Canadian DJ and production duo Highcard recently released their blissful new track ‘Without You’, via Sovereign Records.
Saturated with good vibes, ‘Without You’ is a track that brings Highcard’s artistic vision to life. Layering melodic keys and harmonizing synths over emotionally-rich vocals, ‘Without You’ serenades the listener with each thunderous drop and passionate lyrics. As the first single this year from the Canadian duo, the track a step in the right direction and a soon-to-be classic.
Comprised of like-minded creators Benjamin Zamora and Douglas Meadows, Highcard is a collaborative DJ and production duo that is turning heads in the dance music community. Already garnering previous success in their globally recognized band Horizons, the duo are ready to take the next step in their creative endeavor. With Ben having previous support from Afrojack, MAKJ and Felix Cartal and Doug being a prolific studio engineer and videographer, there is no knowing where the duo is headed to next.
Learn more about Highland in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So what does a typical day look like for Highcard?
First off we’d like to thank you for having us on “All Access Music”! Our days tend to start with Ben knocking on the door with an Ice Capp (Tim Hortons beverage), if he arrives with no Ice Capp there’s a 9/10 chance it’s not going to be a good day. With caffeine in hand we head into the studio, depending on the day we’ll get work on an upcoming release, new idea, remix, or on days like today get to work on some beautiful interview questions for our press team! Right now we’re resident DJs Thursdays and Saturdays, so on those days we’ll also look for new music to play.
Now that we are at the back-half of the year, how would you say that 2019 has treated this duo so far? What are some goals that you have for this year and how close are you to reaching them?
2019 was a lot of work behind the scenes, we’re really excited to start sharing everything we’ve been up to. So much has happened this year, from meeting our Label SVRN and releasing “Without You”, landing our residency, and truly settling into our sound as Highcard. Releasing a signed original was our main goal this year but adding in the streaming numbers we’ve been able to achieve along with obtaining the residency was enough for us to call this a very successful year. We’ve already started planning our 2020 goals and have a lot in store for everyone.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this duo together? Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far? How did you come up with your name?
Ya! Both of us had been working on our own projects, sharing songs back and forth, and getting feedback. One of those days we looked at each other and wondered why we were each doing this solo. So we started a white board to weigh the pros and cons of being a duo and couldn’t find any reason not to do it. We’ve been friends since grade 5 and everything has been a competition so we’re glad that we can use that fire inside towards something that benefits both of us! We’ve been making music since high school be it through various bands, producing, etc. and the one thing we’ve learned on our musical journey is that consistency is one of the most important aspects of being an artist. As for the name “Highcard” we were spitballing ideas in the studio one day and that one seemed to stick with us. No crazy story there.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you both carry yourselves?
We are very proud to be from Toronto, Canada. This city has grown so much over the past decade and the culture and creativity coming out of this town is truly amazing. In regards to our musical influence, we both got into the scene listening to locals like deadmau5, Shaun Frank, Dzeko and Rezz to name a few. I wouldn’t say there is one specific sound coming out of this city but we have definitely been influenced by these artists.
Why would you say that you two work so well together? Where is one of you weak where the other is strong and vice-versa? Why does this duo work?
As we mentioned before we have known each other almost our entire lives. One thing that this has helped with is the ability for us to be truly honest with one another. As a duo there are always going to be situations where we disagree on things and I think being open helps to get us to our overall goal. In the music world I (Ben) come from a vocal background, always focused on melody chords and overall feel. While Doug shares these same traits he has always lived with a “Go hard or go home” mentality and it definitely shows in our sound design, especially in our drops.
Let’s talk about your newest track, “Without You.” What was the inspiration for this song? How would you say that it compares to anything else that you have released?
“Without You” is written about the struggles of dealing with a romantic loss at a young age. With this track we want to give the listener a home to find comfort and unity through heartbreak. We look at the dance music scene as one big family and hope this song will bring people together. This song is the first we’ve created that starts to define our sound as Artists and we are excited to see how it compares to our future releases.
How do you think your sound has grown over the years? What about your songwriting process? How has that changed?
We’ve only been officially working together as “Highcard” for a year and a half but I can tell you that the music we were making in late 2018 is completely different than the sound we’ve dialed in now headed into 2020. We started off making a lot more tech house inspired tracks and over time the melodies got stronger, the drops got heavier and the “Main Stage” got closer 😉
Where do you think you are both happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
While we love being in the studio, nothing beats the feeling of being on stage playing music we love to a welcoming audience. I think a good balance is what is truly needed to be happy as an artist.
What has been a favorite show of yours to date? What do you think makes an ideal performance for this duo? Do you have any upcoming tour dates to wrap up the year with?
We played this one underground show in Toronto that was actually some of the most fun we’ve ever had playing a show. We were on the floor at eye level with a sold out room feeling the energy, sweat and everything in between from our audience. Being able to DJ this close to the crowd really let us feel their vibe and we loved every minute.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that?
We make music for a lot of different reasons but the most important in our opinion is to bring people together to share a common love. Our music may act as an escape for some people or a celebration for others but the biggest value we have is each other. The world isn’t perfect right now but if we all come together, we believe that we can find happiness and enjoy the moment while work out our life problems.
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this duo?
There are so many talented producers and singers right now so this a tough one to choose. As a dream collab we are going to have to say we’ve always half joked about getting a “Halsey” feature as we are both obsessed with her voice and feel we share a similar direction in regards to mood of a track. Some of our favourite artists include, R3HAB, Gorgon City, DLMT, Tritonal, Dubvision and Julian Jordan to name a few.
Where would you love to hear your music being played? A TV show, a movie, in your favorite store, etc…?
If we had to pick one I think we each agree that it would be absolutely insane to hear one of our songs in a Hollywood blockbuster film. More specifically any movie in the Marvel Franchise. When this happens we will make sure to send over our reaction 😉
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Life is unpredictable and there are incredibly happy moments along with tragedy and heart break. With that said we like to write about these topics because everyone experiences them and having an outlet to celebrate the highs and find support in lows is important to truly be happy in our opinion. We hope that our music can make impact on our listeners no matter what they are going through.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about your music?
This is just the start for us, we have a lot of new music coming in the new year and can’t wait for what’s next.