast majority of the performing, recording and mixing process himself, the use here of effects and pedals has created a record with a far greater electronic feel but that also crucially manages to maintain the wistful vocal quality that was so integral to the strength of Walk Into The Sea.
Opening with ‘Admit Nothing’ and ‘Calling Me’, the record doesn’t initially deviate too greatly from previous recordings, however as it progresses the differing recording techniques become increasingly prevalent. The most striking aspect of the new sound is the loops that are used throughout. On tracks such as ‘GET UP!!’ and ‘New Wave, I Seem Too Cold’ the repetition from the electronic backing tracks provides a haunting effect as Davis whispers over the top to create a layered musical landscape different to anything the band have produced before.
‘Solace’ is the highlight of the LP, the track opening to a repeated electronic refrain before Davis ruminates over moving on from a failing relationship. Both in style and subject matter, there are similarities to Ben Gibbard’s Postal Service, while the song manages to appear reflective without ever verging towards downbeat.
An album of impressive depth, the progression and inventiveness on display throughout The Lumo Tape will stand Heliopause in good stead. Jonathan Bradley
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
KEY TRACKS: ‘SOLACE’, ‘GET UP!!’, ‘SO SILENT’.
FOR FANS OF: THE POSTAL SERVICE, BEIRUT, BON IVER.
Heliopause / The Lumo Tapes
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Once upon a time there was a three piece band from Belfast who made rather nice dreamy folk music. T...Once upon a time there was a three piece band from Belfast who made rather nice dreamy folk music. Then main protagonist Richard Davis relocated to Brighton, and found that being in a band where your bandmates are on a completely different landmass was a bit tricky. For a while, Richard tried his own thing, putting together layers of sound on his laptop, calling his new project Lumo. He played a few gigs which were mostly improvised, and got approached by Brighton label Precious Metal, who have started putting out releases on cassette.
When Richard agreed his original thought was two put out two longer tracks of about ten minutes each, with one on each side, but things grew and grew. Guitarist Niall Harden had also moved to Brighton, and they couldn’t turn their back on Chris McCorry who was still back in Belfast. The release would be as a new, bolder, more ambitious Heliopause, and instead of two tracks, a whole album’s worth of material was recorded.
The result is the Lumo Tape. It’s recognisable as the old Heliopause, but the songs are bigger, richer and more atmospheric. Guitars are run through numerous pedals making them distorted and fuzzy. Electronica generated on the laptop twinkles and burbles in the background. Layers of reverb are added to the songs making the whole sound much warmer – like Sigur Ros with intelligible lyrics remixed by Kieran Hebden.
The album was launched at an intimate gig at Brighton Electric Studios on Saturday 5th May. Support came from local electronica act Krill, and Before Machines, a post-indie band who are old friends of Heliopause’s from Belfast.
Only fifty cassettes have been produced, which went on general release at the gig. Soon they’ll be taking some to Canada – the band are performing at this year’s NXNE festival in Toronto in June.
Abi Wade & Heliopause supporting Sea of Bees at The Haunt
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It’s always pleasing when a visiting band gets a local acts to support them, and it’s doubly good wh...It’s always pleasing when a visiting band gets a local acts to support them, and it’s doubly good when two Brighton acts get added to the bill. Wednesday night, Sea of Bees played at the Haunt, and as well as Stealing Sheep who have supported them on their whole tour, they were also supported by Abi Wade and Heliopause.
Abi Wade continues to astound every time I see her. Conventional wisdom says that if you’re going to have drums, strings and vocals you’d probably have a whole band. Conventional wisdom also says that you play a cello by pulling a bow across the strings, not using the bow, a variety of drum sticks and even a hairbrush not just on the strings but over the whole instrument. At times last night Abi recalled the dexterity of The Durutti Column’s Vini Reilly who coaxes out rhythm, melody and backing out of just the one instrument, but Abi also has the advantage of a fantastic voice. If there was Brighton act that I’d say people ought to see right now, it would be Abi Wade.
Second act on last night were Heliopause, who were the first band I saw at Sea Monsters earlier this year. Their roots are in folk, but their sound is so much more than that – There’s electronica involved, but it’s not folktronica like Four Tet used to make before he went jazz. There’s elements of post rock in there too, and sometimes the guitars shimmer and send shivers down your spine. What’s important is that it all works so well together, and these elements aren’t clumsily thrown in, which gives the band their own sound the separates them from the crowd. Their next album is released on 5th May, and from what I’ve heard so far, is a real treat for the ears.
