For two guys whose background lie in filmmaking and forest fire fighting, their music is top notch.
Another album, another tour, Vancouver based duo Humans are back in full force. Since garnering international attention from several releases, Peter Ricq and Robbie Slade return with their latest LP Noontide, before hitting the road for another round of North American shows. Known for their infectious electro-infused indie pop, Humans have long been turning dance floors into a frenzy.
It's no surprise that Ricq and Slade have been steadily climbing Canada's electronic music scene with their music. For a couple of guys whose backgrounds lie in filmmaking and forest fire fighting, what the two generate in the studio is impressive, to say the least. Beginning with their first self-titled album in 2009, Humans, Ricq and Slade have toyed with a number of styles which span across the electronic pop music spectrum. Each of their releases offer a variety within the parameters of their signature sound. From ardent techno riffs to playful calypso grooves, it's hard not to be swept up in their catchy melodies and energetic beats.
The making of their latest album, Noontide, brought the pair even farther along in the studio. Compared to their previous releases, the two feel they breached new ground with Noontide, bringing their sound to a whole new level. "It was totally different," says Slade. "We got Nik Kozub from Shout Out Out Out Out to produce the album. We just showed up in Edmonton with what we thought were finished tracks and then he produced them. We ran them through all of his really nice gear and the three of us just rolled our sleeves up and went to town over the course of a month. It brought the level of production way up."
With the use of Kozub's gear and production expertise, Ricq and Slade found themselves in music making heaven. "It was gear that we had been saying we wished we had access too," says Ricq. "Robbie always talks about the Roland 101 and so we used it a lot on this album."
The duo has also dabbled in music video production. Since one half of the band has a background in filmmaking, it was inevitable that a few videos would spring up to accompany their tracks. Much like their music, their videos possess a hypnotic quality with gripping storylines and freakish plot twists, but with an overall sense of humour. Think Kill Bill meets Human Traffic with sporadic guest appearances from the Muppets. Demonic alien girlfriends, men made of fire, and fuzzy animal creatures dressed as cops snorting cocaine?Humans' music videos are absurd and comical, but not for the faint of heart.
Their latest music video was made for the track "Follow" which THUMP premiered last month. Like the song, the short film immediately starts on a heavy and mysterious tone. It builds upon itself while leading you down an irresistible dark path. Fortunately for us, Humans are already in the process of producing more music videos. Ricq mentions that he is currently working on one for another track fromNoontide, "Tell Me."
"It's the sequel to our first video ever, the one with Muppets. It's set five years later than the first. They aren't cops anymore and now they have beards. They're just like us, making music." The earlier music video that he is referring to is for their track "Bike Home." It follows two Muppet cops as they crash a party, make out with chicks, do drugs, and murder a poor, unsuspecting fellow.
Recently, the duo held a Noontide listening party and art show in their home city of Vancouver. The event showcased a series of Ricq's most recent artwork associated with the latest release. Each of the pieces that lined the walls of the gallery maintained the Humans esthetic; dark and morbid with a touch of sarcasm. At the gallery bar, locally brewed beer from the East Van Brewing Company was made special with a Noontide themed label.
It wouldn't take you long to spot the duo at the Noontide listening party. They were the ones clearly having the most fun?goofing around while playing old funk and r'n'b records for their guests. A boisterous and friendly pair, they welcomed me with hugs and drinks right off the bat. "I stopped caring what people thought at an early age," says Ricq. "I think it just makes you free to do what feels right."
Now the boys are heading back on the road to play for fans across the US and Canada. "I'm really looking forward to going back to Portland," says Slade. "And we always look forward to going to New York. We usually play little venues there, which is fun. Montreal is one of our favourites as well."
Not only are Ricq and Slade excited to revisit some of their favorite North American tour destinations, they also get to reveal their latest live performance. "Our new live set is totally next level," says Slade. "We have visuals by Tangible so it's going to be a very different experience. We will have a big cloud that expands and lights up as we're playing."
With a successful track record thus far, no doubt it will be something to remember. Continuously moving forward with fun as a guiding principal, Humans are keen to show people what they have in store.
'Noontide' is available for purchase on February 24 on Hybridity.