heka is the project of London-based multidisciplinary artist Francesca Brierley. Raised in the Italian hills, heka left that serene sounding setting behind for the more frenetic pace of the UK capital city. While equally at home working with video, digital collage and a host of other mediums, it is through music that heka is announcing herself to the world, with the release of the debut EP, (a), out last week via Balloon Machine Records.
(a) opens in suitably unusual fashion with (a) mask, a track that begins with a street recording of a jazz saxophonist then slides into an audio clip of Aldous Huxley taking acid, and then become a delightful piece of bedroom folk, it is a track that has no right to work as well as it does. Elsewhere, wires is a beautifully delicate piece, fusing Francesca’s vocal to a meandering static laden guitar, while previous single (a) wall, is the record’s luxurious, decadent highlight, like This Is The Kit re-imagined for a New Orleans jazz bar. Throughout (a), heka seems to act like an adhesive, the human heart that bonds the disparate ideas of music and art into something tangible and moving. This is a record that seems to span various eras and places, unafraid to borrow from anywhere and everywhere, always searching for the answer to jump whatever hurdle is in front of her. With a promise for more music and more media to come, heka is an intriguing artist, one for whom there seems to be no limit beyond her own vast imagination.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is heka?
Singer (song)writer musician producer artist in no particular order. Half english half Italian in no particular order.
I make sad music mostly and like to combine different sounds, from the more organic and acoustic, to electric and electronic instrumentation. Generally found rejecting genres.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Back when I was fourteen I played a couple of songs for this group of friends of friends who had formed this beautiful collective of artists where I grew up, and I think that was the first time that I’d played something I’d written for anyone other than my family so it was a pretty nerve-racking but amazing experience. After that night I became part of the collective which is still one of the most heartwarming and wonderful experiences I can think of. So precious and rare to have found a space like that when I was just starting out and I really cherish it.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I make other art too actually! I’m just finishing a degree in art and computing, I like to make graphics, digital collage, a bit of animation and lots of video editing which I’ve loved and done for a long time alongside music. All the visuals accompanying the songs are mine, I love combining these two practices together as it opens up this whole other dimension in which to explore the song. Also I’m a control-freak.
FTR: What can people expect from the heka live show?
Sad music and banter.
FTR: What’s next for heka?
Well, the EP is out now with the video following shortly. I have a couple of London gigs scattered around the summer which I’m very much looking forward to and a couple collaborations that I’m excited to start working on so will be keeping busy.
They Listen To…
Tame Impala – Remember Me
LUMP – Animal
Perfume Genius – On The Floor
Bruce Springsteen – Sad Eyes
Shirley Bassey – Jezahel
(a) EP is out now via Balloon Machine Records. For more information on heka visit https://hekamusic.bandcamp.com.