It was an early Spring morning of last year, I was putting on my coat, rucksack strap tangled irritatingly around my arm, trying to think, ‘where the fuck did I leave my keys!’. I was unbelievably stressed. Frantically running out of the front door with a piece of cold toast in my mouth to try and catch a bus that decided not to turn up in the end anyway. It was one of those days, eyebrows glued to my eyeballs, my outlook was completely negative; until I heard that first chord on this random song that I had never heard before. This chord alone, as it subtly looped, created a state of serenity, euphoria - composure, it was the most relaxed I had felt in a while … and it felt good.
Ben and Louis Helliker-Hales are two brothers who moved from their home in Auckland, New Zealand to South London in 2012. Perhaps unknowingly they brought with them an entirely new sound, a not-yet-heard flavour of house music, distinguished by an element of real playfulness.
Although now living in the UK, their success throughout their time has meant that they spend most of their weekends in Europe and elsewhere overseas. Playing in Egypt in May for Sandbox Festival, put their names in lights alongside the likes of Or:La, Nastia and Mall Grab to name but a few; all of whom are influencers in their own right in the house music scene. This Kiwi duo have eked out their reputation through hard graft, individuality, and consistently excellent productions. Their unique sound and interpretation of an often wildly experimental genre has enabled them to stand as masters in a field of their own creation. Although now flatteringly imitated, the brothers pioneered the successful addition of moody, expressive jazz instrumentals to a genre often criticised for its repetitive nature. They have fabricated their own nuanced sub-genre in an already densely populated deep house landscape.
Despite this reputation for expression and melody, Chaos always harbour a deeper and darker side in their productions and selections. In the mix they switch from smokey house to minimal techno, laced with bongo drums - effortlessly keeping punters moving and faces compressing as the evening develops. The seamless transitions are a product of the brothers competence and comfort at the controls, which is felt from the dance floor, with dancers locking eyes in mutual appreciation during subtle opening sections, to whooping and whistling in delight as the boys let loose. Their record ‘Rolling 84’s’ is one such track which demonstrates what’s stored in the locker when it comes to the darker sound.
Unveiled in 2012, this track was one of their first releases coming out on the Slab EP on the distinguished record label ClekClekBoom. This release was important for them as it allowed room for experimentation and saw the use of more organic sounds beginning to creep in. EP ‘816 to Nunhead’ was an important stepping stone for the pair, enabling them to find their jazzy sound and groove that they are now known for.
The Pickle Factory felt more like someone's living room than a central London club
Back in their adopted home town, The Pickle Factory hosted an all night long exploration of everything Chaos with a seven hour set. We couldn’t turn down seeing Ben and Louis put a shift in. On arrival the usual 4/4 kick that rushes to greet you when opening the doors, was replaced instead with the relaxed baselines of reggae and old school jazz tracks. Reminiscent of a house party, the eager audience were seen to be sitting and chatting on the nightclub floor, reassured by the knowledge that they had the brothers for the entire evening, there was no rush. A refreshing departure from the norm - The Pickle Factory felt more like someone's living room than a central London club - plants adorned the corners and the sound of people meeting and mingling remained audible over the music whilst the brothers set about building the mood. Reaching midnight a violin riff was resonating, as if rehearsed the living-room gave way to dancefloor as the crowd rearranged, a subtle beat started to release from the soundsystem. Smirks appeared on faces, shoulders loosened up and the energy gradually increased. The careful construction of everyone’s anticipation was rewarded by the brothers every next track. Amazed often, and incredulous at times we danced till the acid drenched end. These guys are one of the most invigorating influences that has appeared in the house music community in recent years. Their initiative, individuality, and open mindedness has built them an enthusiastic following and enabled them to showcase their sound across the world.