Alison Chesley of Helen Money has a busy year planned. She has a new album scheduled for release later this year on Thrill Jockey. She will also be heading out on another tour starting in the U.S. with Magma before she goes overseas and joins Shellac in Europe. We were able to catch up with her before she hits the road. Please check out the interview below!
It has been about two years since your last tour, are you excited to get back out on the road again? Do you find being on tour helps inspire you to write new music?
Actually I’ve been touring pretty consistently the past couple years. The only really major break being after the last Agalloch tour in June and this one with MAGMA. I was in the studio writing the new record. Being on tour can be hard or inspiring. Depends on the tour. Mostly I’m just thinking about performing the songs well.
You mentioned that your last album was the “culmination of two years of continuing to explore ideas.” Have you been doing the same since your last album in 2013? What is your writing process like – where does a song usually ‘start’ for you and how do you build it into a finished work?
I usually start with a sound and go from there. It’s hard to describe and not very scientific. Mostly a matter of showing up in the studio every day and working. Some songs fall together quickly and others take a while but often those can be the best ones.
Your previous album felt like a very raw and emotional release with heavy notes of darkness. What direction do you see the new album going in?
A very raw and emotional release with heavy notes of darkness 😉 That’s kinda my wheelhouse. There is some beauty too. You gotta have hope, right?
Your previous release, ‘Arriving Angels’ was produced with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio, which is semi-famous for its analog equipment and recording processes – will you be working with him again on your next release? And if not, how do you see that changing the sound of the new album, if at all?
I recorded the new record with my good friend Will Thomas in his studio in LA. We did the drums at East West Studios in LA. It was a different process and a little better suited to my wiring style. It’s can be challenge (one I enjoy) to record to tape because I have lots of parts going and I play all of them. I am the band. I’m sure I’ll work with Steve again. Just wanted to try something new.
You have worked with and toured with musicians such as Jason Roeder of Sleep/Neurosis, Russian Circles, Anthrax, and are currently teamed up with Magma. Will we be seeing any collaborative appearances on your upcoming album?
Rachel Grimes is on one track; Jason is back on two songs. Created some background sounds by sampling my cello. But really its all me. I don’t write the songs with other people. They help me perform them.
We are very excited to be catching her set this Friday at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City.
For more info and additional tour dates visit the Helen Money Website
*All photography by Travis McCoy*