Hightime. On A Boat.
"I used to play in a punk band and Nina, our singer, used to jump up on stage and sing a NOFX song with us and the other guys in the band were in the crowd when we were playing and thought: Shit. She's fucking awesome, let's start a band. The drummer is her brother." Adelaide's Hightime have been smashing venues with the likes of The Flatliners, Anti-Flag, The Bennies and more since 2009. We catch up with guitarist Reuben, in a cab, in Sydney, on the way to the first night of 'Mother Crab' album launch tour.
The journey from debut to sophomore album is traditionally a complicated road. What was the process for creating your second album Mother Crab? "With the first album, we didn't know what we were yet, it's like you're discovering yourselves. By this stage we've already figured that out."
"With the second album it was the choice whether to follow that first recording or break tradition and write new stuff, and then you got to ask yourself what the fans want...?.... so we decided to throw all of that out the window and do what we wanted and it kind of ended up sounding like the last album - so we did end up following our original style."
Getting into the studio and "banging everything out (mostly) live," is essential for the this band as their reputation that proceeds them, brings the party, and their fans are never disappointed.
Recorded at Capital sounds by James Balderston who recorded their debut Ishi Prende. James has been honing his sound over the years and Hightime's new record is "A step up for us and a step up for Capital Sounds and testament to the quality of work at Capital Sounds, we're really stoked with the way it came out."
The first night of the tour is happening as we speak, the songs have yet to see a live set, Reuben predicts which song will bring the most energy from the stage and why? "Tear Us Apart, our third single off the album, it's about us as a band as friends and when we are on stage together singing those songs, those lovely feelings come out, and it's a whole bunch of good feelings at once."
Can you explain the album title? "We were on tour at Bondi Beach, walking before a gig and the drummer saw a giant crab and held his had above his head in a crab position and yelled MOTHER CRAB! And we all thought it was hilarious and it stuck with us for a while, when we were throwing about titles for the album that came up and stuck, we couldn't stop coming back to it" he laughs.
Artwork was illustrated by Harry Plane through a simple brief, "We asked him for a crab underwater with some brownies, and it all came together." Speaking of coming together, the band are ecstatic and grateful that they can play music with their friends and it not interfere with their outside personal and professional commitments, "We don't go as hard touring as much as The Bennies or Luca Brasi, and especially as our drummer David has got a baby on the way, we've taken a step back.
"Even with this tour, we're working around the long weekend, as far as day to day stuff goes, it doesn't really interfere with it, unless we choose for it to, when we get obsessed with booking shows and stuff. Right now, it's working out great for us."
The highlight being, "We played with Refused when they came through, it's still out biggest show we've played to date, it was at one of the biggest venues in Adelaide, Thebarton Theatre. We we're all so excited, I've been into Refused since I was 14 (now 26) so I was really excited to play with them."
Both albums have been released by independent label PEE RECORDS, "Pee Records have been around since I can remember, I first discovered them 12 years ago, it's run by pretty much one guy called Pete. I was really into the bands he was supporting, they only sign bands that they really enjoy - it's not money orientated, he only signs bands he actually likes, and he will help them to his full extent. The label is such a great community, it's got nothing to do with profit."
A perfect example of the bands Pee Records have on their roster include, "The Decline, Local Residents Failure and Brisbane's Driven Fear. It's not due to the fact they are touring massively or anything like that but the music they put out is fucking awesome and Pete loves it so he is keen to help them out. It's great to be a part of that family."
The music Hightime creates slides seamlessly from one genre to the next, while staying true to their punk roots,"We all grew up in the Adelaide 90's punk scene but at the beginning of the band forming, more influences came in, Jay, our bass player, was getting right into Hip Hop and some electronic music, I was really getting into world music, reggae and jazz and Nina is in to absolutely everything."
"So when we do reggae music, we do it in a 90's punk way. When we do gypsy music, we do it in a 90's punk way. When we tap into Spanish flamenco we do the same."
Anticipation for their first live show of the tour (happening now) feels like the band are dangling off a cliffhanger waiting to drop into the arms of beer soaked adoring fans or headfirst into a barricade of staunch faces, "The most exciting things for us is to hear what people think about the new songs. Tonight is the first night of the tour so we don't know whether we are going to play the new songs and people are going to cross their arms and not dance, and only dance to the old stuff or whether they are gong to love it."
Playing 4 shows in a row in 3 different cities, and Nina and Reuben appearing acoustically at an after-show post headlining CROWBAR BOATROCKER on the Brisbane river, "The last time I played on a boat, I filled in for the guitarist in Son of Dad and we got on a boat, and I got really sea sick and I ended up throwing up on stage."
"This time, my number 1 goal is to get on that boat, stay healthy and have a good time, not hate life - like I did last time." he laughs.
This band's "Taking a step back" has turned into a relentless Easter weekend festival, "After the Boatrocker, our fourth show in a row, with plane travel and hopefully not a Sunday hangover, we then get off a boat and go back to the Crowbar to play an acoustic set, that is going to be interesting..."
Laughing at the realisation, Reuben acknowledges, "It was only recently, we said to ourselves, Shit. What have we done?!"
Interview by KenadaQ
HIGHTIME - THE MOTHER CRAB TOUR
Thu Apr 2 - Valve Bar, Sydney
Fri Apr 3 - Baker Street, Central Coast
Sat Apr 4 - Crowbar, Brisbane BUY TICKETS
Sun Apr 5 - Crowbar Boatrocker, Brisbane BUY TICKETS
Sat Apr 11 - The Reverence Hotel, Melbourne
Sat Apr 18 - Adelaide Uni Bar, Adelaide BUY TICKETS