Local rockers The Higher have been touring for six years and are about to hit the road again in support of their newest album, It’s Only Natural, to be released June 23rd . The pop-punkers have evolved into a pop rock group with heavy R&B influences and a touch of hip-hop. But don’t worry: They still rock the skinny jeans – no oversized track suits here. Tonight, you can catch the band at a 21+ show at the Rock Room at the newly branded Crazy Horse Three Gentlemen’s club, without “all the little kids” as singer Seth Trotter put it during our interview.
Seeing The Higher at Extreme Thing this year, I noticed you all look very young. How old are you?
I just turned 24. I’m kind of the baby of the group. We definitely started rolling when we were young.
How did you balance high school with band life?
Senior year of high school we got signed. Well, I was in high school. We got to tour during my senior year of high school and my mom pulled me out of school and let me go on tour.
Your family sounds like they have been very supportive of your music career.
I was only 17 at the time so she had to go in there and literally sign me out. She just knew I was going to do it no matter what, so she was just like ‘Yeah, I’ll sign you out, as long as you promise to finish it another way.’ And it worked out for the best.
Were you a rock star figure at school? Did you have a lot of groupies?
Well in high school my band definitely wasn’t doing that good yet and most of the people didn’t actually know why I had disappeared. At the time they were like, ‘Man, where’s Seth? I thought he was graduating with us.’ Everyone knew I had started doing the band thing, but nobody really knew what lengths it was. Over those last four or five years, people have just started to find out who our band is, and now, every time we play Vegas it’s like a high school reunion.
Did you record your new album locally?
No, this one we recorded with the same producer we used on On Fire, a very talented producer named Mike Green. We recorded it out of Beverly Hills, Calif.
Can you tell me some of the difference between this album and your previous albums?
On this album we tried to mix it up a little. We tried to be the pop rock band that people remember from Histrionics and On Fire and just tried to bring a kind of R&B vibe to it. We wanted something that was funky, that everyone could move to and have fun to. … We’re really trying to have this record be one of our most diverse. We really did it up right.
What is your songwriting process like?
It’s very collaborative. We work really well together, and what it’ll come down to is our guitarist and bass player will come up with some riffage and we’ll just kind of jam with it and then we’ll add some lyrics. We just try to form the songs together kind of letting everyone put their head in the circle.
Do you have a favorite track off of the new disc?
My favorite track is actually track number three, a track called “Undertaker.” It’s definitely one of our most R&B and hip-hop sounding songs, and I think it’s the one that sounds the most different. It’s definitely the stand out track. I thought it should have been the single, but people get the misconception that sometimes bands get to pick their singles, which is not true. The single is the album’s title track, “It’s Only Natural.”
What’s the band’s name all about?
Well when we were a pop punk band here in Vegas we were called September Star. When we got signed they suggested and we also wanted to change our name. The Higher just seemed to fit us really well at the time. We have always wanted to push for better and always push to get higher and higher to be the best we can be.
After your Extreme Thing performance, I just have to ask: How do you dance around on stage in such tight skinny jeans?
Skinny jeans and jumping around on stage - it’s an art form. You wear the kind of skin-tight jeans that stretch. They look so good, and you just have to look good.