Interview with Humanzi

Shaun, Colm, Gary and Brian make up Dublin punk band Humanzi, who’ve been touring the country from top to toe with Oscar-nominated actress and rock chick, Juliette Lewis. The boys made their mark on the UK music scene with their debut album ‘Tremors’ and have become cover stars of the Irish NME this month. Lead singer, Shaun Mulrooney tells, Charlie Barker about the band’s history and what they’ve been doing on the road.

Humanzi signed to Fiction Records in 2005. How long had you been together before that?
I think about two and a half years. We were in a band beforehand me, Gary and Brian. Brian was on keyboard then he took up the drums. Gary was on the bass. I played guitar in the last band but now I’m the singer.

After that you set up your own record label SFR. What made you decide to do that and how is it going?
Well we haven’t really had time to work on it as much as we wanted as we’re always on tour. We’ve just put out a couple of singles for Irish bands. It went really well at the start but we’ve started to slow it down now, but we’re going to come back and re-assess it. It’s to get likeminded people and give them a chance to get some singles out. Hopefully we’re going to start working on albums, but we’ve got to get our album out the way before we start doing that.

What genres of music do you cater for on your label?
It’s all pretty much heavy rock stuff. We don’t have any singer/ songwriters, so it’s pretty similar to us.

Your album Tremors includes a lot of passionate material, what’s the inspiration behind your emotive lyrics?
There are so many different inspirations. There’s something about everything in the lyrics, it’s not just the one genre. There’s a lot of frustration in the album; stuff about mass consumerism, American foreign policy and a couple of hidden love songs there that people don’t actually realize as well. Their not actually love songs, they’re actually hate songs.

Your sound is very recognizable with elements of punk and electronic music. Who would you rate as your main musical influences?
We’re really influenced by a lot of darker music like The Fall, Siouxie and the Banshees and Joy Division. Also other modern bands like Primal Scream and Queens of the Stone Age. We like everything and give it a chance.

You’ve not been shy about making political statements. How has this been received?
It hasn’t really been well received. We put stuff on our MySpace pages about Israel, what they’ve done in Lebanon and how outraged and disgusted we were by it. We only got four or five comments back and then you post a blog about wrecking a hotel and you get fifty comments back! I think people are just numb and don’t want to hear it. I think it’s like ‘Ah, someone else going on about America’. It comes up in most interviews and I can’t do anything about that. I was hoping for more of a response.

How did your tour with Juliette and the Licks come about?
Juliette’s a fan of the band, which is nice. We were asked to do it and we said yeah! You know she’s a good girl… (Laughs). How sexist is that? It’s a strange audience to open as it’s so mixed, people are really out there to see the headline, but we’ve been really well received.

Do you have any plans to go further afield since touring the UK?
We’re doing a tour of Germany and our album’s getting put out there and in a couple of other European countries. We’re doing this thing called CMJ; it’s a big festival in New York. We’re going to be traveling around doing nine gigs there, which will be good.

What’s in the future for the band, maybe a second album?
Yeah of course, we’re already working on our second album even though our first is only just out. Being the sort of band we are we just don’t really think about what we’ll be doing next year, we just roll with it. We’ll be together and making music. All the stuff we’re writing is better than our first stuff. We’re just going to keep rolling on.

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