(We present Comrade Aleks’ interview with Mona Miluski, vocalist for Germany’s High Fighter.)
High Fighter is a fresh sludgy formation from Germany. Just a year ago the band recorded their first EP under sacramental title The Goat Ritual, and take a look – they’re already going on tour with Ahab in October! If you’re ready for an intransigent sludge attack then check our interview with Mona Miluski, High Fighter frontwoman.
Hail Mona! How are you there? I’d like to ask you to shed some light on High Fighter’s origin, so I hope that you have nothing against a few questions about it.
Absolutely not, keep them coming. Thanks for having us on No Clean Singing.
You and Christian Pappas, who plays guitars in High Fighter, started together in the heavy / stoner band A Million Miles, which even headlined the Finnish “Female Fronted Rock Metal Tour” in the Spring of 2010. Why did you disband A Million Miles and turn to High Fighter?
A Million Miles split up in early 2013, only a couple of days right after we just released a first full-length album and after we had been on the road together for more than 5 years. You know, like in any relationship, and a band is an intensive one, things may change in the visions and the beliefs in this relationship. Sadly, after being on the road for a long time, A Million Miles lost its essential key as a band — the tight unit you have to be, sharing the same vision and sound perspective, the respect and trust in each other you need to survive as a band. Relationships break. And even though it was a very tough time for everyone who had been involved in A Million Miles after we broke up, today and while we speak, I am glad that it happened. Otherwise I would have never became a part of High Fighter., a band that also became more than just a band, it’s already family and very special to me. I don’t look back, we’re here and now, and I look forward to the journey of High Fighter.
How did you recruit the other members of High Fighter?
It took Christian and myself almost a year to get back on our feet in music. Too deep was the split-up with our former band, but it had always been clear to me that I wanted to stay in a band with Christian, who has also always been my best mate. In the beginning of 2014, we started to look into founding a new project, when Ingwer joined us as our lead guitar. His current band at that time, Buffalo Hump, had no singer to that point, so there was a bassist and drummer left – all we needed to complete our new band line-up. So it was actually Ingwer who came up with the idea, bringing Constantin (bass) and Thomas (drums) into our new project that later would become High Fighter. And the first moment we met back in summer 2014 and started jamming, it felt like we had played together for years. A more than great fortune and fusion of two half-bands, we’re all more than glad how it turned out.
High Fighter is a sludgy stoner / doom band with female vocals and a goat on the artwork of the first record. It’s a pretty popular combination nowadays, how did you develop it?
There has never been any real concept behind High Fighter. We didn’t sit around and think about what would be the next big thing — take a female singer, put a goat on our cover, and achieve fame and glory with what we do. High Fighter turned out very naturally. We started jamming heavily and we don’t follow any strict rules when it comes to our songwriting or band performance. We don’t try to fit into any specific genre, we just let it happen. Our style and personal tastes have their roots in desert rock, blues, sludge, metal, and doom, while always staying very open-minded to more influences. And since goats simply rule, and stand for a lot of themes we cover in our riffs and lyrics, the combination of this band line-up, our first and also very dark EP, as well as its artwork, totally fit together.
Our cover was designed by Dominic Sohor, such a talented artist from the UK. We gave him our music and lyrics, and he came up with this stunning artwork that totally fits with our vibes and the tunes we present with this first EP. I see it all as a great fortune, and whatever we do comes out very natural, instead what others may call a train that many bands may jump on nowadays. We never thought of what we wanted to do when we started. We just did — everyone brought his own sound into the band and we let it happen, how we feel comfortable with, and where we belong.
Goat rules… But I wonder why a bull isn’t as popular in this case 🙂 What do you think about all these doom clichés and trends? I bet that you know that I’m talking about.
Why a bull… he is way too positive. He would indeed possibly stand for the power we bring in our music, but it’s not the same perfect symbol like a goat for the dark vibes we deliver with our sound and the themes we cover in our lyrics.
You will have trends everywhere, that’s natural. I don’t see it in doom yet to be honest, but of course the word “stoner” became super-popular and kind of trendy over the last few years. I don’t mind, since the underground became visible for a wider audience, which is good for the bands to get heard. But I do think, especially when it comes to live music, every fan will recognize an authentic band, who mean it, not just for a trend or to match any clichés. It’s a lifeystyle, and you will feel the soul when the music is able to deliver it. I don’t really care about any trends or clichés when it comes to our music.
Mona, how would you describe the entire philosophy of High Fighter?
We care about the good times we have with this band. Staying open-minded, chilled, and relaxed, but a strong and creative unit. We don’t care about any concepts or a philosophy about how to get rich and famous. We also don’t care much about fitting into a specific genre, we stay open-minded when it comes to our songwriting. This is what gets us a lot of freedom, staying who we are and how we sound. Like our good friend Steve Howe, formerly The Sludgelord and now founder of ‘Outlaws of the Sun‘, once nicely 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.” This may descibe our musical philosophy pretty well.
Goat Ritual – 2Steps Blueskill
I’ve seen that High Fighter got a limited vinyl edition of The Goat Ritual EP. How did that come about?
