New album NOW AVAILABLE
in the press
The collection of songs on RISE began with Great Highway’s ambition to grow and stretch as a self-produced electronic band. After the release of their 2014 synth pop album Industrial Love Scene, the five-piece group wrote material that would challenge them to explore new studio techniques such as innovative vocal and percussive sampling, eclectic new influences from genres like electro swing, chillwave and even progressive house influences, and analogue additions of lush layers of violin and saxophone. In 2017, the project gained extra meaning when lead singer Jason Hunter was diagnosed with cancer. The band doubled down on the project as a way to find focus and artistic release during dark times.
Jason wrote the title song about his battle with cancer, as well as the wounds of the world during a toxic political and social landscape. The rest of the album enhanced these themes; from Winter Snow, a ballad about the long road to heal a broken heart; to With You Better and Lenses, odes to how love can help recapture your better nature when you've lost your way; to Fault, about the contemporary struggle to fight racial oppression and social apathy. RISE explores the struggle to break through painful circumstances, fight old patterns, and find enlightenment.
ABOUT THE BAND
Great Highway originally formed in 2012 as an acoustic guitar-driven pop-rock group, but over the years has blossomed into an edgy electronic rock outfit that represents the eclectic electro scene thriving in the SF Bay Area.
In its original form, multi-instrumentalist Jason Hunter used Great Highway as his first proving ground as a rock producer and songwriter. With jangly acoustic guitars, call-and-response vocals and retro-inspired piano, the original Great Highway albums called to mind folk-rock groups like Stars or The New Pornographers. Yet through these arrangements, Hunter began to explore strange lyrics and experimental sounds in a way that hinted at his affinity for bending genres and pushing his own musical boundaries.
It wasn't until 2014 that the signature Great Highway sound started to bloom. Hunter began experimenting with electronic beats and live-looping, and brought onboard songwriter and synth player Sarah Morgan and electric guitarist Sean McAllister. With the addition of Morgan's sweet-yet-dark pop sensibility and McAllister's soaring rock riffs, the group's sound was elevated from straightforward pop to a clean and cutting electronic sound with an edge. In 2015, the group added DJ and electronic sound designer Meredith Whelan and violinist Makiko Harris, who respectively added the key ingredients of EDM-inspired beats and heartfelt and powerful string hooks.
To date, Great Highway has developed a signature brand of dark electropop that seamlessly blends pumping electronic sounds with analogue instrumentation. Their earworm songs package venomous and sorrowful lyrics with the lush, moody vibes of The Xx, the powerhouse male-female vocals of The Naked & Famous, and the dance-y yet sentimental arrangements of ODESZA.
Great Highway recently released a music video for their single “The Chase" and were featured on The Bay Bridged for their release show at Elbo Room in San Francisco, CA. They have played some of the top venues in the Bay Area, including Brick & Mortar Music Hall and Rickshaw Stop. As a powerful quintet, Great Highway seeks to keep pushing the boundaries of their own songwriting and electronic arrangement.