London-bred Haelos vocalist Lotti Benardout can claim several gifted relatives, like an aunt who sings professionally and a grandmother in Arkansas renowned for penning advertising jingles and a mother proficient in modern dance. “So I’ve definitely got music in my family, and they were all for me exploring my creative side,” she says. “Plus, since my mom’s actually American, I’ve got an American passport, which is very useful” — particularly when her ethereal trio hits San Francisco this weekend, promoting “Full Circle,” its forthcoming 4AD-ish debut for Matador.
You were singing long before you met your Haelos partners, Dom Goldsmith and Arthur Delaney?
It all started in school, really early on. And quite naturally, I started doing a few plays and volunteering myself for doing solos in the choir. So I was the musical-theater kid, and it just carried on from there.
And then you wound up being the featured vocalist on singles from artists like Redlight?
Yeah. I’ve done a few dance-oriented things, with people like Herve and Kidnap Kid. But my first-ever was quite a funny one. Do you know the song “Tequila” by the British band Terrorvision? That was my first when I was still a teenager – you can hear me and two of my girlfriends as the girl singers on the song. It was quite funny, being in school and then singing about “Tequila” with Terrorvision on “Top of the Pops.”
Haelos got snapped up by Matador after releasing just one song, “Dust.” Then you entered a windowless studio for a full year, working six days a week, to complete the “Full Circle” album. How did you know when it was finished?
We wrote it in a way where we spent quite a lot of time on each song. We’d write a verse, and then maybe scrap it and then rewrite it. So each song had quite a lengthy process of its own. And by the time we got to 13, 14 songs, it felt like each song was right and should be on the album. We didn’t just keep writing and writing – we felt like we’d gotten a body of work.
Why the fancy band name?
Well, Halos is a word that’s been used in science, in religion, and in all sorts of religious iconography. So we wanted something that was relatable to people, and quite a universal theme. And we initially spelled it just like normal — Halos — but there was a Christian rock band in the States called Halo, and they already had stuff out on iTunes. So we came up with a different twist on the word, Haelos, and luckily, we did it quite early on.
IF YOU GO
XYLO, with Haelos
Where: Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Jan. 22
Tickets: $13 to $15
Contact: (415) 861-2011, www.snagtickets.com