With Spurz and Boosh Aok
Saturday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m.
Wunderbar (8120 101 St.)
Tickets available at the door
At first listen, the dance-spastic musical wash of Humans sounds more like it could have been created by pot-smoking robots than real, live human beings from Canada. And that’s not a coincidence: the Vancouver-based electronic-duo, comprised of Robbie Slade and Peter Ricq, first met at an art gallery where Ricq had contributed a robot piece, while Slade was in a folk band at the time.
“Peter had these robots who were having sex with girls and I was like, ‘That’s so dirty, what the fuck?’ ” Slade describes. “I saw his other work and he had this long-haired dude with a moustache, which is what I looked like at the time, so I was like, ‘Sick, it looks like me!’
“Then we started chatting and I was like, ‘Man, if you would do my art for the merchandise for my band I would be in heaven,’ and so he did ... Peter came to our art jam space and brought a sampler and we just jammed — it was really fun. And then he wanted to sample me, so I went to his house one day, and Humans was born.”
Humans is the ultimate house party band, their music full of swirling synth basslines and carefree lyrics. The title single from their first EP, Avec Mes Mecs, ambitiously chants, “Who knew that all we had to do was party,” a theme that often serves as the backbone of the band. The two chose to go in a dance-oriented direction largely based on their own personal taste.
“I didn’t like going to shows as much unless it was a dance band,” Ricq explains. “I like to dance and sweat and dance with girls and buy them drinks and buy myself drinks —”
“Peter doesn’t like sitting around and listening to weepy (music),” Slade interjects.
This radiant looseness makes a live Humans show an intense experience for anyone looking for a good time. The band often likes to vibe with the crowd using one of their songs as a reference point and branching out from there, improvising the beats as they go along.
“We have a playlist and we have the songs written down. We can improvise to any song, they’re just there to help us. It’s fun when the crowd’s lovin’ it and we can just do whatever we want,” Ricq laughs.
“I want my music fun and the venue to be packed. We just want it to be busy,” Slade states.
“Yeah, anything that’s fun, we’ll do it,” Ricq agrees.
This fun-loving attitude also leaks over into their everyday lives. Speaking with the two on a three-way phone connection, both members of Humans are off on their own separate adventures — Ricq’s on his way to a skateboard park, while Slade shares about his love of spending time at a nude beach. The two are constantly seeking out wacky ways to find humour in their lives, their high energy carrying back over into the studio seamlessly later on.
“I bike around everywhere,” Slade says. “And I love going to the beach.”
“That’s basically his second home,” Ricq jokes in reply.
“If you wanna see my dick, just head over to the beach,” Slade concurs with a laugh.
Humans’ music is created much like their conversations — the two playing off each other, then finding ways to make a simple riff faster and heavier using various samplers and synthesizers. As a result, their second and newest EP Traps has progressive elements to it — smooth and choppy synths and looping percussion oozing in and out, before quickly swelling and slamming into the pounding climax of each song. Underneath these slick, lush sheets of throbbing drones, the warmth of live recorded vocals stitch the songs together, giving Humans a distinctively, well, human quality.
“Sometimes we write ‘nice’ songs and then we’re like, ‘Okay, let’s make it like Humans.’ We’ll use a melancholy melody and then we’ll speed it up and beef it up to make it into a dance song. Probably some of the best songs that we’ve written were like that,” Slade explains.
Humans are in the process of recording and releasing their first full-length album for the upcoming year, which they claim will feature more of the duo’s laid-back dance party music. But regardless of what the album ends up resembling, there’s no doubt both members’ raw senses of humour and passion for transforming their eccentric mentality into unforgiving dance music will be at the forefront.
“We’re going try to keep it dance-y. I don’t like it when bands start to mellow out and become more poppy. We’re going try to keep it more grimy, dirtier and fun,” Ricq says.
“The best scenario would be that the album does really well and then Robbie and I get into a fight and then the band just stops. And then four years later, they offer us so much money to do a tour, and then we have to become friends again. Basically all the best bands, like The Police and Death From Above 1979, have done that.”
“That would be the best thing possible,” laughs Slade.
The remnants of chivalry still linger today, especially in the dating world.