In Digital We Rock: Meet this Chicago Based Rock ‘N’ Roll Band Taking L.A. By Storm

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High Street
High Street

Now more than ever, music and entertainment are helping to spark positivity across the world during an uncertain time. Record labels throughout the world are facing a triple danger from the fallout from the deadly coronavirus that has caused COVID-19.

Consequently, artists, independent and signed have been forced to go digital, taking to streaming platforms like Zoom, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live and IGTV. For digital natives, there’s no sweat—but for those who didn’t grow up in the digital age, or digital immigrants, they continue to experience high levels of uncertainty in keeping their music flowing.

For indie artists and local bands, especially in the Los Angeles region, keeping the music alive for the younger generation is even more essential.

As bands are taking to Instagram and Facebook for their live performances, Music Industry came across one live stream from young rock and roll group, High Street. Born in Chicago, the hard rock, heavily blues-influenced group disbanded when a few members left for college—but re-surged in Los Angeles with fresh talent

With founder and lead guitarist, Erik Findling, who brought High Street from Chi-town to LA, and lead singer, Phoebe Collins reviving the group’s sound, the High Street has been entertaining fans throughout the pandemic by sharing previously unreleased tracks and live performances on social media.

Music Industry Weekly: The band just relocated to relaunch in Los Angeles. What is your favorite thing about L.A.?

Erik Findling: My favorite thing about L.A. aside from the warm weather is its diverse musical atmosphere. There is so much opportunity in Los Angeles, not only for performing musicians but also for music and entertainment in film and television – an area of the music business that I have been working my way into.

Phoebe Collins: I actually moved to L.A. before knowing that I would be a part of High Street, but it happened very soon after I got here. My favorite thing outside of the entertainment industry has been exploring the different terrains in California. What is interesting to me is that we all live in this huge city with all these opportunities, but you can also take a short drive and go to so many amazing places in nature.

MIW: How would you describe yourself and your talents to someone who is not yet familiar with your work? 

EF: I’m a pretty reserved person, and tend to designate a lot of my feelings and emotions for when I pick up the guitar to express myself. My guitar playing is basically a reflection of how I am feeling in the moment whether it be happy or sad, but I always have something to say.

PC: I’ve been singing for about 12 years now. I’ve always used singing as a way of community service, and I enjoy singing for people. I love music, and it’s rewarding to make people happy with something that I can do. Vocally, I pull inspiration from pop, indie, and rock artists to create my own unique sound.

MIW: At what age did your love for music begin?

EF: My love for music began at age 5. I started on the guitar at 4-years old but it wasn’t until a year later that I really developed a passion and love for the guitar as well as music in general.

PC: My memories of music from my childhood all relate to my dad, he had a huge impact on the music I love now. I remember dancing on the coffee table to Bob Marley when I was just about 6-years old, and listening to the Eagles in his truck with the windows down on the way to go camping. I’ve always loved music even before I started singing when I was 8.

MIW: Do you remember the first album you owned? 

EF: I don’t remember my first album I owned, however one of the very first records I listened to as a kid was 5150 by Van Halen. Once I heard that, I really became turned on to rock and roll.

PC: I believe it was Miley Cyrus’s album, Breakout, when I was 8 or 9. I definitely remember dancing around the living room to “These Four Walls”, but my music taste is very different now.

MIW: Which artist has been the biggest influence of your music career?

EF: There is no one particular influence that I have, however if I had to give you a top-three list of my favorite guitarists of all time, I’d have to say Stevie Ray Vaughan, Slash, and Eddie Van Halen.

PC: I have a lot of influences. Some of them would be Paramore and Avril Lavigne, but also the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd. I’m really focused on creating my own unique style and drawing inspiration from different genres.

MIW: What is your process for writing music? 

EF: There’s no specific formula for me when writing music. Usually a guitar riff or melody will come to me out of the blue, and if I like it, I’ll record it on my phone and bring it to the next rehearsal to show the rest of the bandmates to see if we can make something out of it.

PC: First off, I have to really feel like I’m in the mood. I could sit at my piano for hours without anything coming to me, and I can’t try to force it. When I think of something, I write it down. Honestly my songs usually come together in pieces and don’t get finished right away. Using a process that isn’t forced helps me create my best, most inspired work.

MIW: How many hours a day do you rehearse?

EF: We rehearse as a band 2 hours a week, every Saturday. Many of us tend to practice on our own anywhere from one to five hours a day.

PC: I practice on my own for hours a day just because I love singing, but as a band we practice a few hours a week. Right now, we haven’t been able to [practice in person] with the pandemic happening, but I’m excited to be back in the studio.