MeetThe Helvetica Effect. I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase, “Calm Amongst the Chaos”, right? Have you ever asked yourself what that means? How it feels to be at peace in the middle of catastrophe? Call it a little “Safety in the Raw”, if you will.
The Helvetica Effect was formed in 2009 in Fort Walton Beach, FL. “Calm Amongst the Chaos” was The Helvetica Effect’s freshman effort, released December 2, 2014. Previously, the band released a self-produced EP called “These Blackest Skies”, and started making its mark on the local music scene. The band recently returned from a year and a half hiatus, getting straight back into the thick of it by landing a spot in the 99 Rock “Next2Rock” competition at KC’s Sandbar and Grill on Fort Walton on November 4th, 2017.
Guitarist Rob Perez, drummer Matt Cyrus, and newest member bassist Carmen Williams took some time to chat with us at their last show of the year on December 8th at Club L.A. in Destin, FL. The Helvetica Effect performed alongside Filmore Drive, Shenanigans and Nik Flagstar & his Dirty, Mangy Dogs at a benefit for local 99 Rock DJ Eddy Key.
Kristine Wright for YesterdazeNews: What IS “The Helvetica Effect”, exactly; and what does it mean to you?
Rob Perez: “OK, so I’ll tell the story. When we first started, we were a four piece. A lot different than we are now. Struggling to come up with a name, we were sitting in a Wendy’s, and we brought up this little part of Cartoon Network. When they had Adult Swim, they had something called the “BBC Block”. One of the shows was called “Look Around You”, and every show started off with a super classy 1970’s instructional science video. The episode in question touched on what would happen if a calcium atom removed itself from the neutron, it caused what was called “The Helvetica Scenario.” The effect of this particular scenario was that upon removal of this particular piece, it begins to melt your face. We thought, “We’re face melting rock, that works!” We originally went with Helvetica Scenario, but I kept screwing up the name and calling it “Effect”’ and it stuck.”
Matt Cyrus: “For me, it’s the feeling that you get when you come see us at a live show. The feeling of togetherness, like family, that feeling inside when you know that you’re in the right place; that brings everybody together.”
Rob Perez: “It’s the overall sense of community for me. Every single person is singing those songs back to you, or feeling them for different reasons. It’s that feeling of connection between audience and artist.”
Carmen Williams: “It’s a sense of safety in the raw.”
What is the biggest difference between “Calm Amongst the Chaos”, and the material you are currently working on?
Rob: “So we released “Calm Amongst the Chaos” in December of 2014. It was a full album, and the overall reception of it was pretty amazing. In the time that we’ve spent from that point to now, it’s been more chaos than calm. We’ve had members leave, new members come in, members leave again, and it’s been gnarly. Now that we have Carmen, the calm is kind of coming in again. We’re working on new material now. We’ve been kind of a bit more touch and go on the progressive side of things, but still keeping the streamlined “Sing-a-long” rock vibe. Carmen has brought back the “Safety in the Raw”, meaning we’ll be able to kick the door in and come on with raw riffage. I think the new material is going to be more reflective of that grit. If Calm was Nirvana’s “Nevermind”, this is “In Utero”. We want to come across as a versatile band, not just be known as “That one kind of band.”
Matt Cyrus: “It’s a continuation of the path as we grow, and the music grows in the same pattern. It’s more of what you love, but more of us as we continue to grow as well.”
Can we look forward to another EP coming in 2018?
Rob Perez: “Again, we’re working on the new material feverishly. Two songs we are premiering tonight, but after that, the goal is really going to be to get this out as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we don’t have a specific release date yet. We hopefully should have something by beginning, maybe mid of next year, but no guarantees. We’ll see what happens.”
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
Rob Perez: “I genuinely hope that this is the rebirth of something phenomenal. I hope by then we are a nationally touring band, and we get to do this for a living.”
Matt Cyrus: “What we have right now is really hopeful for me to continue as long as it will go, and I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else.”
Do you have any shows coming up in January or February?
Rob Perez: “We do. We have one scheduled right now. You’re actually the first to know about it. We will be playing the 10th annual “Rock for a Cure” on February 18th, 2018 at “The Block” in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Our dear friends of Paracosm will be joining us, as well as Shenanigans and Something to Yield.”
Matt Cyrus: “Keep an eye out though. We may throw out a surprise announcement here and there.”
You can follow the band on all social media platforms, and watch their journey back into the “Calm Amongst the Chaos”, and into the new and undiscovered world of producing a sophomore release.