Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ HIGHS

Highs
Photo by Justin Godelie

Toronto band, HIGHS are going places quickly. This alt-pop quartet plays melodic, catchy tunes and rocks the harmonies seamlessly. HIGHS took some time out of their weekend at SCENEfest for A Music Blog, Yea? to talk about festival season, reminisce about their first show as a band, and share their excitement of touring with Hey Ocean!

AMBY: Thanks for chatting with my today guys, I’m here with HIGHS!

HIGHS: Hey! Hello! How’s it going?

AMBY: With festival season underway, what’s your favourite part of summer shows?

HIGHS: The heat, sweating it out. Honestly, when playing summer shows and you’re so sweaty and so dirty, I feel like it’s awful, but you just feel free. It’s so much fun- for real. It’s also an all-day affair, any other time of year you’d be like “ugh, I have to be outside all day today”, but in the summer you can hang out in the shade and it’s kind of nice.

AMBY: While here at SCENEfest, do you have any bands that you’d like to check out, or bands that you’d recommend for our readers?

HIGHS: I want to see Boy & Bear, I was listening to their album yesterday, I fell asleep, in a good way, in the car. I’m really excited to see them! I’ve never seen them before and they’re Australian, heck, what’s not to like?! Matthew Good is the artist from my youth. You know how everyone has those formational artists they get into that leads them into all of their other music? Matthew Good was my starting point for my current taste in music. Shad is here! I love Shad. I’d love to see The Zolas if we’re still here.

AMBY: Tell me a little bit about your first ever live show as HIGHS.

HIGHS: We were at The Smiling Buddha in Toronto, which is an awesome venue because they have palm trees and coloured lights everywhere. We were just a 4-piece that wanted to put a show together since we’d been writing for a long time. Playing that show helped us discover what we did not want to do as a band. It was a hard show to play- you do your own sound, you figure out how to set yourself up on stage- it was a challenge. At the same time, we also approached the show with a ton of energy, we brought some sticks along and were just like, “yea, let’s just get everyone into this!” That’s a big part of our live shows, we want to be playing stuff that we really have fun with and that people can have fun with at the show. That was definitely a goal from the very beginning, from the very first show.

AMBY: You just came off of a tour with Hey Ocean! They’re full of energy, they’re a great live band, how was the tour experience with them?

HIGHS: Awesome! It was fun on and off stage. They’re all great people and we played with them and another artist Rosie June and they’re all just very cool, talented people.

AMBY: Any notable highlights from the tour?

HIGHS: The nights got progressively better, in terms of being comfortable. By the last couple of shows we were dancing on the side of the stage to their songs and they were grooving out to our songs, and by the end it was just like playing shows with your friends in many ways. So I don’t know if it was a standout moment as much as it was the progression was a standout.

AMBY: If you guys could curate your own music festival, where would it take place and who’d play?

HIGHS: Bone of contention here for sure. I think we’d own like it in our own back yard. My back yard would be pretty good in Huntsville and my number one headliner would be Dirty Projectors. Mine would be R. Kelly. I’d put in some solid bands to open for him, and I think R. Kelly would just be great.

AMBY: And you know he has material for at least 24 hours.

HIGHS: Oh, at least 24 hours, if not 48. I think it would be an economical decision to have him play for 48 hours straight [laughs]. We listen to a lot of Das Racist so if they could reunite that would be wonderful for some hip-hop, oh Popcaan! Popcaan is a Jamaican Reggae artist who we’ve been listen to a lot of this tour and he’s just a lot of fun. Oh, and he favourited one of our tweets this week so we feel like we’re practically related now. Man, I’d love to add Annie Clark to that whole thing, St.Vincent [whistles] that’s hot.

AMBY: What is something no one knows about HIGHS yet?

HIGHS: Nobody knows? Not even my mom? I feel like we are an open book. People know us. But, I don’t know anything about the birthmarks on the people in the band… I don’t know where the birthmarks are so…I have a weird one. I have one of those, it’s not a brown one, I’ve got a weird red one that has a bunch of little lines- it’s very small, the size of a dime, right on my thigh. Maybe I was dropped onto a hot fork. My sister had a birthmark shaped like a bow on her cheek that she had removed at 16. That was a pretty big event in our lives. As a band, that was a pretty big event in our lives. People don’t know that as a band, we had a sister who’s birthmark got removed. So now people know that- it’s out there.

AMBY: Thanks for taking the time to chat! Find these guys online at highsmusic.com, enjoy the rest of SCENE!

HIGHS: Thanks!

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Thank you HIGHS, for giving us your answers!

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Interview Shannon Bryan | @xoradioxo

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