Heard of Human Waste Project yet? Well if you know me, have seen my web pages, or the last issue of this here thing, then you will. And you will continue to do so. One of the most exciting, fresh, original new bands to come out of ANYWHERE in a long time, their debut album E-Lux, will be released in the UK early next year. It's walking away with the album of the year award in my book, and this in a year where Voivod, Deftones, Life of Agony, Faith No More, LARD, Wildhearts, NOFX, and a shit load of other good/great bands have all released albums. So anyway, if you've not heard of them yet, then settle in. Bettter still, go and buy the album, pop it on, then sit back and read this. If you can that is with the album going. You might find yourself being turned into a ball of energy unable to stop grinning and sit still.
Sometimes you have everything planned out in your mind, you know exactly what you want to happen, and what is going to happen. That was me, going to see Human Waste Project on their first UK gig, opening for Tura Satana.
I've been listening to the album for about 6-8 months, love it, have so many questions in my mind. And then the true reflection of my skill at this sort of thing sets in. The band do the gig, which was awesome, and I'm allowed on the bus to do the interview, and suddenly it's like duhhhh. 27 and acting like a teenage idiot. I'd hoped that I was a vaguely sensible person, but faced with a band whose music has been played on my stereo, in my car, in work, more than any other this year, I think I was just grinning like an idiot. Trying to look intelligent. I make no bones about this being objective. This band are one of my favourites at the moment. They deserve to be huge, I'm just glad I've been lucky enough to be in on the trip from a relatively early point. It's always so much fun if you find a band that means something to you early on.
I mean, when was the last time I actually took something to be autographed. When I interviewed Gorilla in the first issue and asked them to sign all the Gorilla and Beyond stuff, but before that. When Perry Farrell signed all my Janes Addiction CDs after the gig in Bristol way back when. But this time I took the CD inlay, got a signed flier. Y'know, silly fan like stuff. It's weird, but that's what this band means to me.
But anyway, instead of it all being so well structured, me asking those incisive questions about the band, the album, music and life in general, it turned into, well, a more general chat really. And my tape recorder was set on too low, so some of the more difficult to hear bits turn out to be the most interesting bits which I didn't previously know about. Bugger. And the tape doesn't tell me that it's finished, it just sits there with it's light on. Double bugger.
Say a prayer for the tape recorder, because it doesn't have one. Anyway, excuses over.
As a result of my ineptitude, this, as I said, is going to be more of the informal chat than the incisive, cutting edge journalism I'd intended. Maybe it's better that way. Whatever.
But first, the gig. Human Waste Project's first ever in the UK, and believe me, it isn't going to be the last. Coming on to the intro tape, the band open up immediately with one of the real aces in their pack. Powerstrip. Aimee is wearing a face mask, which tends to make her look like someone out of Kiss, but we won't hold that against her. As an opener, it's pretty much as powerful as they come, and probably helps in terms of winning over a lot of people instantly. We're Human Waste Project ... and we're not from here says Aimee pacing nervously round the stage in circles.
The band then progress to whip through a choice selection of material from the album E-Lux, Drowned, One Night In Spain, Shine, Exit Wound (introduced as a song for lovers, by fuckers), Dog (where Aimee messed up I reckon by singing the second verse first), and Drugstore. Requests for This Town are met be a tantalising few words, before Aimee says that we can't do it without Jonathon. I'll do it goes up the cry from somewhere. This is going to get difficult grins Aimee.
As the set progresses, more and more people are gradually being sucked into the HWP spell, by the end, they enticed a pretty good response out of the crowd and won over a host of new friends, something evident by the amount of posters and leaflets that the band end up signing afterwards. Someone mentioned later on the bus, that it was the best opening act reception he'd seen a band get at Rio's.
Disease ends things, with Aimee asking if there is any girl or boy that you really hate, and dedicating the song to them. Are we only allowed to choose one person though. Before the band finishes, Aimee announces that they will be back soon with Coal Chamber. Like I said, the first of many, and this band is going to be huge in this country. Catch them NOW.
Just to try and show that I can be objective, there were lowpoints, the non appearance of This Town and Slide, but hey, time constraints. It'll only be for a while. Cos mighty soon, if they want to, they are going to be headlining places like this. Just wait until the album is released here.
