Raphael Helfand

Reporter, Editor, Critic

United States

Hello!

I'm a news writer at The FADER and the associate producer of The FADER Interview. I'm also a freelance writer, reporter, audio producer and photographer, and the Editor-in-Chief of a multimedia online publication called Laid Off NYC. In 2021, I interned on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show. Before that, I was working toward a Master's degree in Cultural Reporting and Criticism, which I received from New York University's Carter School of Journalism in December 2020.

I lived in New Orleans for six years before I moved north, reporting on music and cultural economy. Digging into what made that city's $8 billion-a-year tourism industry tick (pre-pandemic) is what made me want to broaden the scope of my work to include deep reporting.

Journalism school taught me how to report a story thoroughly and conscienciously, and helped me sharpen my writing and critical thinking skills. The Brian Lehrer show taught me what makes great radio, how to work efficiently as part of a news team, and how to write in someone else's voice—in this case, one of the most beloved voices in all of New York City.

Working full time at The FADER, I've learned to break news quickly and accurately and to balance a workload that includes multiple quick posts a day, the production of The FADER Interview podcast, and frequent features—both print and audio—in addition to my responsibilities projects outside the company.

Portfolio

Selected Features

The Iron Lattice
Catering to the Crowd

I explored The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival's byzantine economy, one interview at a time.

The FADER

The FADER
Listen to SASAMI on the new episode of The FADER Interview

Sasami Ashworth has been reinventing her musical self since long before the release of her first song. As a child in the El Segundo neighborhood of Los Angeles, she took piano lessons and sang in the Unification Church - known to many Americans as The Moonies - where her parents belonged.

The FADER
Listen to Animal Collective on the new episode of The FADER Interview

There are few contemporary bands as prolific and slippery as Animal Collective. In the first two decades of their collaborative career, the boyhood friends from Baltimore experimented in sound art, warped the edges of avant-pop, exploded into mainstream maximalism, and, finally, returned to an ambient, deconstructed naturalism.

The FADER
How much should rappers worry about Eric Adams' war on drill?

The FADER: What's your initial reaction to Eric Adams' recent statements on drill? Jack Lerner: To me, this is just one incident in a long line of policy makers, the media, and law enforcement scapegoating the artistic expression of young Black men to stoke fear and redirect attention away from the bigger problem.

The FADER
Hanif Abdurraqib is building new worlds with a concert series

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, podcaster, and curator of worlds. His ability to find parity in the disparate, along with his exquisite command of the English language, has made him one of the 21st century's most celebrated cultural critics.

The Brian Lehrer Show

Selected Album Reviews

Pitchfork
03/17/2022
Emma Ruth Rundle: Engine of Hell

Emma Ruth Rundle lives on a gloomy planet. Drop a needle on one of her records and imagine her shuffling down an otherwise sunny street beneath her own personal raincloud, shivering in an oversized trench coat. The clouds gather as you listen, and before long, darkness has fallen.

Pitchfork
Pearl & the Oysters: Flowerland

The third album from the duo of Juliette Pearl Davis and Joachim Polack takes on the soft psychedelic hues of Stereolab and Wendy Carlos, shot through with malaise and a curious sense of overstimulation.

Pitchfork
bbymutha: Cherrytape EP

The Tennessee rapper’s latest four-song EP is a concentrated burst of energy with perfectly paced flows and a vibe that's always ready for the dancefloor.

Pitchfork
Connan Mockasin / Ade: It's Just Wind

New Zealand psych rocker Connan Mockasin’s collaborative album with his dad, Ade, has bad jokes, stream-of-consciousness poetry, and an odd, undeniable appeal.

Bandcamp Daily
07/23/2021
Anika, "Change"

ALBUM OF THE DAY ​ ​ The age of "I actually wrote this album pre-Covid, but it feels prescient now; I guess I was channeling something..." is finally coming to a merciful close.

More Selected Interviews

Selected Essays

Expressionless—Listening
11/12/2020
Considering Scott Walker

An accelerated listening guide through Scott Walker's expansive discovraphy.

laidoffnyc
02/23/2021
Bill & Bonnie's Wild Kindness

In which I marvel at Bill Callahan and Bonnie "Prince" Billy's remarkable collaborative run and extol its final insallment, a cover of Silver Jews' "The Wild Kindness"

laidoffnyc
01/21/2021
Six Degrees to MF DOOM

In which I selfishly re-direct the narrative from MF DOOM's tragic death to my experience growing up with his music as a suburban white kid.

laidoffnyc
10/15/2021
Songs of Fall, Vol. 1: Another World

by Raphael Helfand As many of you may have noticed, we haven't posted our usual Favorite Music round-ups these past two months. These lists are massive projects for us, and everyone at LaidOff has been busy and stressed. To lighten our load and switch things up a bit, we'

Other

Myspiltmilk
Bonnie "Prince" Billy Translates in Real Time

Will Oldham grew up in Louisville, KY by a bend in the Ohio River, and recorded his debut album, There Is No-One What Will Take Care of You, in a shotgun house. Still, when I try to force a connection between his humble beginnings and his upcoming weekend double-header at The Music Box-a musical shantytown just off the winding Mississippi-he's reticent.

Myspiltmilk
Kero Kero Bonito Searches for Sense in a Messy World

Kero Kero Bonito has undergone a sea change. Their sound, once radically cheerful, matured into angsty uncertainty with the release of Time 'n' Place in early October. The British pop project started as a simple synth trio, with Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled manning the boards, and Sarah Midori Perry singing and rapping, alternating enthusiastically between English and her native Japanese.