Pop-rock duo Highwind are gearing up to release their highly anticipated debut album, Somewhere Right In Between on May 6th. With the release date fast approaching, the duo – the passion project of New Jersey singer-songwriter, Chris Russo and drummer, Dan Smith – has released their new single, “Hung Up” today. The honest track tells the story of being in love with someone you can’t have – an unfortunately universal theme that nearly anyone can relate to.
After working with producers such as Adam Cichocki (Kaonashi, Soul Blind, Gatherers, Like Pacific, and more) and Connor Hanson (Halogens, Mandancing, Latewaves, and more), as well as performing with acts such as Young Culture, Homesafe, Handguns, and Shallow Pools, Highwind is ready to take their stories to the next level. Their upcoming debut album not only finds the duo exploring new sounds and genres, but it is also their most honest and lyrically vulnerable release yet.
With Somewhere Right In Between celebrating life’s ups and downs on May 6th and the new single out now, we caught up with Highwind to reflect on the album’s writing process, the lyrical themes and upcoming plans, which include a run of east coast shows next month! Read the full interview and listen to “Hung Up” now below.
Prelude Press: You guys are gearing up to release your new album, Something Right In Between next month! What are you most excited for fans to hear on the album?
Chris: I’m just happy that people finally get to hear this album. I truly believe this album is a unique piece of art, and I genuinely think that there is something for everyone on this album. There are features on this album that I am so happy are a part of the album. I think this is some of my best songwriting to date. I am so proud of this album and I can not wait for release day.
Dan: I’m really stoked for fans to hear this diverse body of work that Chris and I have constructed over the last two years. These songs explore previously unknown territory both sonically and visually, and I just want people to jam it and have a good time.
You’ve released a few songs so far from Something Right In Between, with your new single, “Hung Up” out today! Can you tell us a little bit about the song?
Chris: Hung Up is about being in love with the person you can’t have. It’s about being aware of the fact that you can not and should not be with that. But knowing those things does not make the pain any better. Having L St. Germain on the track was awesome, and I’m very thankful to have their voice on the track!
Dan: “Hung Up” has a bit of an early/mid 2000s pop rock vibe. The song has some cool waves in it too, subdued verses but with the big, catchy, sing-along chorus. It also has a big trap breakdown in the middle of it – super new to us, I’ve never done a song with anything like that in it – and it has the first music video that we have done that is completely story driven.
“Hung Up” and your recent single, “Sugar” really showcase your versatility as a band with two very different and very distinct sounds. Were there any sounds or ideas that you knew you wanted to experiment with going into the writing of the album?
Chris: I was heavily inspired by alt-rock and indie-pop artists during the songwriting process of these songs, so I just let whatever inspiration that came to me takeover. Synths, keys, and acoustics all felt like a must for the record. This new sound felt really natural to me during the writing process. The drums and details came together so easily as Dan and I were finishing everything up.
Dan: Our big sonic experimentation was with keys and synths. And they are plastered all over our album. We specifically worked with Connor Hanson to engineer and produce our album because of his expertise regarding synth textures and layers, and with him as our mentor, we really came out with something special.
With it being your debut album, did you have any major goals in mind when you started working on Something Right In Between?
Chris: I have a really hard time putting an album together. I am normally the kind of person that just likes to put out back to back singles and leave it at that. I have so many different ideas and I want to give every song I write some sort of spotlight. So piecing together an album was a challenge for me in and of itself, and I am super thankful that Dan was here for the whole process. Now that the album is here, I just want it to be heard by people, and I am so excited to be playing these songs live.
Dan: I’m new to Highwind, and in joining Chris, for me, this whole process was about reinvention and not doing the same old stuff I’ve been doing for the past 10 years. I spent most of my time in bands playing metalcore or hardcore, but I didn’t really have the same passion I once had for it, especially considering the pandemic. Ultimately, I needed change. Chris and I have been friends for years and I’ve filled in for Highwind for a handful of shows in 2019 but joining Highwind marked a new beginning to my musical career. It is a much-welcomed change and breath of fresh air.
