‘Middle finger to misogyny’: A Q&A with Cape Town all-womxn rock band Hyroine

Multi-instrumentalists, vocalists and songwriters Roxy Caroline and Helen Wells make up Hyroine, a Cape Town-based band whose sound strikes a rare balance between raw intensity and airy mysticism. Hyroine are best friends, unsigned and unafraid to make their voices heard. “It’s important for different experiences to be shared and heard, especially if you’re a womxn,” they say.

The twosome have been making weird, haunting, fun and intimate music, weaving intricate guitar lines with sweet, surreal vocals since 2012. We recently chatted to them and they answered questions as Hyroine, a character that they conceptualised as a representative for the band. “You could describe her as our virtual body,” Helen explains.

Where are you today?
I’m house sitting right now because rent is hectic. It’s important to me to keep moving – life is kinda better this way. Better for the nudes, keeps things mysterious, keeps things fresh. I don’t know where I am most of the time though. This world doesn’t make much sense tbh.

You have been touring recently — how was the experience?
It was the first time I ever went overseas and I loved it. I met some off-the-wall artists and was respected as one of them too. I was on my own mission most of the time but met a lot of cute boys and girls on the way. I had loads of sex and ate good food. I locked myself in the studio and missed lots of sunsets but caught all the sunrises. No really, it was a fab experience and I’m left feeling very blessed.

Did you always enjoy music and singing?
Ever since I watched Bruce Almighty when I was 12, I think I just knew that this was my calling.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it?
Been trying to do that for a while now and I never seem to get it right. Dreamy? Punk? Jazz? Who can say?

Why the spelling change of your band’s name from heroine to Hyroine?
It was a creative move. Also just a middle finger to the word “he” and to misogyny in general. I’ve been advised not to change my name but I don’t think I’ll ever stop changing. It’s still pronounced the same but at the end of the day our names aren’t what make us seen or heard, it’s how loud we shout and what we’re shouting about. I’m shouting at years of conditioning. I’m shouting at people who won’t let me talk because I have a vagina. I’m singing softly to these same people too and sometimes that’s heard just as loudly.

What has been your most memorable live performance to date?
When I played naked at the Schrippe Hawaii live music venue in Berlin. It was more about what happened in the crowd that night. The audience joined me in taking their shirts off, the nips were out in full form! After the show a lot of people came up to me and thanked me for helping them overcome their fears. One womxn even cried. It meant a lot to me and I’ll never forget it.

Besides music, what other creative stuff are you into?
I draw, make clothes, edit videos, write stories, dance as much as I can and perform. I try stay as creative as possible in everything I do. This means I’m hard to follow but I guess that’s fine for somebody who’s not looking to have a messiah complex.

Any shout outs, upcoming announcements?
I’m releasing a single soon along with a mad music video made by a human named Daklis from Tel Aviv that I met in Berlin. He made most of the music videos for Berlin-based band Hush Moss and I’m a big fan of his work, so feeling pretty blessed. Other than that, playing at Endless Daze in November. Also going on a tour with the boyz from 1991 and Alice Phoebe Lou in January 2018. Gonna be huge. East coast right up to Joburg. LITLITLIT.

What do you hope for?
I hope that if you’re reading this, you’ll find me somehow and talk to me because I like meeting new people.

Keep up to date with Hyroine Band
All photographs by Caroline Mackintosh


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