By Jett Black
Eight years ago, Chicago natives Bret and Bart Helm
formed Audra, a Gothic Rock band rich in passion, sorrow and romance built up
from grief, heartache, eroticism and spiritual exploration. Opening for
well-known favorites including Rhea's Obsession, Lycia, Switchblade Symphony,
Gene Loves Jezebel and Sunshine Blind, Audra remains a legend of Gothic Rock
integrity. More than 200 live performances later, and fresh back from opening
for Black Tape for A Blue Girl in Austin, Texas, Audra now unleashes a new CD
entitled "In A Dark Room..." Bret Helm pauses a moment to give us a brief
historical overview of Audra.
Who is in the current line-up of Audra?
Bret Helm - vocals
Bart Helm - guitar,
Ross Ingle - keyboards
Janel - bass guitar
When will Audra be touring next?
We just finished a small tour of Texas where we opened for
Black Tape for a Blue Girl in Austin. Sam invited us for two more shows in the
early summer in Phoenix and San Diego. It also looks like Salt Lake City might
be a stop in the spring.
What is the title of the latest Audra release?
"In a Dark Room
" It is a CD-EP featuring 4 songs, one
of them being "In Hollywood Tonight" which is written in memory of Rozz
Williams. It is currently being featured on the official Rozz Williams website:
When will Audra be recording next?
We are planning on recording another EP within the next 3
months or so.
What changes in style and membership has Audra undergone
since its inception?
We have been through several members, but the core of Bart
and myself has remained the same since the birth of the band in 1991.
What has been most effective in holding the band
Communication. It is very important that everyone expresses
their opinions. This insures everyone feels equal in the aspects that concern
song-writing, band decisions, etc.
What changes are planned for Audra in 1999?
We are working on spreading out throughout the country via
touring and club play (songs from our CD).
Since the late '80s differentiations in "underground"
music have resulted in varied distinctions. Where do you believe these
distinctions in darker music are headed?
Well, obviously industrial music has really had an effect on
what we would call the "Goth scene." Myself, I feel that goth and industrial
are two separate entities. I like the word "Darkwave," for I feel that "goth"
is a word that has been heavily over-used and many of the connotations that
this word brings tends to draw negative attention to it.
What is the general idea behind Audra? What messages
infuse the music you create?
Substance is an essential part of music; if music doesn't
contain substance then I personally feel that it does nothing. The music of
Audra is inspired by passion and experience. Our songs "are built on unsettled
emotions from past relationships, buried friends, erotic fantasies and
encounters with the divine world."
Where might fans look for other recent reviews of your
music and interviews with band members?
We were recently interviewed and reviewed in Dark Velvet
magazine http://www.darkvelvet.com. In addition, I was interviewed for
the Mesa Tribune on a feature they are doing on the goth scene.
What do you believe is lacking in the industry that if
added would stimulate evolutionary growth and creativity?
Creativity, originality, substance, etc. Industries are
based on money and what will generate money. The people that I admire, like
Rozz, Peter Murphy, Ian Curtis, never really achieved that great of success yet
they are brilliant and the art that they created will go on as being timeless.
Who needs the big music industry picture when you have labels like Projekt,
Tess, Hollows Hill and several others that can provide the underground with
What impressions do you have of Gothic and Industrial
I think they're great. Any festival that can get together a
lot of bands that share a common theme and put on big festivals for people is
an excellent idea.
How do computers, and the Internet, impact how
Audra presents itself?
The Internet is truly amazing. Just a couple of years ago
bands had to rely on flyers and word-of-mouth advertisement to promote
themselves. Now with the Internet and e-mail, bands can promote themselves all
around the world. Our web page receives visits from people everywhere: Belgium,
England, Scotland, Germany, Brazil, France, Austria, Poland and many other
places. It's a great way to network.
Where have you found the largest positive support for
Most recently we received an enormously great response from
the crowd in Austin, Texas.
What activities occupy your time outside of recordings
I love to write both fiction and poetry, photography and
What really adds to your personal satisfaction of your
own live performances?
Active crowds, good sound, lighting, costumes, make-up and
transcendence into the music.
What insight into the name Audra might you offer to your
Audra is a person that symbolizes everything that you would
ever want in a person. She is my goddess.
What do you like most about performing live?
Everything. It is a truly amazing experience to be able to
perform in front of people. I've performed over a couple hundred times and it's
Have any other artists had an influence upon the
development of your music?
I don't know as far as development on our music, but I can
say that Oscar Wilde, Tim Burton and Van Gogh are three people whose work I
How might fans reading this be most likely to contact
your band for more information?
Feel free to visit our web page at:
Also, we can be reached by e-mail at
email@example.com. Please feel free to send us
Thank you very much for your interest in Audra.