Photos and Interview by Madison Boyce
Highwind: Taking Over The Local Music Scene
Earlier this year I met Chris Russo, the creator and front man of the band Highwind. We connected during a show of a band called "As It Is". We followed each other on social media and became good friends. I found out that there was more to Chris than what I had seen at the show. I found out that he was in a band, so like any good friend, I decided to check them out. Their music instantly pulled me in and made me feel something. When I saw that they were playing a show near my hometown I immediately knew I had to go. Personally, I love it when bands gives it their all on stage and makes people connect with them. Highwind exceeded all of my expectations and easily became one of my favorite live bands. The obvious passion and raw emotion that comes through as they're playing is truly something unforgettable. Luckily, I had the opportunity to meet up with Chris before Highwind's set to ask him a few questions.
Where was the first Highwind live show?
The first Highwind live show was around Halloween of last year at a place called EJ’s Tap House in Seaside Heights. We opened for my friends from With Sails Ahead.
How did it go?
It was fun! It was really nerve wrecking because I had to find a drummer like five days before the show, the drummer I had prior to the one we have now couldn't do it. Luckily, my friend Bailey stepped in, he plays in a band called Wavebreak,; He truly helped me out. It was really cool to finally play our stuff live for the first time.
Why did you decide to title the EP “How’ve You Been”?
So, "How’ve you been" is from the first line of our song "Afterlife", but it's also like “Hey how are you? Long time no see.” The record is about just being open and honest with myself and opening up to others.
What is your favorite song you’ve ever written and why?
My favorite song I’ve ever written is probably either "Afterlife" or "Synchronicity". Afterlife is a message to my best friend. Saying “Hey buddy, How have you been? I miss you. Here's all the things you loved. Here's all the things we celebrated about you.” Synchronicity, I finished that song and I looked at it lyrically and musically and said “This is the best thing I've done so far and I'm really proud of this.” It just kinda happened- I was hanging out at my friend Tom's band practice. They were working on a new song and Mike, their guitarist, was like “YES! You guys are doing it in harmony, SYNCHRONICITY!” I stopped what I was doing, turned around I was like “THAT'S IT! That's the song!” And I sat there and wrote the song in his basement in like 3 hours.
What bands have inspired you to start creating music?
My biggest influence as far as wanting to play and write this type of music was The Dangerous Summer. Back in 2012, I was listening to Pandora Radio and I was trying to learn songs by airing guitar, because that's what I was working on at the time (If you're a guitarist I highly recommend it!). I was on the Anberlin station and this song played, and it was the greatest thing I'd ever heard. The song was "The Permanent Rain’ by The Dangerous Summer. So, instead of playing it, I just stopped and listened and I was “What is this? This is amazing! I need more of this!” That's kind of when I found the alternative side of music and I was like “Okay. I want to play in a band. I want to play alternative music. Let's do this.”
What would you say to anyone who wants to start a band and write music of their own?
It's a commitment. It is truthfully a money, time, and hard-working commitment. But, if you find some friends who you really enjoy playing with, or hell even doing it on your own, set aside the time to do it. Make sure when it comes to writing, practice your craft and really make sure you write what you enjoy playing because you're not going to enjoy playing music if you don't like it.
How can you compare the writing process for Highwind than other bands you’ve been apart of?
I just let it happen, I didn't think about it. Well that's a lie, I thought about it, but in a different way. I let it come naturally and if I didn't like something I would get rid of it and mess around until something naturally came to me or something worked better.