HÆLOS, from South-London, are an extraordinary electronic and ambient band with a trance-inducing super-power.
I first saw the group supporting Interpol at Alexandra Palace way back in 2017. It was the perfect time to see them live; people could still come together in their hundreds, stand together and experience the hypnotic power of this band. Around that time, the band had just released their debut album ‘Full Circle’. Listening to an album as atmospheric as this performed in a venue the size of Ally Pally was about as close as I’ll probably ever get to a genuine religious experience.
For a moment, a room full of people forgot where they were, or even who they were. Yep. That was me – completely anesthetised by the scale of their sound – a genuinely incredible and utterly surreal experience – one of the very best supporting bands I’ve ever seen live.
Before seeing HÆLOS, I’d never heard the term ‘Trip Hop’ used to describe a band. As the definition goes; “a fusion of hip hop and electronica until neither genre is recognisable“, which by the way sounds like even Wikipedia are shrugging their shoulders at that one, somehow sums up this band sound pretty well.
Since that gig, I’ve kept a close eye on HÆLOS, and last year, the band released their second album ‘Any Random Kindness’. Once again, they were back with those classic layered synths and trademark sinister and unearthly vocals which made their first album so addictive.
Having a look through their YouTube comments, it seems that the band has built a large portion of their following through nothing more than fan curiosity. Early tracks released into the world were often accompanied by little to no explanation about who the band were. But, still, their music’s ability to send chills instantly down your spine has been enough to draw thousands of avid music fans looking for their next hit of discovery.
Continuously alternating between two vocalists throughout most of their tracks, they maintain a trance-inducing flow whilst still shaking things up. Similarly to the excellent blend of male and female voices from bands like Chvrches, In the case of HÆLOS, however, the combination seems closer, much more intimate, personal and imperative to their sound.
In true resurgence style of early techno, hip-hop and house music, with influences such as The XX shining through and the core elements from the days of Kraftwork still audible, HÆLOS have set out to not only honour their idols but to continue where those great bands have left off. A continued pursuit of new and exciting sounds, not attempting to sound like anyone else, but continually looking for new possibilities.
Listening to any HÆLOS track feels like placing yourself in a filmic world, one with a playful and inspirational flare. Following their second album, the band have now begun the next chapter of their exploration in music. After a series of single releases, the band published their combined EP ‘I’m There’ in October, teasing even more excellent and eerie sounds to come in their third album due for release next year.
As always, their sound is continually shifting. The EP serves as their first-ever release independent from Matador Records. Having now built their own South-London based studio and self-run record label from the ground up, the band describe the freedom they have gained as having ‘complete control over their vision.’
It seems fitting that nothing should stand in the way of this band who are always wanting to explore uncharted territory. Their recent EP is in many ways, their most experimental endeavour to date. HÆLOS are a band with a clear goal in their sights, who act with confidence and conviction in all they do and strive to discover just what’s possible with the tools and technology they have around them.
‘I’m There’ is available to listen to on Spotify now, with the bands new album coming next year.