Ian E. Highhill
My musical interest started in my early teens when my uncle gave me his old electric guitar as a birthday present. After serving my musical apprenticeship in a local band I soon left to start my first own band, a doom metal group strongly influenced by my all-time favorite band Black Sabbath. Switching instrument from guitar to bass and sometimes being stand-in for the vocalist in the band was a good way for me to learn how a band works from every aspect. Being able to handle various instruments improved my songwriting as well.
I have always been a readaholic, and I especially appreciate good poems. At a very early stage, I discovered that I had a certain skill for putting words together into songs and poems, and that is without doubt thanks to all those books I've read over the years.
Since I've always had a clear vision about how a front man in a band should act, I decided to take on that role myself, and because I was writing my own songs it seemed to be a natural thing for me to do. I instantly knew that this was the thing I was born to do; I love working the crowd. There's nothing closer to heaven for me than to hear all those people singing with me, going wild and having a good time.
After that followed years of singing in various bands, both original and cover bands. In one of them we played hard rock covers and we were very good at it too. I've always been very fortunate to have great players backing me up. We came to a point when we were doing gigs almost every weekend all around the west coast of Finland but it still wasn't getting us anywhere. At least not where I wanted to go anyway; I wanted to be recognized for my own music.
So in 2002 we formed Olympos Mons with Jari Sundström. Together we started writing melodic metal songs, with me taking on all the lyrics and melody-writing, allowing my creative muse a completely free rein. The subject matters were other worlds, times and beings, well suited to the epic riffs and grandiose compositions Jari came up with. With Olympos Mons we really hoped to finally get some attention as songwriters and performers.
It went quite well for a while. In 2004 we got ourselves a record deal with a German label that released our first record "Conquistador". After that we switched to an Italian label to release our second album "Medievil". We did some memorable gigs, had a good time but as all good things always tend to do, they come to an end. After two internationally selling records and an endless battle with the record companies, Olympos Mons finally broke up in 2010. After that I participated in a few band projects but I never felt quite at home in them.
It wasn't until Tom Wallen asked me if I would be interested in putting a band together, and when I heard Hank J.Newman's brilliant arrangements I knew that I had found the right match again. With Hank song-writing was just as fun and easy again as it should be. We got a great band together and I'm really keen to see what the future holds for us.