Interviews

Crate digging, unreleased tracks and 400 person tunnel parties with Human Movement

Veterans of the Aussie club circuit, festival stages and even the warehouse around the corner, Human Movement have spent years wobbling eardrums with their low frequency hits.

Having let their latest single Right Thang and its remix package sit for a few months, Eddie and Blake have spent the time in between producing, gigging and digging the crates at your local record store. Last week in Newtown we caught up with the pair, chatting tunnel parties,  12″ culture and the fellas’ growing role as esteemed selectors.

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Photos by Liam Cameron

What is the role of the modern electronic artist; to produce or to select? We dive deep on 12 inch culture with Blake and Eddie of Human Movement.

HAPPY: Thanks for coming guys, how are you doing?

EDDIE: Yeah good, just finished an eight hour shift on the phones so… glad I don’t have to talk to customers.

HAPPY: Yet here you are, talking to someone again.

EDDIE: (laughs) Something interesting now, then.

HAPPY: Blake, how about you?

BLAKE: Good man, just been working. Clocking off.

HAPPY: We’ll dive in then. For me, the thing that has always been the Human Movement vibe is that low, low frequency you use so often. Was there a place where that low-end love affair began?

EDDIE: I think in terms of all dance music we listen to, low frequencies play such an important role. That’s what really captures mine and Blake’s ear when we first hear a song, the textures and the blending of the kick and the bass. It’s what grasps you, especially in a club there’s nothing better than hearing  clean, crisp lower frequencies. That’s what we try to emulate.

BLAKE: I mean it’s dance music, it’s based on rhythms and people want to dance to it. Like Eddie said with the club sound, we’re getting played on big systems, so why not make the most of the low end?

HAPPY: Even maybe before you were Human Movement, was there a memory or a location, even a bit of gear you bought that planted that seed.

BLAKE: There’s one, this was recently actually. We heard a set from Apparat at Strawberry Fields and he dropped a KiNK track. That was probably my favourite sub moment ever.

EDDIE: I remember we were both dancing, hadn’t seen each other for an hour. Then we caught each other’s eye.

BLAKE: We were speechless. We couldn’t speak. Thank god I found that track.

EDDIE: We were actually looking for that track for about two years.

BLAKE: One of my favourite artists too. I don’t know how I missed it.

HAPPY: We can get that in the article. Tag it up.

BLAKE: For sure.

HAPPY: Sick. Well you mentioned Apparat, you mentioned KiNK. Were there any other artists that inspired the style?

EDDIE: Other artists like DJ Koze and Four Tet.

HAPPY: Four Tet is mad.

BLAKE: Four Tet is pretty inspirational. At the moment I’m quite into minimalism, so guys like Ricardo Villalobos, Ludwig and a few others.

EDDIE: Also this new artist I stumbled across Objekt. His sound design and his mixing production is second to none; you’ll never hear a sub bass so fat without it being distorted. He has this new release called Theme From Q, I bought it on record. Fattest breakbeat track I ever heard.

BLAKE: Breakbeat more and more.

EDDIE: A lot of old house too. A lot of Strictly Rhythm, that label from the 90s, they were just putting out weapon after weapon. You’ll find, especially with our latest releases, that’s been a massive influence.

HAPPY: Have drugs ever played a part in making music, or at least in knowing what your audience will likely be on?

EDDIE: Not as much anymore, I’m sober now and I think Blake is in a similar boat. We used to. A lot. But it gets to a point where you just can’t. It definitely played a part in the way our music process was shaped, but now we have a bit more of a clear idea.

HAPPY: You’ve established something yeah?

EDDIE: Yeah and we’ve matured a little. If you compare what will be released to what we released two years ago, it’s way more thought out, it’s not just a bass house banger for an 18 year old to munt to. There’s a bit more character to it.

BLAKE: I do think drugs still have a big role in dance music.

HAPPY: I mean yeah. You go to a gig now and there’s more people on than not.

BLAKE: Exactly, and as much as I don’t think it’s responsible, there’s a direct correlation. People are still doing them. In terms of producing… weed helps? I don’t know, some people are OK with it and some aren’t.

HAPPY: Not a new idea!

BLAKE: (laughs) Definitely not a new idea. If it helps, it helps.

