Contaminating punk rock – an interview with pop punk rockers HEADS UP HIGH

4 mins read

HEADS UP HIGH are a pop punk / melodic punk rock act from Belgium. who have released their debut LP “Instant Karma” on April 25th and are already developing plans for their future records. Meet them below, check out their thoughts about their national music scene and their own work.

Top photo by Sylvie Huybrecht. Underwater photo by Tim Luyten Fotografie.

Welcome guys! Is it really rare or am I just unlucky not to find too many Belgian pop punk rock bands? ;) Where are you from and how did you encounter the genre you are writing and performing in?

Hi there!

We are HEADS UP HIGH from Antwerp, Belgium. We play Pop-punk/hardcore and released our first full-album called “Instant Karma” April 25th 2014!

We encountered the genre through listening and discovering bands like A DAY TO REMEMBER, STORY OF THE YEAR, WHILE SHE SLEEPS, etc who mix hardcore with punk-rock elements to make it more melodic and fresh sounding. At that time we had the idea to start a band and said “Hey, we should try that!” and now here we are talking to you about it!

There are more good Pop-punk bands in Belgium than you think! FOD, SKY IN MOTION, GINO’S EYEBALL, etc. Those are some nice punkrock bands!

Other than that there are some great metal and hardcore bands in Belgium as well: DIABLO BLVD, SPOIL ENGINE, THE SETUP, HOMER are just a few of many!

A lot of punk rockers would admit that you are not a strict punk rock band, because there are too many melodic rock and pop elements in your compositions. What is your definition of punk rock and how do you feel about labelling?

We haven’t really seen many of those purist on our show’s. We ourselves are not purist in that way either of course!

We think pop-punk is all about having a blast, having a good time at a gig or just at home listening to a record. Telling stories with lyrics on some awesome music. That’s what punk-rock is for us.

We’re not fans of labeling music, that’s why we label our music Pop-Punk/Hardcore (because we have to), as a funny way to show bands that taking labeling very seriously, it’s just silly! ;)

How have punk rock genre changed over recent years? How would you sum up its evolution, both globally and locally?

I really think the modern punk-rock is becoming more metal and hardcore influenced. I think it’s a good thing!

What do you feel is the most challenging part of being a rock band in Belgium or a rock band in general?

You really have to be patient and work hard. Play as many shows as you can and communicate on social media. Sometimes you play in front of 5 people or just the bartender… That sucks, but as a band you have to see through it and focus on the future, because when you don’t play those shows nobody is going to get to know you!

Ok, so let’s learn a bit more about your band. How did HEADS UP HIGH start?

It started a few years ago as some friends who wanted to be in a band and play music. After some year’s priorities shifted and some people decided that it was time for something else.

Fortunately we had some other awesome people to replace the (hard to replace) originals and we haven’t been better!!

Is there a principal that leads your writing process?

It always starts with an idea, which is then tested in rehearsal. If we like it we fool around with it until it gets closer and closer to a song. When the instrumental song is nearly done, our singer starts to write his lyrics (the lazy bum!). In short we just fool around in rehearsal haha!

You released your debut album in April 2014. How do you feel about the quality of the tracks now when it’s almost a year since then.

The quality and structure of the songs itself before and after the studio was day and night!! That’s why we think the quality and sounds still stands today!

We simply wouldn’t change anything about the sound.

Who produced that album? Did you give someone free reign over the final sound?

The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Frans Vermast, an awesome guy from the Netherlands who helped us really define and finalize our sound. He really understood where we wanted to go (a big wall of sound!) and we absolutely think he achieved it!

He was also involved in the final structuring of the songs, which helped raising the overall quality of the songs!

How do you think your writing style has developed over the course of this time? Are you ready to put out another LP sometime soon?

The are definitely some songs on the shelf! But not enough tracks or in the state we want them to be for the next album.

What’s been the best touring / live show experience so far?

I have to say … Marktrock in Leuven!

We won a competition for playing on a special stage of Marktrock, and we were very honored to play on such a well-known festival and give ourselves 150% on such a big stage!

What made it extra special for us was that we had a accident with the van I borrowed from my father in law especially for this occasion just before we had to go on stage… but the show was awesome!

How about your upcoming touring plans? What are your other plans or ambitions for the next couple years?

We just keep going! This is what we love doing, so we are going to keep writing, preforming and amusing crowds wherever we can!

Thanks a lot guys! The final words are yours. Take care!

If you like what you read check us out on Spotify, Facebook or Youtube!

See you guys later on one of our shows! Keep supporting the Punk & Hardcore scene!

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