A new era for Human Movement
Eddy from Human Movement gives us an exclusive look into how he’s dealing with the transition from a duo to a solo project – and coming out on top.
Human Movement are in flux. The group, who were always Eddy and Blake, have trimmed down to just Eddie after parting ways quietly at the beginning of 2019. A friendly split, the two felt they were due to follow different currents – similar to be sure, but no longer in tandem.
As the new Human Movement with Eddy solely at the helm preps a debut album – one fans have been searching out for almost five years – it’s quite clear that the Blake’s departure isn’t the only change on the wind.
We caught up with Eddy in Newtown for the lowdown on where Human Movement will travel to next, what the album is looking like, and how cutting the band in half has presented a few unique challenges.
HAPPY: Last time we sat down for an interview Human Movement were two, but now you’re just one. Mind if I ask what happened?
EDDY: I think it’s just a simple matter of two people growing apart in terms of what our taste was, and being together for that amount of time. I guess it’s like a relationship with a girl or a boy where the passion’s not there anymore, there’s no hate towards each other, but it just got a bit stale for the both of us and we both wanted to try something new. So yeah.
HAPPY: I wasn’t going to compare it to a breakup, but now that you’ve opened it up…
EDDY: (Laughs) It was an amicable breakup, we’re still really good friends. But in terms of where the sound was going and what he liked to make and what I liked to make… we’re both at very different stages of where our music wanted to go.
HAPPY: You officially shared the news in July, but had you been in solo mode a bit before that?
EDDY: Yeah, Blake officially decided to leave in February this year. We’d just signed a two album deal with Of Leisure at the time, and Blake pulled out at that point. At the start it was a bit of a shock because we’d just locked in this record deal, but when it did happen the music started to flow more. So there was a bittersweet feel to it.
HAPPY: I guess that tells you that you’ve made the right decision.
EDDY: I think both of us did, I think Blake’s happier where he’s at as well.
HAPPY: Did any unexpected challenges come up after moving to solo?
EDDY: I haven’t approached this, but how I’m going to do the live set will be an interesting one, just deciding what elements to keep live and what stuff is pre-recorded and kept in the box. I guess you can have fun with that and make it creative, but we definitely had our live set and it worked, so we’re taking a couple of steps back and revisiting how that works best.
HAPPY: Have you done any DJ sets solo?
EDDY: So during the breakup…
HAPPY: The breakup!
EDDY: (Laughs) The split! During the split – fuck. During the split I think we had one or two more shows, and one was in New Zealand. And it was interesting, playing a show by yourself. Even though I’ve been DJing since I was 14 years old I’d never DJ’d in a club or festival by myself. A two-hour show in New Zealand, to do that by yourself… the whole experience compared to DJing with someone else is a completely different experience. They’re both good in their own right, but I think you definitely get in a bit more of a groove when you’re by yourself. So there’s definitely a bit more pressure, you can’t get drunk and rely on the other person as much, but you can take the crowd on a bit more of a journey than when you bounce between two people.
HAPPY: How about writing?
EDDY: It definitely made the writing process a lot more fluid, too, because I wasn’t trying to cater to another party. I think they both played hand in hand, DJing and production.
HAPPY: When you were DJing together did you find one of you dropped into certain roles? Like was one of you the sober one? Or was someone doing the digging? Was someone a little more proficient in the mix?
EDDY: That’s the funny thing, because Blake didn’t drink, so he’d definitely be the more proficient one on the night of mixing. I was the one who was finding the new [tracks]. So I guess I had the selection and he had the… skills. On the night! I’ve pulled it back since going solo so the mixes are definitely a lot tidier. My first official show as solo Human Movement is on October 26th at Universal Club and I never used to get nervous before DJing because let’s be honest…
HAPPY: It’s DJing?
