HUMANS discovering sound – interview


by Jackie Willson

Last week, we got the opportunity to catch up with up and coming artists Robbie Slade and Peter Ricq of HUMANS. Both originally from Canada, this duo is taking the indie-electronic world by storm. Having recently played at Canadian Music Week and Bestival, HUMANS are making their rounds and gaining new fans at every turn. Their unique sound and willingness to experiment with music is surely what is grabbing the attention of the music scene. We had the chance to talk to the guys about their music, their new hit album NOONTIDE, and how they like to spend their free time.

Jackie Willson: We just saw you guys perform live at CMW and it was awesome! How did you feel about that night?

HUMANS: Thank you, we felt that it turned out great. We were fairly nervous as it was the first show with our new visuals designed by Tangible Interaction. We’ve been working with them for over a year and it turned out that it was going to be its premiere at CMW. We only had 15 minutes to set it all up on stage and plug it into the laptop (we now have a computer on stage to trigger the visuals). Besides the new addition to the set, everything else went and turned out great too, meaning the sound, crowd and our performance, thank you Toronto.

JW: Production and overall aesthetics seem pretty big for you guys, is that something we can consistently expect from now on? 

H: Yes, we’ve been working on a new set and have added new equipment in the last year, it’s made our sound bigger and at the same time dirtier (in a good, positive way). It’s more fun that way, although adding more equipment does mean we need to be focused on stage and that results in taking less beer breaks.

JW: Do you feel, as an electronic band, that you have to keep up with all the “big sets and intense lighting” that some artists use? 

H: I don’t think you do, no, but it does help and it is fun. I think if you can do it, then by all means, go ahead, but the most important asset is the music, if you write good music then you’re golden, you can play on a dark stage using your laptop. One more thing, a good sound system with a sound guy who isn’t afraid to have you loud is another key component.

JW: Are you getting a lot of recognition from Canadian fans? Do you feel you’re becoming more well-known elsewhere?  

H: It’s definitely good to build a history in a town, it shows. I feel like our music isn’t necessarily getting more recognition in Canada, but more so in cities where we’ve performed several times like Victoria, Vancouver, New York, Toronto, San Francisco.

JW: What has the reaction from your fans been like with NOONTIDE?

H: Pretty positive, we hear from people that they can play the record while at a dinner party, at a house party, while driving or chilling at the beach. It can be played in any setting. That wasn’t the intention, but happy to hear it works. When releasing TRAPS, our second EP, it took a while for fans to get into it because Avec Mes Mecs had a different vibe and fans were expecting something more along those lines. NOONTIDE sits in between both those records; I think that’s why it’s been pretty well received.

JW: If you could describe that album in one sentence what would it be?

H: Like taking off all your clothes on a beautiful sunny day on a remote island that you’ve discovered.

JW:  Is it hard to come up with new concepts for a song or does it happen naturally? 

H: When you listen to a great song, it can easily inspire you to write, but when you don’t hear anything new that you love, it can get difficult. We definitely write tracks that get thrown into a pit of “who cares about this shit,” but if we both love a song, it might make it on a record – but that doesn’t mean we’ll play it on the stage.

JW: What do you guys like to do with your free time?

H: Draw, write stories, party, bike, skate, work, see friends, support friends with their shows, eat tacos, eat ramen, cook, sleep, watch movies, make movies, spend time with a special someone, climb, take showers, sweat, smell nice, discover new things, dance, yell.

JW: What are you looking forward to the most this summer? 

H: Discovering new things and playing shows at all the festivals. Actually, we are really looking forward to seeing Jamie XX and Caribou at Bestival.

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