After their 2012 release Negotiations, Portland band The Helio Sequence was burned out with its songwriting process.  

“[Writing and recording that album] was a very long, introspective process,” says the group’s lead vocalist and guitarist Brandon Summers. “We shut ourselves off from the world and disappeared down the rabbit hole. That’s how we tend to work, but we wanted to try something new, open and immediate [this time around].”

A few years ago, Summers and bandmate Benjamin Weikel joined a songwriter’s workshop that challenged them to write and record 20 songs in a single day. Inspired by that experience, the two men decided to adapt that novel approach to their newest album, The Helio Sequence. However, they did change the rules a bit. Instead of writing over the course of one day, they allotted themselves one month. The result was a group of 26 prospective songs. Then, Summers and Weikel did something surprising. They allowed family and friends to vote for the 10 songs that would make the final cut for the album, a decision they claim was liberating after spending their careers obsessing over such details.

The Helio Sequence recently visited our studios and performed some of these songs live. Watch the performance above. Stream/download mp3s of the songs and hear our interview below.  

The Helio Sequence is out today via Sub Pop Records. The band is currently on tour with upcoming gigs in the Pacific Northwest. You can check them out in Portland at Music Millennium on May 20.


Audio recording and mixes: Graham Nystrom and Steven Kray with technical assistance from Randy Layton
Video editor: Jarratt Taylor
Videographers: Sam Smith, Grahame Bywater, Jennifer Sowell, David Christensen
Photographer: Gerard O’Sullivan
Interviewer: Aaron Scott
Executive Producer: David Christensen