Face Melter; An interview with Eli Wimmer of Helen Kelter Skelter

The name Helen Kelter Skelter may call to mind a visionless disarray, but the band’s sophomore full-length, Melter, is anything but. The aptly named album showcases what H/K/S does best—-a relentless fusion of everything good about rock ‘n’ roll.
There are vintage organ flourishes over frenetic bass lines. Vocals delivered with glam rock swagger over subtle and intricate guitar work, deep in the mix. Droning loops, pulsing beats, and throughout, a confident pop sensibility that ties together what, in less skilled hands, could’ve been disparate parts. 
Melter nods to the band’s psychedelic tendencies—-fans of their signature fuzz won’t be disappointed—- but more than ever, the record pushes forward Helen Kelter Skelter’s singular gifts: immense technical skill and willingness to experiment in service to the song.
The band self-released Melter on January 19 and Ghettoblaster caught up with vocalist Eli Wimmer to chat. This is what he told us.
When did you first begin writing material for Melter?
I’d say we started working up some of the ideas that would turn into Melter songs shortly after releasing our first album. Some were just instantly there and some unfolded over a longer period of time.
How do you feel this differs from your self-titled debut?
Well, with our first album a lot of the material was written before the band really existed. We hadn’t rehearsed or played any shows. It started off as a recording project. So after becoming an actual group and doing those things together, we learned what kinds of capabilities we had and what concepts we enjoyed working on.
All of Melter’s songs were written to be Helen Kelter Skelter tunes whereas some of the tracks on our first album wandered around for awhile before they ended up there.
Have you been playing these songs out? If so, what’s the reaction been like?
Definitely. Playing live is the best and we always want to put a fresh foot forward when we do. The response to these tunes has been pretty encouraging.
Sometimes you gauge it on how into the set the crowd seems while we’re playing these songs, sometimes people will come up and ask about a certain song  and say something like “You know it’s the one close to the end of the set with the meedlymeedlychunkapshhhpart.”  They’ll buy merch and want to buy the record that a certain Melter song is on.
Leading up to the release we’ve had to tell people that that song they’re into isn’t on a record yet so it’ll be nice to have this Melter out and be able to deliver.

The video for “GUUD” is bananas. What’s the song about? 
How dumb humans can be sometimes. Entitlement, over-indulgence and not cleaning up after ourselves. Ripping on people for acknowledging those faults and realizing they should probably do something about them but falling into complacency. But don’t take my word for it.
Who are Helen Kelter Skelter’s influences?
Like most groups, we’ve got all kinds. From Modest Mussorgsky to Can. From Phillip Glass to Sleep. Television to Vonnegut, old-time radio sci-fi shows to the headlines. We have a lot of time to share different music, books etc. with each other at practice or when we’re in the van on the road and it all kind of seeps in.
What artists are you listening to these days? Any Okie faves we should know about?
Lately we’ve enjoyed King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s new releases. Orb, Metz, Faux Ferocious and Natural Child are also in heavy rotation. As far as Oklahoma bands worth checking into we’re all pretty fond of BRONCHO, Rainbows Are Free, LCG and the X, Masterhand, Tyson Meade, GUM and a lot more. They are all pretty great and pretty different from each other.
What’s next for Helen Kelter Skelter? Touring east of the Mississippi?
Next we plan on supporting this album by making some more music videos and of course some touring. We’re arranging a tour out to the east coast for the springtime as we speak. Just as soon as our oxen are strong and our covered wagons are ready for the long voyage away from Oklahoma. Beyond that we just plan to keep making music until someone takes our instruments away.
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