Mobius – Interview with Heli Andrea & ‘Kala’ Album Review

I get asked a lot about how I discover new music. Most of the times it’s YouTube or Spotify. I’d be watching a video or listening to a track and it takes me to another that its algorithm believes I’d like. Sometimes it takes me to I’m the Map song from Dora the Explorer, but most of the times I end up on a song from a band that I’d like. Spotify is the reason I fell upon Mobius, the band we’ll talk about today. It actually took me to their song Mukti, which we’ll talk about in the review below. So atta boy, Spotify.. Or should it be ‘atta app’? *BA DUM TSS*

And so we’ve written a review about Mobius’ album ‘Kala’. And we had the chance to interview Heli, the vocalist of Mobius.

Now I know some of you don’t give a crap about my review and are here just to read the interview with Heli. So, click here to jump straight to it.

Or continue reading and something good will happen to you in 6 days. (Joking, this crap never works)


Review

‘Kala’ is an album of 9 tracks, that takes 44 minutes to enjoy, then 44 other minutes because it’s too good to just listen to once. And here are 4 reasons why.

1. The Music

No, we don’t mean that we like ‘Kala’ because it has music. Obviously all musical albums have music. We are talking here about the quality of the music. Rather than describing this music in technical terms that only few people would understand, I’ll use an analogy that EVERYONE would understand: FOOD. Imagine ordering a salad. Now some salads have ingredients that are easily identified and sometimes a person would even pick which of these ingredients to eat first leaving their favourite to the end. Some salads however, have a kind of mystery in their ingredients, maybe because they’re chopped in a way you’re not used to, or because it contains vegetables you’ve never seen before. However, you don’t care what it contains, because it’s SO DAMN GOOD!

That’s how the music on most songs in ‘Kala’ is! There are so many ingredients that you get lost on what’s in it, but you don’t care, because the end result, the taste, is so damn good. And that’s what makes this band indeed a progressive Metal band.

You can hear that in tracks like: Abhinivesha, Sharira, Mukti, and Akasha.

2. The Band’s Identity

When you read Mobius’ bio on Facebook you’d see expressions like “coming from both hemispheres of this planet…”, “the music of Mobius is a blend”, and “synthesis of five musicians, each having grown up in a radically different environment” used to describe the band. And when you listen to ‘Kala’, you feel these expressions coming to life in their music and lyrics. The cultural differences are embedded deeply into the album, and the music is rich with diverse elements, as promised.

The entire album can prove what we’re saying here, but these songs are screaming the band’s identity: Mukti, Akasha, Bhati.

3. Heli’s vocals

I always talk about vocalists and describe how great their vocals are. However, and I think I’ve only said that about two or three vocalists in bands we’ve reviewed here, ‘Kala’ made Heli Andrea one of my favourite vocalists! I mean, she has a mellifluous voice, but it’s not only that. The way she is able to express her emotions through her voice made a huge difference. Even when the lyrics were not in English and thus my brain could not comprehend what she’s singing, my brain did not care, because it was so deeply impressed with how she’s singing! She expressed every emotion in a wonderful way with her wonderful voice.

Listen to Mukti and tell me I’m wrong. I dare you.

I dare you, I double dare you ~Pulp Fiction | Nurse memes humor ...

4. Favourite Song: ‘Mukti’

I believe this would be obvious by now. I mean I did mention this song in all previous 3 points. What’s interesting though is that most songs in ‘Kala’ are of the same quality. The three of us however agreed that Mukti was the one that was able to make us say: “wow” several times. Add to that a song that is 8 minutes long and doesn’t bore you is always a great song!


We recommend ‘Kala’ for Progressive Metal fans who enjoy Metal fused with cultural elements and world music. ‘Kala’ is an album that every Metal fan should try and is an omen of great future for this talented band.


Ratings

The FemMetal Team has given the album the following rates:

Betty8.0/10
Jad8.5/10
Rebecca9.0/10
Total8.5/10

Interview

We talked with Heli Andrea about her music, her band’s new album and many other things! Hope you enjoy this interview!

