From left, Daniel Vildósola, Lotti Benardout, Arthur Delaney and Dom Goldsmith are Hælos. (Courtesy Jeff Hahn)

Hælos addresses climate change on ‘Any Random Kindness’

Hælos multi-instrumentalist-producer Dom Goldsmith is a perfectionist when it comes to his group’s trip-hoppy music.

On the eve of his tour to promote the London band’s sophomore album “Any Random Kindness,” which hits San Francisco Wednesday, he was still juggling production work on five other artists.

The group’s music was first heard on the 2014 single “Dust,” which landed him a contract with chic indie label Matador. Its eerie 2016 debut disc “Full Circle” took a year to record in a windowless basement studio, as did “Kindness,” a climate-change-themed treatise (on the label Infectious) on which he added keyboards to the songs’ robotic infrastructures.

But vanity isn’t what drives Goldsmith, who keeps his bandmates Arthur Delaney, Lotti Benardout and Daniel Vildósola on their toes.

“I am slightly over-addicted to being in the studio, but I have horrendous tinnitus, and the only way I don’t concentrate on it is if I fill my room with sound,” he says.

He was first diagnosed with the condition 12 years ago, initially leading to some serious depression.

“It’s like I have my own synthesizer in my head the whole time, oscillating ‘round and ‘round at full kilohertz, but I’m not deaf. My hearing is still good, and as an audiologist, that was the thing I was most worried about,” he says.

Getting lost behind his mixing desk is the perfect escape.

He had big plans for “Kindness.” First, he incorporated the minimal techno stylings of composer Ricardo Villalobos.

Second, he lyrically and sonically reflected Haelos’ travels on its “Full Circle” world tour.

He also wanted to communicate how the band members feel about humans’ disdainful treatment of the environment.

On the track “Kyoto,” concerning the U.S.-ignored Kyoto Protocol, he says, “We wanted the record to take on the concept of a virtual storm, like a hurricane building in strength until you’re in its dreadful eye and then it passes. But we ended up writing several different types of commentaries on how we’re culpable for all this as a species.”

Goldsmith recalls talking politics with a Hispanic cab driver on Haelos’ 2016 trip to South by Southwest.

The man idolized then-candidate Donald Trump, and couldn’t wait to vote for him, and Haelos couldn’t believe it.

That’s when they first saw trouble on the horizon. But a good sense of humor helps, Goldsmith has found. He says, ”Now I even view my tinnitus in a more amusing way. Like a stupid friend at the party who you can’t help but hang out with because you’re forced to. So you just have to look at him with amusement.”



Where: Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. March 20

Tickets: $21


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