Thursday 1 October 2015

Time For Round Two: An Interview with HIGH FIGHTER

Today's guests have experienced a great fucking year in my opinion. They kindly let me introduce them to the world when I worked on TheSludgelord. Review of their brilliant debut EP – The Goat Ritual - and writing the introduction to their website which I class as a great honour during my time on The Sludgelord and blogging in general.

Endorsed by myself, John Garcia, Jon Paul Davis from Conan, Doomed & Stoned as one of the best Stoner/Sludge/Blues/Hard-Rock/What-The-Fuck-Ever Bands currently out there.

I'm talking about High Fighter – The 5 Piece combo lead by the ferocious Mona who is brilliantly backed up by Christian, Ingwer, Constantin and Thomas.

High Fighter have a few exciting months ahead of them. Supporting Doom Metal Aquanauts – AHAB – on their forthcoming tour and The Goat Ritual is about to be released on Vinyl. I've decided to catch up High Fighter again as these guys are going to be one of the breakout stars in 2016.

Photo by Frau Siemers Fotografiert

Hi folks. How are things with you all today. Thanks for doing this interview.

Steve, hey! Things are well with us, thanks. It's so nice to catch up with you again. Thanks for having us on Outlaws of the Sun and all your incredible support you have shown us over this last year...

Well what an exciting journey High Fighter has had since we last spoken. Did you ever expect the kind of reaction you've received from everyone. Famous musicians, bands, reviewers and fans. The Goat Ritual has been acclaimed pretty much by everyone. How surreal of an experience is that.

Not at all did we expect this reaction and experience. Remember, the last time we spoke, we had just recorded 'The Goat Ritual' live and on one weekend in our rehearsal room back in October 2014. No studio, no editing, no high-class production. You were even the one who once said

if you're looking for a highly polished band then look elsewhere as High Fighter play mean and dirty Blues, Stoner & Sludgy riffs to fuel your appetite with.

We love it and it definitely describes us best! Since this debut is a very rough, mean and dark one but various on so many other levels, and recorded the way we did, we were even more surprised by the overall amazing reaction and feedback on High Fighter. It sometimes still feels bizarre, when we look at this past year, how many fantastic and incredible moments we already had with this band, we are very grateful for. And already very looking forward to the journey ahead of us.

You've played some pretty high profile gigs since you formed. Which gigs have been your favourite so far.

Since we unveiled High Fighter a year ago, and again it still feels unreal while we talk about it, but for some reason in one year we could manage to tour heavily throughout Germany, Belgium, France, the UK, played shows with bands such as Corrosion of Conformity, Greenleaf, The Midnight Ghost Train, Mammoth Mammoth...and just got back from a fantastic festival season, including shows at Stoned from the Underground, Sonic Blast in Portugal, Red Smoke Poland and many more. For me personally, I enjoy every show we can play, but highlights so far were definitely Stoned from the Underground, our first band flight and the festival appearance at Sonic Blast in Portugal, what an amazing place, as well as our show in London back in April 2015 when we've toured with our doom brothers in Sunnata.

You're about to support AHAB on their European Tour. How did that come about and what can people expect from High Fighter on that tour. You have Mammoth Storm appearing as well. Another great band as well.

I know the guys in Ahab, and when they took notice of High Fighter and apparently checked out our tunes on the net, they invited us being their support on this upcoming tour, starting end of October 2015. We could not believe our ears and eyes. We are big fans of their band and work, so the more we were stoked and are super excited that we will now have the chance to tour with them. In the beginning and when we started to talk about the tour plans, we were of course a bit confused, since we are not a funeral doom band.

We may be slow and have doom influences in our music, but compared to Ahab, we play speed metal, haha! But that's exactly what Ahab wanted. Not another or third pure doom band on their bill. I think people can expect some fantastic and heavy band line up every night, with 3 very various and exciting bands – you will get it all: doom, groove, noise, sludge, fuzz, the desert, the dark, beauty.

Congrats on your debut EP being released on vinyl. WOW. Didn't see that happening so soon. So can you give the details on how that came about.

Yes, we neither mate! When we released 'The Goat Ritual' on our Bandcamp as well as on CD digi packs, many people kept asking about a Vinyl. I mean, man look at this artwork! Designed by Dominic Sohor, such talented and amazing artist based in the UK. It HAD to appear on Vinyl, it's simply and naturally made for it. But as a 100% DIY-band, it's not that easy and we had no financial support to make it happen.

With massive thanks to Jürgen Tschamler of Vinyl Got Soul Records, who discovered High Fighter about a year ago and who was so crazy and awesome enough, it really happened and 'The Goat Ritual' is now available as a hand-numbered, limited 12inch Vinyl edition of 300 copies. We will bring some limited amount to our shows, and it's already available on several LP online stores. Just a couple of days we received our copies, and we are still over the moon to finally holding our very first Vinyl's ever in our hands...

I've heard you're currently recording your debut album. How's that going and when can we expect that one to be released.

We're currently in the middle of an intensive song-writing process and are heavily working on our first full length album. As soon as we get back from tour with Ahab this Fall, we will be starting to record it, as we plan to release the album in early 2016. We already play a bunch of new tracks live, the more it's exciting for us having these songs on a record soon as well!