After the gig, I'm allowed onto the bus to try and do this interview lark. Nervously I wander in to where 3/4 of the band are sat, only drummer Scott is missing, apparently getting ratarsed. Marshmallow comes the offer, as a bag of them is handed around. Much to Aimees anguish. It seems she loves them, but is trying to avoid them at the moment. So this is what a tour bus is like then, magazines, videos, just like most places really I guess. After introducing myself and being treated to a hug from Aimee as a result of something said. I mention that I was told to do that, she grins, she knows. But I'm too shy for all that, even just walking into sit down and chat is making me nervous. Still, they're all extremely friendly and intelligent people, which is always nice, even if I don't always return the compliment to people. And yes, get it over with, Aimee is very attractive and grabs your attention, but Jeff is friendly and articulate and shares the spotlight with Aimee.
Ok, that's my major ego massage over with.
I start to try and think what the hell it was I was going to ask. I bet I find most of this doesn't come out in the morning I offer. Bastard, why do I curse myself like that. Still, I manage to get Aimee to sign the cd, therefore completing the set.
I start on what I think is safe ground. So this is your first time in the UK right?
"For the band yeah, Mike's been over a few times before though". After explaining that I'm Welsh not English, that there is a difference, more than just dialect, I correct Mike that Sean Connery is Scottish, not Welsh. Mind you, some bands have referred to Wales as being in England. They'll learn some day . Later on Amiee says that some of the accents that she's heard so far are strange, and that we speak faster and you have to listen harder. Wait till she hears a Geordie accent :)
So, after expecting to maybe do the interview before the gig, I now have to change some of the questions, given that some partial answers were given at the gig. So, instead of how are you looking forward to the gig, it was, how do you think the gig went?
"Good", is Aimee's reply. "We were a bit nervous, not really knowing what to expect, and a bit tired from the jet lag, but it seemed to go well. A few mistakes, but you know. What did you think?"
Of course me being me, I manage to stay totally unbiased. Excellent, really good. God I like it when I'm articulate.
Jeff goes on to explain a bit about the tour. "Tura Satana and Tairrie are old friends, and when they offered us the chance of the tour, well, they're a pretty big deal over here, and being friends it's an ideal opportunity."
So have you been corrupted yet? I ask Aimee in reference to her saying in Kerrang! recently that Tairrie had promised to corrupt her on the tour. "Not yet" shelaughs. But there again, it is only the first night.
Which it is, and on the nights evidence, the band are going to grasp the opportunity firmly. But the only thing missing from this is the album. I explain that I've been fortunate enough to own a copy in one form or another, since March, and ask what all the delays were, and if it's been frustrating.
The look from Aimee is enough to answer the question, But she explains. "There was change within the label, there was a new president, and a lot of bands got dropped. But they wanted to keep us, it just meant that the album had to be be delayed, financial and political stuff. So it's put us a bit behind, and we were like in limbo for a while, but in the long run it should be ok."
However, the album isn't officially available in the UK yet, though if you look well enough you can find it. Wouldn't the tour have been an ideal time to release it here?
Again the looks seems to explain it all, but Jeff explains "We weren't originally going to press for a release date over here, because we didn't expect anything. But then the label were basically telling us there was such a repsonse to us, and they basically sent a request. So, like I said, with the Tura thing coming up we decided to do it.""It was a real surprise, we didn't think anyone would've have heard over here, but there seemed to be a big response, partly due to people like you doing this sort of thing, and finding out and spreading the world"
In fairness, I was told about the band by other people, who then filled me in on the information, and supplied me with the demo and advances of the album. So, how about the Coal Chamber tour. Tonight you said you'd be doing it. I'd been told before that you would, then you were going to be touring the states with Snot instead, so is this definite?
"Yeah", says Aimee. "We were originally going to tour with Snot in the states, but what we're doing is after this tour, going home, doing 3 weeks with Snot, then coming back to do the Coal Chamber tour." "It's a case of raising the profile, and leaving a memory in people's minds, so that it's there when the album comes out, rather than do just these dates, then leave it" continues Jeff.
And Powerstrip is going to be released as a single.
