In the lead up to the release of their new record and accompanying tours, Gin spoke to Ingrid Helene Håvik lead singer and songwriter of Norwegian outfit, Highasakite. They spoke about the upcoming album Camp Echo – touching on the darker lyricism and tones of the new tracks, as well as the evolution of Highasakite over the years.
Congratulations on your new single ‘Someone Who’ll Get It’. It is a brilliant song, but feels a touch darker than tracks like ‘Indian Summer’ and ‘My Soldier’. What was your motivation for it?
Thank you. You are right, the feeling of our EP is quite different from the newest single, and the upcoming album. The motivation for ‘Someone Who’ll Get It’ is simply wanting someone to take you as you are.
Highasakite lyrics often tackle internal battles that many (if not all) of us experience. Have you had much feedback from fans who have really felt your music has helped them through their own personal struggles?
Yes, we have. When I write the songs, I need to be alone to concentrate. I focus only on myself and what I want to say, and how to say it. It feels like it’s only for me and about me, so it’s quite a strange feeling that our music can mean so much to other people. And it makes me feel less crazy and alone. I’m glad that I can give people that same feeling that I have when I listen to music. It can really be quite therapeutic.
Does the upcoming album follow similar themes to the first single?
Yes, I think it does. I think the album is largely about solitude, despair and aggression.
How much has changed for you in the time between the release of All That Floats Will Rain (2012) and this new album?
A lot. I feel like my life began with Highasakite, that’s when it started to blossom around me. Especially when we released our previous record Silent Treatment in 2014. It got so many amazing reviews the day it was released, and since then I have just been touring around the globe with my best friends.
Has your approach to creating music also changed or evolved in any way?
It has definitely evolved. The first songs I wrote were with my zither harp, and it had limited chords and I just made all the songs on All That Floats Will Rain around the sound of that harp.
On Silent Treatment, I used a piano while writing. On Camp Echo, I have used synthesizers and logic, and had a lot more options and opinions on how I wanted the songs to turn out. It made a lot more sense to use synthesizer to write, because we have two amazing synth players in Highasakite, and it would be a shame not to use their abilities as much as we can.
Since the success of ‘Silent Treatment’ Highasakite have played festivals, intimate shows and as supports for headliners such as Of Monsters and Men. Is there a particular environment that feels most comfortable for you?
No, I think everything new is good. When summer comes along, it’s great to play in the outdoors. As long as the weather is good of course. And when the fall comes, it’s nice to get inside again in the dark and get the most of the light show.
Speaking of tours, what is the most bizarre thing that has ever happened on tour?
This one time, we played at a festival that didn’t give us drums, PA or a guitar amp. For some weird reason, we played the show anyway. Apparently someone has to die for us to cancel a show…
When you’re on tour, what is the one thing you miss most from Norway when you’re away for so long?
My friends and family. And making my own food. There’s not a whole lot to miss, because every place has everything and I just feel very at home while touring.
What is the craziest food you have tried during your travels?
In Tokyo we had some kind of porridge with very small fishes with tiny sad eyes.
I have read that Highasakite comes from Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’. Is that your number one Elton John song? And if not, what is?
It is my number one Elton John song, and at the time we named the band Highasakite, it was my number one in the world. I love that song
What are some of the new acts coming out of Norway that we should look out for?
I don’t think I need to tell you that you need to look out for Aurora Aksnes, but I still want to mention her because she is so awesome. And I want to mention Ary – she hasn’t released that many tracks yet, but I really have faith in her.
And within Highasakite, Marte Eberson released her own solo album earlier this year, and it is so good. Kristoffer Lo also released a solo album with noise tuba, and that sounds awesome as well.
Highasakite is definitely in my top 10 live shows of all time, the show I saw was absolutely breathtaking. What do you do to prepare before you go on stage?
Marte and I often sit together and put on makeup while talking about this and that; Trond and Kristoffer brush their teeth and put on fresh socks, and Øystein is usually asking us what to wear. And everyone is asking the tour manager where the setlist is, and she says it’s taped on the floor in front of each and every one of us, just like on every show.
Right before we go on, we gather in a circle and put our hands together in the middle, and shout something out. Bit of a confidence boost. Like a football team!
And what is one of the best live shows you have ever seen?
The Knife at Sentrum Scene (Oslo) with Shaking The Habitual Tour. It was a new way for me to experience a live show. It was scary awesome.