By Jesse Johnson
College Park-based band Higher Education will be releasing a new EP next year, something the band has never released before.
Chris Haddad, the lead guitarist in the band, said the band decided to release singles in hopes of capturing a listener’s attention quicker, which has been successful so far, according to Haddad.
“We seem to be living in a time of instant gratification, social media and shorter attention spans, so we decided to try the single route over full-length albums,” Haddad said.
The band has released two singles in support of the upcoming EP: “Summer of Love” in June and “Stuck on Repeat” in September. “Summer of Love” features contributions from Scott Vandrey and Howi Spangler of the band BALLYHOO! who are from Aberdeen, Maryland, and have previously featured Higher Education as one of their opening acts.
“[Scott and Howi] have been nothing but supportive and have always been there to give us advice,” said Petey Devaney, singer and guitarist in the band. “They are true professionals and are as talented as they are down to earth.”
Trying to describe the band’s sound is no easy task. Haddad describes it as a mix of psychedelic, rock, funk and groove-based music. Devaney, however, said the band’s sound has evolved over the nearly 10 years they have been together, and the blending of multiple genres makes for a unique sound.
“There are familiar themes and sounds throughout our music, but we want to continue pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and explore fresh ideas,” Devaney said.
The band records their music in their home studio, located in College Park. For the “icing on the cake,” however, according to Haddad, the band sends the mixed recordings to Wright Way Studios in Baltimore for mastering.
Devaney said one of his favorite songs on the upcoming EP, “Much Too Young,” is about experiencing love at an age where you’re unsure of how to handle the emotions, and the pain that comes when that feeling ends.
“You’re just too young to adequately deal with those feelings of despair from love lost, so you retreat inwards and almost befriend the loneliness,” Devaney said. “It becomes your new blanket, your new normal.”
Formerly a trio of Devaney, his brother, Danny, and drummer Bradley Wilson, the band grew when Haddad started playing with them in June 2018. Prior to joining Higher Education, however, Haddad played with veteran members of Parliament Funkadelic and Defunkt, which he credits to helping shape his musical senses and finding “a new world of groove.”
“His interpretation and input on the new material just adds a whole other dynamic,” Devaney said. “The knowledge and creativity he brings to each song is like the metaphorical cherry on top.”
The band will release its next single, “Voice in My Head,” near the end of December and the EP, with a title yet to be determined, will be released on Valentine’s Day, Haddad said. The band will also be playing at MilkBoy ArtHouse on December 31 with Humbalaya, Natalie Brooke & The Band and 10Issues.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Zach Strouse (Positive Vibe Media).
Jesse Johnson is a junior journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.