EDDY: You’re not doing too much, but this is the first show I’ve actually got nervous because there’s this whole new catalogue of music that I have ready to go. It’s essentially a new sound and a new image. I don’t know, it’s a bit nerve-wracking presenting that to the public when they’ve got this perception of what Human Movement is already. They’re going to tack that on to what it’s going to be.
HAPPY: So it is a lot of change to deal with at once.
EDDY: So much.
HAPPY: Since 2016 it’s essentially been singles for Human Movement. Last time we sat down I remember you flirting with the idea of a longer release, and now you’ve just said there are two albums locked in. Back then you were on the edge about whether it was a good idea to release an album of club songs, so what is the album going to be like?
EDDY: It is definitely a dance music album, but there’s a bit of an eclectic sound and varied music. I’ve worked with a lot of singers and songwriters so it’s not just four to the floor, in fact I think there’s only two four to the floor tracks in it. A lot of it is garage and breakbeat driven, as well as a bit of UK 2-step as well. It’s definitely not like the usual Human Movement stuff, it’s more eclectic and that’s why it was a bit more appropriate to look into doing an album. It feels like a body of work. Previously it didn’t, we had house tracks and techno tracks and stuff.
HAPPY: Sounds like it’s still taking form.
EDDY: Yeah. I remember at the start of the year when Blake was still part of the group, we sat down with the record label and they said although you’ve signed to this album, everything you’ve given us… it doesn’t fit. If you put this in an album, it just sounds like ten random tracks. So I really focused on trying to make it a full body of work that sounded cohesive.
HAPPY: How much of it is new writing and how much of it has existed in some form for a few years?
EDDY: It’s all new.
HAPPY: Right. You kind of blew my mind a while ago when you said you had a few hundred tracks just sitting around.
EDDY: On the Soundcloud, yeah. Demos where you’re just like… that will never see the light of day.
HAPPY: So you change to the solo thing and everything is new. Absolutely everything.
EDDY: I think it just makes it clean as well, in terms of splits and stuff. Blake worked on one track on the album which will be a 50/50 split – obviously fair enough. But I didn’t want his sound in it when all the sets and stuff he’s not going to be a part of, so it makes sense not to have his creative part. As fucking mean as that sounds…
HAPPY: It’s not like a breakup, it’s like a divorce!
EDDY: (Laughs) In terms of the creative run of it, I wanted the sound to be cohesive.
HAPPY: The only DJ-slash-producers I’ve seen recently releasing albums were people who had a really cohesive idea like you say, so it sounds like you’re on the right track. Records like Cocoon Crush.
EDDY: Well Objekt was a bit of a reference for the album. Who else? Jon Hopkins… when I was at a bit of a loss for what I wanted the album to sound like, I listened to those really full-sounding albums and drew inspiration from that. Even the Bicep album, that was such a big record. That album was so big for me, it made it seem like albums in dance music were an option again. The Chemical Brothers’ album this year as well.
HAPPY: How has the mindset flipped since you’ve been writing with the idea that ‘this is for the album’ has been up front? When previously it was mostly singles or the live set.
EDDY: First of all, it’s just the sound. Now that I feel like I’ve got the bare bones of the album I don’t feel like adding any more tracks, but I have been playing around and seeing if anything does fit. Currently what I’ve made is good and I don’t want to tamper with that any more. I’m almost ready to start making something a bit left of what I was doing just then. Like I’ve been doing some music for film and drawing influences from that…. my friend wanted me to do something with a lot of African and tribal vibes, so I did music for his short film and made a song out of that. It’s got heaps of African drums and percussion but it just would not fit on the album.
HAPPY: What was the film?
EDDY: It was this dude working in a kitchen, really fast-paced. He’s a chef, he started when he was 15 and worked his way up in a Michelin starred restaurant. I did the soundtrack for that and I was like, if you put a big kick behind this it would be hectic at a bush doof or something, so I decided to turn it into one of those songs. It wouldn’t fit on the album, but I’d 100% put it in my DJ set or the live set.