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HAPPY: Back onto your sound though, it seems like a pretty clear rejection of the popular dance sphere at the moment; the festival friendly house which is all about high-pitched hooks and guest vocalists. Am I on the right track?

EDDIE: Yeah you’re right… to be honest we don’t really get around those tracks. Maybe a couple of years ago.

HAPPY: It got cold?

EDDIE: It’s…

BLAKE: It’s just boring.

EDDIE: Yeah it’s stale. It’s getting rinsed too much on radio and it’s getting to the point where I wouldn’t be surprised to hear them back to back on Nova 96.9.

BLAKE: Being said, we vibe everything we release, we obviously love it, but some of our music is so dated. The first EP we released, Dancing Room, came out two years after it was produced, and that was a few years ago.

EDDIE: It’s like catching ourselves up to speed with what we’re actually into now. And I think now we’re finally making music and putting it out so that it’s in touch with our taste.

BLAKE: And regardless of pop, whether something is pop or whether it’s on the radio… if you can groove to it and it sounds nice, it sounds nice. Doesn’t matter what label or genre it is, if it sounds good it sounds good.

HAPPY: Well you touched on this a little, but in the past you haven’t released very often. Would you say this comes down more to being meticulous or a focus on DJing?

EDDIE: I think there’s nothing wrong with having regular content, but we always try to put a lot of thought into each release.

HAPPY: I respect that.

EDDIE: We pondered upon doing an album and now we’re deciding… do we do it as an album or do we put out a few EPs?

BLAKE: That’s what you need to think about. Is it worth going down that line in dance music? Is it worth having eight tracks that are made for the club? Does that translate into an album? I don’t know.

EDDIE: That’s where we are. We’ve got a collection of songs and we’re always making music. We have a lot that we’re working on, it’s just how we put it out there.

BLAKE: We’ve got so much man, like probably a couple of hundred tunes that are finished. We’re just trying to find the right quality and get it out there to the people as much as anyone else would.

EDDIE: It’s also coming to an agreement with another person. There’s two of us in Human Movement, it’s not a solo act and everything needs to be approved by both parties.

BLAKE: Enjoying the music ourselves is important.

EDDIE: That being said, we’ve got a lot of live material, fresh off the block.

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HAPPY: I was gonna say, you’ve got an advantage. Bands don’t get to demo new tracks without announcing it to an audience, but you can be a little more subtle in a set. When you drop new tracks, do the reactions you get play a part in this whole curation process?

EDDIE: For sure. It’s always great to test out our demos and whatnot in our sets, always good to see what needs a mix down once it’s played on a system. That’s a huge process in our song making, testing out a demo and seeing it translate into a show. Judging by the crowd’s energy, we might make some edits.

BLAKE: It’s a test run too. We’ll see if there are any artefacts when we play it on the system, and it’s also gonna gee us up about that track, it will give us idea of what that track is like and how we should play it live.

HAPPY: I’ve always liked that. You can drop a new track and people might not even clue in. Some might pick it as a Human Movement track, but most will just think it’s a B-side or something.

BLAKE: It’s good for the culture. There’s so many kids looking for tracks.

EDDIE: You see those groups – ‘identification of music’ groups where someone will post a video from a club. Two hours later someone will have commented with the track title.

HAPPY: It’s insane.

EDDIE: It’s cool! But if you play a demo and everyone’s vibing it, nobody can Shazam it, nobody can identify it and it creates this bit of hype around the song. When you do finally drop it, everyone will be like “fuck. That’s it! That’s the one!” 

BLAKE: It’s part of the whole 12″ culture that’s going on right now. People care more about better music.

EDDIE: And we’ve decided to take our DJing much more seriously in turn. We’re really thinking about what tracks we’re playing now, we want people to come and see our song selection. I mean we could go on Beatport’s top 100 and download the best 10 tracks…

HAPPY: Anyone can fucking do that.

EDDIE: Right. But to be a good producer and a good DJ are different. You need to go out to record stores.

HAPPY: 100% agree dude, that’s why I go to see sets. But at the same time, some people who go to your shows want to hear your tracks right? Is that a problem?

BLAKE: Yeah it’s this injustice, a lot of kids will come up to us during our sets and say, play a certain track or play Dancing Room and… it’s a pretty dated track. It’s hard to say “Look, we don’t have it anymore”. Our sets are so different now, you know? It’s a bit tricky but at the same time you have to have integrity, but that’s why in some areas people just won’t like it. We’re not playing the old stuff, we want to excel the new vision and what we vibe at the moment.

