HALAN is a singer-songwriter and producer based in Los Angeles. She writes alt/dream pop and her debut EP Best Intentions is out now. We caught up with her to find out more.
Best Intentions represents the dark moods I tend to channel into my music, and how I like to explore different genres.
First up, tell us about yourself - what got you into music?
I learned classical piano growing up and always enjoyed playing by ear or making up random melodies. I’ve always enjoyed creating stuff, and probably came up with my first proper song when I was 18. I didn’t realise I could produce my own music until I had the time to learn it after college.
Were there any particular bands or artists you took inspiration from?
I listen to a wide variety of music genres hence I draw inspiration from a lot of artists. But my most recent influences are probably Massive Attack, Author & Punisher, Meg Myers, Tame Impala, Beach House and Rammstein.
Halan is what one of my good friends would call me instead of Helen. I liked how it sounds, so I decided to use it as my artist name, but in caps, because I like how semi-symmetrical it looks.
How would you describe your musical style?
I would say, currently it’s dark and ponderous, at times with a doom-y feel, at times trip-hoppy, at times 90’s ballad-sounding, at times dreamy and tingly. But definitely dark.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
I’d like to collaborate with so many artists! Maybe Massive Attack and Author & Punisher, for now.
Tell us about your new EP Best Intentions. What’s the inspiration behind it?
I was working on a few songs that come from personal romantic experiences that hurt me in some way, then I decided to put them together in an EP.
When did you write it and where did you record it?
I started writing the title track about one and a half years ago. Then I started the other songs at the beginning of this year. I recorded the EP in my former and current apartments, and mostly in closets.
How does ‘Best Intentions’ represent your style?
It represents the dark moods I tend to channel into my music, and how I like to explore different genres. That’s why the tracks in the Best Intentions EP all sound quite different from each other.
Can you talk us through each track?
The first track, ‘I Don’t Know You’, is about a first date I went on during which I was missing someone else. The second track, ‘Best Intentions’, is about a short fling with someone in my freshman year of college that caused a long-lasting bad memory.
‘Can’t Keep You’ is about the subject of an unrequited love who lives 3,000 miles from me. ‘You Did Right’ thanks my ex of three years for initiating our breakup.
I ordered the tracks so that they’re about deeper, more involved relationships the deeper you listen into the EP, but while the other three songs have some unresolved angst, ‘You Did Right’, the ending track carries an optimistic sense of closure.
What are your hopes for ‘Best Intentions’?
I hope that people will enjoy and connect to the music and lyrics in their own way, even if they didn’t have similar experiences.
How’s the rest of 2020 looking in what’s becoming a crazy year?
Funnily my 2020 went off to a really rough start even before COVID. I wrote a song about that experience, an ever darker one than the EP songs. But I’m also working on songs that I hope are a little more cheerful.
Finally, if you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
Stop brooding/fantasizing about romance stuff, enjoy the other aspects of life more! This is a piece of advice I’d give myself anytime 😂