It’s a truth that goes back as far as Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis: rock music finds its most truthful power in blistering, youthful energy.
For Worthing, Sussex quartet High Tyde, this is palpably the case. Still with an average age of just 20, the fourpiece – bassist and vocalist Cody Thomas-Matthews, guitarists Connor Cheetham and Spencer Tobias-Williams and drummer Louis Semlekan-Faith – have racked up over 3 million plays on Spotify (as well as 35 on Radio 1), sold out London’s landmark Scala venue and toured the length and breadth of the UK, all through sheer force of will and an unquenchable love for melody. Barely out of their teens, they have achieved more than most musicians many years their senior could ever dream of.
“We got together when we were about 14 and from that day to this, High Tyde has been our life,” smiles Cody. “We had a very DIY attitude to everything from the start. We’d go busking and save up the pound coins to hire vans so we could get to gigs. We’ve been touring that way since we were 16 with friends of older brothers driving us!”
“We’ve probably played every venue that isn’t a venue in the whole of Sussex,” adds Louis with a laugh. “When we were kids we would gig in the back rooms of pubs and get kicked out afterwards for being too young. We’ve emailed probably every promoter in the country at this point, but it’s those experiences which have developed us into the band we are.”
Indeed, the kind of band that High Tyde have been forged into is one bursting with a summery bounce that brings to mind the likes of Two Door Cinema Club, while ladling in an enigmatic lyricism and angular tonality that is both reminiscent of Foals and The 1975 and mature far beyond their years.
“We used to be involved in metal bands before we started doing this and we still play with that sort of energy,” notes Louis. “There’s a definite punk edge to what we do too, but we put so much into the melting pot: everything from Hendrix to real pop stuff to Slipknot, we love it all. What we’ve been able to do over years of experimentation though, is develop a sound that is distinctively High Tyde, one that you’d struggle to mistake for anyone else.”
Having spent their adolescence building up a following across the south coast on the strength of their explosive, sweat-drenched live show (“We’d play these all ages gigs in Brighton and the promoter would tell us he was worried the floor was going to cave in because of how many people were there!”) the band began to properly hone their recorded output on 2015’s joyous Fuzz EP.
It proved to be a watershed moment, with ears immediately pricking up among the band’s peers and music industry suits. It was a breakthrough that not only led to a national tour with Wearside indie darlings Little Comets, but one which revealed fully to the lads just how exceptional what they were cultivating was.
“Having one of your favourite bands – and we all love Little Comets – tell you you’re on to something is an wild experience,” nods Louis. “That was such a big deal for us.”
Sure enough, off the back of that formative stint, festival slots at Boardmasters, Y Not, Dot To Dot, Reading and Leeds and Spain’s Arenal Sound followed, as well as one off shows as far afield as Los Angeles. That they have enjoyed a genuinely remarkable trajectory of development isn’t lost on the boys, but they’re also clear that this isn’t a case of artificially inflated overnight success or exposure over substance.
“We’ve been working constantly, every day, for five years,” notes Connor. “We never take time off from this. Ever.”
Which is not to say that the boys are meekly content with their lot as prodigious big fish in a small pond. Far from it.
“What’s happened so far shows that if we want to do something and we put our minds to it then anything is possible,” adds Cody. “The next step is the biggest for us, and breaking out of the scene we are in and becoming as successful as possible is obviously the end goal. You have to believe you can do amazing, huge things otherwise what’s the point? Yeah, I want to headline Glastonbury, of course I do! If you don’t think you can do things like that then you might as well give up. And we’ve done everything we’ve aimed for up until this point, so we’re taking the same attitude for the next steps.”
The next piece in that exponentially growing High Tyde jigsaw comes in the shape of new single ‘Come In’, a fizzing slice of dance rock with a darkened heart and a chorus which you fancy could decimate many a festival field in the not too distant future with consummate ease. It is the first taste of an as-yet unfinished album; a record, which, in itself, promises as much as any young British band has for some years.
But perhaps most refreshingly of all, these lads aren’t interested in getting swept up in the hype train that is now surrounding them.
“We’re best friends, first and foremost” grins Louis. “We have become so close through playing music since we were so young and we understand that the hard work really starts now for us, despite all the hard work we’ve already put in. We started this band because there’s nothing to do in our hometown and we didn’t want to sit indoors, playing video games and smoking weed. That’s what we’ll always be about. This is our outlet and that is the most important thing to us, beyond anything else.”
It is true that the very best music comes from that magic mix of youth, energy, determination and creative spark – and by those measures and many more besides, High Tyde are as exciting a prospect as you could possibly imagine.