Abi Wade is next playing on 10th May at 7.30pm at the Unitarian Church as part of the Great Escape Festival and again on 11th May at 3pm at Latest Music Bar as part of the Alternative Escape. Heliopause launch their album with a gig on 5th May at Brighton Electric Studios.
Sea Monsters Festival: Sons of Noel and Adrian, Robert Stillman, Heliopause
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he second year of the brilliant Sea Monsters Festival showcased the best in Brighton-based musical t...he second year of the brilliant Sea Monsters Festival showcased the best in Brighton-based musical talent at the Prince Albert for only a fiver per night.
Heliopause opened proceedings perfectly for a Monday evening, delivering a soothing and well-crafted set of indie-plinky music using a laptop for beats along with soaring ethereal vocals and two guitars. Catchy melodies lingered with me long after the set and final song “Get Up” should be a big hit in a Postal Service sort of way.
Rob’s Sea Monsters diary, Part 2 24th January 2011
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OK then, a very quick round up of the first night of the Sea Monsters 2 festival (is it a festival o...OK then, a very quick round up of the first night of the Sea Monsters 2 festival (is it a festival or a series of gigs?) at the Prince Albert.
First up, Heliopause, who I was mightily impressed by. Two guys on stage making dreamy music which was somewhere between folk and post rock. A very big sound from a very small band. They were giving away their cd from a couple of years ago, which I’m very much looking forward to listening to. I’d say out of tonight’s three bands, they’re the one I’m most likely to go and listen to again.
Sea Monsters 2: Sons Of Noel And Adrian, Prince Albert, Brighton, Jan 23
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Returning to familiar ground ahead of what promises to be their biggest year to date, Sons Of Noel A...Returning to familiar ground ahead of what promises to be their biggest year to date, Sons Of Noel And Adrian helped kick off the second instalment of Brighton’s Sea Monsters festival in fine style.
First on the night’s agenda were Heliopause.
Delivering a few cuts of their thoughtful, evocative alt-pop, this duo went down well with the rapidly filling Albert, leaving listeners in no doubt that they’ve some great stuff in store.
Live Reviews - Heliopause @ The Hydrant
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The heliopause (according to Wikipedia) is the "theoretical boundary where the Sun's solar wind is s...The heliopause (according to Wikipedia) is the "theoretical boundary where the Sun's solar wind is stopped by the interstellar medium; where the solar wind's strength is no longer great enough to push back the stellar winds of the surrounding stars." A Heliopause gig is what happens when the strength of the audience is no longer great enough to push back the stellar sounds of the surrounding speakers as the band engulf you in their musical production.
You may have well heard the name Heliopause on the music circuit already as this is a band who are quickly gaining a name for themselves. Having been talked about by BBC Northern Ireland among other reputable sources and still without a label, this group is clearly gaining popularity based in the merit of their music alone. They are therefore worth going to see - if only just to avoid paying thirty quid to see them a few years down the line.
Heliopause fall into a category of music that has been growing in popularity in the last number of years - it is kind of melodic, ambient, post-rock music that fits somewhere between shoe gaze, nu-gaze and general star-gazing. Similar music is usually brought to you by the likes of Sigur Ros, God is an Astronaut and Mum.
Heliopause's music is so enjoyable to witness at a gig for its sheer ability to grab your soul and take you away to somewhere far away, beyond the outer stellar atmosphere in a kind of meditative trance - and then land you back in the room feeling calm, pensive and like you've just come back from some kind of hypnosis.
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HELIOPAUSE • A relocation to Brighton from their native Belfast seems to have upped the ante for He...HELIOPAUSE •
A relocation to Brighton from their native Belfast seems to have upped the ante for Heliopause, making them one of the definite must-sees of this fest. Plying a pop trade tinged with folk lays the songs bare without hiding behind bombast, but luckily it’s a craft they’ve totally nailed. Their uncomplicated and accomplished songs make it all sound very easy – the mark of true talent.
Heliopause release BBC session for free download
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Now based in Brighton but with their roots very much in Belfast, hushed trio (and sometime quartet) ...Now based in Brighton but with their roots very much in Belfast, hushed trio (and sometime quartet) Heliopause have uploaded their recent BBC Introducing in Northern Ireland session to their Bandcamp page. Check out the four songs below, and download it for free if you fancy.
Critic: December 2010
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ALBUM: HELIOPAUSE •Walk Into The Sea(myspace.com/wecomefrombelfast) As their MySpace URL suggests, ...ALBUM: HELIOPAUSE •Walk Into The Sea(myspace.com/wecomefrombelfast)
As their MySpace URL suggests, these are not born and bred Brightonians. But recent relocation and involvement with the Numbskull HQ umbrella (which has quickly become a byword for unsigned excellence) makes Heliopause something we need to tell you about. These are simply beautiful songs, soft and evocative, seeping into the consciousness and demanding repeated listening. We guess everyone maybe needs a reliable word of recommendation to check out something new – let this be ours to you.
