Norwegian indie-pop outfit Highasakite have a unique relationship with Australia. It’s one of the key places the band has risen to popularity, outside of Europe. The five-piece have created some amazingly catchy and often emotion-filled pop and rock and there just seems to be something about Highasakite that makes them kindred spirits to those of us down under.
Not only has their music become popular on Australian radio, but their live show has gained serious momentum over the past couple of years, and now they’re preparing to head back down under for New Year’s festivals between the end of the year and 2017, with new album Camp Echo in tow.
It’ll be the third time they’ve visited us since 2014, and we caught up with Highasakite singer Ingrid Helene Håvik to chat about the new album and why she thinks that their music connects so well with Aussies.
Music Feeds: You guys will be in the country soon, and you were here last year and the year before. What do you like about coming and touring Australia?
Ingrid Helene Håvik: The weather, most of all, and the food. Yeah we find that Australian audiences connect with our music very well, I think that it seems like Australians are very cultured and they seem very interested in music and culture.
MF: This time you’re playing a bunch of different festivals, getting around Beyond The Valley, Field Day and Southbound. Do you approach festival shows differently to headline shows?
IH: I think we’re just going to do it like the headline shows. We played a lot of festival shows in Norway this summer, and the show worked there as well as at headline shows. So we’re hoping to bring the same to Australia.
MF: For anyone who saw you in Australia in 2015, what can they expect differently from you live this time around?
IH: Well we’ve released a new album Camp Echo so we have a lot of new songs. Those songs are a bit more up-tempo so there’s more stuff happening.
MF: Your music connects with Australians really well, more so than in a lot of other countries. Can you put a reason on why you think that is?
IH: I think it’s because Australians import music as much as they export it. In England and the US they export their music but they don’t import as much music or listen to as much music from other places. Also there’s triple j – they just give new music a chance, and I think that when a radio station plays music that isn’t really well-known, they really give bands an opportunity to get out and show themselves.
MF: Your latest album Camp Echo explores darker themes, addressing some of the perils that our world is facing today. What made you decide that this was the type of album that you needed to write this year?
IH: We didn’t really decide, but I was just very inspired by the state of the world and used it as inspiration over a long time, and it just manifests in the songs somehow. Even though we were inspired by political stuff and speeches and stuff like that, it doesn’t really mean that the songs are about that – if you know what I mean. I feel like I used the music to explain something else, something more personal, more human to human level stuff.
MF: The music itself, even though it retains your pop sensibilities, seems to convey a sadness as well in the tonalities throughout. Was it difficult putting together a musical project that conveyed so much emotion, or is that something that comes naturally to you guys?
IH: I think I use music somehow as a therapeutic thing. It’s my way of coping with things. I think that the music and the lyrics are as important as each other. A lot of times the thing that makes a melody catch is very often the lyrics and I think that it’s very important that you have music and lyrics that speaks to people so that they remember what you’ve said.
MF: The acoustic version of Samurai Swords came out more recently, and it almost feels like a completely new song when compared with the old version. Did you always plan on releasing this version, and will we see or hear any more acoustic versions?
IH: We have a whole EP that’s just come out; I think it should be out in Australia now. It’s just an acoustic EP with four songs. It was just fun to do the songs and hear the music and the lyrics in a different light. Sometimes it’s just weird to say ‘Oh this song is finished,” because that means that’s the way the song is going to be forever and ever, so it’s just fun to try something new. It feels like you’re just feeling that song in a new way.
MF: Way back in 2014 you covered Bon Iver’s incredible song Heavenly Father on triple j’s Like A Version. How much did you enjoy re-creating that song, and do you think you’ll get another opportunity to create another cover like that?
IH: We’ve done some other covers like that one. Sometimes TV or radio stations ask us to do that and that’s always a lot of fun. If we have the time to do it then it’s great to sing someone else’s songs for a change.
Highasakite return to Australia soon for a slew of appearances at Beyond the Valley, Southbound, Field Day and their own headline shows.
Beyond The Valley 2016
Wednesday, 28th December 2016 – Sunday, 1st January 2017
Lardner Park, Warragul
Tickets: Beyond The Valley
Tuesday, 27th – Thursday, 29th December 2016
Sir Stewart Bovell Park, Busselton
Tickets: Southbound Festival
Field Day 2017
Sunday, 1st January 2017
The Domain, Sydney
Tickets: Field Day
Highasakite Australian Headline Shows 2017
Tuesday, 3rd January — NEW SHOW
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Wednesday, 4th January
Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets: Corner Hotel