Self-Portrait: Lotti Benardout of HÆLOS

Lost in London

May 30, 2019 Photography by Lotti Benardout Web Exclusive
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For our recurring Self-Portrait feature we ask a musician to take a self-portrait photo (or paint/draw a self-portrait) and write a list of personal things about themselves, things that their fans might not already know about them. This Self-Portrait is by Lotti Benardout of HÆLOS.  

The London-based band released a new album, Any Random Kindness, a few weeks back via Infectious. Any Random Kindness is the band's second album, the follow-up to 2016's debut full-length, Full Circle, which was released via Matador. HÆLOS were originally a trio (Benardout, Arthur Delaney, and Dom Goldsmith), but have now added touring member Daniel Vildósola. On their debut the band pulled from '90s trip-hop sounds originated by Massive Attack and Portishead for inspiration and some of those influences continue, with a bit more emphasis on dance-floor ready songs.

Read on as Benardout, who is HÆLOS' co-vocalist, writes about her dual nationality, a medical condition she's dealt with since she was a teenager, the common food she didn't try until her 20s, and more. Above and below are two self-portrait photos she submitted to us.

1. I am half American. My mother is from Little Rock, Arkansas. She came over to the UK in her early 20s as a dancer and never left. Growing up she'd take me home to spend the summers at my grandparents' house in Little Rock. We'd go hiking in cedar forests, spend weeks at friends' lake houses in Hot Springs, or go digging for crystals with my uncle Mike who knows all the best spots. As a kid from London, it was a magical world away. Those summers had a huge influence on me musically. My grandmother wrote and recorded jingles for the local radio stations and was the first person to show me around a recording studio. My aunt is also a wonderful musician. She hosts legendary music nights at her house where friends pass through with their various instruments, taking it in turns to pick and lead songs for everyone to jam along to. There's incredible freedom in coming together with the joy of music as the sole focus. It's something that's shaped who I am today and why I do what I do.

2. I am a Type 1 diabetic. If you've ever watched us play live and seen a big glass of orange juice or Lucozade on stage-now you know why! I was diagnosed at 16, a few months before my GCSE exams. I'd had the flu and my immune system decided to play havoc with my pancreas and kill off the cells that produce insulin. Being diagnosed as a teenager was tough. It took a lot of adjusting but I was determined not to let it affect my life or ambitions. It's a constant balancing act trying to keep my sugars in a normal range, but in a way, it just makes me more resilient and in tune with my body and health. I feel incredibly lucky to live in the UK where my insulin is provided by the NHS. It's heartbreaking to know and read about people struggling to pay for their medication abroad. The technology is there to keep Type 1 diabetics alive and living normal, healthy lives. It should be a human right, not something that's determined by wealth or locality.

3. Both my parents were vegan and brought me up as a vegetarian from birth. It was only when I got to university that I tried my first piece of meat, age 20. I lived with a group of foodie friends (shout out to my old roomie Jessie Ware) and we hosted a big Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate, that first bite of Turkey was glorious. I'm still a veggie at heart but happily try a taste anything nowadays.

4. I'm a complete coffee addict. My day doesn't start without a very large pot of black coffee.

5. I'm not sure if the American readers will know it, but for those in the UKremember the girls singing "Con tequila, it makes me happy" on the chorus of the Terrorvision song "Tequila?" That was me. It might go some way to explain why my favorite drink is now a Margaritaon the rocks, salt on the rim, obviously.

6. I live in East London now but grew up near Hampstead Heath in North London. It's still one of my favorite places. I love how completely lost you can get in it. Whenever I need an escape I'll head up there for a walk.

7. I am obsessed with Reformer Pilates and would love to open my own studio one day. I train three or four times a week depending on our schedule and recently qualified as a teacher. It's helped me in so many ways, I've never felt stronger and find it incredibly grounding to take an hour out of my day to focus in on my breathing and mind-body connection.

8. I have a herbal remedy for pretty much anything. The boys always take the piss out of all my potions and lotions, on tour I mainline Echinacea, turmeric, clove oil, CBD, zinc, oregano and a variety of essential oils to get me through.

9. My first job out of university was working in the office at Trevor Horn's Sarm Studios. He's a complete legend and inspiration. Everyone from The Prodigy to Robbie Williams used the studios while I was there and I met some amazing musicians, producers, engineers, and friends along the way. It was a very privileged first step into my music career.

10. I am an only child.

www.haelos.com

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Ann
May 30th 2019
12:35pm

I think Haleos is a very good band.

Rob
May 31st 2019
6:04pm

Only just discovered Hælos, through chance, yesterday. Was looking for something similar to Kosheen or Portishead and stumbled on Hælos and Lotti.Bought the Any Random Kindness album. Enjoying very much.