DJ Helena Legend on the Meaning Behind New EP 'No Explanations Pt. 2' and Creating Her Own Fashion Line: Exclusive
When Helena Legend snuck into a Daft Punk concert at 14 years old, dance music became her obsession. From promoting in Ibiza to running nightclubs in Birmingham, England, Legend couldn’t stay away. Still, the Bristol, England-native believed she was destined for a career in the fashion industry, going to college for a degree in fashion design. But when her music career took off, those aspirations took the backseat.
Now, in the midst of traveling on her “Beauty and the Beard” tour with fellow DJ Kennedy Jones, releasing her No Explanations Pt. 2, and putting the finishing touches on her upcoming single, Legend decided there’s no better time than the present to get back into fashion, creating her own clothing line.
The DJ sits down with Billboard to discuss tour life, the meaning behind her new EP, and the shift in her music that inspired her upcoming fashion line.
How’s touring life?
The best thing about being on tour is getting to see the world. You get to see all these incredible cultures and have amazing experiences that you might never see if you were in a regular nine to five. The worst part of touring is absolutely no routine, insane lack of sleep and jetlag. There’s sometimes when I’m literally jumping continents in the space of a few weeks and my brain goes, "Oh my god, where am I?" That’s why I try to stay fit during the week, because it really helps if you have a healthy body and health mind.
What can fans expect from No Explanations Part 2?
Part II is more upbeat. It’s quite a girl-power EP. I didn’t really plan it that way, but that’s how the writing process went. One of the tracks is called “Ghost Ya” featuring Sophie Hintze, and it’s about a girl saying, “Stop being so clingy, stop bothering me, stop calling me so much. If you don’t stop, I’m going to cut you off and ghost ya.”
The second track is called “One Night" -- the main hook says “one night stand,” but it’s more about what you can get up to in one night. It’s a dancehall-inspired beat, so I wanted an artist that would be able to pull off the dancehall flavor. That’s why I went for up-and-coming artist Sade Serena. The third track is a big trap-and-bass reboot of the Dawn Penn classic “No, No, No.”
What was the inspiration for your recently released “RU Feelin It” music video?
A theme called “Ego Death,” that my director and videographer Winterhalter came up with. “Ego Death” is the loss of self-identity and ego in order to see things in a different way. My manager came up with the idea of doing it in Shanghai, because I’ve been playing a lot in China and the market there is huge. I thought it’d be a really great way to involve my Chinese audience, and for everywhere else in the world I play to get a glimpse into China. Shanghai is an incredibly impressive city to film.
What brought you back to fashion?
Before, I was very caught up in the EDM movement. The music that I was making was very focused on clubs and what would work best on big festival stages. My shift in music has gone more pop-friendly. I was very much inspired by Major Lazer, [DJ] Snake, and The Chainsmokers. They’ve given me confidence to be able to move into the pop world, but with it still being cool and electronic.
I want to make music that has more longevity than the stuff I was making before. For the first time in my career, I feel like I’m spinning the plate how I want to. I feel very confident in what I’m doing now, which has allowed the other half of my creative brain to go “What’s next?”
How would describe your collection?
I love the sporty streetwear vibes. I’m choosing a lot of fabrics that are very eye-catching, so behind the [DJ] booth, you’ll really stand out. When you put a camera on it, it looks even better because it goes crazy, reflecting on the flash. When I’m not touring overseas, I spend a lot of time in the fashion district of Downtown L.A., sourcing materials and creating it all. I’m still perfecting the collection, wearing the clothes to my show to test them out, and coming back to make changes.
How does your music influence your fashion?
Finding clothes that fit how I want to be seen on stage as a female DJ has always been a struggle, and a fine line to walk. It’s very different than being a female vocalist. You have singers who can wear next to nothing on stage and it’s acceptable, but when you’re a female DJ, you’re in this huge boys club. You always feel that you’re walking a line of looking cool and attractive, but not too sexy. It shouldn’t have to be like that, but I feel it still is. So the stuff that I’m making looks cool, breathable, comfortable, but very eye-catching. I’m drawing inspiration from music, performance, and touring.
Who are some of your style icons?
Alexander Wang, Off-White, Vetements, Daniel Patrick + Adidas.
What else do you have on the horizon?
I’m going to be adding more to the collection, like crop tops, oversized jackets, and fake-fur trench coats. I also want to create a line that’s perfect for traveling and comfortable to wear on planes. I’m hoping it will be ready to launch in the middle of the year.
I also have an upcoming single. It’s called “Dose Of You” featuring Kirstin Maldonado from Pentatonix. I’m just trying to perfect it at the moment. It’s really hard to let it go, but hopefully that should be coming out after the EP.
Check out Legend's No Explanations Pt. 2 here and see pieces from Legend's upcoming clothing line below.