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Helang: “My main purpose with music is to use my platform to speak up”

Helang, a skilled Chinese-American artist based in New York, has been refining her distinctive mix of house and techno music as a DJ and producer. Her soundscapes are a complex fusion of ethereal tones and throbbing rhythms, meticulously crafted to engage listeners.

Photo Credit: Helang – Official

Renowned for her dynamic sets, Helang has performed alongside artists such as Testpilot (Deadmau5), John Digweed, Camelphat, and others, earning accolades from notable personalities like Joseph Capriati and Marco Carola.

In her music, Helang channels her experiences to resonate and inspire her audience, showcasing not only her passion and commitment but also her cultural heritage. Her latest track, ‘Wise Devil,’ released under her independent label, Dauntless Records, is a testament to her indie-dance influences and a tantalizing glimpse of her forthcoming EP, ‘Lovers of the Unknown,’ due May 16th.

In an engaging conversation with EG, Helang shares her journey from falling in love with electronic dance music 13 years ago to her current status as an emerging artist in the industry. She discusses her recent release, her future projects, and her experiences navigating the music industry as a woman, providing inspiring insights into her life and career.

EG: Welcome to Electronic Groove! Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. How are you? What have you been up to recently?

Helang: Hi, thanks for having me. I’m grateful to be here! I’ve been staying busy. It’s hard to slow down when you live in a city like New York… but I try! Music has had a wild start this year, and I am working hard with my team pushing this forthcoming EP, along with sorting gigs as they come. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel excited and anxious at once, but whatever life has in store for me, I am ready for it!

EG: March is International Women’s month. How does being a woman influence your art, and affect your experience as a musician working in dance music?

Helang: I feel very empowered being a woman musician working in dance music. We are obviously an underrepresented (but growing) fraction of the community, and that makes me feel even more motivated to use my voice to educate, inspire, and connect people. My main purpose with music, besides the fact that I absolutely love it, is to use my platform to speak up. I want the ladies (and the general audience really) to know that it’s ok to talk about the good and bad. Life is flawed but also a wonderful gift, we need to recognize that and uplift each other. It is also very important to stand your ground and know your worth, and it is ok to say no to things that don’t serve you.

EG: What advice do you have for other women in music?

Helang: My advice for other women in music is to speak up if something bothers you and don’t let anyone take advantage of you. There are certainly times where it is definitely not worth calling out some silly comments or remarks made by others, but there are times where they need to be addressed. It is important that we continue emphasizing the fact that us women don’t get opportunities because we are women, we get opportunities because we are capable of being beautiful, sexy, talented, capable, and hard-working all at once!

EG: When did you become passionate about electronic dance music? How did you realize that you wanted to produce and play electronic music? In which ways can you see your Chinese-American heritage translate into what you create?

Helang: I fell in love with electronic dance music 13 years ago. I was in middle school when I discovered SoundCloud, and started listening to a bunch of old-school remixes by Carl Cox, Calvin Harris, Avicii & more. I always love getting asked this question because music has been a big part of my life since I was a kid. I went from being classically trained on the piano to singing solo and in choirs to DJing, and even though I had breaks in between, I always knew that music is what kept me grounded. It was a full circle moment for me when DJing came along after my SoundCloud discovery which led to producing in 2019.

“My main purpose with music, besides the fact that I absolutely love it, is to use my platform to speak up”

EG: Music, DJing, and producing is an art form – are there any other forms of art you were passionate about creating, prior to pursuing a career in electronic music? Do you see parallelisms between them?

Helang: Absolutely! I used to play piano and sing solo and in choirs, which led to a lot of songwriting for fun. I always felt sparks when writing lyrics, something about allowing myself to be vulnerable and poetic gave me the courage to dive into my inner thoughts and feelings and in turn express myself through my words. No matter what type of art you’re pursuing, it allows you to bring your thoughts and feelings to life, and in the most vulnerable and authentic ways possible.

EG: What is a major life experience that impacted you creatively?

Helang: It would have to be me moving 6 times in 8 years. I was born in the US but then moved to Shanghai, China with my family and went to school there till I came back to the US again for middle school. I think I’ve transferred schools 5+ times throughout the whole process, so at some point during these transitions, I lost my passion for playing the piano and writing songs. It took me many years to start embracing myself for who I was and that learning journey helped my creative process come back to life.

EG: What is your ritual when preparing to play an event? What are some of the feelings that you are trying to transmit to the crowd?

Helang: I definitely like to be alone for the most part on show days. I like to go on a 5k run to clear my head, and then have a nice but light meal right before the show to keep my nutrients in check. I always have 1-2 USB backups to make sure I am well prepared. I want people who listen to my music or come to my shows to feel like I create a safe space for them to be the most badass, sexy, and adventurous versions of themselves.

EG: What is a dream venue, or dream event, anywhere in the world that you would like to play?

Helang: There are so many to name, but I’d say my dream gigs are Movement Festival in Detroit, Seismic Festival in Austin, Texas, Kappa Festival in Italy, Time Warp, Tomorrowland, etc. I am shooting for the moon!

“Something about allowing myself to be vulnerable and poetic gave me the courage to dive into my inner thoughts and feelings”

EG: What is a dream artist you’d like to collaborate with?

Helang: Definitely Nicole Moudaber. She is such a badass, a role model for all women if I must say.

EG: Finally, what can we expect from Helang in the near future? Where can your fans catch you next?

Helang: I have a whole EP coming out over the next few months, and I cannot wait for everyone to hear it. This is a turning point for me in my career thus far because I truly think the sounds in this EP represent my core artistic visions in shaping my future. You can catch me in New York where I have exciting shows lined up, and hopefully, I will be playing at cities like LA, Austin, Miami, and more this year!

EG: Thank you so much! It was a pleasure. We hope to see you soon, and wish you the best of luck!

Helang: Thank you for chatting with me!

Helang’s ‘Wise Devil’ is now available via Dauntless Records. Stream and download here.

Follow Helang: Spotify | Soundcloud | Instagram

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