With influences from multiples genre styles, The High Ground is a great example of hard work, perseverance, and the love for music coming to fruition. We were able to speak to them about their journey thus far, including their accomplishments, early obstacles as a band, and much more. Check out the interview below.
Congratulations on being signed to Manic Kat Records! What was the band’s reaction to hearing about the news?
Thank you! We were really excited! Being signed by a record label has always been a major goal of ours. When we released our last EP, we knew it would be the one that got us there. We are incredibly excited and optimistic for our partnership with Manic Kat.
For those who haven’t heard of The High Ground, what can you tell us about your band? How did the band form, what style of music do you play, etc.
We are a hard rock band from Orlando, Florida. We formed in 2017 when brothers Matt and Jack joined forces with longtime friend Andrew. Matt (bass) and Jack (guitar) had been hoping to start a band for quite a while, so when Andrew was able to add vocals to their guitar and bass riffs, things just fell into place. We were recording and playing some shows, but we needed a full-time drummer. We were lucky enough to meet Dillon through church, and after our first jam session we knew we had the core four to become the band we wanted to be. Pretty early on we were fortunate to land a showcase spot at Florida Music Festival (an opportunity we landed through ReverbNation) and we were off!
As far as our musical style, we like to identify with the post-hardcore scene, though sometimes it is hard to put a finger on our exact genre since we draw influences from classic rock & metal, pop punk, metalcore, and emo.
What’s the story for how you came up with the name The High Ground? Is there any meaning behind it?
Our name actually comes from a quote in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. The four of us are huge nerds and Star Wars is our favorite thing ever – fans of the films will know exactly which scene the name comes from!
What would you say has been the most rewarding/memorable experience as a band so far?
Aside from Manic Kat Records reaching out to us, we would have to say performing on Vans Warped Tour 2018 – another huge opportunity we landed through ReverbNation. Playing our hometown date in Orlando, along with a stacked lineup of iconic bands we love, is something we will remember for the rest of our lives.
To counter the previous question, what has been your biggest struggle as an up-and-coming band?
The biggest struggle has been taking it to the next level. Making that jump from being a household name at local venues and being an Orlando favorite, to gaining actual notoriety across the country and even internationally. It’s easy for momentum to plateau after you get comfortable opening for signed bands that come through Orlando and booking shows with other local talent, but we are always trying to figure out how to improve and take our brand to the next level. It’s definitely a challenge.
Does the band have any pre or post-show routines? Eating large meals, greeting fans, pep-talk, partying, etc?
We don’t really have any concrete rituals, but we usually try to gather up in a quiet area before we play our set just to get on the same page and remind each other that we have each other’s backs and that we are going to leave it all on the stage. As for post-show, we’re usually pretty hungry by the end of a long night so oftentimes we find ourselves stopping for fast food after our shows and just hanging out, reliving the night.
How did you hear about ReverbNation and our opportunities for labels and artists? Had you heard of Manic Kat Records before this opportunity?
We have known about ReverbNation for years, and when we started releasing music, we made sure we had a profile. ReverbNation is an absolute must-have, essential tool for any artist trying to be heard – our biggest opportunities have come through ReverbNation!
We hadn’t heard of Manic Kat before the opportunity, but after checking out the label and their artist roster we were really impressed. We felt like it could be a great fit and definitely something to pursue.
As a band that focuses on punk and hardcore, how does it feel to be signed by a label with a similar focus? How have things changed for the band now that you have the support of a label behind you?
It feels great! We feel like we fit in perfectly with the Manic Kat family. There are some great bands on the roster, and we feel like we can bring something a little different but still within the same overall genre the label is trying to promote.
Since signing, we have been working harder than ever before. We are holding ourselves to a higher, professional-level standard, writing our best songs to date, and changing the way we approach our music. Also, we are getting into the mentality of being touring musicians, dedicated to becoming among the best in the industry at our respective instruments. We want everyone who sees us perform to be blown away.
Any advice for new musicians just starting out? How do you get your name out there, find new fans, keep fans engaged, etc?
When your band is first starting out, play as many shows as you can. Playing someone’s backyard party may open the door to playing a real venue. You want to establish as many connections as you can just by networking with others in the scene. At Florida Music Festival, we got the chance to meet and talk to Lou Plaia from ReverbNation, which opened the door to other opportunities. You never know where it might lead so be sure to make the most of every opportunity to network. Most importantly though, put the music first. Hard work, consistency, and becoming the best musician you possibly can be is key.
What’s up next for The High Ground?
Well, we are working on a new EP scheduled for 2021, which will be our first release through Manic Kat. We plan to support that record by touring heavily across the country with other Manic Kat artists, which we are insanely excited for. We’ve mainly been a local Orlando band, so getting a chance to play in front of new crowds in new cities every night is something we really look forward to.
We also just shot a music video for one of the fan-favorites from our last EP, so depending on when this is published, it might already be released!