“We just wanted to be a kickass, road-ready, rock n’ roll band,” iterates Luke Mitchell, front-man of Charleston-based rock outfit The High Divers.
Isn’t that what we all want?
With four years of steady national touring, two studio albums, and an ever-expanding fan base, the band is churning that sentiment into reality.
Luke’s wife, Mary Alice Mitchell (keyboard, vocals) Julius DeAngelis (drums) and Kevin Early (bass, vocals), make up this quartet of South Carolina rockers. They all grew up together on Hilton Head Island before relocating in state to Charleston where they formed the band, and hit the ground running. It was shortly thereafter they would go on to record their debut album “Riverlust”.
The High Divers’ follow up album, “Chicora,” brought the band out on the road for most of the last year, signaling the return of the group after being sidelined by an auto accident while touring out west previously. Released on True Blue Records, “Chicora” captures the band experimenting with synthesizers, psychedelic vocals, and pop sensibilities comparable to a “Rumors” era Fleetwood Mac.
Fate and persistence has brought the band to Nashville where they will record their third album, set for release spring of this year. We had the opportunity to ask them some questions about their journey as musicians, and what we can expect to hear out of their new album.
Music Mecca: So how did The High Divers come together?
Luke Mitchell: We all grew up in the same town, and had run in the same circles for a long time. We bonded in the fact that we wanted to leave our hometown to move to Charleston. It was a great decision!
MM: You guys have put out two albums, the first being “Riverlust” in 2015 and your sophomore album “Chicora” in 2018. How would you say you’ve evolved as a band between then and now?
LM: We’ve evolved in the sense that we’re more of a unit. We play off of each other and have a good chemistry live and in the studio. Riverlust was recorded when we’d barely been a band for more than 2 months, so now recording situations tend to be a lot more fluid and rewarding.
MM: I imagine you’re quite excited to be recording in Music City for your third album, which is tentatively due this spring. Do you plan to steer this album towards more of a “Nashville” sound?
LM: Nashville seems to have a lot of different types of music flowing out of it these days, so I’m not sure there is a certain “sound” to go after anymore. In short, no, we just go in as a band and make decisions that serve the songs. We didn’t hire any pedal steel players either!
MM: I see you’re planning a U.S. tour after your album release. Do you already have an idea of cities/festivals you want to play in, and if so, what’s the route looking like?
LM: We will be hitting a lot of our favorite places on this next tour, and also spending a good bit of time in the Midwest. The Southeast is mostly what’s in the books for now, and hopefully we’ll be making another West Coast run here shortly.
MM: Do you have any rituals before/during recording that help influence the process?
LM: Most of our rituals before recording have been to quiet the world around us as much as we can. I don’t respond to calls (sorry mom), I don’t email, and I try to stay away from social media. I try to stay focused and present, and we really hold the process to be special and meaningful. Also, Coffee becomes the elixir of life. If something isn’t sounding right….DRINK MORE COFFEE.
MM: You guys are known for your beautifully crafted harmonies, indie-rock recordings, and exciting live performances. Of all the components that go into being musicians, what would you say your favorite part of the process has been so far?
LM: My favorite parts have been seeing the entire country with my friends, and how much I get to see extended family and make new friends along the road. We’ve met some incredible people, and seen some beautiful landscapes as a band. Our trip out west had a big impact on us all. For almost everyone in the band, it’s the first time we’d ever seen a desert, or the coastline along Highway 1.
MM: What would you say was the highlight of 2018 for the band?
LM: For me, our trip to Canada was one of the best trips I’ve had with the band. We had all gotten tattoos, I bought a new guitar, and we got to see Niagara Falls…and that was just day 1.
MM: If you could open up for any current band playing any venue, it would be…
LM: Wilco at The Ryman!
MM: What advice might you have for life on the road for young bands establishing their chops?
LM: Exercise, eat healthy and remember it’s supposed to also be fun. We started to stop at Whole Foods whenever possible, and band morale was instantly better.
You can check out The High Divers’ music and read more about them on their website HERE.