Heliopause - Walk Into The Sea
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Heliopause are often viewed as a curious proposition, a band that is ill-at-ease or perhaps even at ...Heliopause are often viewed as a curious proposition, a band that is ill-at-ease or perhaps even at odds with Belfast’s musical climate. With peers aspiring to be dance-floor staples or post-rock juggernauts they are undeniably dissimilar with their hushed tales of love, love lost and love yet to be had. But just as it is often the quietest child of the class who most possessed of inspiration, Heliopause’s debut proves a triumph.
For a less proficient band, beginning with a track as strong as ‘Little Ashes’ would be misguided, here however it only serves as a foreshadower of what is to follow. Against a powerful but far from overbearing rhythm, Richard Davis’s whispered vocals are dually subtle and forceful. The band are at their best when offering a pulse-like cadence in support of a barely-there vocal, a style especially effective on tracks such as ‘The Moon & Sixpence’ and ‘Save for Me’. So consistent is the subdued style of the record that when the latent energy does come to the fore on the closing ‘Epilog.’ it proves especially striking.
Free Heliopause EP out now
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Belfast/Brighton three-piece Heliopause have released a three-track EP for free via their Bandcamp p...Belfast/Brighton three-piece Heliopause have released a three-track EP for free via their Bandcamp page. The release, Let The Silence Go, consists of three tracks taken from their as-yet-unreleased (and utterly gorgeous) debut album, which was recorded in Spring/Summer 2009. Click here to grab it.
Meanwhile, the band have launched a brand-new website and confirmed three dates for the near future. First, they play Two Step at Belfast’s Limelight venue on February 18, with support from Before Machines (who also feature Heliopause guitarist Chris McCorry) and The Continuous Battle of Order. England-based fans can also catch them at The Windmill, Brixton on March 18 and Vintner’s Parrot, Worthing on March 19. Click through for a brand new song and video produced by the band’s frontman Richard Davis.
In the studio HELIOPAUSE
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Following an acclaimed EP in Dark Matter and the recent single ‘Moment of Recognition’. Belfast trio...Following an acclaimed EP in Dark Matter and the recent single ‘Moment of Recognition’. Belfast trio Heliopause have become the latest Northern Irish band to record along-awaited debut album at Start Together Studios. AU went down to have a nosey at what they were up to.
Why did you decide to record the album in Start Together with Ben McAuley?
Richard Davis (vocals, acoustic guitar): We’ve recorded with him twice [before] now and I personally have noticed, the third time round, that why we choose him is because we know him, he knows us, he knows our music and he’s into it, which really helps. He’s like an honorary member for the time we’re with him. He’s really good for making decisions and suggestions, or just telling us that it’s pure bullshit. It’s really good guidance. And not only that, [it’s] the level of comfort that I feel when I come in here.
How many new songs will be on the album?
Richard: Most of them will be new songs, I think. ‘Moment of Recognition’ the single, will be on it – it and [extra single track] ‘Mon Peu Rimbaud’ – and we recorded a third song in that session, ‘The Moon And Sixpence’, and held it back, so it’s going to be on the album. And then we were thinking of re-recording songs from the Dark Matter EP because we’ve got a new guitarist [Chris McCorry] since then. One of the songs we are bringing across is ‘Dead Ends’, but we are re-recording it with [acoustic duo] Albrecht’s Pencil, so it’s going to be a very lush acoustic version.
The last single was softer and more acoustic than the EP, which had its share of noisy moments. Have you continued in that vein on the album?
Richard: We’ve really branched out so that we’ve got a good handful of low-key songs and also upbeat songs. I think this is going to be a really good balance of both.
Chris McCorry (lead guitar): I think we’ve been a little more eager to explore the noisier side of things, without letting it be full-on rock or anything.
You’ve been around for about three years but seem to have built up quite a bit of momentum in the last year or so. Would you credit that to Chris joining last year?
Richard: Yeah, definitely. It was a big change because there was a point when Michael [Kinloch, original guitarist] left where we were a bit lost and we didn’t have a clue what we were doing. So whenever Chris came on board, we just collected ourselves back together and re-found that enthusiasm. We were really excited about what we were doing and really enjoying it, and Chris’s guitar parts are really great in the sense that there’s a lot of noise and loudness and experimentation in there, but it melds so much better with the acoustic stuff and ideas that I come up with. It’s created a new dynamic.
