Interview with Superhumanoids
- by Angelo Lorenzo
LA's Superhumanoids live up to their name. There's something about their music that's so familiar, yet alien. Calm, comforting and unnerving all at the same time. Reverberant male and female vocals hover lightly over lo-fi guitars, mischievous synth and pulsing drum beats creating a big, full soundscape to get completely lost in. Their sound isn't easy to pin down in words; it's all their own and they know it.
You just very recently released your EP Parasite Paradise. Can you describe the recording process? You also self-produced, was there a reason and would you ever consider a producer in the future? Where did the cover art come from?
Cameron: We recorded this EP in the same way we did the first: tracked all the instruments live in a traditional studio, mixing and tracking additional instrumentation in our home studio. We self-produce out of interest and necessity. It allows us complete creative control and we all really enjoy the process. Max and I are both big studio/recording nuts so it ends up being something quite fun for us. In regards to working with someone else in the future, we're not opposed at all, we'd actually welcome it. I think it would allow us to explore new ideas more easily and offer a fresh perspective on what we are trying to accomplish artistically.
The cover art began with a painting from Andy Denzler that we all found emotionally evocative - from there our friend and designer Hassan Rahim Muhammad Shabazz put it all together.
The music on your new EP is faster pace and, sonically, much more dense. Was there a conscious effort to up your game or do you think it was a natural maturing of your sound?
CP: We definitely wanted to explore new sonic territories. Since our last EP we have done a lot of remix work; this album was basically us taking ourselves and remixing it. Not being afraid to expand upon our sound and really indulge some of our more pronounced production traits.
Being signed to a US and UK label, do you think that's an important part of the strategy? Some bands that stay completely independent would argue that because of the internet, you're already exposed to the global market.
CP: We're still quite independent; our US label is Hit City U.S.A., a small outfit I run with our friend Colin Stutz. We started it to put out our own music, although it is growing to include releases from groups beyond our immediate circle. Our UK label was a small outfit but they worked incredibly hard to expose us to a different music public (UK) which I think was really helpful, especially for our tour over there this past November.
You were recently featured on Nylon Magazine's website. When an influx of new fans comes in from a source like this you find the more critical of your music than old fans? Or do you find that old fans are more honest with you?
CP: Fans of all types tend to give pretty honest feedback. So far the response has been positive across the board, which is exciting for us as we have listened to these tracks over and over again and lost perspective on them a bit.
You guys have a pretty good ratio of albums to music videos. As YouTube replaces MTV, do you think music videos play as important of a role, or an even more important role, in today's world especially for independent artists?
Evan: There are both benefits and drawbacks to the new model of experiencing music videos on the internet rather than the previous exclusivity of television networks like MTV. It's great to see the playing field leveled in certain ways. Bands have added exposure like never before as a videos' accessibility is only limited by the viewer's desire to seek it out. However, with the amount of videos being put out on a daily or weekly basis now, there's a lot of content--maybe too much--to sift through. Some more prominent music blogs do a "Best Videos of the Week" roundup, and while I love seeing lesser known bands get their videos featured, it's becoming similar to grain of sand on a beach. Very few videos are truly memorable to the viewer, because with one click you've got another 10 to devour.
CP: Music videos are one of the best ways for us to reach new people. They're easy to share online, engaging in a way that an MP3 is not, and if done well, can be very powerful artistically.