With their debut single ‘Fake Smile’, enigmatic Bristol-based group HEKA invite us into their vivid world not unlike ours – full of considered textures and impressionistic moods.
Led by Anton Larkin – the group have developed an assured and vibrant opening statement – a track full of instantly embracing progressions that are layered with substantial exploration of apprehension and anxiety in narrative.
HEKA is an emboldened and unwavering being – approaching the foreboding existentialism that pierces the track with forthright openness – Larkin stares deep into the heart of its protagonist in search of answers as the synths swell amongst him.
Yet where HEKA have immediately prospered is in their subtle control of temperament.
The track only allows itself a spectral whirl of release when the suspense has clearly reached its precipice – transcending an electronic mentality into a comprehensive formula, crafting pop that carries meaningful weight.
With ‘Fake Smile’ premiering today here at Wax, we sat down with Larkin to discuss these uncertain times, the multi-faceted nature of the project and how exploring the performative nature of beings can help to find empathy.
These really have been unprecedented times, how are you, how are you all feeling in all this?
Yeah it’s been a bit mad hasn’t it! We’re ok, all healthy most importantly. We were planning on gigging before all this, but once the pandemic struck we had to really rethink everything we had planned. I think we’ve managed to steer it into a positive though, we managed to keep up momentum and made the most of having more time on our hands by putting all our energy into the release and making the sort of visuals we have always wanted.
With your first single now out, what have you personally taken from making it?
This track has evolved so much from the first demo to now, as has my life and the world around me. It’s the first song I wrote that really felt like “This is it, this is HEKA!” and so it only seems fitting that this is the first song to be released. So much collaborative time and energy has gone into it from all angles, and we have discovered and learnt so much about what HEKA really is by making it. I’m really excited to be finally sharing it – it’s felt like a long time coming.
To me, HEKA immediately comes across as quite a multi-faceted project – animation is much a penchant for you as the music. Was it important for you to be able to balance both penchants?
Yes it was definitely important to me. I think I was equally excited to be making a music video as I was for the actual music, and wanted to put as much love and attention into it as I would one of my songs. I love to write music whilst watching films and cartoons, so I feel like the song was almost born out of animation. Then whilst making the video we referenced those cartoons we were watching so I feel like its come full circle really. I like to think they are very much one of the same thing rather than a separate song and video. We also have Tom Sharp to thank for that – he was an absolute delight to work with, he really understood what we were trying to say and then ran with it.
Emotion seeps heavily throughout the track – both musically and narratively – do you feel you can express yourself equally in these forms?
I feel like there is a performative element to that emotion because the song isn’t really about my own emotions but rather imagining someone else’s. I’m interested in that balance of reality and performance, like actors playing a role but to get certain emotions portrayed they use their own experiences to find that empathy. I think sometimes I find it easier to write about other people and put myself in their shoes because it means I can switch it off afterwards.
The video for HEKA’s debut single ‘Fake Smile’ – with visuals created by Tom Sharp – is here to watch now at Wax.
Words: Ross Jones Photography: @twinsenuk