This week’s brand new sounds come courtesy of Bristol pop-punk quartet Highlives, who have been pedalling their high-octane musical wares since 2014, and have just released new single Nothing Left, which, as they put it, is all about “how a negative mindset can push someone away in a romantic relationship, whilst reflecting on the feelings that come with the absence of a loved one”. So far, so pop punk, but the band assert that there’s more to them than just “arpeggiated chords and shouted vocals”.
Below, we chat with guitarist Ben and frontman Liam to find out more about the band.
Can you introduce yourselves – where are you from, who does what and what are your roles in the band?
Ben: “Hi, I’m Ben and I play guitar and sing backing vocals in Highlives!”
How did you guys meet and start making music together?
Ben: “I used to work in Primark with an ex-member of the band, went to a recording session to meet everyone and ended up getting mugged off and paying £20 towards this recording I had nothing to do with…”
What were your key influences/inspirations in getting the band together?
Liam: “We started out as what was pretty much a terrible Blink-182 tribute band, so I’d have to say Blink-182. In the later years, The Wonder Years particularly inspired me, and I believe they’ve influenced my songwriting style and approach.”
How would you describe your sound in three words for people who’ve never heard you?
Ben: “Energetic, catchy, cheesy.”
What makes you special/different to other bands out there?
Ben: “I think we sound pretty different from a lot of the arpeggiated chords/shouted vocal type songs which are mega-popular in pop punk these days.”
What’s the story behind the single Nothing Left, and how did it come together?
Ben: “Me and Lee were having a few beers and trying to write a song, and 10 minutes later we had Nothing Left pretty much finished. We took it to the rest of the band to demo and added a couple more lead guitar parts, drums and bass and that was pretty much it.”
Liam: “I had the lyrics, structure and basic melody down before adding any guitar. It was one of those songs that came together really quickly but everyone also really enjoyed.”
What’s your favourite story/anecdote from recording the single?
Ben: “The whole time we spent recording Nothing Left was a lot of fun, but one part which stands out to me was the adventure that me and Liam had actually travelling to the studio.”
What, in your opinion, is the stand-out track you’ve released so far, and why?
Ben: “I think Wake Me Up is still our stand out track for me. It took a while to write the music for it but as soon as we started on the vocals everything slotted into place perfectly.”
What do you hope people will take away from the single, and your music in general?
Liam: “I always hope our music can help people in some way. I think, with music in general, people often relate to the lyrics and it makes them feel less alone.”
What’s been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
Ben: “My highlight is the songwriting process. It can be stressful and frustrating at times, but when you have a song that comes together so perfectly out of nowhere it feels really special.”
If you could choose, who would you most like to tour with in future?
Ben: “Rich Chigga for sure.”
What are you most looking forward to about the future – what’s coming next?
Ben: “We have a bunch of new songs in the works, and I really think that they could be our best work so far!”