Helen Ganya

Songwriter extraordinaire Helen Ganya tackles our quick-fire questions

Hello, Helen. Where are you right now and what can you see?

“I’m currently in Kefalonia, overlooking the sea!”

People may know you as Dog In The Snow – why the pseudonym?

“I thought an alias would allow me the space to create whatever I wanted. I think it helped me build up the confidence to not need a moniker.”

Why the change of name now?

“People used to make fun of my Thai name, however the rise of anti-Asian hate during the Covid pandemic made me realise visibility and representation is key and necessary.”

Your last album, ‘Vanishing Lands’, came to you during a period of “strange dreams”, right?

“The dreams usually come in bouts. My last series was around animals within the walls of my flat that would spill out into the room.”

The new album is called ‘Polish The Machine’… what machine?

“Whatever social constructs and systems we feel we must adhere to. The title track uses it more as a question – do we actually like to polish the machine? I think a lot of the time we don’t actually know that’s what we’re doing.”

You’ve recently entered your 30s, which has caused a level of questioning/re-evaluation, hasn’t it?

“It sure has! How does one contend with the societal, ‘normal’ expectations of their 30s, particularly in the middle of climate breakdown and so many social inequalities? Part of my existential response was to go back to university and do an MSc in Climate Change.”

There are some great themes on the new record. We like the idea of “slightly fearing the ordinary”. Tell us about that…

“It isn’t a critique on humility, or those who desire to live a good and quiet life. I see the ordinary as the systems that promote a status quo which only benefits a very small percentage of humanity. Sometimes it feels opposite to the line by US writer Joan Didion, who said: ‘The centre will not hold’ – it feels more like the centre does hold while everything breaks down around it.”

You have some cracking influences – Clint Mansell, Brian Eno, David Lynch… that’s a heady brew. Film is important to you?

“Yes, I love film. I can see each one of my songs visually. If I had the money and time, I would create a video for all of them!”

If you could soundtrack any film, what would it be – and why?

“If someone created a film that was a claustrophobic mix of ‘Hard To Be A God’ with a suburban sci-fi world like ‘Vivarium’, plus a tinge of Shirley Jackson-type horror, then sign me up!”

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