"Yeah, that's right. She Gives that was on the demo, is going to be on there as well" says Aimee. Mike seems particularly pleased with the inclusion of Electra, as it shows another side of Human Waste Project
I'd been wondering what happened with that song, as I thought it should've been on the album as well.
"Well, there's 14 songs on there, and another one would've been pushing it a bit far" reckons Jeff. "We wanted 13, but then we came up with Graverobbers from Mars, which was done in one take, on the spur of the moment, with Ross and Chuck (which is what is being said at the start, it's Aimee and Ross going "Chuck Chuck Chuck") and which we wanted to put on as track 00, but you can't do that, so it had to go as track 1 and we had 14 tracks.". Aimee then relates the tale of that song, and how she ended up singing it through an electric fan! Unfortunately, bits of it are difficult to make out on the tape, and I'm not going to try and tell the tale incorrectly. Still, I'm sure you'll read about it soon enough in all those "professional" magazines.
Anyway, I guess this accounts for why the advance tape had the tracks Spokejam and Catfish, which disappeared on the tracklisting from the eventual album.
"Yeah, they have basically been tagged on to the begining of the songs" says Jeff (the first 40 seconds of Shine, and the start of One Night in Spain). Amiee then tells Jeff how when Spain is played on the radio, it now has the little effects part at the beginning of the song. "Including the dropped microphone?" asks Jeff, before Aimee goes on to explain that it's actually an effect that was placed on the track. So everyone learns something new.
This Town was the first time I ever heard HWP about 12-15 months ago. And I still love that song. So I was initially going to ask if they play it live. Course, as I've just seen them live, I think I know the answer. So I ask if they will only play it with Jon as Aimee kind of indicated during the gig?
"I think probably we should relearn it and do it" says Aimee, more to Jeff and Mike more than anything, before they start talking musitalk, y'know, keys, major or minor doobries, scales and that sort of thing. Which hopefully means I'll hear it at some stage on the tour. I'm not overly convinced they want to, but they figure that it's something that people will know.
Amiee is feeling hungry, and the marshmallows are about to be removed. I suggest that as they're in Bradford, there is only one food that can be eaten. Curry. "We had one last night" says Mike, "there's a lot of places round here for them". You're not kidding.
While I sit thinking of what it was I meant to ask next, talk turns to the reformed Black Sabbath. Jeff says he'd love to see them, but they're not going to be able to, and asks whether Bill Ward is playing, as he seems to be omitted from the poster. Later on, talk once more gets round to reunions, and especially the Janes Addiction reunion. Aimee particularly appears to be a fan, which is a relief as I thought that I heard a Janes influence in E-Lux. So when I mention that I'm not sure about them doing it with Flea on bass, I'm kind of put in my place, but in a reassuring manner . "I saw them twice recently" explains Aimee, "and it was incredible. But Flea played it completely straight, no fooling around, so there's nothing to worry about there. The first time was this really intimate gig, and an amazing party afterwards, it was just one of the best nights." Some people know how to make you jealous. A fact heightened when she mentions having seen The God Machine play with Cop Shoot Cop, "I'm really pleased I got to see The God Machine" as we reflect over their tragic demise. Still, I've heard the Sophia CD which Aimee hasn't, so at least I get some points back. Jeff also asks if I've seen Neurosis, and goes on about how he'd love one of the air raid sirens like Benji from Dub War uses, "to use in the background of a song, as that droning noise".
But there was the interview right, so in my spare time, I've remembered to ask about how the recording went for the album, and some of the tales that went on.
It was really good, went really well they reckon.
And there were a few events going on, was there a fire or something?
"Well, not actually at the studio itself, but in the surrounding areas, about 6 acres around it. And then there was a lunar eclipse, I saw a meteor crash, and Jeff nearly got killed. That one's not really been told yet" she says.
So what happened.
"Well, there's this hike that we used to take nearly every day, down this ridge. It's really beautiful, the air everything y'know. Jeff didn't go much, but the one time that he went, he fell about 15 feet down it."
"Luckily I landed perfectly in the dirt," says Jeff, "but getting back up the ridge was terrible". "It's like this" Aimee indicates a sheer face with her hand, but it's such a beautiful place. A discussion then took place between Aimee and Jeff over the bassist exercise rituals, or lack of it, "yeah, click click" Aimee imitates changing the TV with a remote.
