After signing to a major label, UK hardcore band Higher Power wanted to try something different. For their new album 27 Miles Underwater, they teamed up with veteran producer Gil Norton (Foo Fighters, Pixies) to try to incorporate some alternative rock influences into their more aggressive sound.
The resulting eleven tracks that make up 27 Miles Underwater somehow manage to strike a balance between the thrashing aggression of the band’s first album, and the melodic song structures that have become Norton’s specialty. It’s a throwback album without gimmick, making it one of the more unique albums we’ve heard this year.
To celebrate the record and the massive year ahead for Higher Power, bassist Ethan Wilkinson and drummer Alex Wizard sat down to talk tater tots, Arctic Monkeys, and tattoos in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Trust in the process.
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?
A band who trusted the process, and it actually worked. They just let it happen.
What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?
Has to be Leeds, where we’re from. Friends.
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
Leeway. The whole reason we started the band was because of that band. Maybe Life Of Agony because that was the first band that I spoke to [frontman] Jimmy [Wizard] about. How they did the videos and stuff like that.
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
We’re foodies so that’s a hard one. One that always comes to mind, and I gotta give it a shoutout… I had some crazy fried chicken and tater tots in Detroit. It was some small place, called like East Side Fish Fry. Whatever the seasoning on top of it was, was just the most insane thing I’ve ever tasted. I’ve gotta give it a shoutout. A recent one, we went to The Wing Bar in Atlanta. I got the vegan wings, so they’re not real. They were the best I’ve had. They were amazing.
What album do you know every word to?
Blink 182 – Take Off Your Pants And Jacket. The closest song I get to every word is Arctic Monkeys’ “Fluorescent Adolescent”, probably. If not, it was going to be 50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ lol. That might be the guilty pleasure one.
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
Paramore at Wembley Arena in London. Amazing.
What is the best outfit for performing and why?
Because I sweat so much, nice lightweight shorts and a plain black t-shirt. These days, Clarks on my feet. Workwear trousers so they can actually not rip. And any old t-shirt — whoever I want to represent at the time.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
The Black Beast. Derek Lewis, the UFC fighter. He posts the most insane things every day. It never fails to surprise me. The only other one I can think of is on Instagram, this thing called the Inside Drop and it’s basically news. It’s not mainstream news, it’ll be something weird that I had no idea about. But it’s not freaky. It’s not insane. It’s pretty normal stuff.
What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?
I’ve been listening to a lot of country on this tour. Changed it up. As a band, each tour has a song. This one not so much. We’ll go Brooks & Dunn – “Brand New Man”.
What’s the last thing you Googled?
“Sonic The Hedgehog” because our guitarist looks like Sonic The Hedgehog. His head is all f*cked up.
What album makes for the perfect gift?
(What’s The Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis. Perfect record. English, emotion, energy, it’s perfect.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?
Oh my god. Honestly answer, our driver’s house on the last tour we did. Worst place I’ve ever stayed. I won’t go into any more details because I don’t want to condemn him. Everyone in the band would say the exact same.
What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?
I don’t think I have a favorite but my first tattoo, I just got when I was 17 because my brother got tattooed by the guy all the time and he was just a friend. He was the only guy who would tattoo me before I turned 18. So a few days before my eighteenth birthday… My favorite is my little Playboy bunny ripped head that Jimmy did. It was one of his first five tattoos. I remember speaking to him whilst getting that about` Life Of Agony and all the videos and stuff they did. When he started Higher Power, I was like, “Oh, this is the band that he was talking about that day! I’m getting involved in that.” That’s the beginning of Higher Power!
What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?
On the radio… I’m gonna say Arctic Monkeys because I’d never turn them off. Well, I don’t about about the latest album. Paramore is on the radio. Paramore will keep me listening. Consistent.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
Anything that people have done for me is nicer than anything I’ve done for anyone. People are way too nice to me for how I can be. My mom and girlfriend just letting me exist and they kind of allowed this to happen.
What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?
Trust in the process. Don’t stress. When people say it’ll work out, it actually will.
What’s the last show you went to?
I actually know but I can’t remember. Damage Is Done Fest. Last one I went to I got my teeth smacked around. It’s a UK hardcore fest. Probably one of the best ones I’ve been to in a long time. It was sick. Shoutout Damage Is Done.
What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
What would you cook if Kanye were coming to your house for dinner?
This is a cheat answer but I’d get my girlfriend to cook him the vegan lasagna. I’d do my replica of the Denny’s cheese melt. Do it with like four cheeses and go way over the top.
27 Miles Underwater is out now on Roadrunner Records. Stream it or pick up a physical copy here.