Southampton’s Joiners has always been a hotbed for new and exciting bands. Be it Oasis back in the 90’s, or a stop on one of Brit rock’s greatest bands, Reuben’s, first tour, the Joiners has provided a leg up for some of the greatest bands to ever come out of Great Britain. Tonight, it’s the home to another of Britain’s greatest bands. Four fifths of the Leeds hardcore mob, Higher Power, sprawl out over two sofas, drinking Red Stripe and eating blueberries.
“ALL THE OTHER BANDS THAT CAME UP ALONGSIDE US NEVER REALLY GET NOTICED…”
Things have really started to take off for Higher Power over the last ten months, since the release of their debut album, Soul Structure. Popping up on more festival bills, playing increasingly bigger tours with bands like Every Time I Die and more importantly, finding themselves in a position in which they can tour as a headlining band. “It’s been mental, but it’s exactly what we wanted to do and exactly the position that we wanted to find ourselves in”, frontman Jimmy Wizard confidently announces. Things seem to be happening very quickly for Higher Power. Having only formed in 2015, and already having a universally praised album under their belts, it feels as though the band are currently riding the crest of a wave. “It kind of took us by surprise, all the other bands that came up alongside us never really get noticed outside of the hardcore scene but Higher Power does for some reason and we’re quite proud of that.”
Higher Power has always described themselves as somewhat of a supergroup. Forming from a bunch of different bands from the much beloved Leeds hardcore scene, it’s something that the band have always been proud of. “Right now, I feel quite disconnected with Leeds because we’re so busy”, Wizard glumly ponders. “Although, when we do come back it’s cool because theres completely new kids, so it feels like the scene is definitely evolving”. This is the crux of why Higher Power feel like such a crucial band at this current point for UK Hardcore. It feels as though they open new doors for bands to adopt different sounds and take experiments, while still being firmly rooted in hardcore. “When we we’re writing in the early days, it was definitely a more NYHC sound. I mostly listen to a lot of Grunge and Rock music as well as hardcore, so I tried to adopt that vocal style more and blend the two together”.
“THERE IS A NEW LEASE OF LIFE IN HARDCORE.”
When asked about the state of the UK hardcore scene in 2018, Wizard seemed to be contemplative as to it’s current state. “I think it peaked around two years ago. You had all these great bands like Shrapnel and Obstruct and it got to the point where everyone gets older and grows up, so bands just cant be as active”. However the band believes that there is a new lease of life that is about to come around. Bassist Ethan Wilkinson chimes in “It’s not at it’s peak right now, but it’s not far off getting there. It takes time to hit those heights, and because hardcore is back in the public eye again, I hope it’ll get back to that peak sooner rather than later”.
As they prepare to take the stage, we finished up by talking about the band being announced for Download Festival this year, as well as how they feel about hardcore gaining mainstream festival exposure. “Hardcore is definitely in the public eye more than it ever has been at this current point in time”, explains Wizard. “Seeing Code Orange destroy Download last year was wild, so it’s really cool to see more people paying attention to this style of music”.
“it’s really cool to see more people paying attention to this style of music”.
However, Higher Power still are quite happy to stick to their humble hardcore roots. “We’d still rather play a sweaty, packed out, tiny show”, says Wilkinson in response to the bands slot at Download. “It’s going to be amazing to have a chance to play a festival as big as Download though”. It’s this sense of humbleness that sets Higher Power apart from the rest of their contemporaries. They each seem to be stoked beyond belief that they’ve managed to take their band this far, and they don’t show many signs of slowing down at all.
Looking to the future, Wizard enthusiastically explains “We’ve got loads of stuff in the pipeline. We’re going to carry on writing, touring and trying to take this type of music everywhere”. All we know is, we can’t wait for what comes next.
WORDS: CALLUM HURST | PHOTOS: AARON JONES / NATALIE WOOD