Helpless: The Download 2018 Interview

Powerviolence, as the name implies, is among of the most extreme forms of metal orientated music. Whilst it may remain a genre reserved for the sidelines, one of the best acts within the UK who embody the genre and it's nihilistic ethos are Plymouth's Helpless. We caught them shortly after their devastating set on the Dogtooth stage to chat about their thoughts on large scale festivals, the south west music scene and the joy of people watching at festivals.

Hi guys, how did you find your set?

Russel: Really cool, really enjoyed it actually.

Steve: Yeah, it was fun.

Russel: Personally, I don't know about these guys but I was a little bit nervous at first. But as soon as we started playing it was great. It sounded and felt great on stage.

So how do you feel a major festival like Download compares to smaller and more intimate events?

Russel: I'm not sure, it seemed like playing here would feel weirder, but it didn't.

Dan: We're not used to playing these kind of events but it was cool, it went really well. I think what we do translates better in a smaller space, but to play something like this is just so cool.

Russel: I think another factor is that the stage was small, it wasn't what I expected it to be. I doubt it would ever happen but if we were booked on the main stage here it would be very odd. It just wouldn't work.

Yeah, I don't think open air powervoilence would work. So you guys are from Plymouth, what's the scene down there like?

Steve: There isn't one, aha.

Dan: Nah, there's a steady scene down there, there's peaks and troughs, but it's all down to the promoters in the area.

Russel: But there's more of a punk scene in Plymouth. From the area there's been bands like Woahnows and Gnarwolves, that's the kind of the thing doing the rounds down there.

Dan: There's pockets of bands around the south west that do similar to what we doing.

Do you think the scene is dependent on that genre then?

Russel: Nah, the scene is pretty varied in Plymouth to be honest, I think...

Dan: It's really varied but it's also a big student town. I think the more mainstream punk and stuff rises to the top a little bit. There's been bands like Crazy Arm who have played these kinds of events but in Plymouth, there's not a lack of heavier music it just feels like the promoters and the people who put on these shows are into that kind of stuff. It feels like that genre gets pushed forward a little bit more.

You've recently had a string of shows playing alongside with the likes of MØL, Svalbard and Monolithian. What was that run like?

Steve: It was great, we run with Monolithian and they're good friends to us.

Dan: Yeah, we've seen them so many times in Plymouth and in the area.

Steve: Yeah they're a fucking great band so it's cool being able to play so many different places with them.

Speaking of Monolithian, you guys played two sold out shows with them at The Mothers Ruin in Bristol and are now playing with Full Of Hell at Rough Trade later this summer. Do you think there's something special about Bristol when it comes down to extreme music?

Russel: Well in all honesty I think the two shows at Mothers Ruin were not difficult to sell out because it was probably the smallest place we've ever played. I say that, it was also one of the best places we've ever played.

Dan: It was really cool in there, it's just a cupboard.

Russel: But it was incredible, it was just really, really fun. Super hot and just a cool place to play. But yeah, Bristol seems to be okay for us.

Steve: Yeah Bristol's a really good place and there's loads of good bands from the area.

Dan: It's like a smaller London.

Russel: I think with us, the tough stuff we play is little bit more accepted in Bristol. It's a cool city.

One of the sold out shows was a matinee show. Do you think matinee show's have less of an atmosphere than evening shows?

Steve: Not at all, I think the afternoon show felt and went better than the evening show. It seemed busier and the crowd seemed way more into it.

Russel: I think it worked out well in that way that since there was no tickets for the evening, a second slot opening up in the day made it feel more special. It certainly felt more special for a lack of a better word.

So last question, whats the most oddest or memorable thing you've seen at a festival?

Russel: A guy walking at a straight 90 degree angle, that was pretty impressive. It was the first time we went to Hellfest, me and my girlfriend saw this guy walking at a fucking 90 degree angle, just completely bent. It was just impressive.

I'm genuinely concerned for that dude's posture. Cheers anyway guys!

Helpless play Bristol's Rough Trade on the 22nd of August alongside Full Of Hell, Leeched and Human Cull. Check out the quite frankly ever so gnarly poster below and get tickets via The Bristol Ticket Shop.