Discovery: Highasakite


Highasakite bridges the gap between sensible pop, progressive rock, and Norwegian folk music. The Norwegian quintet formed while Ingrid Helene Håvik and Trond Bersu were studying at the Trondheim Jazz Conservatory. For their debut EP, In And Out of Weeks, the band enlisted Thomas Dahl (Krøyt) to help produce the tracks. With Håvik’s hazy voice, songs such as “Son of a Bitch” and “Indian Summer” sound like part of a dream sequence.

Before the release of their EP next week, we’re featuring the titular track. Håvik’s love for nature and the outdoors is evident in this track through her sweet vocals. We spoke with Ingrid Helene Håvik about studying jazz, learning from the Twin Peaks soundtrack, and using Elton John as inspiration.

HOMETOWN: Oslo, Norway

BAND MEMBERS: Ingrid Helene Håvik, Trond Bersu, Øystein Skar, Marte Eberson, Kristoffer Lo.

THE NAME: It’s from that Elton John song, “Rocket Man.” I don’t know, it was Trond who wanted that. Putting the words together, it seemed easier than to have four words.

FAMILY: My mother is a singer and conductor, so she was really encouraging about music. Both of my older brothers are musicians. I just turned out this way.

JAZZ HANDS?: I don’t think jazz is in this band. Well, I don’t use any of it with the music of Highasakite. It’s easier for us to play things, because we have so much training. There are a lot of musical influences for us—I think anything from Joy Division to Twin Peaks, the soundtrack to that series. PJ Harvey.

FLYING AROUND THE WORLD: For 2013, we’re going to go to London, Germany, Sweden and Denmark. Then we’re going to SXSW, in the States, and New York.

THE INSPIRATION BEHIND “SON OF A BITCH” AND “INDIAN SUMMER:” It’s really been a long time since I wrote them, so I think I might have lost track of what it meant to begin with. I think “Indian Summer” is just about being out, playing. I picture the place where I grew up; it’s about that place. Each song is an individual story, I think. Some of the songs we wrote before we went into the studio, and some of them we wrote in 2007.

“Son of a Bitch” was supposed to be called “S.O.B,” but when I got the record back it said “Son of a Bitch.” I just think that the woman who sent it in didn’t get the message. It can be called “Son of a Bitch.” It doesn’t matter to me.

IDEAL TOUR-MATE: It would be great to play with Bon Iver, or anyone that is folk.

EPs AND LPs: In And Out of Weeks is a full-length record in Norway, but we have divided it into EPs instead of a full CD. We are recording our second album now, which will be our debut album.

SETTING THEMSELVES APART FROM OTHER NORWEGIAN BANDS: I don’t think we’re similar to any of the other bands at all. I don’t know what makes it that way, or why other people don’t play that kind of music.

SONGWRITING: Everyone has been helping out with it, but I am the main composer. I write the lyrics, and I write songs. Then they arrange them and come up with ideas. They help bring the songs together with me. I play the harp, harmonium and piano, as well as other things. I’m not really good at. I feel like I’m a singer who plays a little bit of other things.