Helen Ganya Announces Heart To Heart Mirage EP

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

2. Haze/Revolution

3. Patient Zero

4. Pleasure Dome

Dog In The Snow shares ‘Roses’

With the release of Bella Union debut LP Vanishing Lands less than a month away on 15th November, Dog In The Snow today share a video for the track “Roses”. The video is again directed by Jay Bartlett with whom Helen Ganya Brown, aka Dog In The Snow, collaborated on the videos for both “Dark” and “Dual Terror”. Of the video Bartlett says: “Keeping with the themes running through the triptych of music videos for Dog In The Snow we decided to shoot a one take video for Roses. Starting close and claustrophobic, the frame would open out slowly to reveal a harsh landscape that the artist is now a part of. Some sort of closure for the visuals. Shooting this was quite hellish. We were exposed to all the elements that day, but mainly wind and rain, and I think we only managed to a few takes before we were happy to wrap. Blue hands and numbness was the order of the day, however looking back over the footage, the weather totally aided the video’s look.” Of the track Helen Ganya Brown adds: “Roses is the first song I wrote with all the themes of Vanishing Lands in mind. ‘Some Survive, Thousands Die’ is a photograph by Alva White which spurred on the narrative of the song – a journey into an unknown land. It’s a song for those who take the risk every day in search of something better.”

UK Live info for Dog In The Snow listed below…

Friday 15th November – Brighton – Resident Records

Saturday 16th November – London – Rough Trade East

Sunday 17th November – Nottingham – Rough Trade

Tuesday 19th November – London – SET Dalston

Wednesday 20th November – Bristol – Rough Trade

Dog In The Snow’s album debut for Bella Union is Vanishing Lands, as imposing, haunting and luminous collection of songs in the darker spaces between dream-pop, art-rock and electronica, lifted by euphoric melodies, ravishing vocals and absorbing lyrics. The album was initially created at Brown’s home in Brighton before co-producer Rob Flynn helped her add shifting, impressionistic swathes of colour, from the ominous chords that open ‘Light’ to the vocal eddies that close ‘Dark’. Brown wrote 8 of the 10 songs in a 3-week spell after a period of “strange dreams”. She recalls: “Dreams in black and white. I found myself in a dreamland and discovered it was being destroyed. I chose Vanishing Lands as an album title because it sounded suitably desolate, and lent the songs a feeling of cohesion.”

The themes of the two oldest tracks suit the ‘ruined world’ scenario. ‘Icaria’ is named after a utopian society established in the 1840s by a French socialist which only survived for 50 years. ‘Gold’ refers to America’s gold rush bonanza of the same era, when people searched for a better life, but instead created and faced catastrophe.

Born to a Thai mother and Scottish father, Brown was raised in Singapore from the age of five to eighteen, when she returned to the UK, making her home in Brighton. Learning guitar and subsequently Garageband software to construct broader sounds and styles of songwriting, she absorbed influences such as Sufjan Stevens, Scott Walker, David Lynch, Clint Mansell and Brian Eno: brooding, immersive, filmic universes through which Brown could escape her shy nature. But she has since stepped out, both as a commanding solo performer and one of the singers and musicians in the touring version of Lost Horizons, the collective co-founded by Simon Raymonde, Bella Union’s label boss.

Brown also cites key literary and visual influences. Film director Ingmar Bergman’s B&W masterpiece The Seventh Seal and David Lynch’s B&W lithographs impacted on Vanishing Lands’ desolate aesthetic and album artwork. Less overt this time are Singapore and Brown’s “fragmented sense of identity, being mixed race,” that underpinned her debut album ‘Consume Me’. The name Dog In The Snow comes from Franz Kafka’s iconic and prescient novel The Trial: “It seemed to represent finding liberation in an oppressed situation,” she explains. “I was trying to think of something with limitless creative space that doesn’t feel hindered in any way.”

The plight of the individual battered by the political system is echoed by the hooded black figures that appear in the album imagery, including the video that Brown has made for the fragile album highlight ‘Roses’. Her inspiration was a photo of refugees at sea, their faces hidden, desperate to escape their ruined homeland. But would their destination, if reached, provide comfort or more ruin? “It doesn’t help when people aren’t welcoming,” Brown says. “That was my mother’s experience when she arrived from Thailand.”

