If there is one thing High Hopes has discovered as they begin to blow up on the music scene it’s that a lot of things are “weird.”
Be that singing lyrics about your parents in front of your parents, a dedicated and growing fan base or simply the fact people actually like them. The last being pretty awesome when the founding members describe themselves as a “chubby nerd” and a “metalhead.”
“The cool thing for us is that we built our image around being more about who we actually are. It is kind of a celebration of being losers,” lead singer Joel Cossette said half-heartedly. “It is cool that we don’t have to pretend to be anything that we are not. I think that is why people connect with us so much.”
The band, which is playing at The Elite in Penticton on Wednesday, started with the “weird” pairing of Cossette and guitarist Casey Long just over a year ago. Long, the metalhead, and Cossette, the self-described nerd, came together to write catchy music with meaningful lyrics. On their first EP Bigger Than, released earlier this month, Cossette has basically poured his heart out in the lyrics. The five-song EP recently hit the top 150 in Canada on the iTunes charts and in two days High Hopes sold 750 songs.
Generating some of that buzz is the song Starwars and Poetry, a personal look at the pains of growing up. It was a tune Cossette and Long shelved for almost three months.
“It was so personal because there are lines about my parents in there and I thought this is stupid, no one is going to like this. Then we came back to it and decided to release it and I’m still kind of stumped as to why people connected with it. I guess because it is so personal,” says Cossette.
That sometimes makes it awkward for the singer when he is on stage and looking out into the crowd seeing people sing along to such pertinent things in his life.
“Probably the weirdest is if my parents are at the show, which happened at our tour kick off. There is a couple of lines in there about an old friend of mine too and he was there and then my parents were there and I look out into the crowd and everyone is singing along and that was very strange. It was just so weird,” says Cossette.
The singer said he realizes the song touches so many because it is a relationship many kids go through with their parents, of feeling like they are letting them down.
“Anytime you tell your parents, ‘Hey I’m not going to university and I am going to sleep on couches and play music instead,’ I think they struggle with that,” says Cossette. “I think my parents have come to terms with the fact that I am going to be doing music for the rest of my life, but I think in the back of their minds they still have that hope that one day I will be a teacher or doctor or something.”
But, it is exactly that personal and honest side High Hopes brings to the stage that is their magic.
“We started with this weird pairing and it has been fun because we don’t pretend to be someone else and then worry about, ‘oh we have to have awesome dance moves on stage or something,’” says Cossette. “We just say, ‘let’s be weird.’”
High Hopes plays at The Elite on Jan. 16 with guests White Dress Star and Count Me In. Doors are open at 8 p.m. and show starts at 9 p.m. Cover is by donation.