– First of all thank you so much for answering our interview. How is the band currently doing with the upcoming release of your new album?
CHRIS: We are great! We just returned from a short tour of the USA and Canada, so maybe a bit tired but feeling good about the gigs!
– Before digging into your new opus, and for all those who may don’t know about you yet; how did HIGH SPIRITS born and how were the first steps like until the release of «Another Night»?
CHRIS: I started making home demos in 2009, without any expectations or intentions. I was simply having fun and exploring some new directions for my songwriting. The songs got a really good response when I shared them online, so I just kept going. We put together the live band in the summer of 2009 and there was more demand than we expected. So again, we just kept going. We did some DIY tours in the USA in 2010 and 2011, so when it was time to support “Another Night” with some live shows, we were already a somewhat experienced live band.
– Once the debut album out, entitled «Another Night», tell us a bit how was this album’s release and how did you draw insteres from the crowd and media.
CHRIS: We had some good promotion for the album in Germany and it really took off from there. I think people were “in the mood” for an album like that, so the timing was perhaps a bit lucky.
– I recall your first album worked out really good into the underground, and the Internet word-of-mouth was quite good for the band. But what were your expectations once the album was out? Do you think nowadays, with the easy access to anything, is easier?
CHRIS: It’s definitely easier to reach an audience. Anyone with an internet connection can listen to our music, and I think that is a very good thing! We don’t want to be in the dark! The response to “Another Night” was totally unexpected. There was a lot of excitement on all sides!
– How was from this moment on the touring and festivals situation? I saw you at Keep it True. What’s your opinion on this kind of festivals and what are your memories from that perfomrnace in Europe?
CHRIS: Keep It True was great, an experience we will never forget. That festival is totally independent yet totally professional at the same time, which I hope is also true about this band. We also played a week’s worth of club gigs on that trip, and I have to say those were quite memorable and fun as well. We try to have fun wherever we go.
– And well, have been 3 years since «Another Night» and now you are back with a new release, entitled «You are Here». Tell us a little bit about its recording.
CHRIS: The process was basically the same. The album was recorded in a few different studios in Chicago over a period of a few months. I don’t usually finish the lyrics and guitar melodies for each song before I start recording. There’s a lot of experimentation at every stage, so the recording process takes a bit longer.
– To me just the cover already gave me good vibes, it took me back to those covers with a white background by NWOBHM bands such as SCARAB, BIG DAISY or HIGH TREASON. Was that the idea? How did you come up with it?
CHRIS: I’m glad you like the cover. Not everyone does! It’s definitely simple and colorful, which is unusual these days I suppose. I don’t remember the moment when I had the idea, but once it appeared in my mind, I was very dedicated to it. I had this image in my head the entire time the album was being written and recorded.
– And about the songs, listening to it the album reminds me to NWOBHM bands but with a more melodic edge, such as PRAYING MANTIS, DARK STAR or PERSIAN RISK. How comes an American band like you has such a strong British influence? Is something that tends to happen with a lot of US acts.
CHRIS: It’s true that most of my favorite bands are British. There is a great tradition of rock and heavy metal music from that country! I think that every heavy metal band coming from anywhere will have some prominent British influences. Their contribution to this kind of music is just so immense.
– Still keeping de NW sound, there are also really traditional, powerful and aggressive (yet not annoying at all) riffs, always keeping that melody. Are you pleased with the outcome? Did the tunes end up like as expected?
CHRIS: Mostly, yes. Although there were two additional songs from this session which did not turn out totally finished. So we had to abandon them for now. But, it means that we already have two songs to work with when it comes time to do the next album. I would say that those two songs were actually a bit too fast and aggressive for this album, so maybe you can expect a very heavy album next time!
– I also notice a lot of rhythmic sounds with a MAIDEN flavour, and that’s something bands with British influences also tend to do to a certain extent. Are also MAIDEN a notorious influence in the band?
CHRIS: I think they have influenced basically every heavy metal band in some way or another. Don’t you agree?
– This album is coming out through High Roller. How has been their behaviour with you? Are you satisfied?
CHRIS: Completely! It is the perfect label for this band both in terms of musical brand and business philosophy. They have put a lot of effort, resources, and trust in High Spirits. I think in this area I am 100% satisfied.
– And what do you think are the main differences between your previous album and this new «You are Here»?
CHRIS: “You Are Here” is more raw. We spent a lot of time polishing the sound on “Another Night”, doing some editing, vocal tuning, and so on. This time we were just going for a bright, lively rock album. We were more kind to the mistakes!
– Now talking about tours and shows in support of your album; how’s the situation like? Do you have any plans?
CHRIS: As I mentioned earlier, we’ve just returned from a 9-day tour in North America. We have some more USA dates coming up in July, and for the remainder of 2014, we are undecided. As you may know, a lot of the musicians in High Spirits are also playing in other bands, but you may not know that we are also committed to our families, jobs, and so on, so we need to allow everyone the space for a life outside the band. That said, we do have plans for some more European gigs in early 2015. We will be playing at Brofest (UK) and Hell Over Hammaburg (DE) one week later, and filling the space between with some smaller club gigs.
– And on a view to the future, do you already have ideas for a next release? Will you stick to that British style you are so good at?
CHRIS: In addition to the two more-or-less finished songs from this session, there is a small pile of other song material already, so I think you can expect a new album relatively soon. We don’t have any plans to change our sound. That happens naturally with time anyway.
– As curiosity, I would like you to tell me the 5 albums that have marked your life, both on a personal level as when it comes to create music.
CHRIS: I can’t do that, sorry! Too difficult!
– That’s all from our side, our best wishes and hope we oculd see you in Spain. Lots of thanks.
CHRIS: Thank you too! I can tell you that Spain has a great reputation among bands for having a really great audience for hard rock and heavy metal! Is that true? Maybe we can come and experience it ourselves in 2015. Yes!