Do you have any plans to tour the album?
Richard: Yeah, I’d really like to. We have a gig booked in London for the end of October, so we really need to get ahead with booking dates around that. But then we provisionally have January booked for releasing the album and we’ll coincide that with a proper tour, hopefully.
Words by Chris Jones
Wigging out in the moment
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Onwards to Heliopause, whose new single Moment of Recognition was mentioned on this very page not mo...Onwards to Heliopause, whose new single Moment of Recognition was mentioned on this very page not more than two weeks ago. Since then, I have managed to purchase my very own copy of said release (number 45 of a limited run of 50 it seems) and very good it is too.
Moment of Recognition is actually the second of two tracks here, the other being Mon Peu Rimbaud. If you weren’t already of the opinion that popular music could do with more songs named after renegade French poets, a quick listen to the hushed Red House Painters-esque delights of the latter should help change your mind.
Heliopause singer and mainman Richard Davis also keeps the volume turned down to a civilised level on the title track, which features twinkling finger picked guitars, stuttering, brushed drums and some choice backing vocals from Cutaways’ Grace McMacken.
A beautiful, delicately poised song that perfectly captures the unmistakable tingle of falling in love, Moment of Recognition should be an essential addition to any romantically inclined mix CD you might be planning this summer.
Listen online at www.myspace.com/wecomefrombelfast.
By David Roy
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For most bands, a gritty rehearsal room or their parents’ garage must suffice. But Belfast indie pop...For most bands, a gritty rehearsal room or their parents’ garage must suffice. But Belfast indie popsters Heliopause have opted for a rather more individualistic practice space – their drummer’s kitchen.
Photographer, animator, film maker, musician: Richard Davis is a man at ease in galleries and exhibition spaces. But when it comes to Heliopause, the band that’s slowly started to occupy more and more of his creative energies, he’s found himself spending his time in a much more prosaic location.
“Niall (Harden), our drummer has us over to his house and we practice in his kitchen,” he reveals. “It’s pretty much ideal. We sit around, work out the song arrangements, have a mug of tea. Some biscuits.”
“It’s great,” adds guitarist Chris McCorry. “Although Niall’s flatmate, Johnny, might disagree. He has a hard time making his dinner some nights.”
This marriage of the mundane with the high-minded is perfectly in keeping with the Heliopause aesthetic. To date, the band have been notable for the artful way in which they slip smartly off-centre ideas into apparently straight-forward songs.
Last year’s Dark Matters EP was a case in point – what seemed, on initial listen, to be nothing more than a collection of fairly standard slow-core indie, slowly revealed itself to be a work of great emotional and musical subtlety.
Six months on and their latest release,The Moment Of Recognition, sees a continuation – and refinement – of the bands M.O.
In places, the songs are so sparse, they’re almost diaphanous, but bend in closer and you’ll be startled by the quality of the detail. While the two tracks on offer, the title-cut and ‘Mon Peu Rimbaud’, differ in tempo and volume – they’re instantly recognisable as blood relatives.
In fact, if you were to guess they were written and recorded in a huddle, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark.
“We took off to a small house in the country around Glenarm,” Richard reveals. “It did a lot of good. It was great to get that kind of freedom. It’s so rare when you live in the city and everyone has day jobs that you get an opportunity to concentrate fully on the music, or even just to hang out together. It was a really great place. There was no real phone network and no wireless access. No one to bother us.”
“Except for the landlord,” adds Chris. “He’d rap the door and we’d find him standing there with a Battenberg cake. Lovely man.”
If the haunting, quietly choral, ‘Mon Peu Rimbaud’ is anything to go by, splendid isolation inspires startling results for Heliopause.
“It was written in Curfew Tower in Cushendall,” Richard resumes. “It’s a really beautiful place. But weird as well. It was a unique place to work. It’s another place where you have trouble getting a signal for your phone. But it’s bang in the middle of the town and the locals just rev their cars and drink outside it. I’m not sure they know what to make of it. It’s a very busy town, but once you’re inside you feel pretty isolated. When you’re there you’re supposed to create an artwork relating to the local area. I did that – I made a stop-go animation using objects I’d found around the place. But I also wrote ‘Mon Peu Rimbaud’. ”
The Tower, now used exclusively as an artists’ retreat, is owned by Bill Drummond. Unfortunately Richard had no dealings with the great man... (part 2 not included here)
Question time with Richard Davis (heliopause interview)
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Hot off the heels of featuring as our free EP of the week, Secret Fireworks had the pleasure of inte...Hot off the heels of featuring as our free EP of the week, Secret Fireworks had the pleasure of interviewing Richard Davis from Heliopause. He’s probably best known for playing music but he’s a notable filmmaker and animator producing short videos for bands like Fighting With Wire and Cat Malojian. If you haven’t already, check these guys out!
