Interview: The High Water Marks – Fantastic Machine

Hi The High Water Marks, how are you today?

We are doing great! Summer have come in full blast here i Norway, our record is out and making its way around, and we have been practicing for some summer gigging. 

For those that haven’t heard of you yet, how would you best describe your sound and who have been your biggest influences so far?

Well we have been around for a while, since 2004 actually, but have been inactive for long periods of time. Hilarie was one of the songwriters in The Apples in Stereo and a founding member of the Elephant 6 collective (Olivia Tremor Control, Secret Square and Neutral Milk Hotel etc) so we naturally do sound familiar to people who dig that sort of thing I guess. Our influences are all over the place, but important ones are the bands from the Flying Nun label, The Beatles, Dinosaur jr and a lot of more noisy stuff, but we do love melodies and hooks!

You also take inspiration from a variety of different genres. Can you tell us what kind of music you listened to while you were growing up?

Hilarie listened to a lot of classic rock, especially the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. Per Ole grew up in Norway so A-ha was huge for him and a lot of bargain bin rock, like Motley Crue and Whitesnake. We still love A-ha of course! Who doesn’t??? But Crue and Whitesnake did not stand the test of time. 

And what was the first album you remember owning?

Hilarie: The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour, Per doesn’t remember, but it was probably a tape made by the socialist childrens artist, Ola Uteligger. 

You have just released your new single on April, titled ‘Fantastic Machine’. Can you tell us how that release came about? Is there a story behind it?

That song was mainly written by our bass player, Logan Miller and fleshed out by the rest of the band. I guess it’s a commentary on how social media affects the way we think…or something like that. It’s also a little abstract like the rest of our lyrics. They are not always about something specifically, but are meant to make you feel a certain way. Power pop to the people!

How would you say it compares to your previous releases? 

Hmmm, after our last record Ecstasy Rhymes came out, we started writing this one right away. It is all new stuff, no old ideas or leftovers. So that’s new. We usually recycle old tunes that we’ve had for years, but this time it’s all fresh. And we think it was a fun way to work! We are happier about this record than any of the previous ones! It was a real team effort and we all switched around on the instruments a lot. For example, three of us play the drums on it and we all play guitars, it was fun! 

And finally, what do you hope to have achieved as a band in the next five years?

We are not good at planning for the future, hahaha. But we hope we can do what we are doing. We will keep on making records the way we want to and hopefully we’ll get a couple of small tours in too. We are a trans atlantic band with Logan in the USA and the rest of us in Norway, so it can be tricky sometimes, but we all work so great together so it’s all worth it! Maybe we need a 5 year master plan! A concept album maybe (anyone remember the Kiss album, The Elder?) 

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