An entrancing, exotic fusion of jazz, pop, folk and electronics, Highasakite are an empowering proposition.
Take new EP 'In And Out Of Weeks'. Crammed full of ideas, the document at times creaks and groans like a loft packed with heirlooms - threatening to cave, the sheer drama is almost worth the visit alone.
Hailing from Sweden, Highasakite are dominated by the figure of Ingrid Håvik. A conduit for the group's multi-faceted musical approach, she seems to casually shake off preconceptions foisted upon both Scandinavian and female artists. However this very definitely a group project, and Highasakite really fell into place when Marte Eberson came on board to complete the five piece line up last year.
Intrigued, Clash asked Ingrid and Marte to discuss their inspirations - here's what they sent back.
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I read her book 'Just Kids' last year and I was very inspired by it. I had heard some of her songs before, but it was during my reading I really started listening to her music and I also watched YouTube videos and a documentary about her. First of all Patti Smith was probably the first, big punk woman, but it is mostly the combination of her way of living and her way of thinking that inspires me, as well as her poetry and music. I really admire this woman because she managed to work so dedicated with art without losing her compassion towards other people. For me, she is the first woman I have seen that has performed art on stage, and has made me feel like the words that came out of her mouth was the only true thing in the world. She is very raw and natural, and I guess at that time (1970s), Patti was a huge inspiration for young girls. For me she is mostly an inspiration because of her dedication to making art, being so open-minded and full of love at the same time.
The girl band Spice Girls was probably my first meeting with the expression and attitude "Girl Power". I was about 10 years old when Spice Girls released their first CD, and all of the girls in my class, including me, had it constantly on repeat. We dressed up as each of one of them, made dances to their songs, mimed, had theme-birthdays, and trade Spice Girls cards and pictures. Today, none of these girls actually inspire me, but I think it is important for me to remember what they meant for me then. For me, it was the first "real" girl band, and it felt great to have a so huge interest in something, and that my first meeting with "Girl Power" came from songs and music, instead of demonstrations and discussions. It is also happened at a time when me and my friends was quite insecure, and the boys were the loudest in class. Then it felt good to have a "thing" and an interest that made us feel more confident, that was only ours.
Susanne Sundfør is a Norwegian musician. She is a composer, singer and artist, and has given out several albums. In 2007 she received the Norwegian Grammy for best female artist, but when she got on stage she said "I am mainly an artist, not a female artist", and in 2010 she reclined the nomination for best female artist. In 2012 the Norwegian Grammy decided to stop making categories based on gender. I think this was a great for musicians in Norway and is a good example for the rest of the world. I agree that artists/musicians should be treated equal no matter what gender, and women can make art and music as good as men, and vice versa. I think it is great that Susanne Sundfør showed her opinion and her stance, especially since this award is highly recognized in Norway and among musicians, and that her opinion actually had something to say, and in the end the Norwegian Grammy changed a big nomination category. In my career I have never chosen musicians to play with based on gender, but sometimes I meet the people who still believe that women and men are different when it comes to music. So I thought it was great that someone like Susanne finally said that we are equal musicians.
I grew up with Astrid Lindgrens books and movies. My first role models were characters that she created like Pippi Longstocking and Ronia Robbersdaughter. They were both very strong and independent young women with abilities to deal with and outplay grown men. Pippi is strong enough to lift a horse with one hand, and Ronia is raised in a male dominated enviroment with only her mother as a fellow female, and Birk her neighbor is the only person she has met in her own age. Since she is the daughter of the chief robber, he is expected to become the leader of the robbers clan someday. I still wish i could be like Ronia Robbersdaughter sometimes, to ride horses through the woods, hunt or fish my own food, swim naked in the river and jump over the crack of a splitted mountain. They were both great role models to have, I never thought about that they were girls or that the fact that they were female would be an obsticle of any kind. It's burned a mark in me for sure.
The first time I heard Diamanda was in 2007 in a school class at the university, and I was scared out of my mind. It was Vena Cava 1 from the live album Vena Cava. And I wanted to turn if of only after a couple of seconds, and I was so relieved when it was over. But it had somehow awaken my curiousity for some reason and I brought the album home, and tried many times to listen to it without having to turn it of. I more and more came to realize how utterly sad and beautiful this album was. It's some kind of performance theater showing someones fear of dying, how time is running up and how often the meaningless everyday conversations somehow dominates the room even when someone is dying in fear and panic. It is so easy to relate to, yet so exhausting to take in. I dont think you can hear it in my music or voice, but this woman changed my perspective on music. I want to make meaningful music that leaves this kind of mark in people. That changes peoples perspective and creates a new room in the back of a persons mind.
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'In And Out Of Weeks' is set to be released on March 8th.