Hello Heli! How are you and the other members of Mobius doing?
All good thanks! We missed the rehearsals and shows a lot during the french containment. But soon, we will be able to play together again. And we are working on some projects, so we are happy! 
That’s awesome!
We’re going to talk about your new album ‘Kala’ in depth throughout this interview. But first, for our readers who are learning about you for the first time, would you like to introduce your band, Mobius?
We are five musicians with different music stories and we come from different places. We met in Lyon (France), and we play progressive metal. We released a first album in 2016 (The Line) which was in an epic and symphonic style, and Kala, our new album, in January. This one is much more influenced by world music, mainly Indian and Asian. We love mixing influences in our music, and we listen to jazz, modern metal, world music and others. 
Your second album ‘Kala’ was released earlier this year. How are you feeling about the reception this album got since?
It’s really awesome. Thanks to Kala, many people discovered us and support our art, but we also have great media feedback. We’ve been so honoured to be featured in french and international magazines we know for years like Metal Hammer, Rock Hard, Prog, Modern Drummer, Metal Injection and others. I showed the articles to my mother: “Hey Mum, have a look! It’s us here!” ahah! We are proud and really glad about the Kala release. It encourages us for the third album. 
Credit: Quentin Thomas
Your band comes from, as you describe it, “both hemispheres of this planet”. How did this variety in the band’s individuals’ background and culture shape the sound and character of the band as a unit? And how can we feel this character in  ‘Kala’?
Adrien (drums) and Guillaume (keyboards) come from the Reunion Island. They have been influenced by different genres of music, among them Maloya and Sega (Reunion island traditional music), but also Indian music, as there is an important Indian community there. They also listen to a lot of jazz, hip hop and others. I grew up with world music and was surrounded by different languages so I’ve always been interested in other cultures’ musics and sounds, but I also sing pop, classical and baroque. Xavier is coming from Heavy metal like Iron Maiden and then went into modern metal, while Alex is very rock and pop. We have different tastes and spend a lot of time sharing music. I guess it gives this mix in our music. 
So, in Kala, you can find some poly-rhythms, Sanskrit and Tamil languages, Mongolian and Carnatic influenced vocals, instruments like tablas, sitar but also dulcimer, duduk and others. It is also very jazzy sometimes with the piano of Guillaume. So it’s mixed. 
We wrote in our bio “coming from both hemispheres of this planet” because two of us come from the Reunion island, one from Mauritius, one from Portugal and one from France. Now we are all reunited in Lyon, which is a cool story. One of our dream is to play in Mauritius and in The Reunion island one day.
Wow that’s great!
I hope you enjoy games because we’re going to play one right now to get our readers more excited to hear your album! We’re going to play ‘Which Song..’. In this game I’ll ask you to pick a song from ‘Kala’ for a certain task. Ready?
YES!! I love games let’s go!
Which song on ‘Kala’ would you use to introduce someone to your band’s music?
Abhinivesha
Which song on ‘Kala’ would you use to help a friend going through a hard time to feel better?
Bhati
All songs on ‘Kala’ became movies. Which song would be a horror movie?
No idea! 
Same scenario. Which song would be an action movie?
M
Same scenario. Which song would be a black comedy?
I have no idea! We are so not funny in our songs. 
Well I didn’t say it has to be a good comedy 😂
All songs on ‘Kala’ became humans. Which one would be your best friend?
Akasha. So my friend would be soft and magic. 
Thanks for playing Heli!
What artists did you grow up listening to and who influenced you most to become a singer yourself?
The CDs which made me love music and made me want to play are the ones which could make me travel in far away countries. I always dreamt of travelling far. So, “Himalaya” soundtrack, a movie with amazing traditional music and vocals (from Nepal and Bhutan), “Nature” by Ted Scotto, using pan flutes, but also a lot of classical music.
My mother used to listen to a lot of different musics, so I grew up with that. I always sang but I really began to work on my vocals with Epica. It was between lyrical and pop, which was kinda cool. And it was a nice challenge.
So I would say traditional vocalists and Simone Simons!
Do you remember the first time you performed live on stage for an audience? How did it feel?
As a vocalist in a band, it was with Mobius in Lyon in 2013. We had just released a three titles demo and we were programmed as the openers for Leprous for a show, which was kinda crazy. The thing is, I never played on stage yet before that. So, we had to make a show to train before! One of the guys booked a gig in a creepy bar of Lyon, with a weird little stage in the basement. It was damp, and there were static pink and green little lights but it was a easy place to play, many metal bands played there. But I felt so so stressed. I was so stressed that I was ill and could barely sleep during one week before the show. 
But so many people came to the show. Maybe 50 persons, which was a lot in this little space! Many friends of course! I never talked in a mic before. I didn’t get dressed specially for the occasion. I was just focused on not feeling dizzy because of the stress. But when the first song began, I thought “Doesn’t matter what happens, I will remember that moment, so I want to enjoy”. I remember when I went on stage, I was jumping like a cute frog but I had a big smile. I remember that I survived, despite all the stress. And I was both proud, happy, and ashamed because I forgot some lyrics, made some gain-feedbacks with my micro, but… Hey, we made it! And it was the beginning of something big in my life. 
The show went well, we played 30 min, and talked with people who were positive to us.
That’s such an awesome story!
Have you ever been treated with sexism? How would you face discrimination based on sex or race and what advice do you give to women around the world that have to deal with sexism every day?
In music, it is really rare that I feel sexism. I don’t remember that I have ever been mistreated by people from the crowd, promoters or medias because I’m a woman. Of course, I heard stupid things or read things on the internet sometimes “Girls shouldn’t play metal, they are weak” or “As you’re a girl, you should dress like that” but it’s really rare.

