photography Josh Silver
words Zarah Cheng
The first time I heard “Avec Mes Mecs”, I wanted to know where HUMANS was from. After all, Peter Ricq and Robbie Slade really know how to put together a catchy song. So I googled: where are humans from? It got kind of weird. Fast forward a few years and now we’re catching up with Peter of the Vancouver-based (I figured this out eventually) electronic duo during Canadian Music Week to chat about the band’s new record, ‘Noontide.’ From puppets tripping on squid juice in the “Tell Me” music video to eating brains at Urban Outfitters, HUMANS has a darkly humourous take on how to throw the best damn dance party you'll ever go to.
CREEP: How has touring for Noontide been so far? What’s the craziest thing to have happened on tour?
Peter: The first day of the tour was a show in New York and was my birthday – Robbie's birthday was two days prior and we treated ourselves to a nice dinner at a classy restaurant inside an Urban Outfitter store across the street from the venue we were playing. We ordered brains; I don't recommend brains to anyone unless you enjoy the taste of liver. After our show we went across the street to a gay club and I somehow won a contest of some sort and got some free drinks. We danced until the doors closed. Eli (our manager) was so drunk that he forgot his phone inside and instead of going back in to get it, he followed my terrible advice of: "Just get it tomorrow". The following day, Eli was the most hungover I've ever seen him.
The music video for “Tell Me” is so trippy. How did you guys come up with the concept for the video? How do you feel it ties in to the song visually?
We wanted to do a sequel to our first video, “Bike Home.” We were curious to see where those puppets would be 5 years later, and the idea of them turning in their badges to become electronic music producers was appealing to us.
Lyrically, the song has nothing to do with the video. Musically I find it works, the second mostly more so if anything.
We’ve already seen the “Tell Me” puppets being naughty, making out with some people in the “Wicked Games” video. Are these puppets alter egos of sorts?
They are somewhat, but not quite. I mean, I've never wanted to be a police officer and I've never murdered someone either (“Bike Home”).
You both have side projects that you perform with outside of HUMANS [Peter with Gang Signs and ladyfrnd, and Robbie with Sabota]. How did those projects influence you when you came together as Humans again to write for Noontide?
My approach when writing for ladyfrnd and Gang Signs is very different to how I write for HUMANS, so I'm not sure if that has had any influence on Noontide. I do feel Sabota has had an influence for sure – Robbie Sabota’s partner is Max Ulis and Max is a real pro, he's far better a producer than we are. When Robbie learns a new trick or better way of doing things through Mr. Ulis, he obviously will start integrating in his work and I learn about it then.
HUMANS’ music has always carried some dark undertones in its songs, but it’s definitely more noticeable in the new record. What’s the story behind exploring this darker sound?
I've heard that a couple times but I felt like HUMANS always had a dark undertone from the beginning. I guess it's just something we like to do. It's not intentional, it's who we are. Perhaps at this rate, the next one will be even darker.
Can you tell us more about the album art?
We talked about it forever and started doing many sketches and approach for about a year and a half. We, Robbie and I, never saw eye to eye on anything until about one month before the deadline. We went to an art show and we saw a drawing that we both liked with squiggly lines. I went home and started doing a bunch of sketches that got approved by Rob and then painted them, scanned them and that's it.
If there were a movie that only used HUMANS’ music for the soundtrack, what would the movie be about?
Hopefully a movie with androids in the utopian future. It would have suspenseful action scenes, awkward disturbing moments, dark basement club parties, erotic robot sex scenes and a troubling/confusing ending.
If the puppets on Sesame Street drank the squid juice from “Tell Me,” who would get the most wild?
What creeps you out the most?
When you think you're alone in the room and then someone says in a very friendly fashion, "Hello".
Posted on May 15, 2015.
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