Ft. Walton Beach’s resident rockers, The Helvetica Effect, know the importance of honing their craft and writing the best original music they possibly can.
That being said, they also understand the importance of getting the bills paid, which is why they fill their nights by playing cover shows around the Gulf Coast.
While a job is a job, founding member Rob Perez believes that it’s the original music that remains the driving force behind the band. Before THE display their talents at the “Rock for the Coast” benefit later this month, they will play a much more intimate show with local favorites Forever’s Calling at The Handlebar.
IN caught up with Perez to talk about all of the cool things happening within the “Effectee” camp.
IN: The Helvetica Effect has been playing a lot around the FWB/Destin area, but you’re just now starting to line up more shows here in Pensacola. Are you excited to come over here and play for some new crowds?
Perez: We sure are. We have played Pensacola a time or two before with our buddies in Needless. It’s cool to be lining up more gigs over there because we’re so used to all of the places we play in our local area that it’ll be fun to travel outside of our little niche and share our music with some fresh faces. The show at The Handlebar is going to be great. We’ve been wanting to play with Forever’s Calling for a while now and we know the guys in October Skies, so it should be a pretty good show.
IN: How long have you guys been together?
Perez: THE has been a functioning band for about a year and a half. We’ve been a three-piece band for just at a year. Our former second guitarist had family duties to take care of, so we decided to move forward as just the three of us. Doing it that way, we have a lot more space to work with musically, which brought out several new dimensions to our sound. That, and the fact that I work with the greatest musicians I have ever met.
IN: Aside from trying to fill as many dates as possible with original shows, you guys bide the rest of your time by doing cover gigs. How do you like doing those?
Perez: Hey, it pays the bills. Doing cover gigs allows us to go out and play original shows without immediately suffering afterwards. If we could just make money from playing originals, that would be great, but we all have things to take care of, which we provide for by playing covers.
IN: Speaking of covers, the only time Lady Gaga was tolerable to my ears was when I heard you do a cover of “Bad Romance.” Although I wouldn’t consider that to be a very obscure tune, your version was quite unique. What made you decide to throw that into the mix?
Perez: Why not? When we choose the cover songs that we play, we always try to look for the ones that we can mold into our own style. We don’t really concern ourselves with what everybody wants to hear, but rather with what fits our band. When “Bad Romance” came out, it just seemed like it would be a fun song to rock the hell out, so we started toying with it until it had that certain THE vibe. Now, it’s probably one of our favorite tunes to cover, just because it’s so much fun and people go nuts when they hear it.
IN: Now that you are starting to branch out a little more, are there any plans to set up some more extensive tours? I understand you were talking to the guys in Jacobi Wichita (Eyeball Records—Connecticut) about doing an East Coast jaunt.
Perez: Yes, definitely. Right now, priority number one is getting back into the studio and recording the debut full-length. When we did the EP, we weren’t quite satisfied with the quality, so working on the new recording is of the utmost importance. We’re in pre-production now, so we should wrap that up pretty soon. After that, we will start looking to book some small tours, but that will not be until right at the end of the year, if not the beginning of next year. We’d love to go out with the guys from Jacobi Wichita. We had a great time playing a few shows with them in Florida and making friends. It would be nice to hit the road with those dudes.
IN: After The Handlebar show, your next Pensacola gig is playing the “Rock for the Coast” benefit. Are you excited to be lending your talents to such a good cause?
Perez: Of course we are. The benefit show, if successful, is going to be the biggest show of all time for us. I really think that we are doing some real good with this. Not only will it raise money for what I think couldn’t be a better cause, but it will also break down some of the walls within the local scene that have been up for far too long. We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it.
IN: Well, it certainly seems like you guys are keeping busy. Good luck with everything.
Perez: Thank you. We certainly try to stay as busy as possible. We don’t plan on going anywhere any time soon. As long as the “Effectees” are into what we do, we will keep doing it. If not, we’ll keep doing it anyway.
The Helvetica Effect with Forever’s Calling and October Skies
WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11
WHERE: The Handlebar, 319 N. Tarragona St.