Thursday, November 10, 2011

Deposition: Highgate

The band Highgate interested me for a couple reasons. One, the compilation showed a lot of promise. Two, they're from a rural state, like me. Co-guitarist/co-vocalist Greg Brown was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

Full Metal Attorney: First things first: y'all are from Florence, Kentucky, a town of 29,000 people--not much more than the town where I was born. And Kentucky is rural, like my home state of Nebraska. Is there even a metal scene in Kentucky? The live cuts I've heard sound like there's not too many people in attendance.

Greg: There's a bit of a metal scene in Kentucky, although not in Florence at all. You would have to go further south to Louisville to find something of a metal scene. Other than that, there just random bands in various parts of the state...not really any scenes that I know of. The live stuff you heard was recorded in Cincinnati, Ohio, where we have played a lot of our gigs...and yes, not too many people in attendance.

FMA: How did your band get started, especially considering the rural nature of your state?

G: Things started when I ran into Jamie (Porter, Highgate guitarist) at a show back in 2005. I had known him from about 8 or 9 years prior but had literally not seen him since then. We got to talking about music and he invited me out to jam with him and his brother Steve (Porter, Highgate drummer)...the rest is history.

FMA: It's difficult enough for metal bands to get by (especially doom bands), in terms of playing live and promoting their music, when they're from an urban area. Could you describe the unique situation of your band, and how you deal with these issues?

G: We really don't play out much because of the limited opportunities and scant amount of venues. As far as promotion, what promotion we do is internet based. Frankly we're not too worried about either one, because we set out to create music for ourselves, and anything above and beyond that is a bonus.

FMA: Are there any other bands from your area that you would recommend?

G: Kentucky has a lot of great bands: Sapthuran, Seidr, Below, Panopticon, Everyone Lives Everyone Wins....I can recommend them all.

FMA: Many bands and label heads pine for the pre-Internet days, when there were only a handful of widely available releases, but bands could truly be successful. Let me posit a theory: The Internet is an advantage for musicians who aren't in the traditional cultural centers. What do you think?

G: Oh, absolutely. We wouldn't have 1/100th of the contacts we do now if it wasn't for the internet. Like it or not, it's here to stay. There's definitely a right way and a wrong way to use the internet for promotion though.

FMA: Why should someone go out of their way to pick up your CD or see your show?

G: I'd like to think we're somewhat original in our music and presentation, and when we play out live, we give it our all.

FMA: When I listen to your music, it reminds me of the Apocalyptic mood of Unearthly Trance. How would you describe Highgate's influences, sound, and philosophy?

G: We definitely try to portray an atmosphere that's "post-apocalyptic" in nature. Our influences musically would include Black Sabbath, Swans, Burzum, Darkthrone, Whitehouse, and The Grey Wolves...and there are plenty more too numerous to mention. I would describe our sound as a mashup of doom, black metal, industrial, and noise. Our philosophical influences for all the previous releases included the aforementioned post-apocalyptic themes, shadow government coverups, the occult and paranormal phenomena. Recently we have started to branch into other themes, mainly to do with our great state of Kentucky and our heritage here. On Shrines to the Warhead for instance, the song "Holy Poisoning" is about the infamous "snake-handling" churches scattered throughout the state. Our new album that we are currently writing will be almost exclusively about the history of coal mining in our state, including the dangers and abuse coal miners have faced through the years.

FMA: I quite like a lot of what I hear on the Black Frost Fallout compilation, but I don't care for compilations as a rule. Where should a listener start if they want to hear the best you guys can do?

G: Thank you. Honestly I would recommend the "S/T"'s only one track clocking in at about 53's my personal favorite thing we've done.

FMA: What are your plans, in the near term and the long?

G: Well, we are writing the new album right now, we will enter the studio in January to record it. We will have a split cassette with the excellent noise band Death Agonies coming out in the next month or two. Our side will be all new material we recorded ourselves, with a nice and extremely raw sound to it. Our first CD (S/T) will be issued on LP from the fine folks at Vendetta Records and Psychic Assault Records. We have a split 7" with the amazing Canadian doom band Ghast that will be out by the end of the year. We are also working on a split 7" with the crushing doom band Divanity, as well as a 2xC60 cassette box set of material not released anywhere else. Thanks for the interview!

No comments:

Post a Comment