What was the most exciting or rewarding part of working on the album?
Chris: Knowing that we really pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones and made some really unique tracks was super rewarding. We tried new things, let our producer, Connor Hanson, put his fingerprint on the tracks, and really poured our hearts out into these tracks. We came out with eight songs that we were unbelievably proud of, and that alone was really rewarding.
Dan: I think I’ve said this before, but I will never forget going back to the studio on the last day of our recording and listening through what we had tracked that week and just thinking, “HOLY HECK, I HELPED MAKE THIS THING COME TO LIFE AND IT’S AMAZING.” A moment of pure bliss to say the least.
How do you feel you’ve grown or evolved as musicians with the writing and recording of the album? Did you learn any important lessons while working on it?
Chris: Before Highwind, I had a really hard time letting other people touch my songs. Unless it was the producer in the producer’s chair, I hated letting anyone have a hand in my songs. Creating Something Right in Between with Dan really helped me open up and learn that it’s okay to let others in on a project, because there is so much potential for an amazing outcome. Jaded is a really great example of a lesson learned, because that is the first song I’ve ever co-written with anyone that wasn’t a producer or someone who was a part of my band. I’m really thankful for the time I spent with Charlie from Flight Club writing that song because I am super proud of Jaded.
Dan: I learned a lot about patience and trusting the creative process. Which is incredibly tough because I’ve been in bands and playing music since I was 16, but Chris, Connor, and myself collaborated well together. I know this record is barely out, but I already can’t wait to get back to working on more new material.
What would you like for listeners to take away from the album?
Chris: I want the listeners to really understand that it is okay to feel what you feel. There are so many emotions that are being felt throughout the album. Love, excitement, hope, depression, loneliness. Life is full of ups and downs, and it is okay to accept them as they come. Let life run its process. Celebrate when you are proud of yourself. Ask for help when you are feeling down. Enjoy the bliss that is being in love. Give yourself a break when life is kicking you down.
Dan: We worked hard to write an honest record for the listeners and there is something for everyone on the album. I simply want everyone to have a good time and enjoy the body of work that we have created.
“Life is full of ups and downs, and it is okay to accept them as they come. Let life run its process.” – Chris Russo, Highwind
You also have a run of album release shows coming up next month! What can fans expect from the upcoming shows?
Chris: We have a lot of fun when we play our live shows. It’s when Dan and I are doing the thing that we love the most. Our shows are full of energy, excitement, and people having a good time.
Dan: We will be playing most of the album at our shows, plus a handful of the singles that have come out since 2020. We also have a new shirt coming out to celebrate the album, and that will become available after our album release show in Asbury Park on May 13th.
Do you have any other big plans or goals for the rest of 2022?
Chris: More shows heading into the Summer. A couple of shows here and there during the Fall. A lot more online content that we have worked super hard on. We’ll be taking time to write more towards the end of the year because the new ideas never stop, right? We have A LOT happening throughout the rest of the year, and we are going to have A LOT of fun.
Dan: We are trying to throw a whole bunch of shows together for the summer and we have one more surprise coming everyone’s way a few weeks after the album drops.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Chris: Thank you so much for having us on Prelude Press! We appreciate you taking the time to talk with us and having an interest in the album. Thank you to those reading this article and taking the time to learn about who we are as a band. Lastly, thank you to everyone who supports what we do as Highwind. The fact that people listen to our music, come to our shows, buy our merch, and even just think about us means the world.
Dan: You can find us on all the socials highwindnj (Instagram), @HighwindBandNJ (Twitter), Facebook is whatever, but definitely catch us at a show if you can!
May 13th – The Saint – Asbury Park, NJ
May 21st – The George Wilson Center – Newark, DE
May 22nd – The Rec Center FXBG – Fredericksburg, VA
May 27th – Gentle Giant Brewing Co. – Pearl River, NY
May 28th – Alchemy – Providence, RI