There’s often a flurry of press after a band like Humans releases an album, but after some really dignified begging, we got to tear them away from their tour for a few minutes of lighthearted interview before they get to L.A. for their show with Spazzkid on March 26th at ClubIHC. Peter and Robbie, the two polar forces behind the new album Noontide, break it down with IHC to talk white reggae guys, robotic karmic spanking machines, shooting their own music videos, and saving kittens from forest fires. Get in on this.
I read that you guys like to tease interviewers. First of all, please tease me, and secondly, what’s the weirdest interview experience you guys have had?
Definitely the weirdest interview was this guy in EDMonton. We were out one night and he approached us about an interview. We said ok fine, but when he showed up to the recording studio he was definitely super nervous and weird. He started doing some weird character voices by the end and we had to cut him off. We actually started interviewing him. And then it got weird.
Despite that fact that you guys have been around for years, your new album Noontide is your debut full length. What made you want to change course to a longer format?
I think moving forward we’re going to just be putting out lots of singles, so noontide was an opportunity to put our dagger in the dirt so to speak. We wanted to say that we’ve put out a full length.
Some of the tracks on Noontide were B-Sides you never laid on the public, and I think I read that some of them are up to five years old. What was it like revisiting your old material and updating it for the modern age? How did you decide which tracks to release and which should stay put as ProTools files?
It was so very refreshing to breathe life into those old tracks. We’re way better producers now and we had the help of our amazing producer and engineer Nik Kozub. With his help and his beautiful array of old school analogue gear, the tracks basically rewrote themselves. Listen to the two versions of Dub Paris. The old one is on YouTube here:— actually shit it’s not there anymore. We’ll send it to you. The difference is major.
Dub Paris has been stuck in my head and I’ve been kind of craving listening to it for the past few weeks. What’s this song about? Tell me everything.
Speak of the devil! To be honest the song used to be about white guys who sing with reggae accents, but some revisiting it, I changed the tone of the lyrics. It’s about patterns and potions that create problems in my life.
Peter, you mentioned you’d been drawing a guy that looked like Rob for two or three years before you two met. How psychic are you guys? What’s the dynamic between you two like?
We’re surprisingly bad at communicating with each other. Haha but we are chill and get along great. We balance well and we’re not emo. We know what one another will do as soon as we wake up. We usually swell within the overlap of our interests.
Your shows are renowned for being crazy party fun times. Do you guys have the same sort of vibe when you’re recording, or do you you withdraw from society a little?
Robbie: I’m usually really social, but I’m recognizing that living your life like that turns you into a night lurker, so when I do withdraw that’s usually when I get lots of writing done. Two sides of a coin.
Peter: I basically put time aside and try and get everything done in that window. If I have 6 hours to write, produce and mix a song, I basically do it and forget about everything else like eating and drinking water.
I ask a lot of artists what they picture people doing when they’re listening to their music, but for you guys, the obvious answer seems to be dancing (correct me if I’m wrong, please). That’s why I’m wondering what you picture people doing in the interstitial spaces between drops and dancier segments?
We try to make those really seemless, but they are there as breathing room. We like songs to flow from one to the next, but you can’t just boosh boosh the whole time. Those slow parts are for drawing your partner close. We try to keep them sexy.
You guys have built a name for yourselves combining humanity with the robotic, which is why I’m wondering, what’s another process aside from music you’d like to automate?
Oh man. I would love an effective robotic maid. Just to water my plants and deep clean my bathroom and kitchen. I don’t mind tidying up, but I have a hard time finding room in my schedule to do the floors, etc.
Other things to automate- there should be bitch slap robots that spank you for being an asshole. Like if you were to say splash a bunch of people waiting at the bus stop with rain water one morning, the bitch slap robot would hunt you down tirelessly and give you an epic spanking. No where to run. No where to hide. There is a giant paddle-wielding robot that knows your crime. And it’s coming for you.
How do your collective backgrounds in animation, filmmaking and art inform your sound?
Slade, prior to your music career, you cut down burning trees in order to save small children and kittens from forest fires. What the what?
Best job I ever had. I felt like a rockstar. But I didn’t save small children or kittens. I was a faller on a unit crew with bc forest service. So it was my job and 3 other dudes, to advance as a team ahead of the test of the crew and make sure all the trees were still structurally sound. When the fire blows trough an area, lots of trees will survive, but sometimes the fire penetrates the bark and gets into the heartwood or the roots and burns. The tree could fall at anytime then. So we would go through and assess all the trees before the rest of the boys come in and hose. If a tree was sketchy we would cut it down like loggers. I once saw a guy take a poo and chainsaw a tree down at the same time. I ironically peed my pants laughing.
You guys conceive, shoot, produce and edit all your own videos. Would you ever consider lending creative control of your visuals to someone else, and if so, who would that person have to be?
Peter does all that. I am like a helper. But I do know that if we were ever to give up that control it would have to be with someone way better than us. Like Harmony Korine.
Favorite music video of yours?
Robbie’s favourite is the first one! The muppet Superbad spoof we did for bike home. Mine is our “Wicked Game” cover called “Wicked Games”. It was a really easy shoot except for my stomach getting turned over a couple times.
RAPID FIRE ROUND:
1. Best dance moves. What are they?
Anything goes, but the inchworm at the end of this video has my vote.
2. Any diva requests on your tour rider?
3. Best pickup line?
Sell her a bike on Craigslist
4. Best horror movie and why?
Robbie: Drag Me To Hell! It’s just so amazing. And scary but funny.
Peter: Re-animator – If you haven’t seen it, I envy you because I would love to watch it again for the first time
You guys have a crazy installation called Alveoli (which are the functional sacs in your lungs that uptake oxygen into the bloodstream, LOL). What kind of atmosphere can we look forward to at your show?
The guys behind alveoli are Tangible creative design. They designed the light shows for Ryan Hemsworth, Purity Ring and Trust. We’re not totally sure what to expect. We’ve had a bunch of exploratory discussions and seen some mock ups, but we’re extremely excited to deliver a weird and immersive environment. It’s going to take a lot of rehearsing to nail it.
What’s else can we look forward to from you guys?
We are releasing a video in the near future, it is a sequel to our first video “Bike Home” with the puppet cops. We also shot a couple 1min shorts with the puppet cops driving around being fools. We’re also going to put out a live album in the fall, our live set is different from the album and we want to be able to share that with people who might not get the chance to see us LIVE.
You heard em: start building your paddle-bots, and get to Los Globos on March 26th to see Humans open for Redinho and Spazzkid!