Tottenham has a history of music culture and with a number of venue openings in recent times, a new and thriving music scene has been emerging in the area. Helping the scene to grow are locals Katherine Melling and Helen Parton, who recently teamed up to form HelKat Music, a music promotion business. Having launched this summer, HelKat are putting on regular gigs at The Cause on Ashley Road, with next one happening this Friday. Rachel Ho had a chat with them to find out more.
Where did you grow up?
H: I grew up in rural Cheshire, about 90 minutes from both Manchester and Liverpool, so far away from any live music venues. My parents are both farmers and I am one the few members of my family to have upped sticks and moved to the city, which feels like an eternity ago now.
Photo provided: HelKat are Helen Parton (L) and Katherine Melling (R)
K: Although born in Watford, I moved North to not far from Helen actually, when I was 12. So I developed Northern vowels and went to school in a small town called Knutsford - famous for the M6 services of the same name and the Robbie Williams song ‘Knutsford City Limits’. Mark Owen's Gran also lived in Knutsford.
Describe your relationship to Tottenham.
H: I’ve been in flat shares for most of my time in London. I lived near Camden for a long time to be close to the-then thriving live music scene. I’ve subsequently lived in Stroud Green and have been in my current place in the Haringey Ladder for coming up to 5 years. I found myself drifting far more towards the Tottenham side of the borough to go out in, especially since there are now a bunch of great places. Tottenham’s got that creative crackle of things happenings all around from cool little cafes to pop up art shows and I really love that!
K: In love
What is HelKat and how did it come about?
K: We both love music, bands and being local, so we started a local band music company. I've been in the music industry for years but Helen actually goes to far more gigs and festivals than me and is good at getting things done. It's a dream team. We genuinely love the vibe of The Cause and what they are trying to do. We wanted to get involved in an exciting project and to bring more live music to Tottenham, which has been bizarrely lacking in live music venues until recently.
What advice would you give to women who are starting out in the music industry?
K: Stand up straight and don't be patronised. Don't over use ‘just’ in your written correspondence. I've recently been on a ‘just’ cull. I realised my over-reliance on it when asking for things, perfectly justifiable and normal things, made me look unsure, hesitant and lacking self-belief. Which I am, but there's no need to hint at it in emails unnecessarily!
H: Also, I think probably just see yourself as a valid person in the music industry, also know your stuff, be approachable and professional and try and have fun. Oh and don’t be afraid of blagging it a little bit, everyone else is!
Photo by Women In Tottenham: WondR WomN performs at HelKat's summer launch at The Cause.
As a woman, how do you think the Tottenham has changed? What would you like to see change?
H: I’ve not been in the area that long but I’d say it’s probably a little bit safer, though I’ve never really felt that unsafe, it’s just a case of being streetwise. There are already a few female entrepreneurs in the area, there can never be enough of those!
K: Nicer places to have a Cosmo and a blow dry? I’m joking, I’m not sure I could define anything specific to women.
Favourite thing to do in Tottenham?
K: We have so much variety in Tottenham now, and I work here and have made many friends here too, so I don't escape very often these days - I try and get everyone who lives elsewhere to come to me now! I also love looking at the architecture, thinking about the people who've lived here before us. There are some amazing buildings and history here and an entrepreneurial community spirit I haven't experienced in any other place I've lived in London.
H: Hanging out in Markfield Park in the sun listening to the amazing sound systems in the BBQ area. Or in winter a revitalising walk around Walthamstow Wetlands.
Anything you would like to add?
K: Come to our next gig on Friday 19th October 2018 or course! It's at The Cause with the fantastic, and local, PMR-signed electronic dance collective Drone Club + luscious new local by way of Berlin, Jylda and special guest Povoa who will be coming over from France especially to deliver an unforgettable DJ set.
H: Oh and if you like the sound of us, like our socials on Instagram @HelKatMusic or our Facebook page to keep updated with what we’re up to.
Find out more about HelKat and The Cause: