The Heliotropes Interview
Heliotropes is a very buzzworthy band that hails from Brooklyn. They emerged on the indie radar back in 2012 after being named one of Village Voice’s 5 not-to-miss bands during CMJ. They were also dubbed one of Flavorpill’s favorite bands of CMJ 2012. Their repertoire of releases is minimal and little is known about the individuals that make up this all-female lineup, but Heliotropes has managed to land a spot on SXSW during their tour, which they funded via a Kickstarter campaign. They signed to LA’s Manimal Vinyl label, which includes Bat For Lashes and Warpaint, and have 2 released 2 singles, “Moonlite” and “The Dove”, with a yet-to-be-titled full length slated for 2013. We caught up with lead singer/guitarist Jessica Numsuwankijkul for a brief Q&A about the upcoming tour, which kicks off in Pittsburgh tomorrow, March 7 at 6119.
Kymbo Slice: How did you come up with the name Heliotropes? Are any of you into gardening (or the At the Drive-In song), or was that just a coincidence?
Jessica Numsuwankijkul: We just liked the word. None of us are really into gardening, but I did try to plot a mosquito-repellent garden in my yard a couple years ago: mosquitoes dislike Marigolds, Yarrow and Catnip. Unfortunately, I went to Austin for a week and discovered that my then-boyfriend forgot to water the saplings and starved my garden to death. As for At The Drive In, we aren’t especially partial to them, but I did enjoy one of their shows at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco back in 1999 — but then again, I enjoyed capri pants and having a bowl haircut around that time.
KS: You raised a very modest 5K via Kickstarter to purchase a van for your tour. What made you go the Kickstarter route and were you nervous it wouldn’t work out given the time crunch?
JN: We went with Kickstarter because we didn’t have any money. Yes, we were nervous it wouldn’t work out, but we made it, thanks to our amazing and kind supporters.
KS: You’re all based in Brooklyn and will be playing a cluster of shows in Brooklyn/NYC right before you kick off your tour here in Pittsburgh. What do you think the biggest difference will be playing on the road VS playing where you live?
JN: I think the main difference is that there will be fewer people at the shows outside of New York.
KS: Heliotropes formed as a result of a Craigslist ad seeking a band to play Brian Eno songs – what are some of your other influences, both past and present?
JN: GG Allin, Talk Talk’s Spriit of Eden/Laughing Stock, Nirvana, early Pumpkins. Amber and I sometimes mess around with some Early Music vocal styles, where you just sing in fifths like it’s the year 1285.
KS: Where would you like to see Heliotropes this time next year?
JN: Somewhere in Mexico, freaking out on peyote.
For now you can catch them before they head to SXSW. They’ll be at 6119 tomorrow night. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased here. The show starts at 9:30, so make sure you’re on time to catch local opener Shockwave Riderz!