Helen Ganya, who previously recorded under the name Dog In The Snow, has today announced news of a new 4-track EP, Heart to Heart Mirage, out 13th May via Bella Union. Of the EP Helen says: “Heart to Heart Mirage is a collection of four songs written to accompany and precede the next album, crafted around similar imagery and themes but standing alone as an independent collection. The title comes from a lyric in the song ‘Haze/revolution’ which lent itself well thematically.”
To coincide with the announcement Helen has shared a lyric video for the EP’s opening track, “Beautiful Country” of which she says: “Beautiful Country is a little tongue-in-cheek heartbreak on the illusion of meritocracy. It was a joy to write a sax line for this which was then re-interpreted with wondrous flair from fellow Brit-Thai musician Rittipo.”
Born to a Thai mother and Scottish father, Helen Ganya spent her formative years in Singapore before returning to the UK, settling in Brighton. As a teenager, learning guitar and discovering GarageBand simultaneously became a gateway into songwriting. She absorbed influences such as Sufjan Stevens, Scott Walker, David Lynch, Clint Mansell and Brian Eno: brooding, immersive and filmic universes that helped transcend her ongoing sense of fragmented identity, of being mixed race.
Since moving to Brighton, Helen has been a session player for bands such as Fear Of Men as well as Lost Horizons – the project of Bella Union’s label boss Simon Raymonde. After a short-run debut record, she signed to Bella Union and released her first album proper, Vanishing Lands, a haunting and luminous collection of songs covering themes of environmental destruction, lifted by euphoric melodies and absorbing lyrics.
In a rave review MOJO said this of the album: “Echoing the rich gothic drama of 80’s post-punk, the aerial swirl of 90s dream-pop and Kate Bush, Vanishing Lands unfolds in a dreamlike manner.” It was also specially selected by Tim Burgess for one of his Listening Parties during the height of lockdown.
Since the pandemic, Helen felt a sense of panic and urgency surrounding anti-Asian hate that re-surfaced and amplified in western societies due to Covid. This partly inspired the name change from Dog In The Snow to Helen Ganya to reflect the importance of visibility “particularly for those that move in predominantly white spaces”. She now also runs a regular radio show on Brighton’s Slack City radio called Mixed Tapes which showcases music from musicians of colour in the independent music world as well as interviews with POCs in different parts of the music industry. She has since returned to school and is currently finishing a Master of Science in Climate Change, a subject matter that has been a recurring theme in much of her music.
Heart to Heart Mirage tracklist:
1. Beautiful Country
3. Patient Zero
4. Pleasure Dome