HAPPY: If you stick to it, the crowds will change.

BLAKE: We just inspire the place best we can. We just do that.

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HAPPY: So… you have been on tour, kinda.

BLAKE: A show every couple of weeks, yeah.

HAPPY: How’s that been?

EDDIE: Good, man. A couple of shows, like Blake said, didn’t translate so well.

HAPPY: What you’re talking about is a recent phenomenon then?

BLAKE: There’s just a few hubs, like Melbourne and Sydney, that have a lot of that house music, techno culture, so that translates a lot better. But then you’ll be in a more regional area, you’ll be in Dubbo or Perth, not to say they don’t have a scene but I just think it’s not as common over there. You just get a different crowd. We’re just happy to preach though.

HAPPY: By now you’ve done underground shit, you’ve done clubs, you’ve done festivals. Is there a scene you really identify with most?

EDDIE: We really like warehouse parties, especially the little movement that’s happening in Sydney at the moment in the sense that every weekend you can go to a bunker party or a tunnel party or something. We love throwing them ourselves as well, getting involved with that sort of shit. It’s the perfect mix of a club and a festival; you have the freedom of a festival but the intimacy of a club. I think I’ve said that before!

BLAKE: I like festivals, they’re good, the whole bush culture. What they’re doing with Strawberry Fields and Subsonic is just incredible to go to, some of the best music experiences we’ve had have been at those.

HAPPY: Apparat huh?

BLAKE: Exactly. I don’t know, my favourite gig recently was… Eddie and his mates threw a party in Sydney’s south west, in a suburb to be unnamed in a tunnel. We had a rotary mixer and two turntables and it was incredible.

EDDIE: Like 400 people ended up coming.

BLAKE: It was funny, there were police doing radars above the tunnel at the time. I don’t know if they didn’t hear or didn’t care.

HAPPY: They didn’t want a part of it.

EDDIE: They just didn’t come!

BLAKE: Two subs, two PA speakers and probably one of the best sets.

EDDIE: And there weren’t any lockouts! It went till 8am.

HAPPY: Love that shit. It’s the people who are there for the right reasons.

BLAKE: That was the best we’ve been to. It reminded me of this UK thing, it didn’t seem like it was in Australia.

HAPPY: Speaking of parties. You’ve done a few of your own, in a more legal realm, the Human Movement parties. I was at the second one, I didn’t make the third – you moved that into the daytime, how did that go?

EDDIE: The third one was sick, the only problem was that it was fuckin 45 degrees.

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HAPPY: Oh it was that day?

EDDIE: It was that one, fucked-up day. We had acts on at 2pm, we had a stacked lineup but I felt bad, it was just too fucking hot to come to a fucking pub at two in the afternoon because it was 45 degrees.

BLAKE: Put it this way, I went through three shirts. We made tees for the night and I went through three, and that third one was drenched.

EDDIE: Eventually it did sell out and it was a hectic event on the whole, but I felt bad for the first few artists who were, you know, playing to me.

BLAKE: We did have some local shredders which was awesome, like Ben Fester playing the sunset set, on a massive rig, on Beach Rd in Bondi.

EDDIE: That was such a good set.

HAPPY: Are those still on the cards? Would you change it up again?

EDDIE: We’ll be doing a Human Movement party 4.0. It’s in talks of who were booking, but we’re aiming high. Thing is, with these parties we never want to step back, we always want to go bigger or add some kind of x-factor to the next one to separate it from the others. Keep it fresh for the people who go to these things.

BLAKE: And we want to keep it fresh for us! We just want to put on sick parties. As much as we want to perform at other shows, to be able to coordinate a party ourselves, it’s a lot more enjoyable and we can set it up how we envision it.

EDDIE: To put on something which you’ve envisioned from nothing, there’s a lot of fulfilment in that. Like who would have thought you could wrap a cage around the Civic Underground dancefloor? You can’t do that. And then we did it. Worked out well.

HAPPY: Well whatever it is, looking forward to it.

BLAKE: Big things coming.

 

You can catch Human Movement playing a set tomorrow night at Chinese Laundry. Grab all the details on the Facebook event.