Interview: Humans As Animals (Melbourne)

Lillian chats with the local and amazingly talented lads/musicians of Humans as Animals. The band have been performing together around Melbourne for six years and are about to release a 4-part epic-funk opera that incorporates a character called Bilack. Their debut EP Eukaria’s release is just around the corner, August 1st, and we chatted to them about the release of the EP, its first single, “Her Name” and the EP’s upcoming release at the Evelyn Hotel on August 14th.

You recorded the clip at local venue the Toff in Town and in a Richmond alleyway, both significant parts of our city. What’s the story behind the clip?

The clip, at its fundamental level is broken up into two contrasting sections fused together by a bridging section. The first section is an imaginative parody of our perceptions of dating. The second section is a gritty, grungy alley performance by the band. And finally the bridging section is Nick’s descent from the first section to the second. The final result is a comparison between the romantic, imaginative dating world and the gritty life of playing the circuit in Melbourne, often only to a handful of people in a dark, beer soaked room.

Where did inspiration for the clip come from?

The initial idea was provoked by a film clip by Aphex Twin for the song “Come To Daddy”. I liked how odd all the characters looked with the special effects on their faces and we liked the idea of doing a clip that focused on the more brooding themes in the lyrics. So we started there and allowed the idea develop its own identity.

Is there a specific girl (or girls) the clip is aimed at?

You could say that, yes. However the focus for us is Nick’s attempt to pretend to know what courting is all about.

Why the decision to use men dressed up as woman, rather than use real women?

This sprouted from the Aphex Twin music video. At first we wanted it to be very hard to tell that they were girls, just to fold in a bit of oddness. But it took on a slightly different role, which I think is different but still good.

How did you decide who would be dressed as the women? Surely Rob would be the first choice, as it’d save you money on a wig?

Rob was always gonna be girl number one, he is the dainty one of the group and suited the role to a T. After that we just looked at each member and put the triangle in the triangle hole, the square in the square hole and the circle in the circle hole. Also, a big thanks to Mr. Mark Mason for a fantastic girl and great drums!

Individually each one of you is an extremely talented musician, and together, you guys are amazing to watch live. What role does each band member undertake in creating the music, the live shows and everything else?

Rob and Fab’s interests are very much geared in learning everything there is to learn about their instruments. They both have a good ear for sound-scape and spend a lot of time researching gear and equipment and the best way to use it.

Nick, however, is a loud mouth show pony so we put him up the front to distract, guide and lead the audience where we want them to go. Nick has a big interest in how the audience perceives the music when we play live. Chris holds the funky fort behind the drums whist continually batting off the rest of the bands fevered egos. Hugh… is… uhhh… in charge of everything else…

Tell us a bit about your live shows revolving around Eukaria show?

The release for Eukeria is gonna be our first big effort in hosting a night as Humans As Animals. We have high expectations of ourselves and the night so we’ll be putting a lot of effort into the event. We’ve always considered our live set to be an entire chunk of entertainment rather than a selection of separate songs. We want to expand that same idea in a larger format. The night is one long performance not just by us, but by everyone.

What can we expect to see from the following releases?

As our curiosity expands and our taste develops, so does the music we want to make. It’s always going to keep our flavour, but we think discovering new styles is something to explore – not limit. We hope to be working with guest artists and incorporating new instruments, how much of this ends up on the EPs is unclear. Our label is progressive and open to suggestion about how best to reach our audience so we’ll have to see when the time comes.

Tell us about the concept behind Bilack?

It started a couple of years back now. We really wanted something themed that we can work on aside from the singles and band tracks. It’s a monster that represents the manifestations of all things you find negative. It’s simple and open to interpretation so people can make their own decisions on how it makes them feel. Each band member writes around 20 minutes of music on the theme, brings it to the band, we workshop it, make sure all the bolts are tight (keeping the integrity of the concept of course), and we record it. At the moment the idea is that this is all recorded in house kind of “Garagiste” style. It’s enormous fun to do work like this and once this one is done we will get stuck into something else

You have a show coming up at the Evelyn Hotel to on August 14th to support the release of the EP, what can punters who attend the gig expect to see at the show?

Bombastic performances, Purple Tusks and Mercians are great bands so we have good music starting from the beginning of the night. an M.C, Michael Wahr, who is an actor working the circuit in Australia and has appeared in War Horse, Hamlet and Wuthering Heights. And of course… Humans As Animals!

Your Triple J bio says that you will be performing in festivals in Asia in 2014. What bills have you been added to?

This was going to be a trip to silver lakes in Thailand, but due to the political unrest of the country it was pulled. We hope to get up there in the nearest possible future.

Can we expect to see you expand that to other international countries in the near future?

That goes without saying. To travel doing the thing you love is one of the classic dreams of any artist/philanthropist/politician/businessman. We will be doing our utmost to get our music as far around the globe as possible.

What else is in store for the band? A full-length album release via the local label your on, True Music?

Coming up over the next couple of months is a lot of live playing. We need to get ourselves to a point were we’re playing a mind blowing show every opportunity we get. After that we will be thinking of recording. As far as a full length album is concerned, it is something we’ve discussed, however we’re not convinced this is the best medium to work on in the contemporary industry. If we were to undertake a full-length album, it would have a very particular role and purpose.

One last question, if each of you were and animal what would you be and why?

Hugh: Giraffe – he has the relaxed demeanor of a stoned man just like our friend the Giraffe. They don’t even talk they’re so relaxed. And when they fight, they hug with their necks.

Rob: Orangutan – I assume Orangutans like couches. Rob loves couches…

Fabian: the American beaver – family oriented and a man of practice. His ability to fix and build anything lends himself perfectly to this scrupulous creature. That and Fabians little known capacity to see extremely well underwater and can stay submerged in cold water for up to 15mins…

Chris: Would be a lemur. He’s very alert and fastidious.

Nick – Hyacinth Macaw – both share garish outer plumage and can be heard nattering away at all hours of the night. Nick learnt to mimic the human speech at a young age, much like his counterpart the Macaw. Both the Macaw and Nick fetch a decent price on the people/macaw black market, and Nick was once sold to an elderly lady from Zurich for a whopping $95.00 Zimbabwean. Just shy of the US$10,000 his friend the Macaw can fetch. But due to some impressive impersonations and a plea to the Gendarmerie by Nicks “mother”, he was returned safely from whence he came.


Humans as Animals‘ new track “Her Name” is out now. Watch it here!


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