Getting Down with North Highlands

An illustration of North Highland’s Andrew Kasperbauer, Mike Barron, Brenda Malvini, Daniel Stewart, and Jasper Berg by artist Laila Lott.

How do you find out about your new favorite bands? Do you track a daily blog, or conduct a self-propelled search? I discovered North Highlands through a friend of mine who saw them play in Brooklyn, and eventually found myself running to their MySpace almost daily so I could listen to their catchy, indie-folk tunes.

Like what you hear? Scroll down for an interview with the band where you’ll find out about their first album, when their tour van is headed your way, and what their namesake garment is!

As a thanks for being so kind and letting us interview them, we named a garment after North Highlands! None was more fitting than this grandpa cardigan for a co-ed band whose tour bus is named “Dad.” So check out the North Highlands Cardigan, and our interview with their pianist and vocalist, Brenda!

How long has North Highlands been together?
We’ve been together for a year and a half so far. Can’t believe it’s been that long!

You’re based in Brooklyn, but your MySpace username is”californiahometown.” Are you all West Coasters at heart?
Our band members are from California, Illinois, Iowa, and Washington. We all came to New York to play music and make art. My family still lives in various suburbs of Sacramento, but I spent my childhood in North Highlands, a neighborhood near a retired Air Force base. It was kind of a rough place to grow up in, terribly hit by poverty and drugs after the Air Force base closed. Despite the conditions, I still think of North Highlands fondly, because it reminds me of growing up next door to my grandparents, bowling on Sundays, and my mom who worked so hard to get us out of there—which also reminds me to keep doing what makes me happy, even if that means living far from home.

Are there any plans to head further west for a tour?
Hopefully next summer! Our van,”Dad,” might not make it through the winter. Once we get some reliable transportation, we hope to hit up some West and Northwest territories.

Are you working on a full-length album?
We are steadily working towards a full-length. Hopefully (fingers crossed) we’ll have it ready by early spring of 2011. We recently released two songs, “Hiking” and “Steady Steady,” which folks can download for free.

What bands inspire you and your bandmates?
Right now we’re jamming on Darwin Deez, Ariel Pink, Twin Shadow, and Twin Sister. I have Daniel to thank for introducing me to the group Hallelujah Chicken Run Band. Also Mikey, Jasper, and I saw Wild Beasts together, and we sung along to every word. Wild Beasts is handsome and wonderful to listen to on an airplane.

Any other bands you recommend?
Check out Neighbors, No Joy, and The Luyas. Played shows with all three bands and had an excellent time.

Just this past Tuesday North Highlands played for free at Brooklyn Bowl! Luckily, if you’re in the New York area you have another chance to see them play this Saturday at the Highline Ballroom with Seabear. All other regions—it seems we’ll have to wait until “Dad” or his next of kin is capable to undertake the trek to see them play live!

What do you think of their sound? Do you find the North Highland’s tunes comforting as their namesake cardigan?

About Julianne

Julie Since graduating from the "Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too," Julie's aptness for the written word picked up steam like a runaway train. Her journey thus far has been fueled by an adventurous heart, creative mind, and love of breakfast, baking, and bacon. She often makes social situations more awkward than they need to be and loves the word "scrumtrulescent!"

One Response to Getting Down with North Highlands

  1. Al 10/15/2010 at 2:34 am #

    I grew up out there, too! Yes, it really was kind of sucky after McClellan closed :/
    Love the sweater, too :)

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