Hot Ones: The High Wire
Already on the Radio 1 playlist and favoured by a certain Coldplay-er, self tited 'Gospel-Psych-Pop-Surfadelia' band The High Wire talk to HM's E about their Last Night On Earth, their not so Shoegaze musica and general Hot Ones To Watch-ness. Take a pew and get to know this soon not to be so underground indie band.
HM: First thing’s first please introduce yourselves to London town, who are ya and what are you famous for?
Ross: *To be read by Don LaFontaine - The High Wire are Tim Crompton, Alexia Hagen and Ross Forrest.
HM: Lmao love it!! For those who don't know who Don LaFontaine is click the link www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QPMvj_xejg
HM: From whence did the band name ‘The High Wire’ come?
Tim: From listening to a lot of Richard Thompson. Specifically, for the name, ‘Walking On A Wire’
HM: Is it true The High Wire first started out as just Tim? Was it one-man band style performance complete with harmonica? How did you then transition into a full on band of three?
Tim: It started out as solo, but only really in the studio making the album ‘Ahead of the Rain’. I just did one solo show, straight after finishing the album, which was in a weird S&M club that was above the studio we had been recording in – all chains on the walls and handcuffs and (strangest of all) a dentist’s chair. The transition to the three of us was gradual, with Lex joining for the second album, ‘The Sleep Tape’, and Ross coming on board to shake things up for the new album.
‘The Sleep Tape’ was recorded in a completely different way to the current album. It’s so much more lo-fi and homemade....HM: So Lex aka Alexia you’re originally Canadian, however did you meet Tim and Ross? Gatwick Airport Lounge per chance?
Lex: I was in another band at the time I met Tim playing at a venue called The Metro in London. Tim was watching the gig and we got chatting afterwards. He asked whether I'd be interested in doing some stuff with The High Wire. I met Ross later through Tim and thus the story began.
HM: Totally random question Lex, but we always wanted to know…. why do Canadians always get so much stick from the majority of USA inhabitants???
Lex: I think because our identity as a country is fairly young we get treated by the USA as a kid brother that gets teased and picked on a bit. But that's okay...we've got Ryan Gosling.
HM: How would you describe each other’s characters, you know who’s the savant, who’s the recluse and who’s the party animal??
Lex: Well I can safely say that Ross is the (lovely) party animal! Tim could be considered our musical savant...which leaves me to be the recluse...? Hmmm...
Ross: If the band were animals, Tim would be a barn owl, as he spends a lot of time in the studio, which is up in the rafters of an old school hall, and he often swoops down with a great musical idea or church mouse to feed his off spring. Alexia would definitely be a Tarsier due to the enormity of her eyes and her love of climbing trees.
HM: How do your characters add to the dynamic of the band?
Ross: I’d say we’re all pretty different on the face of it but we spend so much time with each other that you begin to break down the natural defences that people have socially, we rehearse in a space that is literally about the size of a wardrobe so you very quickly learn to get a sixth sense about how the other members of the band are feeling and it becomes more of a sibling style dynamic.
Tim: It’s fine to get those labels, I think we just get annoyed with ourselves for not being able to break away and vary the sound more… that said, we really do think this album is much more a pop record which brings the songs out from behind the shoegaze clouds.
HM: One of your recent releases is ours and Radio 1’s fave LNOE/ Last Night On Earth. The video’s directed by Mat Whitecross and also stars Ray Winstone as a Alzheimer’s sufferer. How do you think the themes in the video marry with/complement those of the track?
Tim: The connection between the video and the song was Ray’s character’s relationship with his wife. In the video he is plagued by visions of her, confusing his memories with real life, and wishing she was still here.
HM: What’s the link between the LNOE video and Mat Whitecross’ film ‘Ashes’?
Tim: The video is taken from the film… we approached Mat with the idea because we felt there was a match up in the story line of Frank (Ray’s character)’s relationship with his wife Cath. And it’s a great film that we think deserves way more attention.
HM: You’ve also just released new single Under A Spell, so is there a new album/EP on the horizon?
Tim: Yes!!! It’s been completed for ages!! We so want to let people hear it. It looks like the release will be in Spring 2014 after another single, called ‘Still’, in January.
HM: We’ve been checking out your 2010 album The Sleep Tape with its 90s indie fuelled sound. How did the album come together?
Tim: ‘The Sleep Tape’ was recorded in a completely different way to the current album. It’s so much more lo-fi and homemade, we recorded the whole thing in a small bedroom, which very much added to the whole close night time feel of the record.
HM: Another key ingredient to The High Wire’s music is Rik Simpson who worked on the last album and recent releases, what does Rik bring to the mix?
Tim: Rik literally brings the mix… to the mix. When we took him ‘The Sleep Tape’ it really sounded like a bunch of messy demos and he gave it back to us in widescreen technicolour. I have no idea what he does, but it has such a huge effect on the sound. This most recent album was also given character by Andy Rugg, who massively helped us to escape the lo-fi shoegaze of ‘The Sleep Tape’ and move on to something new without losing our personality. Together Andy and Rik helped take all the varied tracks, from quiet acoustic numbers to soul stompers, and gave them a sonic character which tied them all together and hopefully sounds kind of new and old at the same time…!?
HM: So where can us Londoners usually find you gigging?
Tim: We’re just finishing working on our new set, which will be played by the 3 of us without just being an acoustic or stripped down show. We’re having to move around loads swapping instruments and lead vocals. I really have a mega short attention span at gigs and so this is hopefully going to be a show that keeps changing for each song and is well varied.
HM: Ross, word on the street is you recently moved to Notting Hill can you recommend any gig hotspots for us south of the river types?
Ross: Hey – yeah I did, just in time for Carnival which was nuts! Defo The Tabernacle, one of the only places you can just wander down to and feel confident that there’s going to be something on that you can get in to. I feel it’s a really inspiring, beautiful venue and they always have a really full events calendar be it dance, theatre, gigs or something on in the gallery. http://www.tabernaclew11.com/
HM: Lastly guys we wanna know if it was your LNOE who would you spend it with, where in the world would you go and what would you do?
Lex: I'd head back to Vancouver Island, straight to the beach, build a huge bonfire and share stories with friends and family over a cold beer or two.
Ross: I’d want to spend it with my wonderful band mates Tim and Alexia.
Check out The High Wire's 2010 album The Sleep Tape on thehighwire.bandcamp.com/album/the-sleep-tape
... and get more clued up to The High Wire at these HOTlinks;The HW site FB The HW Tweet The HW Watch The HW
Interview: Enam G • Images: Peer Lindgreen