Human Life, although they popped up fairly recently, has exploded into the Los Angeles Electro scene with a great sound and an awesome live performance that shouldn't be missed. We've been in contact with them for some time, and we're finally proud to present our interview with Human Life's own Matt Wasley:
Apes With Barrles: If you were to collaborate with Daft Punk, what would you call yourselves?
Matt Wasley: Human Life After All :)
AwB: Would you be a Jedi or Solid Snake (or insert other awesome video game character)?
MW: I would be Mario from Super Mario bros 3. Eating mushrooms for strength and a leaf that makes me fly sounds fun. That's stuff you can pull out when your bored or in trouble and go back to being a producer on the off days.
AwB: Why Human Life? Seems an odd name for an electronic music group.
MW: Actually we had a long list of more "fun" or "cool" names we were throwing around at first. But as we wrote more and more songs, we started to realize that all of the lyrics centered around the way human beings interact with each other and the world around us... our feelings, our surrounding, our experiences and of course the evolution of technology which seems to be controlling our lives to a greater extent every day. From there the name just came to us, Human Life.
AwB: How did Human Life start?
MW: I was at my friend's birthday party and he kept telling me about how Joshua Collins was gonna come to the party. I didn't know who Josh was at the time, but this guy and his friends kept talking about how he was this Chicago house badass with more than 100 vinyl releases out. When he showed up a the party we were introduced and I was surprised to find that he was not a douchebag! After our meet and greet Josh asked me if I wanted to work on a tune together. Josh played the results of our collab with Rachael who immediately asked if she could jump in as well. The rest is history!
AwB: You guys for the most part appeal to fans of the softer/pop side of electro. Who were/are your influences, how have they shaped your music, and where do you see your music going?
MW: We definitely do appreciate the more melodic side of electronic music, but some people may be surprised to learn that we love harder, techier music as well. In fact we just finished a remix for London label "Grand Hotel" that may scare you:)
Our influences are all over the board, I'm heavily influenced by intelligent pop music like the Beach Boys and synth pop like Michael Sembello and Howard Jones. Rachael loves driving dancefloor stuff like Underworld, while Josh has been perfectly preserved in a time capsule where the only music playing is Chicago house from the late 80's and early 90's. We also bond together over our love of French Touch, especially Alan Braxe.
AwB: What equipment/software do you use to produce and what does your live setup look like?
MW: We have a studio built out in Orange County in a building with bunch of other serious musicians. It's inspiring because we'll walk down the hall and hear Korean Pop coming from one room and prog-metal coming from another... all really high quality production though. We use Ableton Live and Cubase to produce and we've been leaning more towards Ableton recently. We use ALOT of VST/soft synths along with a few hardware pieces like the Moog Little Phatty and Korg MS2000. Our live set is run completely through Ableton as well, we use a combo analog/midi mixer to control all the levels right on stage. At the same time Rachael and I are singing live. We also play live keyboards and I pull out my bass for some slap funk silliness. We anticipate adding a live drummer and perhaps another player or 2 to the live setup over the next few months.
AwB: You’ve played several shows with House legend and AwB favorite Alan Braxe and you’ve got an EP set to be released on his Vulture label. How did this relationship come about?
MW: Our booking agent in Paris also looks after Alan and we asked her pretty please to introduce us! We met up with him last year at WMC in Miami and became great friends. Since then he signed a few of our tracks to Vulture and Alan also flew out to LA to produce some music with us. It was really such an amazing experience to learn how Alan works in the studio and get his opinions and suggestions on our music. I can say that even after we have worked with Alan directly he is still one of our biggest musical heroes.
AwB: You don’t have many releases out yet, but it seems like you’ve got big plans for the future and the promotional team to back it up. What have you got in store for us in the future?
MW: We just released a track called "We Won't Stop" on France's Boxon Records, it's out on vinyl and digitally now with a remix from Tom Deluxx. After that, the first single on our own label LIFEX Recordings will be out June 7th. We are so excited about this and we have some AMAZING remixes (I can say they are amazing since I didn't make them, hehe). Our friends Jaymo & Andy George, Kris Menace, Acid Girls, Louis La Roche and Lazy Flow who is ruling Paris right now. After that the Vulture EP will be out in what looks like early September.
AwB: What do you expect is in store for Electro as a genre in the future? Are we going to look back at this time with embarrassment like people do for Disco and the 80s?
MW: Actually I was thinking recently that I believe this era will be looked back on with fondness and perhaps even envy. To me what has happened in electronic music over the past few years is akin to the Psychedelic movement in the mid to late 60's, in the sense that a somewhat underground genre of music has evolved into a more widespread youth culture. Right now we are in a rare time period where previously cheesy bottle service clubs are playing nu-disco and electronic music has crossed over to form the basis of pop and even hip-hop. Who knows how long it will last, but I far prefer it to the past. As for the future, it's tough to say. I think we could see a resurgence of a madchester type sound... we'll just have to take it one day at a time:)
AwB: What is your opinion of the established Los Angeles electro scene, in other words, opinions on Steve Aoki and Dim Mak?
MW: I'm aware that some of my peers tend to hate on Dim Mak and Steve Aoki, but we are all big fans of the Dim Mak crew. I'm not sure if people really understand how much of a hand Steve and DJ AM had on making electronic music "cool" again. Back in 2003-2006, electronic music was a niche market. You would go to parties in LA and I always felt like the youngest person there, it would be nothing but dudes over the age of 28 looking pretty bored with the scene because the big clubs pretty much only booked the top 25 DJmag DJ's. In late 06 early 07 I stumbled across Steve's 'Dim Mak Tuesdays' and 'Bananna Split' parties and I was blown away by the energy and creativity happening there. They would bring everyone from MSTRKFT to Alan Braxe and the crowd was full of kids excited to see these artists for the first time. Dim Mak also served as a welcome next step/bridge from the typical Hollywood scene which played nothing but hip-hop and open format at that time. Nowadays Dim Mak is putting out some of my favorite artists. Specifically the new EP from 'Sound of Stereo' is phenomenal. Also he signed SonicC who is doing some crazy stuff, especially considering he's only like 17.
AwB: Many of our readers are also from Los Angeles. Will they have the chance to catch you guys in concert in the next few months / summer?
MW: Definitely! We played at Avalon's Control party recently and we will be playing several local shows again this spring and summer in preparation of our fall European tour. We'd like to try out some new/crazy stuff for our friends in LA so we will be doing a bunch of underground/surprise apprearances. Become a fan on Facebook or follow us on twitter and you'll hear all about it.
A big thank you to Matt for answering our questions. And now for some music:
We Won't Stop (Dub Mix) - Human Life (Golden Banana)
Not your typical Human Life track, but definitely my favorite. Pure banger, really incredible bass.
To Forever - Human Life
The song that turned us onto them and their first single. You'll find yourself singing these vocals to yourself over and over again. Hopefully, we'll be able to show you our remix of this track in the near future.
Show Me The Night (Human Life's West Coast Girls Remix) - Jump Jump Dance Dance
Relaxed, funky, and poppy. Way more their style.
Gymtronic (Human Life Remix) - Alan Gay
Big bass, funky track.
In It Together (Acid Girls Remix) - Human Life
Weird track, kinda got an old school rave feel to it with some new touches.