Interview by Jessica Clingempeel | April 4, 2020 | Band Facebook
What is the meaning of Helsott and why was that name chosen for the band?
Helsott means “Fatal Illness”, or “Hel’s Journey”. It just seemed very fitting for us at the time.
Was that the first idea for a name?
Yeah pretty much. There might have been some names thrown out there but nothing we grabbed a hold of. As soon as we came across Helsott we knew that was it.
Prior to Wacken 2019, I have never heard of the band, but watched you guys perform, front row, with my boyfriend. Loved the show, loved the music. Can you give me a little background of the band and how you guys formed?
Thank you for checking out our set. The band was formed by myself and my brother Mark. Cooper joined the band in 2011 and that has been the nucleus of the band. We have had many different lineup changes over the past 10 years. Our older brother was the original bass player. Mikey Muller was the longest standing bass player in the band but now he is our sound guy and our current bass player is a Doctor that runs a hospital in Michigan. We have a new lead guitar player Peter Truax.
Helsott is listed as Pagan Metal, and of course there are some Viking influences there as well. Do any of the members practice Paganism or have any Nordic ancestry?
We are all of the Earth, no need to practice anything. Mark and I have Norwegian and Danish ancestry. I would suspect that Pete is either Norse or Swedish.
When writing lyrics, what drives the inspiration and who is the lyricist of the band?
I am the main lyricist. Always glad for input or help from the other members but 95% of the lyrics are written by me. I am inspired by history and every day normal life. I never know when an idea will hit me.
Were there any challenges when writing and recording ‘Slaves and Gods’ and is there anything you would do differently?
Yeah our guitar player at the time chose to quit the band via text message day 1 of recording that album. We didn’t use any of his songs so Cooper and I put some stuff together on the spot and brought back some old songs that had never made an album yet and then we asked a bunch of our friends to help us finish the album. It ended up being a much better record than if we recorded it with the old guitar player but the stress at the time was overwhelming at times. Thanks to Arkona, Kevin Storm, TrollfesT, Morten Muller, Beorn Friedrichson, Elvenking, Hunter Havokk, Ryker Grey, and Dom Cray for their help.
You guys are based in California, how have the locals taken to your music?
We definitely feel the love from the SoCal metal community. The feeling is very mutual!
Has it been hard to get out there in the USA in general being that this country is not big on metal, particularly Pagan Metal?
It is very hard. We do our best and that’s all we can ask of ourselves.
Peter Truax was recently announced as the new guitarist. How long have you guys known each other and what made him decide to join the Helsott family?
We have known each other for 5 or 6 years. Pete says it was a no-brainer to join the band. We have similar taste in music and we all get along very well. He is stoked to be a part of a band that is recording and touring and has the same ambition as he does.
What have been some of the best shows you have played and was Wacken 2019 your first time at the festival?
Wacken, Wacken Winter Nights, Cernnunos Pagan Fest, San Diego House of Blues in 2018 with Arkona and Korpiklaani, Several of the Paganfest 2013 shows including Hollywood House of Blues, Montreal, Denver, and Toronto.
What would be the perfect tour line-up for you guys?
Iron Maiden, Amon Amarth, Helsott. But in reality the 2013 Paganfest USA lineup was perfect. Ensiferum, Tyr, Heidevolk, TrollfesT, and Helsott.
Besides music, what other professions do the guys do?
Music is my profession. I manage bands, promote for Wacken Metal Battel USA, part owner of Rotted Brain Records, and play in a few bands. Mark is in construction. Pete is into lighting. Doc is a Doctor. Cooper woks the bar at a winery.
What are some of the band’s past-times/hobbies?
Drinking, Drugging, Fishing, Camping, Ax Throwing, Video Games, any kind of fuckery we can get ourselves into.
What bands do you guys listen to?
Rush, Tom Petty, Blue Oyster Cult, Jimi Hendrix, and Pantera
Any new music being written now and if so, when can we expect the next release?
We are currently writing our next full length album. Expected to be released in 2021.
Any ideas for collaborations in the future with other artists? Maybe even someone from Amon Amarth or Ensiferum?
No ideas as of right now for collaborations. I do want to get Ripper Owens on the next record.
Any last words for the readers?
If you made it this far I applaud you and thank you for your interest in Helsott. Hope to see you on the road soon!