Influences: Helena Deland

Influences: Helena Deland

Digging into the various facets of the Montreal songwriter's artistry...

Montreal songwriter Helena Deland crafts work of enormous depth.

Nuanced and enriching, her lyrics are interwoven around music that feels fully three dimension, leaving a lingering emotional impact.

New album 'Someone New' is out now on Luminelle Recordings, and it's a potent work of self-acceptance.

As Clash writer Jess Wrigglesworth puts it, 'Someone New' "feels strikingly relevant for a time when many of us are re-evaluating our relationships with ourselves and others, forced to spend so much time in our own company."

Rightly gaining widespread praise, the record is accompanied by Lylz tote bags, with all proceeds going to Taking What We Need (fund for trans people in Montreal/Tiotia:ke prioritizing the needs of Black and POC trans-feminine and transwomen), Solidarity Across Borders and The Native Women's Shelter.

With the record ringing out loud and clear on the Clash stereo, we invited Helena to break down some of the creative confluents that inspired her during its making...

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In Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke depicts friendship with an imagery that inspired the world of 'Truth Nugget':

“Therefore this too must be the standard for rejection or choice : whether one is willing to stand guard over the solitude of a person and whether one is inclined to set this same person at the gate of one’s own solitude, of which (s)he learns only through that which steps, festively clothed, out of the great darkness.”

There is this beautiful coexistence between the very tangible and the completely epic in this elegant metaphor for the tacit contract of friendship, and I think Rilke's perfect poetry always juggles the two.

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Life Without Buildings

'Any Other City' is a venture in a very playful and natural use of language.

Sue Tompkins' lyrics and vocal performance bring the concept of fronting a band in an interesting direction. It feels like the opposite of self-conscious songwriting, improvised and still creating rich meaning.

To me, it comprises a soft chaos that is always refreshing to dive into.

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Esther Perel

Esther Perel is a super star of relationship therapy and is a very eloquent and interesting speaker. She gave a Ted Talk (with the catchy title 'The secret to desire in a long-term relationship') in which she describes the unlikeliness of one person being able to fulfil all the things we tend to expect from a partner.

She says "Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity but give me transcendence and awe and mystery all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge [...]"

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Mary Oliver

A great source of comfort! Every poem Mary Oliver wrote ends on a note of compassion, hope and love. Her position is often one of awe in front of the mystery of human existence and of the natural world, and yet her poetry is void of candour: it is wise and heavy with a deep reverence for and understanding of the ways humans operate in the universe.

My song 'Clown Neutral' is kind of a wink to the great comfort I found in reading her classic poem Wild Geese.

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In Search Of Lost Time is a gold mine of poetic ideas and major illuminations about the ways memory operates and how time is experienced on a subjective level.

The whole saga recounts the years Proust thought he might be wasting by not devoting them to writing, but which turned out to be the very fabric of his monstrous artistic endeavour.

I draw inspiration from his way of describing subjective experiences of environments, namely.

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'Someone New' is out now.

Photo Credit: Tess Roby

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