By: Allan Katz
You've probably heard this one before: Punk band accrues a cult following. As their chops outgrow the inherent simplicity of their chosen genre discord is sown amongst their fans. Some decry expansive efforts as selling out while others applaud the growth. When you first hear One High Five's anthemic stomp, it's clear that this band knew exactly what they aimed to make. Through a perfect organ riff, horn fill, or hand-clap breakdown, classic rock and punk fervor become seamless. At its center is singer songwriter David Sauer. We caught up with David following One High Five's latest video shoot.
OC Weekly (Allan Katz): What shoot did you just conclude?
David Sauer: It's for a new song called Fear of Failure. We're doing a kind of live album. It was great. Cut my lip open. Rocked and rolled.
Tell me about the album. One of my all time favorites is Nighthawks at the Diner by Tom Waits. It's hard to think of many others that were recorded live in the studio. How'd it come about?
I've had this great music studio / office space for the last 10 years. To honor the studio and the time spent there I thought, "Let's make an album and throw it together in its last couple weeks and honor the place we were born as a group."
Going back to One High Five's beginnings, you really laid it out there with your influences from NOFX to ELO. What informed the decision to forge your sound out of these elements?
To me, it's all [about] ear candy. It's the stuff I grew up with and the stuff I developed my personal taste for. It's a weird thing to come about settling on a [single] genre, or multiples. The whole idea of indie punk rock roll came from talking to this guy about genres, and he was like, "You're too rock 'n' roll to cater to the punk rock people. But too punk rock to call yourself an indie band." Ever since then, to showcase what we are in the most brief, easiest form, it's "indie punk rock roll."
I understand you performed in China. Long way from The LBC.
Played some acoustic shows. I bought a nice acoustic electric over there. It was a Fender Malibu. I enjoyed the irony of playing a Malibu guitar in China. Hong Kong was super-welcoming. I heard that most of the music they play in restaurants over there are covers, so a couple weeks wasn't enough time for me to really delve into their local scene. But the other bands I played with were amazing. They would sing a song in Chinese and the next song in English. The type of rock n roll from the heart they were playing… Loud and fast… It was good.
Speaking of covers, I hear One High Five's covered fellow Long Beachers, Fartbarf.
They're a wonderful synth punk kind of band. I consider them staples in the community, and I look up to them in terms of what they've done and how they present themselves. We've been playing with some different variations of Panopticon, off their latest album. I wanted to cover that song because it's so different from what One High Five does. I thought it would be fun to work out the parts, take some synths, turn them into guitars, and see where that takes us as a group as we learn to write and take more from each other. It's a cool way for us to honor a band and a good way for us to grow. I think that's a really good combination of things you can do.
One High Five are celebrating their latest single with a show at The Prospector on Thursday.