628 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA, 94117
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
"London Grammar account for every slippery string, vocal echo, ultrasound heartbeat, and wordless, holy vocal peal on 'Metal and Rust,' the second in a so-far immaculate collection." - Pitchfork
"The title track of their debut EP, 'Metal & Dust,' features backing so tasteful it cries out to be defaced, while the 'Unfinished Sympathy' breakbeat further enhances the sense of early-90's dejà vu." - The Guardian
"London Grammar are now officially 2-for-2, with this dusky, sumptuous new single ['Metal & Dust'] emerging from the mysterious LDN group." - Gorilla vs. Bear
Highasakite Makes Indie Pop With a Twist -
A Sparkling Cocktail Combining 60s American Rock,
Norwegian Folk Music, Jazzy Drumming, Organic Synthesizers
and Zither into a Bright, Buoyant Sound
In And Out Of Weeks Due On March 5, 2013
Highasakite Will Make Their American Debut at SXSW in March
Highasakite inhabits their own rare musical landscape, a place of long dark
shadows, sudden flashes of glittering light, brooding silences and
unexpected explosions of fierce percussion. Ingrid Håvik's surrealistic
lyrics and ardent vocals float out of another time and place, drawing you
down into the breathless maelstrom created by her band mates. Progressive
rock, Norwegian folk music, jazzy tribal drumming, spaced out synthesizers,
zither and autoharp come together to create a deep, mysterious resonance,
echoing the sounds your hear in the midnight dreams that often seem more
real than anything you experience during your waking hours. Imagine Phil
Spector producing Cluster, with a dash of Radiohead on the side, and you'll
have the general idea, but Highasakite brings their own singular vision to
The band took flight when Håvik and drummer Trond Bersu met while studying
jazz at the Trondheim Jazz Conservatory. They started as a duo, with Bersu
on drums and Håvik singing and playing zither. After a few gigs, they
enlisted producer Thomas Dahl (Krøyt) to help them capture the sounds they
were hearing in their heads. "We wanted to combine the rhythm patterns I was
composing with 60s American pop, Norwegian folk music and synthesizers,"
Bersu says. With Dahl producing and playing bass and guitar, and their
friend Øystein Skar contributing his synthesizer wizardry, they worked for
six months to produce their cryptically titled debut All That Floats Will
Rain. The album was an immediate success, reaching #16 on the Norwegian
charts. It was named one of the best records of 2012 by many Norwegian
magazines and newspapers.
With their reputation in Norway secure, Highasakite is setting their sights
on the American market with In and Out of Weeks. The five-song mini-album
will introduce America to the band's highly emotional music and their
distinctive approach to songwriting and arranging. Tribal drums and
throbbing, euphoric synthesizer open "Son of a Bitch," a mid tempo rocker
that alternates between Håvik's propulsive, tongue twisting verses and
wordless trills, underscored by Dahl's swooping bass. "In and Out of Weeks"
is a tense, moody ballad full of long sustained guitar notes, vast washes of
spacey keyboards and dense layers of skittering percussion. Håvik's
somnambulant vocals capture the muzzy feeling of a sleepless night.
"Indian Summer" has a skewed rhythm halfway between a waltz and a tango,
marked by pealing acoustic guitars, kaleidoscopic percussion effects and a
soulful, wailing vocal from Håvik. "The song is a nostalgic look at my
childhood, playing cowboys and Indians in a suburban forest. It's the first
song I wrote using a synthesizer." The stories of soldiers returning from
Iraq and Afghanistan inspired the quiet drama of "Whatever That Means."
Chiming synthesizers, zither and crashing cymbals highlight a choral vocal
that delivers a feeling of quiet desperation. The music of Highasakite is
unquestionably pop, but Håvik's emotional singing and songwriting, and the
band's commanding wall of sound, conjures up overwhelming feelings that will
leave listeners thrilled.
Håvik and Bersu started Highasakite while attending the Trondheim Jazz
Conservatory. "We fell in love, but he was always gone, playing in bands,"
Håvik recalls. "I was in bands as well. We thought we'd have more time
together if we started our own group." Both came from families that
encouraged their musical ambitions. "My mother was a conductor and singer,"
Håvik recalls. "When I was young, she got a mike that plugged into the CD
player, stuck it in my hand and had me sing along with Mariah Carey. I was
in church choirs, but didn't like it much. Later on, I realized choir
singing was good training for my voice."
Bersu's grandfather sang and played Norwegian folk music on his accordion.
"I liked folk as a kid," he says. "My grandfather let me press the buttons
while he played, but I was more fascinated by the drums. I got a Mickey
Mouse drum kit when I was four or five and destroyed it. I made my own kit
out of empty ice buckets. My inspiration was Metallica and American punk
bands like Green Day." Bersu discovered jazz in high school. "I joined the
jazz ensemble and studied composition and percussion at University. I was
set on having a career in music."
"I thought about being a jazz singer," Håvik says, "but I didn't sing with a
band until University. I never thought about music as a full time
possibility until I'd been in bands for a couple of years. The singers were
all songwriters too, but writing lyrics intimidated me. Finally, one of my
teachers encouraged me and got me started writing."
Håvik eventually showed her songs to Bersu. They started performing and
decided to make a record. In May of 2011, they went into the studio with
friend and producer Thomas Dahl (Krøyt). "We recorded drums, autoharp,
zither and vocals, with Thomas improvising guitar and bass," Bersu explains.
"Then my high school friend Øystein Skar came in and added synthesizer
parts." Stein was a classically trained pianist who changed his focus to
pop, rock and fusion and works as a composer and sideman when he's not on
the road with Highasakite.
After six months of intense exploration, the trio released All That Floats
Will Rain in Norway in February of 2012 and began playing dates to support
its release. "At first, it was challenging to play the songs live," Bersu
says. "We'd recorded all the tracks separately and had to find a way to
translate the studio recordings to the stage. We added Marte Eberson, a
friend of Ingrid's, on synthesizer and my friend Kristoffer Lo on guitar,
percussion, flugabone and tuba." Lo's electronic approach to tuba has made
him a favorite sidemen for metal, jazz and noise bands. The band's live
performances struck a chord with both critics and the public. They were a
hit at Norway's Oya, Hove and Pstereo Music festivals last summer and are
looking forward to their American debut at SXSW in March. They're currently
at work on their second album, due out in late 2013.