HAPPY: Will the soundtrack be a Human Movement release?
EDDY: It won’t be. I don’t know, maybe?
HAPPY: I think the people you just referenced are all very cinematic, Jon Hopkins has written for cinema. I don’t know if Bicep has, but some of those film clips…
EDDY: Well I’ve done two scores so far, both documentaries, each feature length. One was an hour-and-a-half doco on the illegal rhino trade.
HAPPY: Oh, from Mark [Halliday]?
EDDY: Yeah! I did the score for that. And I also did one for this group called 350, they’re a climate change activist group. They did a documentary on Bill McKibben who leads the group.
HAPPY: Is Thermal a track from the album?
HAPPY: So it’s a sign of things to come? It had a bit of a Burial vibe to me.
EDDY: Fuckin’ oath. We love Burial.
HAPPY: There’s more pads, more samples…
EDDY: Yeah, it’s a weird African vocal sample you throw on top, some nice lush pads, a catchy top-line with a big bass, and some bass drums. You’ll see that sort of sound throughout the album and that’s why I thought it was so important to lead with Thermal because it definitely sets the tone.
HAPPY: You mentioned the live set briefly. Has the hardware that you bought for that played any part in the new writing?
EDDY: Not at all, which is interesting. A lot of it was in the box, a lot of it was VSTs, and getting samples. Actually – there are a couple of tracks where I did replace the sounds with actual hardware sounds with the mixing engineer, but I think for the main part, the reason the live set will be so interesting is because it won’t just sound like we’re playing the recorded versions. A lot of the sounds will just be replaced by actual hardware.
HAPPY: What’s the setup going to look like?
EDDY: It’s a TR-8, they’re cool, running through an Elektron Heat with a Korg Minilogue – but I might sell that and get a better synthesizer. Then Ableton Push and a drum pad to hit samples. And everything’s running through Ableton.
HAPPY: Bit much to handle for one person.
EDDY: I’d like to see what other solo acts do for their live acts, someone like Willaris. K or Stephan Bodzin, like how much gear is in the box and how much is live.
HAPPY: So you’ve got your first headline show as a solo act this weekend, then a pretty massive summer festival run – actually, are you doing the 29th, 30th, and 31st?
EDDY: 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st. All different cities.
HAPPY: God damn.
EDDY: Going to be interesting!
HAPPY: What’s going to be the plan beyond that pretty intense period?
EDDY: Obviously we’re going to be doing a headline tour around Australia, and I guess depending on the hype off the album, potentially getting an Asia run would be cool. Ideally I want to move overseas to London or something, with my girlfriend, so that’s what we’re looking forward to. So the main thing is getting it right here, then basing it overseas so we can…
HAPPY: Start it all again?
EDDY: Well when you think about it you can play what, six shows in Australia? Then you have to wait three months until you play. In Europe and the UK it’s constantly happening, you can play like three shows a week.
HAPPY: How far ahead do you look? Obviously anything could happen, but do you ever entertain fantasies about Human Movement in 10 years or 25?
EDDY: I usually think about 18 months ahead. 18 months from now I definitely don’t want to be working at my job, preferably be overseas… I guess as long as I’m able to have a sustainable living across making music and performing I’d be happy. I don’t want to be making hundreds of thousands of dollars, if I was just able to live off music I’d be happy.
HAPPY: A noble cause.
EDDY: I’m a man of the people!
Interview by Tom Cameron
Photos by Charlie Hardy
Oct 26 – Universal Club – Sydney, NSW, Australia
Nov 2 – XE54 – Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Nov 16 – Harbourlife – Sydney, NSW, Australia
Nov 24 – Omnia Day Club – Bali, Indonesia
Dec 28 – Wildlands Festival – Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Dec 29 – Lost Paradise – Glenworth Valley, NSW, Australia
Dec 30 – TBA – VIC, Australia
Dec 31 – Rhythm & Alps – Wanaka, New Zealand