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Interview: Highasakite

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Following the success of Silent Treatment, which recently celebrated two years in the Norwegian Top 40, indie troupe Highasakite are pumped with momentum for the latest album.

Highasakite

I discussed all things Camp Echo with lead vocalist Ingrid Helene Havik.

“We’re really excited to let it go. We were really lucky with the previous album and would be so lucky to achieve the same success but we’re not necessarily expecting it. I think the new album is a bit more extreme than the last. The things that are pop are more pop, the things that are aggressive are more aggressive. It’s much more electronic, with more synths, no more acoustic drum. We’re using the guitar in a different way.”

The new album takes its name from one of seven detention camps within Guantanamo Bay, but Ingrid insists the concept of the album isn't all about politics.

“It’s a central theme but I don’t want to push it too much. I think that it is up to the listener to decide what the album is about for themselves.”

Although the band hail from Norway, it was a natural choice to perform in English.

“I’m always listening to English lyrics so it feels almost natural to write in English. I’ve listened to English music all my life, it sounds more like the language of music and it can be understood by more people.”

The band met “at different places around the country at different times”, with vocalist Ingrid and drummer Trond Bersu meeting whilst studying jazz at the Trondheim Jazz Conservatory.

 “Studying jazz has influenced how we see musical language. Everyone has used jazz improvisation before, so we can make things fast which gives us lots of possibilities to work better. We have no problems with not being able to play an instrument, which could hold us back, because we can all play.”

The band are set for a busy summer, with their European tour making stop-offs in Dublin, Berlin, Latitude and Øya Festival in Norway. Ingrid cannot single out the gig that the band are looking forward to the most, but has high hopes for life on the road.

“I just love being on the road, playing a lot and just being in that environment. But, we do love big open summer festivals and we are really looking forward to playing the Village Underground in Shoreditch.”

Having played to a vast array of audiences on previous tours, the band know what to expect.

“The Norwegian crowd isn’t louder, but they are definitely more drunk,” she giggles, “The American and English audiences are very polite and encouraging and Australia are very warm. We spent a bit of time in Australia.”

Despite sampling amazing food in Tokyo, there is little doubt that nothing they eat this tour will match the “porridge (they) had with small fish with weird eyes” for weirdness on this set of dates.

The bands reason for preferring bigger venues is purely practical: “We really just like the stage to be big enough to fit all five of us and instruments. When the stage is big enough for all the lights and instruments it’s really great.”

All cliché’s on deck, I asked whether it’s difficult there being five of the band on the road, given that people say three is a crowd…

“There’s eight of us on tour, with lighting and stage manager added on too. It’s really good that there are that many people around because you can change who you’re with. Although, we argue very seldom and it’s a very peaceful event when we do.”

The band recently supported Icelandic folk-pop giants Of Monsters and Men on their UK Tour.

“Supporting Of Monsters and Men was a really good match, as was London Grammar. In the future, we would love to share a stage with Grimes and Bon Iver.”

The band are influenced by many different artists, Ingrid citing, “The Prodigy, Grimes, Of Monsters and Men, Rihanna and Justin Bieber” as a few of her own. Inside Norway, the music scene is flourishing.

“There are lots of musical institutions in Norway and government funding to musicians here. With funding, you have more time to develop a project over time. It makes the musical environment grow.”

Finally, I asked for a song recommendation that everyone should hear.

“Kanye West – Famous. I love that song!”

Camp Echo is out 24th May on Propellor records.

Catch Highasakite on tour:

22nd May – Dublin

23rd May – Manchester

24th May – London

14th-17th July - Latitude




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