Swedish AOR with west coast touch…
Higher Ground is a Swedish rock band that was formed in Sandviken, Sweden in 1994. The band is Peter Lindberg (vocals), Niklas Hammarberg (guitars), Erik Pettersson (drums), Ulf Merkell (keyboards) and Petter Eriksson (bass guitar).
Niklas and Petter met each other in their early teens, living in same neighborhood, playing soccer and going to the same high school. With a common interest in music they decided to start a covers band in the early nineties, playing a variety of song styles but mainly pop and rock.
At that time, Petter also played in a Thin Lizzy tribute band with Ulf on keyboards, who later were recruited to the new band. Shortly after Ulf joined, the band also needed a new drummer. Rumours told of a very skilled drummer in the rehearsal room next door – so they invited him for an audition.
Thus Erik was added to the line-up. With him joining, the band evolved as a group, rehearsed more and started to write their own songs. The bands ability to improvise, jam and blending different music styles, resulted in a unique and interesting sound. Still without a proper band name, while jamming on the famous Stevie Wonder song “Higher Ground”, Petter suggested naming the band Higher Ground.
The band recorded a few demos and did a couple of live gigs in 1992-1994, realizing there was something missing. The current lead vocalist had a voice which not suited their music style and since he didn’t get along very well with the band, he left and they started looking for a new vocalist.
Peter had been singing in several local bands in his hometown Gavle, a few miles from Sandviken. At the time he worked on a prepress-company in Sandviken. During a lunch break he saw a newspaper ad of a band looking for a vocalist that he felt suited his music profile. He called the guys, did a short audition, and in late 1994 HIGHER GROUND was complete.
The band members have a wide taste in music and they love combining several music styles in their songs. All members take part in the song writing process, often by endless jam sessions that later become potential songs.
The sound of Higher Ground is like a great ‘mixtape’. Blending rock with pop melodiousness, a bit of soul with classic rock dynamics and modern melodic rock with a touch of AOR/pop from the eighties. The band has all the ingredients that you would expect from a Swedish rock band, melodic hooks with a melancholic touch – just good music, timeless and for everyone !
When the band members got the Higher Ground machine running, everything went very fast. They recorded their first real demo only a few months after Peter joined the band.
In 1996, Higher Ground went into the studio armed with six songs, which they recorded live. That led to a record contract with ProActive Records in the UK and released in remixed form in mid -1997, these six songs formed the “Keep On Walkin’” E.P., which received considerable critical acclaim.
The band started working on their debut album in 1998, shoot a music video for “Ghost in My head” in London at the end of 1999, as the album “Perfect Chaos” was finally released in May 2000. During 2002 to 2004 things slowed down a bit, mainly because of other priorities. Busy day jobs combined with family duties made it hard to write songs.
Although Higher Ground managed to release an album in 2004 – “A Thousand Pieces”, on the German label “AOR Heaven” – There was a lot of turbulence and stress during the recording process that burned out the members for a while. Between 2005 and 2007 there was less activity in the band.
In late 2008 the band felt that it was time to restart the band and summarize the years so far. Choosing a number of songs from their previous albums (to be remixed and reproduced), as well as writing two new songs, led to the release of the 2009 album called “13 tracks” on their own label “Speechless Music Production”. During 2013 the band released their fifth studio album “Gravity” which was recorded and mixed in their own studio.
Words and picture from the official website.
Speechless Music Production 2013
Tracks: Fate, Missing You, Glory, Supernatural, Again, Remember Me, Waste of Time, Tightrope & Favorite Friend.
Musicians on the Gravity album: Higher Ground and others.
Speechless Music Production 2009
Tracks: Goodbye, Speechless, Keep Walking, Forever on my mind, Playing God, If I could, Everlasting love, Beautiful so wonderful, She plays, Inside me, Ghost in my head, Make it right & Another day.
Musicians on the 13 Tracks album: Higher Ground and others.
A Thousand Pieces
AOR Heaven 2004
Tracks: Inside Me, Speechless, I Feel Alive, Goodbye, She's gone, Falling apart, Cry, She Plays, Another Day & Believe & The Genius.
Musicians on the A Thousand Pieces album: Higher Ground and others.
ProActive Music 2000
Tracks: Forever On My Mind, Ghost In My Head, Everlasting Love, Freedom, If I Could, Turns Into Stone, Trying, Keep This Dream Alive, Someday & Last Man.
Musicians on the Perfect Chaos album: Higher Ground and others.