FROM: LONDON | FOR FANS OF: CEREMONY, NEW ORDER
WORDS: SEAN HUBBARD
Post-punk outfit High Vis recently rose to prominence with the release of their debut full-length No Sense No Feeling and a support slot for Ceremony at the New Cross Inn. Their unique take on post-punk comes from their origins in various hardcore bands and they have lent their chaotic energies into their newest project with full force. Guitarist Rob Hammaren describes them as “a hardcore band with post-punk tendencies,” and given their live atmosphere feels more like a chaotic Madball show rather than watching The Cure it is a fitting label.
“As long as we think a song is good, we don’t worry too much about what box it fits into.”
The difference for High Vis this time around is that they have put their own spin on post-punk, with vocalist Graham Sayle admitting that “the traditional sombre vocal style felt so alien to me,” instead preferring a more energetic ‘punk’ style. Alongside the differing vocal styles, they also don’t try to write for a certain genre, with authenticity remaining the most important aspect of song-writing, with Hammaren admitting: “It’s easy to compartmentalise yourself as a band, but setting generic parameters on a creative project always seemed self-limiting to me” and describing the bands attitude towards genre by saying: “as long as we think a song is good, we don’t worry too much about what box it fits into.”
High Vis is an interesting name, of course bringing instantly to mind high vis jackets often worn by blue collar workers, and Sayle describes it as “the unifying garment of the working class, and that’s something that means a lot to me as a northerner living in London.” Of course another aspect of high vis vests is the deception of sneaking into various areas and “the irony that by wearing something high vis you instantly disappear in society.” Sayle recounts his youth saying “for years I’d get away with murder sneaking into places, convincing security guards to leave, or making money just by wearing this costume.” The entire name reflects their working class roots and their origins in hardcore bands where the style can sometimes be ostentatious, but it is certainly appropriate for how ‘in your face’ the music is.
“Where there’s no sense, there’s no feeling.”
The album title No Sense No Feeling is another interesting name, and one that Sayle told us his mother used to say when talking about the government and law enforcement having no compassion: “Where there’s no sense, there’s no feeling.” According to him “The two words also refer to our own avoidance of feeling through destructive behaviours and self-abuse.”
High Vis are positive about the future of punk and guitar music, praising the current post-punk revival “There’s a lot of cool stuff coming out; like Halcyon Days from up north and bands like Eagulls have been doing that stuff for a while,” but also admiring bands from other sub-genres of punk, especially Higher Power about whom they say “2020 is definitely their year and I hope we get to confuse some more crowds with them!”
No Sense No Feeling has caused waves throughout the UK punk scene, and with more high profile support slots like the Ceremony show surely on the horizon High Vis are shaking up the definition of what a post-punk band or a hardcore band should look like. It’s clear that 2020 will be explosive for the band, especially with the album’s position on many year-end lists.
No Sense, No Feeling is out NOW via Venn Records.