Inside The Mineral: a musician’s search for hidden gems beneath the surface.
By Rebecca | 31st July 2020
CREDIT: DJ HELIOS
You press play, and are immediately submerged in a world of unorthodox soundscapes; complex beat patterns that shift as soon as it gets comfortable, tropical instrumentals that fade from sunshine into the neon-drenched darkness of an underground club, and acoustic vocals that float on a cruise of electronic echoes. The Mineral offers a beat for every groove and terrain.
“When I say minerals, I mean sounds, energy, vibe — pretty much all the songs I have been accumulating over the past couple of years.”
DJ Helios is the soul behind this podcast — a collection of genre-bending remixes and original tracks that spans Hip-Hop, Future Beats, trap, R&B, funk, jazz, amongst many others. With a decade’s worth of production expertise and experience, he aims to present a community that “brings visibility to meaningful music” through the careful curation of memorable “nostalgic and abstract future sounds”. It is his way of showcasing the craftsmanship and talent of other artists, as well as offering insight into himself.
“The name came to mind because I wanted to build a healthier relationship with listeners… [and an openness] to new underground music worldwide and within their communities. I already had the concept in mind but I liked the idea of saying something like "Welcome to The Mineral, a space where I will provide you with your essential sounds".”
This project is far from being DJ Helios’ first foray into the industry. Before The Mineral, the London-born artist co-founded the group known as L.A.B Collective, who are still active in the live music scene today, and is also a freelance DJ who has gigged at, collaborated, and worked with hosting events and parties.
A multi-hyphenate creative, his interests range from photography, to yoga, and of course, to music. He began his journey as a dancer at school, which was where he started his engagement with music and its potential to inspire. During his time there, he was involved in a variety of interest groups and training — he was a member of the school dance and rugby teams, a performer in an indie/rock band, and practiced bicycle motocross stunt riding (also known as freestyle BMX). It was also where he met a friend and mentor who would kickstart it all; it was through this person that DJ Helios was introduced to music production, and had the opportunity to experiment with professional DJ equipment and connect with fellow enthusiasts, all in the space of a bedroom.
A pivotal moment arrived in 2011, in the form of a shoutout on SoundCloud. Soulection, a successful independent record label and radio show based in Los Angeles (boasting a current total of 514,000 SoundCloud followers and listeners), liked and reposted a self-produced mix that the artist had uploaded to his personal account on the platform - his very first. This mix of selects has garnered 40,000 views and ‘plays’ on Soundcloud to date, and those numbers continue to grow. He described this affirmative experience as a personal defining point - the knowledge of his work having reached, and being appreciated by, thousands of individuals across the Atlantic.
The Mineral was created to be an expression of DJ Helios’ authentic self, without external pressures. He aims for his music and selection to consist of “soul-moving sounds”, and for it to be a “safe space” that is “open to anyone that’s open to listen”, even as it evolves and grows as a brand.
“... My starting point is usually intention. I ask myself what vibe or feeling am I trying to recreate. How do I want an individual to feel when they experience the art and how can I make that person feel as inspired as I do...”
The podcast is a dynamic assortment of excitement and unpredictability. Its unique fusion of contemporary styles and contrasting musical textures is a testament to DJ Helios’ all-round versatility. His various creative processes include meditation, physical activity, journalling, gaming, and reading — essentially what frees up room in his mind to welcome new ideas.
As he carves out and polishes a niche for himself, DJ Helios shines best in his element. With his multi-faceted approach to mixing, producing, and sharing, his love for the music he listens to creates a space that represents and speaks to many different individuals and communities. The listener is immersed, and experiences the celebration of his journey and influences in The Mineral, in all of its iridescence.
“[Identity is] what defines you and separates you as an individual but also brings you closer to like minded individuals. Your life is where your mind is... I just follow my own intuition first but I’ve got some dope people around me.”
It is exciting to see an artist’s work take flight, especially one as eclectic and lively as DJ Helios’. One can look forward to hearing and dancing to more of the beats in his wings, as he soars in style to a rhythm all his own.