Established in 1992, Christchurch Death Metal / Grindcore band HUMAN is one of New Zealand’s longest running bands in their genre. Over the years the band has been responsible for some classic metal recordings with titles such as ‘Playtime For The Sex Machine’, ‘Organ Spatters’ and ’69 Minutes Of Self Abusement’. 2009 marks the release of HUMAN’s fourth album ‘Cadaver Academy’. Originally scheduled for release in early 2008 the band decided to re-record the album after recruiting a new drummer Nicolas Kissel. NZRock caught up with founding member Scott Spatcher-Harrison (vocals / lead guitar) to get the rundown on HUMAN…
NZRock: HUMAN has been around since 1992, how does it feel being one of the longest running Death / Grind bands in New Zealand?
Scott: It’s a bit weird when I think of how long the band has been around. And when you do, you kind of feel a bit ‘old’ which sucks. I guess my mindset is; acknowledge the past but don’t dwell on it for very long. The future is always more of an inspiration to me.
NZRock: Apart from right now (because pretty much everyone says right now haha!), what’s been your favourite era for the band?
Scott: Apart from right now? I’m not sure. You have to understand that the way we play NOW, I wish we could’ve been able to do a looooong time ago. We feel that much more vicious, unlike in say 1995 when we had morphed into a metal crossover act. We had literally everyone in Christchurch showing up to our shows to see what we’d do next. I was the sole guitarist and we had a main vocalist (who later went on to form SLAVETRADER) who was pretty off the wall. He had sheep skull codpieces and all that stuff. We were more like a rock band that played blast beats and sang with death metal vocals. But it got us noticed to the point where we got on the kids morning program What Now? so it was hilarious to think that we were the exception to the backlash metal was going through in gagging for airplay of any kind. We did some big shows in he past too.
NZRock: You’ve released the new album ‘Cadaver Academy’ and done the tour, how did it go and what were some of the highlights?
Scott: Let’s see… our roadie Marcus left his special dinner fork in a motel in Timaru. We basically had to retrace our steps to find it for him because he couldn’t be without out. That guy got all the girls on the south island leg of the tour! We of course got no-one because we’re the fuckin’ band anyway. And we’ve all got ‘other halves’ so that’s probably a good thing haha! Wellington’s show was a highlight for me because you know it’s a good show when your mic stand gets knocked over on stage – and that always happen to me in Wellington. Bless ’em. Dunedin was a good show, as was Christchurch. I got someone square in the face with my blood spitting at the end of the set in Christchurch. Lots of little things were highlights man. Even the whole band hanging out at an Indian restaurant before a show is a highlight. Even going up to Audience With The Devil / Morbid Angel and seeing as many Human t-shirts at the shows as I did was a big highlight! Okay, I’ve said ‘highlight’ enough now. And for the record, throwing up on the flight home is not a highlight haha!
NZRock: You were going to release ‘Cadaver Academy’ and tour last year but it got postponed. How come?
Scott: We parted ways with our drummer / my brother [Paul Harrison]. We’d tracked the album to the point where it was just going to get mixed and mastered. We’d even got a ‘Cadaver Academy’ tour set up and ready for it in April 2008 so it was all good to go. We rushed some mixes of 2 songs onto our MySpace page and some radio stations and we were felling happy enough with it all. Then after the tour we noticed that not all of us were happy with our performance and attitude towards said performance. A month after that I asked him to go. The others in the band were 100% behind me making that move and said they’d stay on if we got another drummer. We’d basically thought that we wouldn’t have any trouble finding a new drummer after Paul had gone. It took early a month of waiting for people to audition. We had not ONE bite that whole time and I was pretty down about it to be honest. I asked alot of people to try out and heard every excuse under the sun. Then one day Nik emailed me and asked if anyone had had a go and we arranged an audition at his practice space. Long story short, he blew us away and I’ve never stopped grinning since. The guy can really play, and he’s also become my best friend in the process. Awesome man.
NZRock: Where’d you record the album and who with?
Scott: We did the drums at a big venue that we’re not allowed to name (funnily enough). It was a purpose built studio and we got some good sounds out of there. Our guitarist Kezz recorded the drums along with a mate Jono Lauti. Those guys know their Pro Tools so it was a good combination. I know where the back of my hand is but that’s about that.
NZRock: What was it like meeting David Vincent from MORBID ANGEL and did you get a chance to have a good chat to the guy?
Scott: Me and Nik (HUMAN’s drummer) and Vaughn (HUMAN’s bassist / vocalist) went up to say howdy because we’d been invited. There were a few folks there and I’m not one to crowd so we just stood back and had a drink in the corner literally. We ended up sitting down with the chaps from TAINTED and suddenly he comes over and says “So! What’s been happening guys?” and I was blown away! Pretty cool of him to just come down to earth and hang out with a pack of dicks like us. So I quizzed him about TERRORIZER and what it was like getting that album done and stuff. I think at some points he was staring at my eye and I caught him out a couple of times. We also saw Trey Azagthoth at a bar after MORBID ANGEL played – he was nice enough to take a photo with me – check our MySpace for that. Most of the ‘rockstars’ I’ve met are pretty down to earth people actually. Even DRAGONFORCE… Even Vaughn haha!
NZRock: You guys opened for DRAGONFORCE when they came to NZ in 2007. How’d you score the support slot? Did you guys ever play any gigs with Sam’s old band DEMONIAC?
Scott: We got the support by tracking down the promoter and asking him if we could do it. Then I dropped guitarist Sam Totman a line and he said that “if they didn’t put HUMAN on then tell them we were gay lovers or something” so it was inevitable we were going to play haha! And Dragonforce are alot of fun to listen to so it was a really good match up, them and us. As far playing with DEMONIAC, no that never happened. They didn’t play many shows at all I think because they thought they’d do better overseas and nobody in NZ would understand them. We’d met Sam and those cats WAY early on, in 1992 in fact. Sam’s old band KARNAGE were playing in Christchurch and didn’t have anywhere to stay. Our mate Chris asked if we could put them up for a night or two and that was that! We had some fun times with those guys. Sam asked if I wanted to play mandolin on the DeEMONIAC moniac album but I declined because my Irish band at the time was too busy to let me away for a weekend to do it. Wankers. Wish I had just gone and done it anyway – oh well! That’s why we covered a DEMONIAC song when we played with DRAGONFORCE in ’07. They missed it live but caught it on YouTube and thought it was awesome so hurrah!
NZRock: Kezz had his guitar stolen last year, did he ever get it back?
Scott: It did get tracked down to some guy in Christchurch, who must’ve heard the heat was coming so he quickly sent it to someone in Thailand or Singapore or somewhere like that. It was gonna be a pretty grueling search for it there so Kezz just said goodbye to it and bought an 8 string Ibanez instead. I think if someone were to retrieve it for him still, the reward would be pretty good!
NZRock: What does HUMAN have planned for the rest of the year?
Scott: Now that ‘Cadaver Academy’ has been recorded and distribution is being planned for New Zealand, we are sending it off to a select number of labels because I believe that we are now at the point where we sound good enough to be on a label and having some greater promotional clout. We’re not made of money, and it does cost us to tour and record, so I want us to be able to go further afield. In order to do that, we need people in other countries to hear our stuff. An overseas label is going to help get that done. We’re also in the process of doing a third music video for the song ‘We Come In Pieces’ AND we’re thinking we’ll do an EP in November with a small tour to accompany it. Songwriting starts next week and I already have 2 in my pocket.
NZRock: Cheers for doing the interview!
Scott: No worries man, thanks for supporting Human and New Zealand metal in general. Your site rocks – more hits to ya!