Vancouver’s own, Humans, have been on a bit of a tear recently. After releasing a two-song EP in March, the electronic duo embarked on a memorable North American tour. Since then, the group have developed an app, worked on more music, and collaborated with apparel brand, Roots. Needless to say, the band is busy. We managed to catch up with the group to ask them about the aforementioned tour, muppets, and their distinct sound.
You guys are fresh off of some notable tour dates, and just recently dropped the Water Water EP. It must have been a whirlwind the last while. How were these last few months for you two?
It's been fun! The response from Water Water has been pretty great and we're still riding on the success of our Noontide LP. We wanted to have more time to record in the studio. We are finding ways to squeeze it in here and there whenever we can.
Any particular stories from the tour? Any moments that really stick out to you?
One of my lovers is a shaman, so, you know...I don't do cocaine.
We spent a lot of time in California this spring and summer. To be honest, before this tour we hadn't really had one of those amazing nights on the west coast. This tour was different though! A standout memory for me [Robbie] was meeting a little man backstage at Coachella. I was a little nervous, and he was asking me a ton of questions about DJing, what makes a set special if you're playing other people's music, and what my influences were. I thought he was a journalist or something, and I also thought that he more or less was going to hate what we were about to throw down. I also realized that he is probably one of the smartest people I've ever talked to. Just talking to him and explaining what makes a set special, and the artistry and connection you make with people by surprising them from behind the decks put me in a good headspace for the show.
Anyway, he came up after the set and said that he liked it a lot. He invited us to stay at his home in San Francisco, when we came through on the tour. He brought a shit load of people to the show as well. Once we got to his place after the performance, he showed us into this massive, 17 bedroom gothic mansion in San Fran, and showed us a dance floor ballroom where we were going to be sleeping. It was equipped with a sound system and an improvised DJ setup.
We DJ'ed for a crowd of about 40 people from 12-5am and then got on the plane home. While I was playing, I overheard someone say "One of my lovers is a shaman, so, you know...I don't do cocaine". That kind of blew my mind and really sums up how awesome this crew of people is. The 17 bedroom mansion is a commune of really thoughtful and creative people called, Agape. We put together a mix of some of the songs we played that night here.
Tell us a little about "Water Water". Where did the project come from? How does it differ from your previous work?
It was actually an old track that was supposed to come out on the TRAPS EP, but we felt it didn't quite sound right. We just waited all this time and thought, we need to redo it because it's a great song. It actually sounds nothing like the original now.
You guys recently released this cool, innovative app. Can you tell us about it?
We wanted to do a drum machine app where you can remix a track and even go as far as being able to plug your phone into a club's soundboard and play your concoction on the speakers. It actually sounds great and we designed the interface, cut the samples from a track of ours "At The Beach". It's a free app and you can make a completely new track with it in minutes actually.
One of my favourite aspects of your work, are your amazing music videos. I especially love the muppet inclusion in "Tell Me". They're in the remix app as well! How and why did you start implementing those characters?
[laughs] So our first music video ever starred the characters, the muppets, Rick and Slade. We were curious to see where those two guys were up to 5 years later and came up with that video. We rented a cop car for a day and decided to shoot two more shorts, it was super fun riding in a cop car, especially with puppets in the front seat. Every car around you rides super slow and as far away from you as possible.
You guys are some of the OGs in atmospheric, bassy electro pop. That sound has really taken off within the last few years. For instance, the group S U R V I V E (from the Stranger Things score) are showing us that mainstream audiences connect with the sound, maybe more than they ever have before. Why do you think this is? Or do you disagree?
I think it's always been there, people love John Carpenter's music and Cliff Martinez. A lot of younger audiences are perhaps noticing it now, being exposed to it from great shows like Stranger Things but good music is good music. It doesn't matter how it's made or what style it is. You'll probably start seeing a bunch of unmemorable atmospheric, bassy electro pop from now on.
Speaking on your sound, how would you describe it to the unacquainted? What are some of your influences?
I [Peter] loved early Sebastian Tellier, LA Priest, Mano Le Tough, Solomun and these local Vancouver guys called Ma'am.
You just collaborated with Roots, for their Sweatstyle series. Can you tell us how that came about? What is it about the brand that drew you to team up together? Also, I saw that every artist in the series gets their own, one-of-a-kind jacket! How awesome are those?
[laughs] Yes! We wouldn't collaborate with just anyone. A close friend of mine has been managing a Roots store for over 6 years now and I asked her "Is Roots a good company?". She responded with only positive things like how it's all manufactured in Canada. It's the biggest privately owned company and they do everything with the environment in mind and the animals. Look it up for yourself!
What can we expect next from you guys? Any more live dates? Is there more music in the works?
New album should be out next year and you'll be happy to hear that we will be scoring and are music supervisors on a horror film. It has similarities to Stranger Things, and will be completed early 2017.