EP Cover Artwork © by Dominic Sohor Design

Looking back on The Goat Ritual – would you change anything about it.

Not one single tone nor the way we recorded and released it.

People may not know this but The Goat Ritual was recorded over one weekend. Would you ever do that style of guerilla DIY recording again. How tough was it to record the EP over a short space of time.

We will be definitely recording our first full length album live again, same we did with 'The Goat Ritual'. Also again with our good friend Benjamin Kapidzic (Skythen), who also recorded, mixed and mastered our debut. But this time, we will be probably doing it in a real studio, with a bit more time and space. You can get insane in our rehearsal room after spending 12 to 15 hours in there a day, without a window on not more than 30square meters and when you wanna get all tracks done on one weekend.

That was tough indeed and a challenge for all of us. But with the right amount for sense of humor and great, positive vibes in the band, somehow we managed that it turned out quite well. Of course we had jammed these 5 tracks heavily and in the months of summer 2014, before we even unveiled the band. So we were quite tight playing them live on a record after months of rehearsing.

The first day we recorded all instruments live and at the same time, next day we just put the vocals on. All you can hear are one takes, no editing. We definitely wanna keep this style of recording as it brings way more soul and life into your tunes, but for the album we will chose another location. With maybe a window.

How do you all relax away from music. Though I know that maybe hard for all of you as you're all prominently involved in the music scene and other projects.

All of us are too deep involved to music, so this is the place where we can also really relax. If it's inside our rehearsal room, on tour, or going out to shows of other bands. When I am away from music, I enjoy being out in the nature, surrounded by my horse, or catching up with good friends and family. Having a beer, good wine or a smoke.

Photo By Agata Frelik

Which albums are you currently digging at the moment. Any albums that really surprised you in a big way.

Ahab. Their new album is outstanding in my opinion and definitely one of my favorite records this year. I don't know any other doom band that is able to create such a beauty, tragic, hope and incredible atmosphere in one doom album. But also the new My Sleeping Karma album is killer, same goes to Brant Bjork's latest record, and I am currently also digging the tunes by Radio Moscow since we have seen them playing live at Stoned from the Underground, fantastic stuff! There's so many bands and styles we all listen to, and we look forward to a bunch of upcoming albums, such as from Conan, Indian Handcrafts, Greenleaf, too many I could name here...list of current, older and upcoming music from bands we dig is too long.

OK, fantasy question time. If you could arrange a festival line-up with yourselves on the bill. Which bands would you pick to appear on that bill and why. (You can choose any bands from any time period. - Just trying something different).

Uh that's a tough one Steve! And it doesn't matter if these bands still exist or not? Well, then the High Fighter Festival would announce some of the following bands: Pantera, Black Sabbath, Kyuss, AC/DC (1977 with Bon Scott), The Beatles, QOTSA (2002 Line up with Nick Olivieri and Joey Castillo), Led Zeppelin, Kylesa, Monster Magnet, Mastodon, Automatic Sam, Nine Inch Nails, The Stooges, Type O Negative, Melvins, High On Fire, The Allman Brothers, Dozer, Roadsaw, Truckfighters, Crowbar, Red Fang, Jefferson Airplane, The Black Angels, Death From Above 1979 and HAW. Alongside many more...Bet you would go?

So what other exciting plans do you have in 2016. Anything you can share with us.

The release of our first full length album, and hopefully another great new year filled with exciting shows, tours, festival appearances, unforgettable moments and more experiences, meeting cool people and bands!

Well High Fighter, thanks for doing this. Best of luck with the AHAB Tour and Vinyl Release. Do you have anything to say to your fans.

Steve, thank you for all you do in this scene, and your support for High Fighter since the very beginning. It really means a lot to us, and it was great catching up with you again today!

To end this in your own words: “if you're looking for a highly polished band then look elsewhere as High Fighter play mean and dirty Blues, Stoner & Sludgy riffs to fuel your appetite with.

To those of you who have that kind of appetite now, come and trip with us! Cheers for your support, may the high fighter be with you.

Words by Steve Howe and High Fighter

'2Steps Blueskill' – Official video:

'Live at Stoned from the Underground 2015':

'The Goat Ritual' - Now available on Vinyl via or at:

Catch High Fighter live:

16.10.2015: Dresden DE – Club 11
17.10.2015: Leipzig DE – Wilhelmine Setalight Festival
04.12.2015: Oldenburg DE – Cadillac
26.12.2015: Hamburg DE – Rock Café St. Pauli

'The Tour of the Glen Carrig 2015 Part I'

29.10.2015: Frankfurt a.M. DE – Elfer
30.10.2015: Jena DE – Cassablanca
31.10.2015: Hamburg DE – Bambi Galore
01.11.2015: Köln DE – Underground
02.11.2015: Paris FR – Glazart
03.11.2015: Nantes FR – Le Ferailleur
05.11.2015: Colmar FR – Grillen
06.11.2015: Stuttgart DE – Club Cann
07.11.2015: Pratteln CH – Z7

08.11.2015: Heidelberg DE – Schwimmbad Club