Initially, we had someone else write it and they did a nice job—in fact, my favorite quote said that our new song “turns a hotel-room panic attack into a creative breakthrough” (true!). Still, I wanted to give you a bit more background, in chronological order, formatted by bullet points
April 20, 2014: It’s a day off on tour with The 1975. We’re colonizing a beige, Spartan room at the Courtyard Marriott in Oakland. Landon, our front man, steps out for a smoke.
Shortly thereafter, he becomes one with the universe. Additionally, my man sprawls out on the bathroom tile, smiling, scared, and stoned, naming off a list of people to whom he must give this newly discovered, all-encompassing, cosmic love.
September 16, 2014: The trip subsides, we finish the tour, and release an album called You Haunt Me. It does pretty well. My Mom tells all her friends about the time we played Conan, and how she heard us on the radio.
Deep inside, I’m a little disappointed because I read somewhere on the internet that we were supposed to be the next Coldplay, yet I still drive a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder with a check engine light.
Over the next six months, we start, and later abandon, a sophomore album full of minimal electronic songs. The lyrics are mostly outward facing, obtuse, anxious. It was good, but Jamie xx we are not.
June 2015: Back at square one and thinking hard about words like “sonic” and “identity,” Jason makes a round, booming instrumental in his studio in Costa Mesa. I cobble together a sampled, sauntering drum beat on a bus in Italy. Landon comes up with this sticky melody that’s part talking, part singing, all feel. We get in a room and they meld together.
It ends up being a revisionist retelling of that April 2014 night with a wink and some rose-colored glasses, borne of a desire to have a song to dance to every show.
We feel like it’s good shit.
I play it for an anonymous Uber driver and he’s all in. My Dad hears it and says it is “poppier” than our old stuff. My brother loves it and posts it to his Instagram months before it’s released because he thinks it’s already out.
Now: “High” comes out. “It’s an upbeat anthem about ego death” lead singer Landon Jacobs told the biographer, while I was on the other line of the conference call. “It really opened up the honesty of the record.”
Fittingly, it’s the first song from a forthcoming album that is lived-in, loose, and against all odds, a celebration. Thanks for listening.