Highasakite vocalist Ingrid Håvik, who fronts the five-piece Norwegian indie act, delivers haunting performances whether it's in the studio, on stage and through their music videos like "Golden Ticket" and "Someone Who'll Get It." The band, which previously released All That Floats Will Rain (2012) and Silent Treatment (2014), took a dark turn with 2016's Echo Camp that starts with the lyrics, "My name is Liar, and I'm friends with Sin / I am on fire and broken from within." Last year, the band released the STARGATE-produced, stand-alone single "5 Million Miles" that flips the script with positive hope and immense public response. Here's what Håvik had to say about the single, the dark themes and whether the name Highasakite has anything to do with cannabis.
Your single "5 Million Miles" uses a meteor as a metaphor for personal tragedy, which you counter with a commitment to walk millions of miles to overcome. This contrasts the darker, less hopeful themes on Camp Echo. In what ways, if any, does this mark a change in mindset since the last album?
I wanted to write a love song. I wanted some light and love in my life. Camp Echo is dark—that was what I wanted to write at that time—and I went all the way with it. So, I have kind of emptied that chamber for a while. I don’t think that I will ever go completely happy-go-lucky, but romance is always inspiring.
Do you understand why some people felt Camp Echo was a darker album, and does such a description fail to see the full picture of what the album represents and communicates?
I can easily understand how some people see Camp Echo as a very gloomy record, and I think so, too. But, I also think it’s quite uplifting, or releasing, somehow. Like I’m saying, “I am a piece of shit, and that’s OK.” I’m embracing the fatalistic.
The lyrics have strong character and style. Are there literary movements or particular writers and poets that inspired the way you tell stories or convey emotions?
I think it’s the sum of everything I’ve heard, read and seen through my life. Like Robert Creeley, Philip Larkin, Melancholia, Bon Iver, Sia and Prodigy—all very different inspirations, but they are a part of me today and how I want to work and what I want to write.
Over the past four years or so, your popularity has sent you around the globe. To what extent has touring expanded your worldview and core beliefs?
The world seems so small now, and I just really like to be at home a lot more. I don’t feel like I have to travel all around the world to find what I’m looking for.
Going back to before the band formed, how did studying jazz music influence the way you see musical language, and what are ways in which that insight influences the music you make now?
I guess jazz was just a way to learn music. I don’t know how much it influences me now, but I think being able to improvise is a good tool to have as a musician.
Does the name Highasakite prompt a lot of drug questions?
People rarely ask, actually. I don’t smoke because I get so scared from being high. It creeps me out.
From personal experience, what does it take to deliver a truly emotional performance in the studio?
I need to know what I want with the song. What kind of weather it is, what kind of scenery, and what I want to say.
David Jenison (email@example.com) is Editor-in-Chief at PRØHBTD.