Interview / EP Review


Rachel Mooney
ofHuman Interview / EP Review -Ever Present


Josh Mason- Lead Vocals/ Guitar
Adam Gilbert- Drums
David Tipple- Lead Guitar/ Vocals
Stephen ‘Cletus’ Simmons- Bass/ Vocals

ALTOHIO: Alright guys, I’ll start off easy... OfHuman: what does it mean?

Josh: Adam and I were coming out of different band at the time, This World Ablaze, and wehad a new bassist, new guitarist and we really wanted to do something different where people can relate us to everyday things that everyone goes through, natural stuff. We don't write about anything fantastical - pain, happiness, everything from bad to good.
Cletus: ::grinning:: And it sounded cool.

ALTOHIO: And how has your music evolved from the birth of ofHuman until signing recently with Crushtone Records?

All together: Considerably.

David: When I joined the band it was still metal because these guys were coming off This World Ablaze and the music got...

Adam: More marketable.

ALTOHIO: Marketable...?

Adam: Marketable as far as trying to reach out to the people. We were getting really limited to the people that we could get our music in front of as far as shows and we wanted to expand; we didn't plan it that way but we wanted to play less stuff but make it more effective and just play what we had wanted to play, really.

Josh: ...And we wanted girls to come to the shows but we didn't want to feel like sissies either.

::Chuckles from the band::

Josh: We play a range.

ALTOHIO: You guys have been having a lot of firsts lately as a band. Tell me about your first studio experience with Producer Jim Wirt, a notable Producer who has recorded with Artists such as Incubus and Fiona Apple?

Josh: Working with Jim Wirt was fantastic. It was only 5 days, 5 songs; we didn't really even have all of the songs going into it.

Cletus: We had... 3?

Josh: Yeah and basically we played live in the studio for Jim; I think he really gets what we were trying to do and so the experience was laid back. You can’t do much with production in 5 days but our capabilities of being able to reproduce music that we do consistently allowed us to have time to rewrite some older stuff to use for this EP. We thought, honestly, we were going to have a few extra months but the recording got pushed up to October so we didn't have all the material ready so we kind of flew through it but Jim was fantastic, the studio was great, tracking was awesome.

Adam: We redid two songs; we reworked one song and wrote two brand new ones for the EP.

ALTOHO: Any musical influences when you guys are writing?

Josh: Personally, I try not to listen and I can’t listen to the same band over and over again or I'll get stuck. We don't necessarily take influences musically but more ideas... indirectly, structurally.

ALTOHIO: Is your writing collaborative?

Josh: Adam obviously does everything percussion but this band is more of a collaborative group effort than ever before. We have a capable bassist that can write - one of the songs on the new record is written almost entirely around the bass. I've never had a guitarist that can play the style like Dave can. I'm technical and I can write a structure but Dave will make it pretty.

ALTOHIO: Now that you have the experience, which is harder- writing, or recording?

All together: Writing.

Josh: Making something from nothing is much harder than taking something and making it good.

Dave: And recording- when Josh knows a part, he gets it done every single time.

Josh: I can’t get a song 100% finished without Dave… for instance Dave's solo in Exit Wounds, it makes that entire section of the f*cking song! I need Dave as much as I need Cletus as much as I need Adam. Without them I'd just have a Boss recorder in my basement with no one to play with ::Laughs::

Adam: But how we recorded this time was a lot different. Rather than using a scratch track and doing things section by section, with Jim, I literally did 3 to 5 takes and he would pick one - it was for the most part (recorded) live.

ALTOHIO: And what can people expect at a live show?

Adam: Energy. I can't help but get excited to play. Every single time. It's hard to kind of bring me out of it. I'm always pumped.

ALTOHIO: Any pre show rituals?

Josh: ::Laughs:: It's actually kind of annoying... Adam will stop us as we're literally walking out to the stage every time to say, 'Hey... hey hey hey. '
We’ll all look and say, ‘'What?'
‘He’ll say, 'Hey... have fun out there.' ::Laughs::

ALTOHIO: Any embarrassing moments on stage?

Adam: Dropping sticks haha, that’s about it.

Josh: Cletus broke a string in the first verse of the first song (at a show) and I'm looking back because I hear the bass is just f*cking up and see Cletus! (points)

Cletus: I was trying to transpose to the higher strings! But the string that broke was literally laced through the others along the fret board and the notes sounded like, 'Pshtst.'

O: With an Indie label, you have more control over your music and how it’s shared with the community. Bands like Metallica have taken a stance on free sharing whereas bands such as Radiohead deliberately free share through self-releases. Google has even recently received pressure from major labels to censor their search results to yield only paid music downloading programs rather than free sharing. Thoughts?

A: You gotta make money but then again the music is not really anything unless you have fans, so I respect people like Radiohead and NIN who put their stuff out for free and then add their $20 dollars per album.

C: Or you can donate, like Trent Reznor. He made how much in the first day?