They also explain how they started recording on a Friday 13th, finished mastering on Halloween, and the date that they signed has 666 in it. 16/6/96. So your run of the mill recording then.
Aimee laughs, "well I just think of it as us having paid our dues to the Gods y'know."
So with the album having taken so long to come out, like I said, I've been lucky enough to be listening to it for a while now, and as much as I like it, I find myself now wanting to hear new stuff. Is it like that for you.
"Well yeah, we were talking about this only the other day. For us, it's like a year old, and we'd like to do some new stuff." "We basically don't intend going into the studio for about 1 1/2 years" says Aimee, "but we're going to start writing some new stuff soon."
Struggling to remember the next point I wanted to ask, it's time to turn to those cheesy but ever reliable questions, so which singers inspire you?
The list starts rattling off, and throughout the course of my time, more names are suddenly thrown in. "Perry Farrell, Siouxsie, Robert Smith, Sade, Chino, Max Cavelera" are amongst the names uttered by Aimee. I also threw in an obligatory, are there any that you hate? The answers shall remain anonymous.
The other week, Kerrang! described Human Waste Project as being "a cross between White Zombie and Tura Satana, while looking like No Doubt on a cheap day return trip from Hell." I wonder what the band thought of that description.
"Do you believe that" says Aimee with a look of disbelief. "Do you think we do? I mean, no offence to those guys, you know, Tura are great friends and whatever, but I don't really think we're a cross of those bands. And those pictures they used..." she shakes her head. "One day they'll use a picture which actually looks like me" "When they come up with a way of saying Iron Maiden are like The Spice Girls, then maybe I'll understand it" Jeff shakes his head.
Which is a relief to me, because I thought I'd been listening to and seen pictures of a different band.
"But the live review they did of us in the same issue was fantastic" says Aimee. "And we're really grateful that Kerrang! appears to be getting behind us and some other bands. We spoke to the guy who did the live review, and he said that he did that other article as well, and it was ..." a look of disbelief crosses her face again.
Once more, my interview technique is starting to let me down, so talk just tends to happen. Aimee spots the Far t-shirt I'm (proudly) wearing. Ah, safer territory.
"Far, man. They are so good" She says. I explain that it's from the recent Deftones / Far tour, and that the first issue of this here zine had an interview with them and System of a Down amongst others, and this current issue will be featuring Jonah's tour diary.
"Tricky as well, Tool and Seal" Jeff pipes in as well on the influences front "Misfits, The Clash, Skinny Puppy, Public Enemy, Bauhaus"
"See, I'd say we're closer to sounding like Far, and rather be compared with them than this White Zombie, No Doubt on a return trip from Hell thing." They're obviously a bit disturbed by the comparison. Kerrang! will apparently be hooking up with the band in a day or so. It'll be interesting to see what comes out of that. But while we're on the subject of great new bands, we talk about System of a Down as well.
"They're so cool, like Slayer in a way, but without the Dungeons and Dragons lyrics""Yeah, their sound is much more updated" Jeff continues, "and they're such sweet guys, really mellow" She says. Jeff asks what the Kerrang! description of them was.
"They're so funny, and really great live. Serj is funny and his laugh (she then does an impression), and they're so intense live. Their Armenian, and so are a lot of their crowd at the gigs, and when they stage dive, they don't just do the normal dive, they do a little dance before they dive", which Aimee proceeds to demonstrate, minus the actual dive. What was that I was saying about being Jealous of some of the bands she's seen. Grrrr.
While we're at it then, what about the Korn connection in terms of in the UK, everything seems to be pushed down either the Korn road, the Marilyn Manson road, or a British band, The Wildhearts road. And HWP are lumped in with the Korn thing, which is immediately going to turn some people off. Is that a potential problem.
"Oh and Iggy Pop" adds Aimee, "We could probably go on for days". So I think we'll call a halt there. Lets say they seem to be influenced by lots of diverse artists.