About racism, once, we’ve been qualified as a “tropical metal band” probably because the band was born on the Reunion island, but that’s all. 

I think I’ve been victim of sexism but not in a direct way. I grew up with denigrating and sneaky sentences about women, which prevented me from feeling at ease, legitimate, to dress like I wanted to, or to express myself. And that kind of “soft and slow” discrimination has built a cage around me. 

Also, I heard so many times “Girls use their femininity to sale etc”. So I think I was afraid to be judged like that also, and I needed to hide my face, to be judged only with the music. 

Our first promo pictures were made in the shadows. You cannot see our faces, so, you cannot see my face either. On Facebook I had no profile pic during years. With my clothes, I wanted to be as neutral as possible on stage. No makeup, nothing glamorous.

I had many conversations with my band, friends, boyfriend, about: being a woman,  being a woman in a band, especially in metal, how to dress etc.
But everything became easier the day I saw our guitarist Xavier getting topless during soundcheck for a show. I thought “Hey, if he feels at ease with his body, why should I hide? Because I’m a woman?”. Then I understood that the only thing we should do is to dress, to act and to play like we want to. Not like what we think people expect us to, not to try to avoid their judgement. And since then, the questions I ask myself are different. 
It is not “What will people think if I move like this? If I dress like that?” but it’s “Do I like this shirt? Do I feel comfortable wearing it?”

So, my advice, not only to girls who are victims of sexism but to anyone who don’t feel confident would be: Think about what defines you as a person. Try to make the difference between what you like, and what you think people want you to be like. Love yourself with your own individuality. We don’t need another copy of Kim Kardashian or Tarja Turunen. We need real people, with their individuality. Love and respect yourself, and do what feels ok for you. Once you treat yourself good, people around who don’t treat you good just go away and their thoughts don’t mean anything anymore. Also, I think it’s really important to be surrounded by positive people who can see you as you are. 
So, I don’t think it’s an advice about sexism, but more about being stronger than the pressure we can feel sometimes. 
Wow that’s a such a deep and inspiring message!
Thank you for the interview Heli! Good luck for you and Mobius in your future work.
Thank you very much, you too!! 

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