A Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Making Of Highasakite's 'Camp Echo'

28 March 2016 | 12:01 pm | Staff Writer

See exclusive pics from the band's process as they worked on their forthcoming LP

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Looking at the frozen scene of indie-electro-pop darlings Highasakite soaking in the natural serenity of rural Norway as they take a break from recording their impending third full-length, Camp Echo, it's hard to reconcile much of what we've heard about the album with the idyllic surrounds in which it was at least partially crafted.

In stark contrast to the dark, heady themes contained on the third LP's nine tracks, this period of its creation appears laid-back, if sporadically chaotic; guitar and keyboard leads are strewn across floors, a toaster sits alongside synths as frontwoman and chief creative mastermind Ingrid Helene Håvik straddles two sets of keys in a lamp-lit cranny; there's even a freaking adorable cat getting about the place, almost assuredly bringing an extra element of warmth and relaxation — amid the undoubted hard work — to the whole scenario.

When The Music touches base with Håvik to discuss the album ahead of its May release, she's freshly woken up, translating questions and answers from and to English in her head, and brand new to discussing the band's follow-up to their lauded debut LP Silent Treatment — this is one of the first Australian interviews she's given about the album, which shares its name with one of seven detention camps within the confines of Guantanamo Bay.

However, despite the implicit darkness of the album's title — and its songs' lyrics referencing topics from global warming to the Chernobyl disaster — the singer-songwriter says there is an underlying levity, elegance, even joy, to its framework.

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"I think that's what's kind of on my mind nowadays, but at the same time I feel like the songs, they are inspired by these things, but a lot of the songs can also be love songs," Håvik tells The Music. "I haven't really noticed it until lately but it's up to the listener to see what it's about … I'm not trying to send a message, really, it's just observations."

"I also think Camp Echo has a musical vibe to it because of 'echo', and I also think it's kind of a beautiful name, but the reference that you have to it, it gets dark, kind of."

The light/dark juxtaposition is one of the most consistent features apparent throughout Camp Echo, and has been well documented since at least the release of the video for thunderous single Someone Who'll Get It, which features scenes of Håvik (and a body double) pole-dancing set against grimy, oil-drenched close-ups — and was mostly her idea, brought on by an appreciation for the art (and, to an extent, Kate Moss), with its 'ugly' side "supposed to [provide] a contrast".

"The idea that I had was just that I wanted pole-dancing in the video, and then they had the idea with the oil and everything else," she explains. "I took a lot of classes, like private classes, with a really good teacher; that helped me learn how to dance. And then I also had a body double to, you know, make it look even better.

"It was just some pictures that I saw of strippers and I really liked the grittiness … and also I saw this music video with Kate Moss — I think it's White Stripes (ed. it is — I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself) — yeah, and I just really thought that it was really beautiful. I think pole-dancing is really beautiful."

It's not just Someone Who'll Get It that Håvik put such measured thought into, however; hearing her speak about the album, it's evident that she is uniformly proud of what she and her bandmates have achieved across the board for their third run at bat, especially given that from the sounds of it the process has brought the group a greater sense of cohesion.

"We are very proud of it and it's been very easy to agree on what kind of sound we wanted to have in the band because we've been travelling together and we've been listening to the same music and we have the same references," she says. "It's been a very exciting process because I think it came together kind of quickly, like how we wanted it, and how we wanted to express it.

"[A lot of the music we were listening to was] very diverse but at the same time it's all very electronic, so we've been using a lot more synthesisers and arpeggiators, stuff like that. It was a very fun process."

The process — at least the pre-release part of it — is almost at an end now, and the band are preparing for the live commitments and music video shoots to follow. Understandably though, Håvik's just keen to get the album out in the world. 

"I'm just very excited; the waiting time is the hardest," she says. "We do have some work to do; we have pre-production for the live things, and we have music videos, making those, so we're just passing our time with work, but it's hard to wait."

At least it won't be too much longer — Camp Echo is out Friday 20 May through Caroline Australia. Pre-orders are available now.

Camp Echo

1. My Name Is Liar
2. Samurai Swords
3. Someone Who'll Get It
4. My Mind Is A Bad Neighborhood
5. God Don’t Leave Me
6. I Am My Own Disease
7. Golden Ticket
8. Deep Sea Diver
9. Chernobyl