The Higharts – they shouldn’t be so good – that was my first thought! When I came across their music I listened with some trepidation; they are a RocknRoll band who sound is almost impossibly bang up to date with influences from The Kinks to Oasis, They describe themselves as 60's pop, 60's garage, 70's punk and 90's Brit Pop. Sounds mind boggling, but somehow it works, and works really well. They very simply love to play and this comes through when you listen to their music, its slightly addictive, you start and want to know more!
The Higharts are Matt (Lead Vocals/Lead Guitar), Pete (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar), Richie (Bass Guitar) and Dan (Drums)! I got to sit down and chat with Matt and Pete, about music, writing, performing live and generally being a musician in today's ever changing music world.
I started out simply, with the obvious question first! Who are the Higharts?
“We're a RocknRoll band based in London who love writing, playing and recording music. We formed about 3 years ago. We're the walking cliche of a band, two mates (Matt and Pete) who go way back, a newbie (Richie) joined us and got stuck with bass (luckily for him he was always a bass player so getting stuck with bass was a blessing) and after the usual issues, Dan an irish mad drummer, emerged from hell and Higharts proper are formed. It's been two years of the band as it is now and we have loved every minute."
Every band has their own way of working and dynamic that works for them! Can you give us the scoop on the Higharts recipe for success?
Pete “Me and Matt are the writers. But we tend to write songs separately; we have tried writing together but we just end up sidelining the writing and start having a laugh so the initial ideas, at least, come from the individual. Although a few songs have come out of group sing-a-longs after nights out, and Richie and Matt tend to co-create a bit more these days. We practice stuff together at Scar Studios in Camden and then once we've got it nailed it's time to test it on a live audience. Dan is the glue of the band and it's his drumming that tends to sway which way a song goes style-wise. I've come in the studio with ideas on how I've just written a slow ballad and then Dan smashes away on the kit and I'm suddenly RocknRolling it out.”
As I said earlier the Higharts music has a great rock and roll quality to it, whilst sounding slap bang up to date, so I wanted to know a bit more about what influences the guys when they are writing.
Pete “We're all influenced by different eras of music the sixties is top of my tree. That's where I'd go to if I had a time machine. I'd be 18 and hitting 1960. By the time I was 24 and the prime of my youth I'd be hitting 1966 the greatest year in music by far. I mean all the changes that happened and all the heights that were hit. That really was a golden era, just before it got crazy.
All of our music is original. We did have a few covers in our live act for a while but it's our songs we want to play. It's our music we want heard.”
Matt's answer was a little more simple and to the point…….”Take a bit of Lennon add a bit of The Kinks, mix in a bit of Oasis add a sprinkle of Rock'n'Roll bake for two years and serve with us four – thats Higharts!”
The band's album Memory Lane, (click here to have a listen] has had some great reviews, I wanted to know how involved the band were in the process of making the album, without being signed to a major record label, how hands on were they?
“It's not hard and it's not expensive to make an album. If you go into it with too many ideas of money making and 'purse strings' then you're going to turn it into something too business like. We have probably spent, on average, about 75% of our earnings on sitting in a pub or dancing our arses off in a club and never thought about it – we just did it. It's the same with recording, we weren't sat there going 'Right well this costs this and that costs that' we just did it. We had four days in the studio with a guy called Paul Tipler – the perfect professional; he knows his stuff and he knew how to organise us. We recorded five songs off the new album and mixed them in that time – Simple. You don't need anyone to help with that side of things, it's the promotional side of the thing that you need help with and that's tougher and more expensive.
I was lucky enough to come across the Higharts, whilst researching bands for the magazine, and of the many many I listened to, the Higharts stood out as one of the best! So just how hard is it to get your sound and music heard?
“It is tough to get music heard, we can pay to do an online ad campaign through Facebook or Google ,but is too random – there's nothing precise about it. Just because someone clicks 'like' on your page doesn't mean they are going to listen to your music, and even if they do and they love it they are more than likely going to live too far away to actually make the difference in gig numbers. If you try too hard we will leave the rest to you, the listener."
I wanted to know how the band, how do you measures success? Is performing live what presses the band's buttons? Or were they hoping for the monetary success of a major record deal?
“Success is a myth. I mean you can get to a point where you are successful but it's not a destination. It's not as if we're waiting for that. We obviously want it to happen but it's like anything. You don't want to miss the fun because you were worrying about what might be.”
I finished off asking the boys – What now, and where to now? Is there a big plan for the band?
Pete: “No big plan. We'll do a few gigs once we're ready and I've already started to sort out new tracks and re-introduce some old ones. I want the next album to be an improvement on this one and by the collection we've got so far it will be. But we'll enjoy Memory Lane for now.”
As seems to be his style Matt was again straight to the point, and an apt ending!…. “It's about getting the music out there – its like constipation in your brain you just wanna get it out, I do want loads and loads of money of course I do, I've tried being skint I prefer having money, being a band as a full time job is what I'd call success.”
The Band's Website: http://thehigharts.com/
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/Higharts
YouYube Channel – Click here
Memory Lane Album available on iTunes – Click here