The Heligoats in-studio at OPB.
Recording engineer: Steven Kray, with assistance from Bill Ward
Interview: Alex Lewis
Video: Jarratt Taylor / Anthony DelCalzo / Jake Braafladt
Songwriter Chris Otepka has come full circle. He originally started writing songs under the moniker of The Heligoats in Chicago in the late 90’s. Once he found some band mates they renamed themselves Troubled Hubble and enjoyed six prosperous years where they dominated the college radio circuit. After the band disbanded in 2005, Otepka returned full-time to The Heligoats name. And here we are today.
Although a decade has passed since Otepka created The Heligoats title, the major changes in his music career have been nominal in nature. The important stuff – the music, the songwriting – has remained consistent. Otepka’s brainy and sincere songwriting style is distinct in both Troubled Hubble and The Heligoats.
The Heligoats stopped by OPB’s studios to play songs from their album, Goodness Gracious, which was released early in 2010. They also played a new song, “Moon, See, Day, See”, which will appear on a split EP coming out in November on Portland’s Greyday Records.
Their performance encapsulates the way Otepka’s thoughts burst at the seams over shifting musical landscapes. His lyrics are often an examination of the natural environment from his unique perspective. Talking about “Moon, See, Day, See”, Otepka says it’s about, “the wonder of seeing the moon during the day and how it can appear to be see through.” A phenomenon he doesn’t think we talk about enough.
We talk with Otepka about the history of The Heligoats, moving to the Northwest, and the way the environment influences his songs.