Yes, this is very exciting for us, since we never had our music, even in previous bands, on Vinyl. We released our debut EP The Goat Ritual the same day we made High Fighter public, back in October 2014 as a Digital Download and CD Digi Pack on our Bandcamp. Thanks to Jürgen Tschamler of Vinyl Got Soul Records, who discovered us a year ago and who has been so awesome and crazy enough to get our tunes on a Vinyl, we will be now re-releasing The Goat Ritual as a 12-inch, hand-numbered and as a limited edition of 300 copies. It’s out now and available at our shows as well as on several LP online stores, such as at Napalm Records and many more.
The Goat Ritual was welcomed warmly by doom society. Were you surprised by such a reaction? Which sides of High Fighter would you admit are the strongest?
We recorded The Goat Ritual live and on one weekend in our rehearsal room with our good friend Benjamin Kapidzic (Skythen), who also mixed and mastered this EP. No studio, no editing, no high-class, over-polished production. Just us, pure and in your face. It has been important for us, right from the beginning, to present our true live sound. It’s a very rough demo, with many various styles and vibes that you will find on it, very melodic and catchy but so dark, mean, and heavy on the other side.
And more, we were stoked and very surprised at how the reactions have been and how much amazing feedback we have received for High Fighter, not just in the doom society, but an overall great feedback from our listeners, live crowds, as well as in the press. I think, and can only speak for myself here, that people may appreciate this “back to the roots” sound. Over the last years I got bored by over-polished productions. Live, still has the real and only soul for me.
One of our strongest sides is definitely that we’re a very chilled band with many positive and creative vibes, as well as being open-minded while we write our songs… like I said earlier, we let it happen and are not afraid of having various styles combined in even one track. But then again, The Goat Ritual is still indeed a ritual, an entire sound picture, where every track belongs to each other…
It’s always interesting to me how bands do promotion of their stuff by their own hands. How did you push forward The Goat Ritual?
Another plus side of High Fighter is that we bring a lot of our own manpower into this band. Whether it comes to promotion, booking, designs, video, or graphic stuff, we’re a very happy and effective working DIY-band. When we self-released The Goat Ritual back in October 2014, and finding myself in a day job working in the music business for a long time now, we sent out our debut to the rock and metal press, and we were super-stoked about the feedback. Be creative, confident, and just try — send your music to magazines, and you will be surprised how much support the underground has.
But in the end it’s about playing live, and we try to play as much as we can, to get our tunes heard. We all played in bands before, and in this way we were already able to collect important experiences and a bit of knowledge over the years. We’re nowadays able to handle and understand our “business” – but always staying chilled about things. Life’s too short to worry about the fame, we prefer focusing on the good times we have inside the band.
High Fighter – Live at Stoned From the Underground 2015
As you still have only this EP in your discography, I’d like to ask you about plans for considering a future release – what do you have to say now?
We’re not considering a future release, we’re already working on it heavily and are currently in the middle of an intensive songwriting process! Besides playing live a lot, we are planning to release a first full-length album in early 2016. Of course, expect an album that will be recorded live again, and will kick ass for sure!
Well, so I have to ask you about details of this record. How far do you go from The Goat Ritual stuff?
We’ve already played a bunch of these new songs live, so we’re excited to finally get them on a record soon. It will definitely be recorded live again, we will just choose another location than our rehearsal room, with a bit more space and time. Of course we won’t change our style and the way of songwriting after The Goat Ritual. I wouldn’t say it goes that far from the EP — it will still deliver a various mix of styles, and will probably have a hint of more doom on it. But still various styles, from blues through sludge and desert rock to doom and stoner metal trips. Fuzzy, heavy, mean, and straight into your face. We’re super-glad how all the new songs have turned out so far. We’ve played a bunch of them live already, and will be recording the full-length by end of this year.
High Fighter are about to tour with the mighty Ahab soon. What do you think will be your impressions of this journey? Where do you play and how tight is your schedule?
When Ahab invited us to be their support, we first could not believe it and are of course more than excited about this upcoming journey! We’re big fans of their work and their new album, and we also know that they’re super-nice and cool guys we will definitely get along well. The tour starts on Oct 29th, and will stop in Germany, France, and Switzerland. With us on the bill will be Mammoth Storm from Sweden. Make sure to check all the dates, because it will definitely be a trip you don’t wanna miss!
Do you have time to rehearse a song together with Ahab? You know, such things are rare but it’s always a good surprise for listeners!
Wouldn’t be a good surprise if I were to tell you now, or? 😉 But nope, there’s nothing like this planned yet. All three bands will concentrate on their sets, and will deliver an awesome show and band line-up. But hey, you never know what can happen on tour….
Okay, that was last questions for today, so thank you Mona for such interesting and detailed answers! I wish you all the best on your tour with Ahab – just leave some whales alive there! Good luck!
That’s for sure haha, we will of course treat all whales good. Thanks a lot for having us on No Clean Singing! Cheers for your support, and may the high fighter be with you.
Catch High Fighter live:
16.10.2015: Dresden DE – Club 11
17.10.2015: Leipzig DE – Wilhelmine Setalight Festival
20.11.2015: Lüneburg DE – Jekyll & Hide
04.12.2015: Oldenburg DE – Cadillac
26.12.2015: Hamburg DE – Rock Café St. Pauli
‘The Tour of the Glen Carrig 2015 Part I’
AHAB, HIGH FIGHTER + MAMMOTH STORM
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