Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: Highasakite

HIGHASAKITE. (Courtesy Photo)
HIGHASAKITE. (Courtesy Photo)

The Norwegian indie rock-pop band Highasakite has been experiencing an increase in profile over the last two years since the release of their debut LP Silent Treatment. That album debuted at the number one on the Top 40 in Norway, spent more than two years on that chart and earned them positive reviews in major U.S. publications. But the latest notch under their belt, getting added to the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, is a special honor.

“I feel very lucky. There are a lot of very important and accomplished musicians who have played that show, so we feel honored to be invited to play there,” said Ingrid Helene Håvik, the songwriter and vocalist for Highasakite. The band will join the ranks of musicians like Paul McCartney, Elton John, Alicia Keys, Florence and the Machine and Rihanna, who have all played the show in the past.

The concert, which is Oslo, Norway, is shaping up to be the exclamation point on another banner year for the burgeoning group, which got its start in 2011 when Håvik met the group’s drummer Trond Bersu while he was studying at the Trondheim Jazz Conservatory. Long before that show, Highasakite is set to perform at DC9 in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Earlier this year, Highasakite released its second album, Camp Echo, which also debuted on the top of the Top 40 chart in Norway. The album has already been streamed over ten million times on Spotify.

The title of the record took its title from one of the seven detention camps within Guantanamo Bay, but that’s not the only reason the band chose that as the title of the record. It was the cognitive dissonance that the group members experienced when coming up with a title for the record.

“We thought that it was interesting because the name represents something so dark at Guantanamo Bay,” Håvik said. “But ‘Camp Echo’ also sounds so light, like it would be a name of a summer camp.” Highasakite released “Someone Who’ll Get It,” which is the first single from Camp Echo in February of this year and released “Golden Ticket,” the second single from Camp Echo, in May.
Both singles have visually stunning music videos to go along with them. Håvik said she is closely involved with the creation of the group’s music videos because she wants to have a say in how the songs are perceived visually.

Håvik, who is the group’s only songwriter, said that she can’t remember what inspired the two singles from the album. “I take inspiration from anywhere, whatever triggers me, so it I can’t always remember where the idea for a song came from,” she said.

Although the choice of Camp Echo for an album title gives the impression that Highasakite is trying to be overtly political on the album, that’s not the case. Despite loose political commentary, the album is without agenda. The intention is not to persuade or invade but more an attempt to make sense of the inner turmoil born of external unrest.

“I don’t think that is my role. My role is not to tell people what to do or to tell people how to vote,” Håvik said. “My role is to relate what I am feeling and what I am going through in my lyrics.”

• For more information about Highasakite, visit highasakite.no.