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Q&A with Jessica Numsuwankijkul of Heliotropes


Heliotropes Credit: Heliotropes

Owners of a battering sound at odds with their gentle, botanical namesake, the core of Brooklyn’s Heliotropes assembled in a bid to play Brian Eno-style ambient numbers, but soon turned their efforts to crafting droning, thick-boned guitar rock that forcefully pushes their ’90s influences into darker territory.

As they celebrate the recent release of their debut album “A Constant Sea,” amNewYork spoke with lead singer and guitarist Jessica Numsuwankijkul.

How did you initially get into playing music?
I got into it via boredom and frustration. [Percussionist] Amber [Myers] and I were both working 9-to-5 jobs and experiencing that boredom one would get in having [those] … so we just started getting together, and at first we thought we wanted to play something that sounded a little more directed, and it didn’t work that way, so we just started a rock band.

How did that play out?
When we were standing around with our instruments, what we [played] off-the-cuff ended up sounding more like Heliotropes than anything else, so we kind of went with it.... Honestly, it probably comes from all the music you listen to when you’re 12. You don’t really forget stuff like that. We all probably listened to Nirvana and the [Smashing] Pumpkins.

How do you feel now that “A Constant Sea” is out?
We’re really excited about it. For a long time we didn’t have a record. It was a little awkward when we went on tour without having a record. Actually, it was immensely awkward. Every day, people would say, “Hey, do you have any records we can buy?” and we’d say, “Nope. See you later!”

Do you feel more legitimate now?
Definitely. We keep getting called a new band, even though we’re not. We got together in 2009. In a way, that newness does stem from having a record. It’s like being new all over again.

Heliotropes is at Brooklyn Museum on Thursday at 7 p.m., 200 Eastern Pkwy., Prospect Heights, FREE with museum admission ($12 suggested donation).

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