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Scout Beck

Humans As Ornaments

Scout Beck, Editor

They stream their EP today and launch on Wednesday at their home city's Brudenell Social Club. Leeds four-piece Humans As Ornaments have hit the ground running with the fraught yet addictive angst of 'When will this be enough?'

With Jack Byrne on vocals and guitar, Sam Jackson on backing vocals and guitar, Guy Read on bass and John Roberts on 'angry' vocals and drums the band have perfected the tighter, more ragged emotional sound of rock.

As they prepare to announce their arrival on the scene in explosive style, we caught up with the band for a chat.

Hi how and where are you right now?

Guy: Hi we're good thanks! We're just in the middle of a practise at our rehearsal studio, Rock and Roll Circus in Leeds.

Can we start with your backgrounds, how did you get together?

Sam: Originally it started off as a uni project for me, the band Jack and I were in at the time was folding and I had written these new songs in a slightly different style I wanted to start playing. So after I finished uni I decided to start it up properly, Jack and Guy came in as we lived together then we found John which finished the lineup.

How did you develop as a band? Were you clear from the outset what you wanted from the music?

John: We never decided to play a specific genre of music, we slowly developed our sound by playing together and continuously writing new material. We just wanted to write music we would want to hear at the time and if other people are into then that's great! We're still developing and learning as a group though!

How would you describe your sound?

John: I guess loud and gnarly guitars and drums with pretty vocal melodies.

What can you tell us about the EP?

Guy: It's a collection of 4 songs that best represent where we're currently at as a band.

It's a pretty polished collection for a debut, what was the creative and recording process like for the EP?

Sam: Thanks for saying so! The songs evolved primarily from guitar riffs that me and Jack had, we bring in basic ideas then work on the songs as a group until they're ready. The recording process was fun!

It's always nice hearing the songs coming together in that environment! Especially when your drummer (John) has finished all his parts first and starts creating new cocktails. Chum being the most popular, Cherry Coke and Rum, and then spinning round on the engineers chair with his tongue hanging out. We'll find the video and upload it soon!

You are all equally strong on the tracks, would you say that's a fair description of how you are and how you work?

John: I think so. We encourage each other to put forward ideas in the writing process and we all write for the song because that's what people care about. We write songs as one piece rather than making songs out of a collection of parts.

How do you feel about the EP now it's complete?

Sam:We're so excited for people to hear the end result now it's finished. We're please to have the hard work done and on record and not have any more overnight mixing sessions left, for the time being!

Does it say what you wanted to say? What was that?

Guy: We think the songs sum up how we feel about our lives at the moment and we hope there things people can relate to. From working 50 hour weeks in a place you hate to confessing your love for someone.

There are some heavier rock influences there, who would you say has had the most influence on your sound?

John: I guess we get compared to bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Weezer a bit by people at shows. Those guitar based bands that lean slightly towards more 'poppy' areas but remain undeniably rock bands.

What were the inspirations lyrically for the songs?

Jack: The lyrics are inspired mainly by real events, with a little poetic license here and there. For example, Padlocks is about a recent trip to Paris with my Fiancée, where they have a tradition of attaching initialled padlocks to the bridges across the river.

What are your inspirations musically?

Sam: We all take inspiration from a wide array of artists and moments in our lives. I love Deftones, not because I think we sound anything like them but they're one of those bands that have such a wide scope of genres and influences across their songs... do you know what I mean? No other bands sound like them and they're always trying new things and mixing things up which I think is fucking cool

John: Early 90's grunge is what I grew up on and I've always been a fan of heavy metal which has always inspired me to put a lot of energy into the music that I play.

Guy: I like bands that use simplicity as a tool for expression. Stuff like the White Stripes for writing probably one of the most recognisable modern bass lines that makes you guy 'why didn't I think of that?'. And it's played on a guitar!

Jack: Lyrically I'm inspired by a lot of the bands I listened to in my teenage angsty emo phase. I always liked the on the nose approach that bands like Manchester Orchestra would take, as it always felt quite genuine and direct, rather than abstract. It's something I saw in a lot of the southern British rock scene that I grew up around; there was a lot of writing about fairly ordinary, everyday things. I'm always drawn to the small stories, the unknown lives.

Do you have the same tastes? Who do you listen to?

Sam: We all cross over on lots of bands such as Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Zeppelin... all the classics an then of course there's what's going on around us in Leeds at the moment. Bands like Treason Kings, Esper Scout, Allusondrugs, Bearfoot Beware, Narcs and loads more that are all awesome. We listen to our own things as well, our individual tastes can differ quite a lot, I'm personally into a lot of hip-hop and rap stuff like Run the Jewels as well as all the rock stuff.

How do you feel about the launch?

Guy: We're honestly just really excited to get out there and play the songs live.

Why at the Brudenell?

Sam: It's our favourite venue in Leeds / The World. Nathan (the owner) is great. How many other people or places do you know would put on acts like The Sugarhill Gang and Johnny Marr and still have time to give new talent a chance to do their thing too?

How would you describe the music scene in Leeds at the moment?

Sam: Really good, strong and diverse. There's gigs on every night and the standards high. We've mentioned a few groups we're into but there's so many talented people across many other genres and the city has enough people that want them to play. It's nice to know that lots of different musical tastes are being catered for in a live environment so frequently.

And finally, what's next for you?

John: Firstly we want to get out and play the EP to as many people as we can however we can't help but write new music together. There's more a less a new EP's worth already!

Humans as Ornaments launch live on Wednesday 26 August at Leeds Brudenell Social Club

'When Will This Be Enough?' EP review here