Prior to the release of their debut album ‘Origins’ on vinyl (originally released in 2013 on CD), Rob fired some questions at Joe of The Human Project.
Its been 7 years since Origins, what made you want to press onto vinyl?
Apparently seven years is a ‘wool’ anniversary. Anyway, after we released Clarion Call in 2018 on red vinyl, we decided it was worth releasing vinyl versions of the other releases – plus ever since it came out, we’ve had a lot of requests for Origins on vinyl! So hopefully it’ll go down well. It does look awesome.
Origins was your debut album how do you feel this defined your sound?
The band was formed out of the ashes of Jonny and Dan’s old band ‘Nanas Revenge’, and the member change was gradual. So ‘Trials’, the EP that came before, was very much about us shedding the old sound and really finding the new one – some stuff worked and some didn’t, and some of the songs are technically Nana’s Revenge songs – so as we worked on Origins we tightened stuff up a whole lot, everyone’s influences fed in a lot more, and a slightly more agro, straight-forward sound started to emerge. It’s not like they’re light years apart, but the difference from release to release is noticeable and you can hear us settling into the lineup and the way we want to write. Songs like ‘At What Point’ and ‘The Beautiful Shame’ really hammered home that a songs-first approach was what worked for us. Get some hooks, get some structure, and then if technicality fits into that, cool. If not, cooler.
Do you find song subjects are still relevant now?
Absolutely, maybe moreso. We don’t often write in really direct, literal terms – quite a lot of our songs aren’t easy to pin down what they’re about. But I think lately there’s been a lot of stuff going on that wasn’t when the songs were written, and yet can be still related to the themes. We’ve started to explore less political themes lately, songs about loss and mental health etc, and those are themes that never go away.
What has changed since then?
Well, Brexit happened, Trump happened, the rise in far-right bullshit happened. The world is a scarier and more divided place than it was before. A lot of people reviewing Clarion Call said that we sounded really angry, which is interesting! We didn’t realise, but in hindsight you can see why. There’s a general ill feeling in the world lately. Hopefully that can change in the near future, but in the meantime at least we can get aggy about it.
Tell us about the artwork, there seems to be an ongoing theme?
It’s actually something we’ve not spoken about much. We wanted to play the long game and see if anyone noticed! The ‘Trials’ EP was so-called for a couple of reasons – partly that it was a sort of trial run, the first recording before moving onto an album, and also because there’d been a number of trials for the band to overcome up to that point. But also, we wanted to lean into the whole ‘Human Project’ vibe and have the artwork show to a crazy scientist trying to build a human hybrid beast of some kind. It’s pretty high concept, but there’s lots to unpack within the three covers we currently have – Trials shows the early days for the experiment, although something seems to have gone wrong. Origins shows a mysterious figure watching security monitors as some kind of massacre seems to be going down, with the back cover showing a broken chain link fence. Clarion Call shows a ransacked apartment, a huge hole in the wall, a familiar-ish photograph carefully placed, and a mysterious figure rushing in while a horrible monster watches from the shadows. Is it the same figure as the origins cover? Who is the monster? Why did it come to this apartment?
Me and Luke have spent many long drives discussing the plot, it’s sort of taken on a life of its own. We kinda know where it’s going, but it feels like we’re on the cusp of getting into mad Coheed and Cambria territory and doing a comic book. Maybe we should?
Are you excited with working with Eva (Gröli Music) and making shows happen?
Absolutely! She working hard and getting stuff together. It’s really great working with someone who seems to really dig your band, and seems really bothered about doing a good job of it! Lots to come from this and we’re really excited about it.
What is the most impressive injuries you’ve seen at one of your shows?
There’s been some crazy near-misses. One guy in Norwich was crowd surfing on the ceiling (as you do) and got dropped head first on the floor. He just got up and carried on!
One show in Mol in particular was memorable as a friend (I shan’t name names) took a tumble on the slippy floor and cut her leg pretty badly – there was blood everywhere in front of me. I distinctly remember stopping play to find out if everything was ok and her telling at us to carry on, haha. Trooper.
Who are your favourite bands at the moment?
I won’t comment for anyone else but anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with Dinosaur Pile Up right now. I got into them a while before the last album came out, and then once that dropped it was just all-out. Fucking great band, and so damn LOUD. Riffs and melodies and nothing to prove, and a seriously solid back catalogue.
Other end of the spectrum is Phoebe Bridgers – downbeat but life-affirming acousticcy beautifulness. I don’t really listen to punk all that much to be honest, ha! But if I were to pick some stuff out, new PMX is unsurprisingly great, and the last Frenzal Rhomb album has really grown on me. Just don’t think they’ll ever top Smoko.
Do you have a favourite record store?
Crash in Leeds has always been a staple. They have a lot of good punk and metal stuff, as well as a bunch of film soundtracks I’ve been coveting (who wouldn’t want the Jurassic Park soundtrack on vinyl, man?), And Jumbo records is good for the more eclectic stuff. I am wary of record shops as I invariably spend about 40 quid every time I walk past one.
What is your favourite colour?
Is this like that bit in Holy Grail where they have to answer the questions to cross the bridge? Will the record not get released if I get it wrong?
Anyway, never mind, it’s blue. No, yellow.
Dogs or Cats?
Dogs obviously. Cats are fine, but they’re also stupid and annoying. Our cat runs away from everything, but he’ll run towards the thing he’s trying to get away from. Idiot.
Will this be on cassette or music disk in the future?
The betamax release is pencilled for October 1978.