WORDS: SEAN HUBBARD
UK hardcore’s rising stars Higher Power have just wrapped up a huge festival season, including an electric performance at 2000 Trees and a massive Reading & Leeds debut on the Pit stage. As a band who take influence from across the spectrum of music genres it is important to them to play to different audiences than they are used to, and the diverse line-up of Reading & Leeds certainly afforded the opportunity to perform in front of a gathering of attendees who may not have been exposed to their brand of hardcore before. Despite the daunting size of some of these audiences however the band continue to play as if they were playing a small show to keep the energy and intimacy that makes hardcore shows so special, even if it is in a huge tent at a festival of 90,000 people.
Mainstream recognition of hardcore has been slow but consistent, with bands like Turnstile and Knocked Loose making waves throughout the music world. Vocalist Jimmy feels that this is nothing but a positive thing, as “there’s a lot of great creative people in hardcore that work super hard at what they love, whether it’s the music or photography or filming shows or creating artwork” and the more mainstream that the genre becomes, the more opportunities to make a living doing what they love will arise.
“we just wanna create music with energy and emotion…”
Higher Power have a relatively old school sound, with grunge influences and they attribute this to not allowing themselves to be limited by a select few influences, but instead their inspiration comes from everything they listen to, which is obvious when hearing their unique melodic brand of hardcore. While they are a band full of hardcore kids they say “we don’t want to be just a hardcore band, we just wanna create music with energy and emotion, basically everything that makes music so special to us.” The Leeds quintet view modern hardcore as containing lots of bands who are attempting to rehash the creations of the original classic acts, and are absolutely doing their best to avoid doing the same and instead putting their own original stamp on hardcore. They see these imitations as soulless and lacking the timelessness that the classic bands who paved the way have ascended to.
Having signed to Roadrunner Records the band see a bright future ahead, with the resources and experience of that label behind them giving them the ability to progress as a band and to write their follow up to ‘Soul Structure’ in the best environment possible. Jimmy also finds it quite funny that they have now signed to Roadrunner, saying: “we would always joke about getting signed to Roadrunner so maybe that was always a subconscious goal or dream to create something that could go this far.” Despite having a major label behind them and having a management team the band have retained their DIY spirit, willing to play anywhere and everywhere – in their words “we just wanna play music.”
“All these same bands you see headlining the same big tours and festivals ain’t gonna be around forever so someone has got to take their place”
Despite having recently had one of their hoodies included in a GQ article, Higher Power have mixed feelings about the punk aesthetic influencing current fashion culture; they think it makes it difficult to identify whether someone is actually really into counterculture or if they are just adopting the look because of modern fashion. According to Jimmy “When I was young if you saw a skater or a graffiti writer you could tell them from a mile off because of how they looked and you could approach them, but now it’s a lot harder to do that because everyone is taking influence from all those cultures without actually being involved.” However the band also acknowledge that punk always had style and it was inevitable for the rest of the world to eventually pick up on it.
The meteoric rise of Higher Power within the UK hardcore scene has shocked everyone, most of all the band themselves, who “never planned anything that happened so far.” When asked about their future they simply responded: “we just love what we do, and have worked hard and have taken the opportunities that we were given to better ourselves as a band,” and that they are going to continue touring and working hard, hopefully playing to people who care about what they are doing. Jimmy’s ultimate aspiration for the band is to have some kind of impact on the future of heavy music, finishing off by saying: “All these same bands you see headlining the same big tours and festivals ain’t gonna be around forever so someone has got to take their place. I would love to create enough of an impact to be able to keep heavy real music up there doing that instead of some soulless rehash to replace them – that would be a cool achievement.”