Beer, weed and five open minds

High Fighter

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us again Mona! How are things in the world of High Highter! How has your year been since our last interview?

Cheers, things are well and high in the world of High Fighter, thanks for having us again!

You are about to release your debut album Scars & Crosses, a great reason to touch base with you. What can you tell us about the new album?

Yes, we’re excited to release our first full length album on June 10th with Svart Records. We recorded ‘Scars & Crosses’ live at Rama Studio in Mannheim by Jens Siefert, and it got mixed and mastered by Toshi Kasai in L.A. When we recorded our demo EP ‘The Goat Ritual’ back in 2014, live and on one weekend in our rehearsal room, we all just came out off different bands with different backgrounds. And to that point, we never stood on a stage together as High Fighter. Since we could play a lot of shows after the release of ‘The Goat Ritual’ in 2015 then, I think this has really influenced our sound in full, the band and the album songwriting. I think because of having played live so much over this last year, it really got us together as a band, for me this upcoming album feels way more homogenous then the recent EP. But we still like to stay open minded and mix all kinds of styles we dig. So no matter if you’re into Heavy Metal, Doom, Sludge, Blues or Stoner Rock, I think we got something for all of you on this record. And what I like most on ‘Scars & Crosses’, the pain meets beauty. You will find some very melodic and catchy melodies on this, that get beaten down by some very mean, rough and heavy tunes. All in the favor of a heavy doom, sludge, blues and stoner metal record.

To me your new album starts off right where your previous EP The Goat ritual left us, it immediately pulled me in with it’s doom-blues hybrid signature sound. How do you describe your sound yourself?

Yeah, in some way, but I do think today we sound way more homogenous as we found ourselves as a band due to having played live a lot. But it’s difficult to answer, as we don’t try to cover one genre only. We’re not a pure doom band, nor are we a pure sludge or stoner band. We combine more than this, and create our very own and special mix of heavy sounds. Which I think is a great plus, as we also fit into more scenes. We have already played pure stoner rock events such as Desertfest or Stoned from the Underground, went on tour with funeral doom band such as Ahab, but we also appear at heavy metal festivals and shows. But in general I’d say our roots and new album lay in doom, sludge, stoner, blues and metal.

What’s your favorite track on the new record, and why?

Well one of my favorite tracks, on the record as well as performing live, is our album title track ‘Scars & Crosses’. Especially on stage, it’s always a great energy with the crowd playing this one live.  I love the heaviness and entire character of this track, its rock n roll vibe and this song also perfectly shows that in our music, pain meets the beauty. But it’s hard to chose one favorite track. There is so many more I love, such as ‘Blinders’, ‘Darkest Days’ or ‘Gods’.

When you set out to create a new song, how does that process work for you? What comes first?

Instrumentals! And yes, we’re that band who is writing all music together in our rehearsal space, the place where all magic happens. Usually someone comes up with some riff and idea, we jam on this or record it, so everyone can listen to it again at home and put some input on it for next rehearsal.
Last but not least I add my lyrics on a final track. But usually and as soon as I hear a riff, I immediatly know if this is going to be a scream, growl or clean vocals part.

What are the minimum ingredients of a High Fighter song?

Beer, weed and five open minds and love for some heavy tunes.

You also got signed to a new label, congratulations! How did you land this deal?

Thanks! In early 2016 we sent out some super rough demos to several labels. Svart Records were one of the first labels that showed up their interest immediatly. And we’re super stoked they did, as they belong to one of the coolest labels our scene has to offer and we’re all big fans of their roster and work. There were a few more interested in working with us, but at this point we had to go with Svart. It feels like the perfect match, as they understand our sound and vision to 100%. And so far, we’re more than happy, feel home and very welcome in such great company!

How would you describe a High Fighter show, what do you offer the fans in a live setting?

It’s intense and full of energy. We’re not a band standing still on stage. Lots of headbanging, rock n roll chaos, an authentic show and pure energy guaranteed!

What are your plans with the band this year? Are you going on the road?

Yes, we plan to heavily support this record live. We have already announced a bunch of shows for the summer including some festivals, and we have just announced an album release summer tour with EARTH SHIP and our friends in MAMMOTH STORM, happening in July. Being out on the road and playing live, are the best moments for us. We hope to make as many gigs possible in 2016.

If you could take any band on the road with you, who would you choose?

Personally, I would always love to be back on a tour with our dear friends in Ahab. We have toured with them last Fall, and it’s been a pure blast, what a bunch of amazing guys! Since this recent tour, we became close friends, and this is very special to me. But of course we’re always up for supporting any bands who would like us to join some run!

You are a very active person in the music industry. You also work at a label! That means you might have some great insights for starting artists. Could you give some tips for the many starting bands in our community, on how to get heard and seen?

Well, yeah I have worked very hard and over the last 10 years to get a day job settled in the music industry, so of course I feel lucky having this job, but it’s been also a very long and tough way to get there. And I have also started my first metal band when I was 15 years old, so  I had plenty of time and many many years of experiencing in bands. But first off, I think most important is that you just enjoy your band and time you guys have. Planning, understand your „business“ and having some kind of a structure is the other side. Be brave and confident in what you do, and plan a release. Don’t just throw out an album as soon as you got it in your hands, do some research earlier and send your music before its release to some music media. You will be surprised how many magazines are supporting the underground!

It’s also worth getting some PR agent, and there is many good ones out there, involved. Bands ususally don’t wanna invest into any promotion, and that’s a mistake I think. As only a good PR will get you some wider attention, and therefore gigs. It’s a circle. So before investing any money for other stuff, consider a professional PR agency. And always keep your eyes and ears open, network with other bands, set up shows together – because especially when you’re from the underground, together you’re way stronger. Figure out what everyone in the band could bring into the group and your business. Most important, you guys have your own manpower ( having a booking agent or a label will never mean that you don’t need to continue working hard ), but never forget the fun and good times, why you once started a band….

Do you have any last words for our readers?

Thanks for having us and all your support, you stay high and hopefully see you on the road soon!

Thank you! Metal On Loud!

Randy Gerritse

Randy is the founder of Metal On Loud Magazine and its community. He is a lyricist for several bands (Dissector, GOOT), an author currently working on his second book, and does web development for a living.

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