Human Dinosaur Machine effortlessly straddles the fine line between carefree pop vibes and gritty grunge, epitomised in “Trash.”
In this chat, we catch up with Human Dinosaur Machine‘s Kazya and Isaac, and dive into the band’s distinctive philosophy and their day-to-day lives. From navigating the whirlwind of parenthood to the resilient music scene in Lismore, the duo sheds light on the quirks that define their world.
From standout moments in their musical journey to envisioning their live gigs, the band talks about the highs and challenges, emphasising their dedication to leaving audiences both sweaty and emotionally moved. Join Kazya and Isaac as they dive into ‘Trash’ and find magic in the ordinary.
Happy: What are you up to today?
K: The never ending cycle of baby spew and smiles (also washing)
I: We’re all just doing life stuff ya know. Making sandwiches and eating them, drinking cordial all the fun stuff
Happy: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the scene like in your neck of the woods?
K: Lismore’s music scene is like a beautiful cockroach. It’s grungy, filthy, its got legs and it just won’t seem to die – fires, floods and famine won’t stop it from happening; either in venues or in our homes.
Happy: Describe an average day?
K: Being a full time entertainer/private chef/housemaid for a 6 month year old cutie, at the moment trying to get back into shape mentally, physically and spiritually.
I: An average day for me at the moment is going to work in the morning for a few hours. Then, heading to the gym to get the sweat going.
Then, doing a couple more hours in the afternoon at work before heading home to spend time with my partner.
She’s heavily pregnant atm so we don’t really get up to much currently.
Happy: How did the members of Human Dinosaur Machine come together as a band, and what inspired the unique name?
K: I met Mikey while I was hiding in a cupboard at a party cause I was full of anxiety and had found his guitar.
Started couch surfing at his and Isaac’s sharehouse – made a pretty crude 3 piece with Isaac on drums and myself on bass called ‘Homo Devil Machine’.
Roachy came to see us play at one of the shows where we used to jump into the drumkit to indicate the end of the set and said “you guys suck, I want in”.
Our songs and overall sound became a lot more refined after that, and we changed the name to Human Dinosaur Machine not long after. (I really like dinosaurs)
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Happy: Can you share some of the challenges and rewards you faced while working on your self-titled debut album?
K: As Isaac said, constantly wanting to re-record parts every time we’d listen to things. Struggling with the songs just being a snapshot of where we’re at in this time.
I: I think the biggest challenge we’ve faced has been leaving it be and not overly analysing it. Recordings can feel like a highschool photo day picture within 1 week sometimes.
So the urge to re-record parts are often very strong when listening back to it. And the rewards so far have been seeing how well the first 2 singles have been received.
Definitely makes us happy.
Happy: The song “Trash” delves into feelings of discardment. Can you elaborate on the personal experiences or emotions that influenced the lyrics?
K: Isaac wrote the lyrics for this one, I just added to them. Everyone can kind of relate to the feeling of stagnation and that longing feeling of being desperate for something to change, yet not being sure if it’s worth even trying cause it might just end up the same or worse.
It kinda feels like almost getting to the end of a really really long journey, where you’ve been coasting for so long that you’re just going through the motions, everything is grey.
Happy: Your music is described as a blend of pop whimsy with stirring punk. How do you strike a balance between these contrasting elements in your songwriting and production?
K: I honestly don’t think we really try to create any particular sound when we write. We just make what sounds good to us, and luckily we have some pretty similar ideas on what that is.
I: I feel like the musical balance we have found. Is very much thanks to being really open and receptive to any idea the 4 of us bring to the table.
But also that we fundamentally share the same musical influences as each other.
Happy: Kazya’s vocals are highlighted as a defining element of your sound. How do you work together to ensure her voice complements the instrumentation and lyrics?
K: Well first of all, thank you. Also, I have no idea – my voice is just an instrument. I use tone, as Mikey does with his guitar and pedals.
Happy: “Trash” showcases a variety of musical textures, from soft grunge to pop punk revelry. How do you approach incorporating these different sonic elements into your music?
K: We throw stuff at the wall until it sticks. In your ears, eyes and nose. Until you can’t taste anything else. There are a lot of sore arms by the end of the day.
I: I’m not sure we really think about the approach all that much. We just try and serve the song with the abilities we have and hope it works haha.
Happy: Can you tell us more about the creative process behind your self-titled debut album?
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K: Our approach to song writing is really collaborative. There are very few songs that are written from start to finish by just one of us.
Usually there is an idea or sometimes half or most of a song finished, we take it to the band and throw it against a wall until we find something that we like.
Sometimes Mikey and I will sit down and decide that we are not leaving until we write something BAD (and it will end up great) sometimes it comes through by voice notes on our chat thread.
Happy: How did you approach songwriting and recording for this project?
K: Isaac had been screwing around with his organ and some really lovely melodies and lyrics, he brought them to me and asked me to sing it EXACTLY as he had written.
At the recording studio, there were lots of bottles and random things brought out that they all played with to create the sound.
I was asleep through most of that.
I: We all tend to write songs in a very stripped back acoustic way and then bring them to the group that way.
Which I think really works for us. As we all get to make up our individual parts for the song which inturn gives us all a feeling of ownership over a track.
Happy: Are there any particular moments or experiences from your musical journey that stand out as particularly memorable or impactful?
K: Playing at the old Northern in North Lismore during covid – seeing so many people enjoying themselves after we hadn’t seen anyone at all.
Anytime people show up that know the words to our songs. Playing with amazing bands that I’ve looked up to for a really long time, i.e Flangapanis.
Whenever we go to a gig and see the same people showing up, knowing that these people go out of their way to be there because we are.
Hearing our song Diary of Broken Bones being played on Short Fast Loud on Triple J. This interview!
Happy:How do you envision the live performance experience for Human Dinosaur Machine? What can audiences expect from your shows?
K: If everyone leaves the show smiling, sweaty and FEELING SOMETHING. We’ve done our job.
I: I think we really excel as a live band. I think punters can and should expect a solid show designed so everyone walks away sweaty, satisfied and have a high G# ringing in their ears for an hour or so afterwards haha
Happy: Lastly, what makes you happy?
K: Happiness is overrated. The full spectrum of emotion is what makes me feel whole. I wanna feel everything to its full – negative or not.
I: Seeing the magic in the mundane brings me closer to this every day, and music makes the mundane magical.