When asked to describe the ideal environment for listening to High Highs’ new EP, lead- singer and guitarist Jack Milas answered, “Just before dawn, when the party has ended.” Following 2013’s dreamy debut Open Season and an extensive year of touring, the Australian duo has released a three-song EP entitled Ocean To City.
Jack Milas and Oli Chang began making music together as High Highs in their native Sydney, Australia, while working at the same recording studio. Chang found himself drawn to Milas’ writing style, and the pair plunged into a world of collaboration and invention. They discovered the basis of a band aesthetic by marrying Chang’s passion for electronic indie with Jack’s penchant for classic acoustic rock. When Milas took an opportunity to work and live in New York, Chang joined, and the duo settled in Brooklyn.
Since living in the states, High Highs have toured with Vampire Weekend, Empire Of The Sun, Sky Ferreira, and Stars. “Opening for bigger bands in larger venues really gave us a sense of what works musically in big spaces,” said Chang. “It's also been interesting to see people respond to big melodies in a positive way.” No longer working full-time jobs, this new freedom and time spent traveling the country also helped nurture these songs. “The music comes from a place of seeing more of the world,” explained Milas. “There are powerful moments and quiet moments, but we've tried to be honest in terms of presenting something that we think is beautiful.”
To help engineer, mix, and produce these new songs, they brought in Andrew Maury (Ra Ra Riot, Panama Wedding), whose detailed and layered production style helped contextualize the music. Chang commented, “Sometimes we get really down on an idea and he reminds us that it's actually good. With a song like ‘Ocean To City’, we handed him a bit of mess and he made sense of it.”
Despite the inevitable expectations that build after a lauded debut, Milas dispels any fear of a sophomore slump and excitedly adds, “It's going to feel really good to finally share what we've come up with and re-open the dialogue with the people that are waiting for this new music.”