But back to that Korn connection. "I really don't mind the connection. It's like we've had similar in the States, and with some of the hardcore bands we've toured with. We're not hardcore, and I'm not knocking it, we have some intense moments, heavy moments, but also more mellow parts as well, but when we toured with these bands and played to their crowds, it was maybe the same. But after a while, I really think that people start listening to us for what we are, and that they begin to understand. If they listen, they'll hear the difference, like you said with the Jane's Addiction influence. So I'm not really to worried about it. I see what you mean, but I think people will come round to who we are."
I hope so, though I'm not overly convinced. I think in Britain, as the way things are pushed, some people will see the Korn connection and immediately avoid it. But they'd be the losers.
What about the name. I mean, surely it's only going to be a matter of time before some clever person rights to a magazine and making certain associations with it.
"Yeah, probably, but it doesn't really matter about the name of the band, it's more about the music than a name associated. I mean, maybe someone is going to link excrement, and we did think of that in the first place. But the meaning behind the name is more a reflection and observation, and we decided to stick with it." Jeff then goes on to explain further the meaning behind it, but as he said at the end, "if you look at Aimee's mom's web page, you'll find what it's all about there". So rather than bore you with that, I will merely encourage you to stop by there.
It's around about now that some other people join us on the bus, others that have done some interviews I believe, and also maybe some people working for the record company. Conversation fragments off in all directions. I sit smugly in the knowledge that the recorder is capturing it all, except it's not is it, and it's about to run out. Git.
So as a result, I can't tell you the bass setup that Jeff uses. Or the name of the Punk band that Jeff used to play in (or shout as he put it, not so much play).
Or the changes to the set list that they are planning to make. Aimee was unhappy, with it. I remember for a fact that she said, "I don't know why we played this setlist, but I know we're not playing it again", before going on to explain how they intend to rearrange it. I think Slide may make a return. I'll know tomorrow night I guess. I may even get pushy and try and ask some of the questions which now of course, I remember that I wanted to ask. And clear up some of the bits that I can't quite make out off the tape. If they'll talk to me that is.
Anyway, back to where we were. Tairrie enters the bus armed with a video camera (hide me) looking for some videos to watch. So it turns out that Jeff in particular likes The Young Ones, especially the one where Motorhead play. Tarrie tells about how one girl whose birthday it was and who knew all the lyrics wanted to kiss her. So Aimee tells how one girl said to her that she wants to be like her when she grows up. And how the couple of girls interviewing her earlier were so sweet, especially wearing HWP necklaces, and when she learns that the interview is apparently for a dedicated HWP zine. Neat. And then it's time to leave before they go the other direction towards Scotland. Aimee is still looking for food. The marshmallows are hidden. Which is where we came in.
Well, I was speaking to Jeff after the Nottingham gig a few days later, and asked him some of the questions I'd meant to ask before. This wasn't recorded, but this is pretty much what was said.
So why was the name of the album changed from Electralux to E-Lux.
Basically because the company Eletrolux (note the difference in spelling) were threatening action because of the name. We'd been considering changing the name Human Waste Project to Electralux, but when that came up, we decided to stick with Human Waste Project and Aimee came up with the name E-Lux.
And so did that have any effect in the delay of the album getting released.
No not at all, that was all down to label, politics money etc. Which is what was explained earlier in the interview.
Have you actually recorded a video for Powerstrip or anything on the album.
Not yet no. Powerstrip might make a good one, or Spain or Drowned. I'm not overly keen on videos, (he goes on to explain a bit, but I can't remember the exact words), but we have a friend (whose name I've now forgotten, but I think it was Josh) whose getting into video, so we may get him to help out. Basically, we're on a small budget, and unless you have a lot of money to spend, a lot of videos aren't very good.
I also asked about "the hat Aimee wears during the Depeche Mode cover" which Serj from System of a Down said about. Jeff explained, but I'll leave you to find out for yourself when the band get more time and are able to include the song in the set. And you'll hear something for yourself if they do want Jeff said they may do during the Coal Chamber tour. Gulp.
So there you have it, one UK tour down, the rest of the world to go.
Thanks to the band for the time, and not getting pissed off. Thanks also to Mrs Echo for allowing me to use the Images. Check out the web site. And thanks to my car for making it to all the gigs, well, until I tried to get to Bristol that is. Cheers also to Kev, who initially gave me copies of HWP music, long before it was officially available.