Humanshapes Interview: “I like a security blanket of noise.”

humanshapes interview

New album Fabulous Actors out now via Bandcamp

Have you ever been inside of a burning building while it collapses around you? Me either, but I would expect it to sound something like Fabulous Actors in the best way possible. Giant soundscapes swirl around as a mishmash of jarring noises meld together to make some of the most interesting mix of noise rock, post-punk, and no wave I’ve heard yet. With four EPs and the newly released LP all available for “name your price” download, you have no reason to stop what you’re doing right now and grab everything Humanshapes have available.

Lauren and Joe took the time to talk to us about the Humanshapes zine, Joe’s love of spitting, and the security blanket of noise.

Overblown: Each of your albums has a very distinct “live” feel to it. Is this a conscious effort when recording?

Joe: We like to track things quickly. All of our recordings except for Extremity Parties have been live with the vocals done afterward. Fabulous Actors was done entirely live though.

Lauren: We do track most of the stuff live! I feel way more comfortable playing along with everyone, personally. When I track stuff by myself I think I get a little too in my own head and it affects my playing, cause I’m worried about making mistakes. I like a security blanket of everyone else’s noise wrapped around me, haha.

O: All of your discography’s album art follows a similar theme. Can you give us a bit of backstory to them?

L: They are all Joe’s paintings! Every one so far, it’s kinda been a theme. I think it’s cool to use all of our own art for stuff like that.

O: Which song off the new album is the most fun to play live?

L: ‘Entertained’ is fun because we close with it usually, and by that point in the set my guitar is totally detuned and I can just throw it down and scrape a beer bottle against it, make all kinds of noise.

O: Throughout the album, you alternate between Joe and Lauren on lead vocals. Is there a way you decide who gets what song?

L: Me and Joe will sing together a lot, but on this record we took turns alternating playing guitar and singing. Typically whichever one of us wrote lyrics or had a demo kinda determines who sings what.

O: In the song ‘LVL20’ you say, “You’re level 20? You can’t beat me. I have the best armor money can buy.” Was there a game in particular that inspired that line? Any favorite games?

L: Sean is a hardcore gamer and, appropriately, ‘LVL20’ is his favorite song. Then Mitch got really into Pokemon Go for a bit and was bragging about being level 20…me and Joe play a lot of SNES and Sega Genesis games lately, too.

Now that I think about it, I think that lyric sounds like criticism of the pay-to-play direction a lot of games have gone in hahah.

J: Not that I can remember because it comes from an inside joke from a really long time ago. I like eating people as Kirby in Super Smash Brothers and jumping off the edge.

O: What has been your most memorable performance so far?

J: The show that Sean spit back.

L: Joe loves spitting on all of us. Recently, we played a show where right after the first song, my amp blew up, my cord died, and a switch on my guitar fell inside of it all within the same minute! So that’s pretty memorable for me. We had a friend playing improvised saxophone with us and we played 2 more songs with just bass, drums, saxophone and Joe singing while I frantically tried to make my guitar work again. Surprisingly people enjoyed that one, probably because it was short and weird as fuck. Apart from that, we played a show under a bridge at 2 am in August, and that was amazing and probably one of our best ever, to me.

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O: What are some bands that have helped influence your sound?

L: My absolute favorite guitarist in the world is Rowland S. Howard, his style of playing had tremendous impact on me personally. That shrieking ghost guitar, I just love it so much! So definitely The Birthday Party stuff especially, for me. And I’m a huge No Wave fan too, there’s two compilations, the No New York record which I think anyone who loves that genre owns, and there’s this one called I’d Rather Be In Philadelphia that I adore too. Those bands and that whole approach to music mean a lot to me. Everyone in the band has sort of different taste from each other.

J: I’m currently listening to No Trends Too Many Humans as I do this. Some at least for me would be Rakta, Metal Urbain, Börn, Soupcans, Screamers, and Krzysztof Penderecki.

O: You mentioned that the band picture you sent us came from the back of one of your zines, care to tell us more about about them?

L: They’re really fun to make, we usually give them out for free at shows! I wanna start working on the next one soon.

J: Humanshapes the zine! Behold the writing, art, xrays, and balloon animals of your favorite shapes! Don’t Gotta’ Collect Em All!

O: Within the past 6 months you’ve released an EP and your first full length LP Are you done writing for a while, or should we expect even more material to come out relatively soon?

L: I’ve already started working on new stuff! I get bored really quickly.

J: Expect more soon.

If you like this Humanshapes interview, you might enjoy our interview with sludge/noise band White Spot

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