In Conversation with The Highway, Conclusion

Where you Dip the Ladle

“I read a lot of Russian literature years back?Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and stuff like that. Then I read lots of Buddhist and Zen stuff. Then I got into politics, economics … also the psychedelic stuff. Movies, other music, weird life events?it all goes into the melting pot. Depending on where you dip the ladle you get a different kind of song.”
– Ted MacInnes of The Highway

Daniel Tortoledo (vocals/bass), Ted MacInnes (drums/backing vocals), Adam Douglass (guitar/backing vocals), and Griffin McMahon (keys/backing vocals) make up The Highway, a New York band that plumbs the best of rock’s roots to create its own original psychedelic rock. They’ve recently released the single “All You Do“, a foretaste of their upcoming second album, Enter to Exit, out April 14. “All You Do” is a long, strange ride, containing the dark tale of an evil deed compelled by love.

Recently all four bandmembers took the time to answer Wanda Waterman’s questions about inspiration, mission statements, and what’s on the horizon. (You can also see the first, second, and third previous parts of this interview).

Do you feel that Brooklyn is a creatively stimulating city?
Adam: Yes, because there are so many musicians here?the best of the best?that it inspires you to be the best you can be. And no, because there are so many musicians here, the worst of the worst. They’ll take shit gigs that don’t pay, lowering the standard of what’s expected to compensate performers in nightclubs. Some bands are unprofessional and unrehearsed (or they at least sound that way) because, good band or not, no one is being compensated fairly for the work they put in.

Why did you call this project Enter to Exit?
Ted: Because if you don’t hit “enter” someone else might see your account balance on the ATM machine (and that’d be embarrassing). Also, It’s like the one certainty of life?entering and exiting?and what happens in between is our life’s experience.

Who writes the lyrics, and where does most of his inspiration come from?

Daniel: Ted and I have written all the lyrics for all our different songs so far, and we try our best to allow each other to feel we have control of each other’s songs. I think It’s a healthy approach, and it sure permits the songs to take a fresh turn from their original conception. I think That’s the reason we’re a band and not solo artists.
“All You Do” is an example of a 100% co-written song.

Are there any books, films, or albums that have deeply influenced your development as an artist?
Daniel: From different angles, yes. Fawlty Towers, Cinema Paradiso. Two books I’ve enjoyed and I know have created some impact would be The Web of Life and The Tibetan Book of The Dead.

Astronomy books I also find really interesting. Essentially anything that goes through your brain will have an effect on what you do. Neil Young’s book Weighing Heavy Peace was a great one.

Hunky Dory (David Bowie), The Band, Abbey Road, The Soft Parade, All Things Must Pass, What’s The Story Morning Glory. I’m digging a lot Fear Fun by Father John Misty, so That’s having some influence in my life right now.

Griffin: The first time I ever saw a clip from The Talking Heads? Stop Making Sense I was entranced. It’s the greatest concert film I’ve ever seen? such brilliant concepts put to life, overall production, and just kick-ass performances. It’s not just David Byrne with a good backing band; the film is a living archive of a historic collaboration that is very much of its time and place? the extended Talking Heads line-up at its artistic height in the 1980’s.

Ted: It’s been different things at different times. I read a lot of Russian literature years back?Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and stuff like that. Then I read lots of Buddhist and Zen stuff. Then I got into politics, economics . . . also the psychedelic stuff. Movies, other music, weird life events? it all goes into the melting pot. Depending on where you dip the ladle you get a different kind of song.

Adam: I like Kurt Vonnegut’s writing. Dumb and Dumber was funny.

If you had an artistic mission statement, what would it be?
Griffin: It would be to communicate with others in a deeper way through music and to give them something worth feeling and thinking about. It doesn’t hurt to have some fun along the way, too.

Daniel: To stick to the project You’re proud of, make it shine, don’t give up, and have a good time along the ride.

Ted: Our mission is to make people happy and to spread peace and love across the world.

Adam: I want to create good art.

Wanda also penned the poems for the artist book They Tell My Tale to Children Now to Help Them to be Good, a collection of meditations on fairy tales, illustrated by artist Susan Malmstrom.

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