SF:First of all, you’re clearly a man of many talents- you’re an established filmmaker and animator as well as a musician. Has your main priority always been to write music or was it just a hobby that took on a life of its own?
RD: I guess it really took a life of its own, patiently waiting for the right moment. I’ve always been creative and was always musically minded, playing violin at school and piano, then self teaching myself guitar. It was very much a hobby because filmmaking and animation was my main passion. My work was always centred around music though and it was very natural to progress to directing music videos. It was my close involvement with the Belfast music scene that really spurred on my development as a musician. I finally learnt how to write a song, as bizarre as that sounds, developing my own style of finger-picking to suit my voice. I could never understand how to write lyrics but one day it all fell into place and music naturally started to become more important to me. . The songs/lyrics are very personal to me and I’ve always been shy of attention but strangely I feel very calm being open with people in this way.
SF:It seems increasingly common for songwriters to go into isolation or at least to a new location to stimulate the creative process: Justin Vernon of Bon Iver may be the most notable recent example but you personally have gone to Iceland, Cushendall and a cottage in Antrim to work on new material with the band. Does it pay off, in your opinion, instead of staying in the city?
RD: I think it really does: as an artist it’s so natural and easy to be inspired by new places and experiences, to get new ideas and blend them into how you work. Just the sheer surroundings of staying in a small town in the fjords of east Iceland blows your mind and was so apt for the kind of music i write. Its very barren there in terms of landscape, but its intense and so inspiring you instantly understand why bands like Sigur Ros and Mum create the sounds they do. I’m really inspired by the country and its music and this ethic of writing as its how I write…from the inside out. It’s headspace and time to concentrate and create. A week away focusing on only one thing can do so much when you have no distractions from other jobs, people or social events. In saying that, my lyrics are mostly inspired by personal interactions and feelings with people and specific situations so if i locked myself away for too long who knows what would happen to my writing.
SF: As a performer, what has been your favourite gig and why?
RD:It would have to be the Botanic gig with Albrecht’s Pencil: it was really special as we performed completely acoustic in amongst all the trees and plants. It was a beautiful setting and people were dotted around where they could: some kids just sat in front and played with the stones. It was a great atmosphere and the intimacy of the venue lent itself so well to our style. We both played separate sets then we collaborated on 6 songs, three of ours and three of Albrecht’s. It was the first time I had performed on someone else’s material so it was quite an unusual yet positive experience for me which I hope to do more of.
Are there any plans for another EP release later in the year and will there be any more gigs in the next few months?
RD:We just recorded our next release at Start Together with Ben McAuley, who recorded our Dark Matter EP. It will be out on Furious Tradesmen in May and will feature three new songs: we’re really excited as they convey the varied sound of our band from the summer pop song to the intimate acoustic track. We have a gig at a friend’s house on 5th April: he puts on these great gigs in his house and makes great pizza and sushi so we’re looking forward to that. The next big one planned is performing in the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival at the Black Market at Custom House Square, Sunday 10th May. It’ll be a quality afternoon with interesting stalls and great music!
Huge thanks to Richard and the rest of the guys in Heliopause for consenting to the interview as well as allowing me to post the Acoustic in Berlin EP.
(photo credit: Amy*Retrosight Photography)
Heliopause - Dark Matter
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Understated but oddly overwhelming, Heliopause create songs that tiptoe their way into your affectio...Understated but oddly overwhelming, Heliopause create songs that tiptoe their way into your affections. Everything is beautifully measured, guitars chiming like a spoon striking the rim of a fine china cup, the pitter-patter rhythms evoking the image of rain beating against the windowpane of a lonely cottage.
This is daydream stuff, woozy, blissful, satisfying. Others might like their thrills more bullish, but Heliopause reward patience and those who take the time to properly befriend this record will be amply rewarded. The central pivot is ‘Lullaby’, a song of devastating purity, spectral and startling. Throughout the male / female vocals are delicate, the delivery either hushed or tickling like a lover’s breath against the ear. And yet, for all the shimmering gorgeousness, Heliopause are more than capable of wrestling the air from your lungs. Note ‘Dark Ink, a song which blots the moment like a depth charge, pulling us under with a swathe of fierce guitar and cascading drums. Mesmerising.
Current Set List:
Echoes of my Mind
I Seem too Cold
Try to Lose
There are no upcoming dates at this time.