Humans are Peter Ricq and Robbie Slade (Image by Justin Tyler), who are two guys who make music to dance to. You could meet your next significant other at one of their shows, or you can just re-discover one of the first things humans learned how to do – party. Robbie and Peter come from different musical backgrounds, one formally being more folk-inclined, and the other more electro-pop inclined. Before their last show at Glasslands in Brooklyn, they sat down with me for a quick Q&A. After introducing themselves with the wrong names, they told me about their gentlemanly inclinations, how their new album will be different, and gave slightly conflicting party advice.
Kelly Knapp: Is this the start of a tour?
Peter Ricq: Every weekend we go somewhere, so, this weekend we’re going somewhere, then during the week we have to work, then next weekend we’re going somewhere.
KK: How have the shows been?
RS: This is going to be our best one. Definitely.
KK: This is going to be one of the strangest sounding questions I’ve ever asked, but who are Humans?
PR: Humans are two guys that make music, and they want people to dance and have fun. There are some people that hook up at our shows, and they meet their girlfriend or boyfriend of the future. We’d like to keep that going. Humans is a band that brings love.
KK: Word on the street is that you’re one of the most popular party bands in Vancouver right now. Is that true?
PR: We do well in Vancouver. A lot of friends actually like our music, so they’re always down to come out. I think we just put on really fun shows, and like I said, people get to meet other people. It’s just always a good vibe, and I think that’s caught on. And we always try to be gentlemens and make everyone feel comfortable. It’s fun, though. We play really big shows in Vancouver, and it’s really nice.
RS: We used to get naked all the time. But we’ve calmed down on that.
KK: Oh, is that how you’ve found a lot of the inspiration for your songs?
RS: Some of them.
KK: Do you believe that partying is an essential part of the human life force?
PR: Yeah, I think so. It’s one of the first things people do; just celebrate, have fun. That’s also why you work.
RS: People loose touch, too. People work too much and they don’t party enough, people party too much and they don’t work enough.
PR: If you look at any civilization, whether they’re in nature or in a big developed country or whatever, everybody has time to make a fire, or go into lights and dance, play music.
RS: Yeah, partying is probably one of the first things we figured out how to do. Like, ‘we’re hungry, let’s get some meat. Got some meat? Let’s party!’
KK: You guys came from two totally different musical backgrounds. What’s your collaborative process like? Do you try to meld those two worlds?
PR: It used to be that Robbie would come to me with an unfinished song, and then I would sample him and just rape the shit out of it. Then when we actually started the band, we just came to each other with ideas, and sometimes we worked together from the start, and sometimes somebody has an idea…it’s different every time.
KK: Is it all pretty smooth, or are your ideas very different from each other at times? Is Robbie ever like ‘I want to play folk’ and you’re like ‘no!’
PR: No, actually he doesn’t want to play folk. He’s less and less into it.
RS: Folk is for pussies. Just kidding. We used to fight. Sometimes we still fight, like ‘I wanna do it like this,’ ‘No, I wanna do it like this.’ And I still love folk music. We had a big Thanksgiving dinner a couple weeks ago – in Canada it’s a couple weeks earlier – so we had one of those awesome parties where everyone is jamming, everyone is involved. That’s what I like about folk. It’s so easy to participate.
PR: Robbie’s a really good folk musician.
KK: You guys have said that you never want to make the same music twice, and your sound is always changing.
PR: Yeah we always just write songs with what we’re listening to, and it’s usually never similar to another song. Even if I start with a song that I want to sound like another song, it would not end up like that. We don’t want to write the same album, we don’t want to write the same thing. It just keeps things interesting. And I think we’re both always listening to new music, new bands. We’ll listen to a band for a month, and then we won’t listen to it as much for the rest of our lives. That affects your songwriting too.
KK: And you just released a 7” last month.
PR: Uhh No. Oh yeah, The End thing?
KK: Yes. Wasn’t that also a film?
KK: How did that come about?
RS: It was a couple songs that we had been sitting on for forever, so it wasn’t epic when we released it.
KK: Are you planning a full album soon?
RS: Yep, in the works.
KK: So since your sound is always changing, how different will that be from what you’ve already done?
RS: The new album is going to be very different. It’s not as poppy. I think it’s really usable. I think people will want to put it on and just dance and stuff. And it’s one big blob of music too; there’s no tracks. I think there might be one break in it.
PR: Yeah we should probably put a break in it, because we want to put it on vinyl too; so side B, side A. And there’s going to be a lot of different tracks too. Some with singing, some with no singing. Some are really loud, some are really soft. And we’re finishing it now…we still have to record a couple more things, and then everything should be done late November so we can release it in February.
KK: Is that going to be followed by a tour?
PR: Yeah, for sure. Hopefully we could quit our jobs and just do that full time. I don’t think I could do it full full time, but I could probably work a lot.
KK: Are you still interested in pursuing film?
PR: Yeah, and I just got upgraded to a producer on the last show I sold, so that’s going to be a lot of commitment for the next two years.
KK: So is Robbie going to be doing more acting?
RS: What? No, I don’t think so.
PR: The next couple ideas we have, we’re not in the videos at all. I’m going to be working on a feature film, and we’re going to be making the music, but no Robbie acting for a while, I guess. Unless he comes up with an idea and is like, ‘I wanna do it.’
KK: Are there any other projects you have aside from Humans that you want to get involved in?
PR: Just making movies, and making sure the shows I’m involved in do well. It just sucks when you have your name on something that you’re not proud of, so you have to be involved in those things. Robbie, what about you?
PR: He’s involved with Bass Coast, this electronic festival.
RS: Oh, yeah. That’s fun.
KK: Are you an organizer?
RS: Sort of. I just do marketing for it.
KK: Ok, last question: what is the best party advice you could give someone?
PR: Never say no. Say yes to everything.
RS: Dude! I just was sitting on my phone, and somehow sent a nude photo of my girlfriend to Twitter through our account.
KK: She said yes.
RS: It wasn’t that bad. Total work safe. Best party advice? Know your limit, stay within it.
Humans at Glasslands
Humans have one more show date coming on in Seattle on November 19th. Follow them on Twitter for updates, musings and random “accidental” photos