Music & Me with … HeleFonix- 01 Mar 2021 -
Image: Helen Meissner aka Helefonix from Stevenage, UK
When were you first introduced to music?
My earliest memory was being taught ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony’ by our babysitter. My parents didn’t seem to listen to music for pleasure, they seemed pretty busy running the farm. I was given formal piano and violin lessons from a relatively young age but I never really enjoyed the lessons. I would say I was about seven. I never practiced enough.
Tell me about your favourite teachers
At junior school (Duncombe in Hertford) we had a really strong head mistress, Miss Edwards, who came from Australia and I remember her telling us in no uncertain terms that we should realise how privileged we were to be born in the UK. In senior school my violin teacher Ed Burns was a favourite as he didn’t give me a hard time over my lack of progress (caused by a lack of practicing of course). I was gutted when he left and was then given a very strict teacher to whom I was a huge weekly disappointment. Imagine my horror when I joined a choir twenty years later and there she was! I didn’t go back.
What are your fondest musical memories?
When I was little, my sister Julia and I would pick a top 5 from my parents old 45s. Contenders included Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Were Made For Walking In, Neil Sedaka’s Calendar Girl, Cliff Richard’s Theme for a Dream… As we got older they progressed to the ‘Top of the Pops’ covers records and Terry Jacks’ Seasons in the Sun became mine and my cousins’ Sally and Mark’s absolute favourite (but I didn’t listen to the lyrics til much older which completely changed the track for me!).
What is your favourite TV theme tune and/or film soundtrack?
It has to be between The Onedin Line and All Creatures Great and Small. The Onedin Line started at 7.15pm on a Sunday and initially that was my bedtime (when I was about seven). But I could still hear the music and I loved it. So rousing. Around the same time I begged my mother to allow me to watch a programme they were all talking about at school – Doctor Who. I realised how important the currency of watching the right programmes was – I literally couldn’t take part in the conversations over lunch if I hadn’t watched it. It makes me realise how important it is that children are allowed to play (age appropriate) xbox/PS games so that they can take part in the conversations. Feeling out of the loop at that age has a very significant effect on how you feel through the rest of your life.
What was the last music download/ CD you bought?
It would be either the complete works of Johnno Casson, or the limited edition gold coloured record ‘Live at Moth Club’ released by Roxanne de Bastion. Both artists support others. Johnno with his Warm and Toasty Club plus moderating for Tom Robinson’s Fresh on the Net and Roxanne has just started an excellent Monday 10am show on Boogaloo Radio.
Imagine you’ve been given £250 to spend on anything music-related. How will you spend it?
I’ve been working on Garageband since I started last summer, which is free of course. And I really feel I need to do two things – upgrade to a paid platform such as Logic and also buy a lovely plug in system called Output by Arcade.
How do you balance music with your other obligations?
Starting to make music when your children have grown up and left home and most external commitments are removed (due to covid) is a blessing. I do have paid work to do each week (PR for a couple of businesses and artists) and I am a volunteer business mentor for a local small business support scheme. They are good obligations though as I’ve found it’s helpful to step back from the tracks for a while so I can come back to them with ‘fresh ears’.
Happiness is … the simple things in life, which we can take for granted: being warm, fluffy slippers, a nice thick towel warmed on a radiator, a hot cup of tea. A phone call- I love it when my children ring for a catch up. And being asked to do interviews like these from people who have come across my music and enjoy it!