Talking Shop: Highasakite

Having already made waves in their native Norway, atmospheric Pop outfit Highasakite look set to make a major impression on the rest of the world with the recent release of their third LP, Camp Echo.

We caught up with founding member and rhythmic driving force Trond Bersu to find out more about how they group create their moody, synth-driven sound.

When did you start making music, and how did you first get started?

Trond: "I really got serious about making music with laptops and drum machines three years ago. I was just so fascinated by the opportunities you have with electronic music, and just had to learn how to do it! I started off by getting a copy of Logic and some sample packs. I had to start from scratch and it sounded horrible!"

Tell us about your studio

"I really like to keep it simple, and I do not have lot of hardware and outboard gear. I like to be able to produce stuff when travelling, and then it's really great to have some good soft synths, plugins and samples to work with.

"I have some EVE SC 305 speakers with a sub in the studio, and Dynaudio BM5A speakers at home. I also have an Audient interface and a Focusrite platinum preamp/compressor and a Shure SM7 microphone. I also have an Access Virus TI2 synth and an Elektron Machinedrum. For soft synths and samples I use Sylenth a lot, and samples from Native Instruments and Vengeance and some old drum machines."

What DAW (or DAWs) do you use, and why did you choose it?

"I use Ableton live, along with Ableton Push. It's brilliant when working with electronic music and MIDI. It's just so hands on! I started with Logic, but when I tried Ableton it was a whole new world to me!"

What one piece of gear in your studio could you not do without, and why?

"The Soundtoys Native bundle! And, of course, Ableton. I also use my headphones a lot - Beyerdynamic 770 pro and AKG K612 pro."

What's the latest addition to your studio?

"AKG K612 headphones, it's an open reference headset. It's quite bright sounding, and really brings out the vocals, and very detailed!"

What dream bit of gear would you love to have in you studio?

"I really, really want an API lunchbox with some Neve 1073 preamps in it! And maybe a Shadow Hills compressor! And a Roland SH101 synth."

When approaching a new track or project, where do you start?

"I try to write some melodic rhythmic stuff, I really like to make the drums sound like melodies!"

What are you currently working on?

"Aside from working on the new Highasakite stuff for the live shows, I'm making some music for myself, just to put out on Soundcloud or something. It's cool to just have something to work with all the time and trying to be better! In that way, Highasakite's music evolves as well. I've also produced some music for other artists."

Trond's three music making tips...

Learn how your plugins work

"Try to learn how they respond and colour the music, and not just throw them on and hope for the best."

Learn how to use EQ

"You can have all the best plugins, but the magic often happens with something boring as the EQ. When you learn how to make space for frequencies and which frequencies you can roll of, things can improve a lot."

Copy your favourite artist

"For me at least, I spent a lot of time trying to copy the sounds and production of artists that I love! In that way you have some kind of goal and a comparison when you're starting to learn how to produce. Watch Youtube for production tips as well! That said, it's of course important to be original, but that's easier when you know how to achieve the sounds you're imagining."

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