LA has been sending a whole mess of cool bands our way, and Human Waste Project ands another one. Fresh from their first set of UK dates, Chris Ingham finds out all about them.
You may not have heard anything by them, but I'm betting you've heard the name Human Waste Project more times in the last six month than you're comfortable with, considering that the band have never released a record in the UK. But all that is about to change. Following those frighteningly charged gigs with fellow City of Angels terrors Tura Satana on their recent tour, HWP will release their debut UK single 'Powerstrip' on December 8 and are already talking about returning for a support slot with Coal Chamber next month.
One of an emerging group of energetic and colourful bands springing from the current Californian scene, HWP are fronted by the soon-to-be-pinned-on-every-male's-wall figure of Aimee Echo. But first things first, let's do the introductions:
"Scott (Ellis, drums) and I grew up together in Huntingdon Beach, which has been a hotbed of music since we were kids," coos Ms Echo. "We grew up around music, and he and Jeff (Schartoff, bass) were playing in garages and stuff since for ever".
"I never considered singing as such, but I'd come to their rehearsals and say, 'Why don't you let me have a go?' and they'd just laugh. I don't know who heard me sing, but someone did so Scott gave in. I had a go and it felt great. We hung out together for about a year, writing stuff and playing in the garage, and then Mike Tempesta (guitarist and brother of White Zombie's John) came in, and that was the final piece of the puzzle."
It's an unfortunate fact that whenever a woman fronts a band, she receive's the lions share of attention: think No Doubt, The Nymphs, Garbage and Man ... ahem, Tura Satana. Aimee is aware of this, but she's keen to present HWP as a band at every level.
"I know it's a corny thing to say, but it's true: we really are like a big family. Creatively speaking, we work amazingly together," she states, before conceding with a giggle, "Okay, so maybe there's a bit of arguing, but it's nothing serious, and if we do argue, I win, cos I've got the biggest mough and I can scream louder than the rest of them!".
HWP's debut album, E-Lux, has been out in the States for some time now (scheduled for release in February '98 here), and as those who caught them earlire this month will testify Aimee sounds as if she's got a lot to say.
"This first record is the result of years of thought and frustration building up that was gonna come out no matter what. There is a lot of 'life sucks' mentality on there sure. But at the same time, I think there is enough 'life is amazing' to balance it out. People talk about my passionate lyrics, but I would hate for anyone to think it's forced'."
Even a cursory glance at the albums lyrics would lead one to believe that Aimee has a thing about relationships, or, specifically, the dirtly little mind games that are part'n'parcel of the 'ol liquid swap.
"Love is torture, but it's amazing torture, and it's also the most important, incredible and immense thing that exists. Once you get into the duality of love, you can write lyrics forever!" she chatters.
There seems to be a lot of power play going on in your lyrics; would you agree?
"I don't know about power play, that would imply some kind of fight. Sometimes I want to get my power back, and I use my music to do that, which is an option a lot of othe women don't have. Somebody once said that the best revenge you can get on someone is to write a song and put it on a record. That way, the whole world gets it, and I certainly believe in that!"
It sounds similar t something that other tigress of the boards, Tarrie B, would say ...
"I've known Tarrie since 1992/93, so we're really good friends ... we're like photo negatives of each other. I wear a lot of light
colours, and she's always in black - she calls herself my evil twin. We're both from LA, we both front aggressive bands and we're both strong women, so yeah, there are similarities, but I don't think it would be accurate to say that, as bands, we share the same visions. Tarrie is really hard, her strength is amazing - she scares the hell out of me for sure!"
Any examples, purely in the interests of shit-stirring and blackmail opportunities?
"Er - let's just say that woman can pack a punch!"
Even down the phone, Aimee has an infectious personality; her mischevious laugh would pierce the guard of the most austere party pooper. In fact,on a recent tour with scene darlings Deftones, the Sacramento headliners got more than they bargained for when they playfully threatened her with the usual end-of-tour shenanigans.
"When we went on stage, they pelted us with eggs and flour and hit me with pillows. So later on, during their set we got our revenge in style. When Chino does his vocal breakdown in 7 Words, we started throwing hundreds of tortillas at the stages, and covered them with whipped cream and as much junk food we could find from the local store. Just when they thought we'd finished, we let six live chickens loose - they didn't know what to do!"
Like Coal Chamber, Deftones, Far and Incubus, HWP have managed to bring their own take on this Californain thing to our shores. However, Aimee's own tips for the top are American nutters System of a Down.
"System ... are probably the heaviest, yet still interesting live band I've ever seen - they are totally amazing! There are a lot of bands coming out of California at the moment, but (Korn / Manhole producer) Ross Robinson has also picked up on bands from Florida too, like Limp Bizkit and Cold, who're just great!"