The album’s core theme also covers environmental ruination. ‘Fall Empire’ opens and closes with a warning: “If we did dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster”, which Brown heard on the groundbreaking 1982 documentary Koyaanisqatsi. Given the path that humanity is currently taking, no wonder Brown’s dreams seem to prophesise the end of times.

Still, she feels Vanishing Lands’ finale ‘Dark’ is “the most optimistic song on the album. Like I’m waking up from this dreamland and finding freedom rather than it being a negative feeling. Because things do change. We have to hope things will get better.” 

Dog In The Snow debuts ‘Dual Terror’ video

Having last month announced the release of new album Vanishing Lands, available 15th November via Bella Union, Dog In The Snow today share a dark and visually arresting b/w video for new single “Dual Terror”, directed by Jay Bartlett. Of the track Helen Ganya Brown aka Dog In The Snow says: “I had a dream that I met a different version of myself, one that I met alone in an abandoned house. The song parallels that with the paranoia of the end of the world, and our obsession with the apocalypse.” Of the video Jay Bartlett adds: “This track was cagey, paranoid and a real trip through a dream. I wanted to mess with expectations/reality and make an over the top tripped out horror. This was a fun one, I let most of the edit do the heavy lifting and made sure the mad shit kept ramping up.”

Dog In The Snow’s album debut for Bella Union is Vanishing Lands, as imposing, haunting and luminous collection of songs in the darker spaces between dream-pop, art-rock and electronica, lifted by euphoric melodies, ravishing vocals and absorbing lyrics. The album was initially created at Brown’s home in Brighton before co-producer Rob Flynn helped her add shifting, impressionistic swathes of colour, from the ominous chords that open ‘Light’ to the vocal eddies that close ‘Dark’. Brown wrote 8 of the 10 songs in a 3-week spell after a period of “strange dreams”. She recalls: “Dreams in black and white. I found myself in a dreamland and discovered it was being destroyed. I chose Vanishing Lands as an album title because it sounded suitably desolate, and lent the songs a feeling of cohesion.”

The themes of the two oldest tracks suit the ‘ruined world’ scenario. ‘Icaria’ is named after a utopian society established in the 1840s by a French socialist which only survived for 50 years. ‘Gold’ refers to America’s gold rush bonanza of the same era, when people searched for a better life, but instead created and faced catastrophe.

Born to a Thai mother and Scottish father, Brown was raised in Singapore from the age of five to eighteen, when she returned to the UK, making her home in Brighton. Learning guitar and subsequently Garageband software to construct broader sounds and styles of songwriting, she absorbed influences such as Sufjan Stevens, Scott Walker, David Lynch, Clint Mansell and Brian Eno: brooding, immersive, filmic universes through which Brown could escape her shy nature. But she has since stepped out, both as a commanding solo performer and one of the singers and musicians in the touring version of Lost Horizons, the collective co-founded by Simon Raymonde, Bella Union’s label boss.

Brown also cites key literary and visual influences. Film director Ingmar Bergman’s B&W masterpiece The Seventh Seal and David Lynch’s B&W lithographs impacted on Vanishing Lands’ desolate aesthetic and album artwork. Less overt this time are Singapore and Brown’s “fragmented sense of identity, being mixed race,” that underpinned her debut album ‘Consume Me’. The name Dog In The Snow comes from Franz Kafka’s iconic and prescient novel The Trial: “It seemed to represent finding liberation in an oppressed situation,” she explains. “I was trying to think of something with limitless creative space that doesn’t feel hindered in any way.”

The plight of the individual battered by the political system is echoed by the hooded black figures that appear in the album imagery, including the video that Brown has made for the fragile album highlight ‘Roses’. Her inspiration was a photo of refugees at sea, their faces hidden, desperate to escape their ruined homeland. But would their destination, if reached, provide comfort or more ruin? “It doesn’t help when people aren’t welcoming,” Brown says. “That was my mother’s experience when she arrived from Thailand.”

The album’s core theme also covers environmental ruination. ‘Fall Empire’ opens and closes with a warning: “If we did dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster”, which Brown heard on the groundbreaking 1982 documentary Koyaanisqatsi. Given the path that humanity is currently taking, no wonder Brown’s dreams seem to prophesise the end of times.

Still, she feels Vanishing Lands’ finale ‘Dark’ is “the most optimistic song on the album. Like I’m waking up from this dreamland and finding freedom rather than it being a negative feeling. Because things do change. We have to hope things will get better.”