Somahigh

Interview by Aline Giordano

SomahighThe Melvins, Nirvana, The Beatles, heavy metal and shoegazing stuff like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine, jazz and dance music, Nine Inch Nails… - it’s all part of the musical heritage of Somahigh band members. The disparateness of their musical influences could play a part in the reasons why you can’t quite pigeonhole Somahigh. When asked what style of music they play they often don’t know what to answer but they are known to have settled once for something like ‘indietronica’.

This brings me onto the subject of electronica – and its thorny definition… So I ask an academic expert for said definition, and I end up with a chapter from his PhD thesis(!)… like, I just wanted a quick answer but this may be his point really - no cutting corners here! One thesis chapter later and none the wiser, I’m even more confused now and all I can think of is Bourdieu’s concept of habitus and Deleuze & Guattari’s ‘A Thousand Plateaus’. Can I wander into the philosophy of flows and fluxes (without sounding pretentious!)? I think not, but maybe I’d like to pursue the conversation a few steps further. Somahigh may encapsulate the ‘nomad’ of counter-culture. There are many positive things about being a ‘nomad’. I like nomads. They live in harmony with changes but their approach is necessarily reactive… bear with me.

Think of Somahigh as ‘indietronica’, electronic music, dance music, nineties music, and whatever else, and as the band themselves joked: ‘Put that in a washing machine, spin it for an hour and a half then you get Somahigh’. You may wish to add in a bit of OMD, Depeche Mode and Gary Newman, a bit of 80s sound for good measures, but I assure you this is some fine laundry care! Enough of the post-show banter... Upstairs in the Joiners, I sense that music is a very serious matter for Somahigh. They went into a studio to record an album. That’s how Sean (guitar & vocals) intended it to be, but it worked out that these songs are being released as three EPs. ‘It works really well’, Sean assures me. ‘Tough Love’ is rather heavy in guitars and the second one, I’m being told, more electronic. If you want to appreciate the band at its full potential it’s live that you need to experience their music. The music writing may be a lonely process (Sean writes it all on Cubase) but the band comes together and adapts it for a live performance where it truly comes to life - the live performance testament to how accomplished each band member is.

Back to my attempt at articulating what I think of Somahigh - with a little help from my vague recollection of Bourdieu and Deleuze & Guattari’s texts. Somahigh produce some very meticulously crafted songs one can dance to. Try it! Download the single ‘Tough Love’, turn the volume up, plunge yourself into that frenzied rhythm and let the guitars and keyboards take you to that higher place where only the best NIN, Placebo and Death In Vegas tunes take you… I know, I’m being cryptic – just try it! Drowning the ‘I’ and ‘me’ in metaphors, Sean writes about what he perceives of the world around him, what’s on his own doorstep, as he puts it. Their music has reached my doorstep and I hope it will penetrate many of your dwellings and get you to dance your hearts out too.

Somahigh have assimilated the best of the nineties. For Sean ‘The 1990s period is very inspiring because it seems such a golden age for music, that indie scene when everything was possible, merging electronic and guitars’. Sean makes no secret that Damon Albarn made him think differently about music.’

Hand picked by Rob Da Bank to play Southampton’s Common People festival, Bestival and Camp Bestival, Somahigh are gathering a strong following on the South coast. So what’s next for Somahigh?

For me, I’d love to see Somahigh drawing from the best of that fusion of electronic and guitars and break the mould of expectation (our habitus). Let’s be honest, if Muse want to play ‘Muse’ (i.e. within the boundaries that define Muse), so be it – and actually who gives a damn? It’s good for capitalism after all. But I feel that Somahigh have got so much more to contribute to music and the live scene than beautifully handcrafted songs. They should make the most of it, stop being ‘nomads’ and instead become adventurous ‘migrants’; push the boundaries of electronica, indie and industrial rock - invent and experiment; think big, think ‘meta’ – that’s it - think ‘metatronica’, think well beyond, beyond electronica.

To see more photos, visit… Aline Giordano's website

For more details, visit… Somahigh's website

Photograph © Aline Giordano 2015