J: I remember watching VH1 behind the music and Metallica was well known for passing out their demo tapes, you know? But really the problem is with our generation. When you start getting almost addicted to wanting things for free, you know? And Radiohead and Trent Reznor can do that and make all their money because they're Radiohead and Trent Reznor.

ALTOHIO: But you guys want to be a touring band? That’s where people who free share make their money; when you leave Ohio and you don't have a huge fan base, free sharing your music would seem to be the answer to be able to tour?

J: And I’m behind it to a certain degree. All I'm saying is that the music industry and the entertainment industry both suffer from pirating. If you want something to be around it has to be sustainable; you can’t just get everything for free. Our generation kind of has troubles with that because they want to hear the song, they don't really want to support the artist as much. We do have music out now that’s free, and we want you to have it but at the same time we work really hard for this. We want people to hear it, that’s our main priority right now, but at the same time during our career if no one pays for anything, you know, I love playing music but I couldn't afford it.

ALTOHIO: One thing people need to know about ofHuman right now?

C: We have an EP coming out, Ever Present and a release party for the album at The Bluestone (formerly BOMA) on May 27th. We hope to see everyone there, and we have a solid summer schedule around Ohio and the Midwest that were very excited about.

ALTOHIO: Awesome. We’ll wrap this up with a game of shorts: it’s called ‘bust out your band mates.’ Feel free to bust out your band mate to the left using only one word or phrase. Josh, you can start with Cletus?

C: I gotta go first?!

J: Well, we don't want to be mean…

C: Wait… you could be mean to me, dude?! You have, like, bad thoughts of me where you could come up with something right now?!:: Laughs::

A: Well, I will say Josh is someone who is very influential on my musical beliefs and...

R: One word or phrase, not a short novel...::Laughs::

A: Influential. Josh is Influential.

J: And Cletus is outgoing.

C: and Dave... damn... Hmm…

D: I think Adam is extremely driven. He keeps us going.

C: And Dave... haha, Dave is sure. Dave is comfortable being Dave. And he doesn't want to be anything other than Dave so I guess, 'stubbornly himself.' Haha. But we like who Dave is. No knock on Dave, he’s great at what he does.

J: And when I was talking about (being mean to) Cletus earlier, I meant he had the least experience with the band.

C: Most improved!!! Hey, if we sell more than 20,000 units, will you guys buy me a trophy with 'Most Improved?' Deal?
ofHuman: Deal. ::Laughs:

EP Review

Equipped with an impressive mix of musical backgrounds, ofHuman are at their best: inventors. They shine when they’re not cornered in the nefarious middle ground of musical monotony. Their upcoming EP Ever Present is a standing monument of this: the music is progressive and will resound with you for days.

With complex guitar parts and raw energy, front-man Josh Mason never over-uses effects and his pitch and tonality are absolutely top notch. Vocals are key here, and while his execution and vocal ability come across simply effortless, to find a voice as pure live is not a common feat. As if born of Mason’s voice, bassist Cletus Simmons’ harmonies resonate with Mason with such strength and perfection I did a double take to distinguish one voice from the other. Guitarist David Tipple also joins in frequently for stunning 3 part harmonies. Moving bass lines from Simmons are one of this band’s fortes and Tipple melts faces with shredding lead solos that must inadvertently drop panties.

Drummer Adam Gilbert is a showstopper and born performer alike, demanding attention by touting showmanship and control that absolutely cannot be taught. With an extensive drumming background, Adam adds unexpected syncopated rhythms and rudiments to the EP and opens their shows like Thomas Lang with an entire bag of stick spinning tricks that will impress even the wariest concert-goer. Heavy breakdowns mixed with melodic angulations - The ofHuman guys are certainly not lacking in either energy or talent. With all arenas covered, the music speaks for itself. The band is as clean live as they are on the EP and as progressive as I’ve seen locally in quite some time, exploring structurally to produce songs outside of typical convention.

If opening title track Ever Present was written to jump start an audience, the second track To Die For swings a 180 to show this band is no one trick pony. If this ballad sounds familiar, it may be because the song won the locally renowned competition ‘Choose it or Lose it’ on Columbus’ own 99.7 The Blitz for 5 weeks straight until the songs retirement in March.
I had the opportunity to hear a few freshly written songs and I must say, the sound is as fresh as the ink on the paper. The concepts are slightly more complex than those on Ever Present yet the sound is as clean as I would expect from the group and I must say, I am pleasantly surprised. ofHuman are most certainly a band to keep your eye on, or better yet call your own. From Ohio, the guys are putting Columbus on the map like successful locally grown bands before them but I have a feeling the best is yet to come. On May 27th, you will find me at The Bluestone (Formerly BOMA) for ofHuman’s official EP release show dancing to some of the best that Ohio has to offer right now. If you enjoy high energy prog rock, you’ll be there too.

(See link below for ticket sales)

Upcoming Shows -