Human Love on Their Debut EP "Black Void" - Go with the Groove | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Human Love on Their Debut EP “Black Void”

Go with the Groove

Aug 28, 2020 Photography by Shervin Lainez
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For friends who have been playing together in bands their whole lives, you would expect the feelings surrounding a debut record to be housed in fond recollection, shared in accounts of wilder times that have all blurred together in retrospect. But for Los Angeles outfit Human Love, there’s only fresh enthusiasm for their debut release. It marks a new beginning.

The new EP, Black Void, from band members and lifelong friends Emile Mosseri, Erick Eiser, David Baldwin, and Mark Demiglio is their first as Human Love, an identity that emerged when all four relocated to Los Angeles from New York after enjoying a successful run as the indie rock band The Dig. Whether you consider it evolution or departure, the sounds that started to flow in their new environment signaled a rebirth.

“We felt like there was enough of a diversion with the new music that it made sense to explore a completely different identity,” says synth/keyboard player Erick Eiser. “It’s a way to keep things refreshing for us.”

Recording lore is replete with testimonials of the stimulation of new surroundings. For this group, the change of scene and the opportunities to expand that came with it was dramatic enough to stir gusts of artistic winds that they got in front of. “An inexplicable quality came out in our music when we moved out here,” notes vocalist/multi-instrumentalist David Baldwin. “There’s an aggressiveness to this new music that we all like in the music we listen to.”

A rush in tempo and kineticism from past music spills over into the four-track EP. It’s a vibrant snapshot of a tight-knit group of versatile musicians smack in the middle of the hybridization era of music, where new and old styles and recording processes interlace and dance together. The sound of Human Love is a thrilling reflection of liberal openness to style along with the potential unlocked from a variety of musical tools and a facility of their use. What makes their new music compelling is that you can’t really categorize it and nor do you care to—you’re far too caught up in bopping along.

“There’s so much crossover with what we all listen to and like,” says vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Emile Mosseri, who has maintained his origins of recording and performing with his band while becoming one of the brightest emerging composers for film and television. “I think what makes us unique is the combination of styles…. All of us write music that can be considered classical and all of us write music that can be considered rock. The melding of all of that unfolded naturally, and we found this sound in the process.”

The defining characteristic of that sound is the unrestrained release into lavish rhythms. This incarnation of the band stretches their legs and ups the pace into half-pipes of instrumental groove that pull you in and hold you in the gravity. Working for the first time with producer Sonny DiPerri shook Human Love free from a tried approach and into a free-zone of extended instrumentation that hums.

“We were always a group that jammed a lot,” says Eiser. “Sonny helped us discover that. This new music is groove-oriented with lots of instrumental sections, and that came naturally. Tracks are kind of built nowadays, especially with digital recording. You kind of stack things on top of one another, but for us, jamming and writing a song from our instrumentals has always been a big part of the process.”

“We come from a more traditional rock school where the song doesn’t stray too far from the verse-chorus structure,” adds Baldwin. “Sonny’s not stuck to that. He would encourage us to let things ride, and that was helpful to blow up our preconceived idea of how a song can flow.”

Along with the natural creative jostling that ensues from making a go of it in New York’s cultural and geographical counterpoint, collective energies fomented around each band member developing strong identities in projects away from the group. Not always knowingly, each has brought elements of those pursuits back to fold into the new music. Mosseri, in particular, has been absorbed in writing some of the most exciting and beautiful original music for film and television after making his sensational debut for A24’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco. It’s no coincidence then that Black Void carries a kind of cinematic grandeur in its presentation.

The attention-grabbing title track introduces Human Love with a big-strutting, hefty breakbeat drum pattern (though it was a live take from drummer Mark Demiglio) combined with a rusty, sun-stroked guitar line that almost sounds grabbed from an old Morricone spaghetti-western score. The guys may have rebranded in LA, but they brought with them a street-gritty swing to the percussion that, in some ways, beckons the vibes of their former home.

“That’s awesome to hear that it’s reading that way,” beams Mosseri. “It’s cool to hear that those cinematic elements are coming through. The idea with that song and the whole EP was that it would be visual. That you can close your eyes and it would take you somewhere…. The idea of blurring the lines between cinematic instrumental music and traditional band music and that those two worlds move in and out of one another is something that’s exciting to us.”

Even so, Mosseri sees the film score influence more in terms of natural osmosis than direct correlation.

“It’s never as calculated as ‘What if we tried beats with riffs and orchestral elements?’ You create the thing naturally and figure out how to talk about it afterward…I don’t like to think of it as certain music is just for film,” he says. “Some of the most interesting scores are written by people coming out of bands. Some of it is synthetic or percussive and not necessarily purely orchestral. That being said, I was immersed in writing more orchestral music for film, and those instincts very naturally showed up my contributions to Human Love. But there are a lot of things that are cinematic and dramatic on this record that came from [everyone’s input].”

The other members of Human Love have been invested independently as well. Baldwin’s Creature of Doom project explores some of the same riff-based expansion as Human Love, while Eiser has been a busy-bee on a solo project called Hornsbee and playing with The Undercover Dream Lovers, as well as refocusing on solo piano work.

“If any of us are in a deep hole absorbing and making a certain kind of music [in our separate projects] it will come out in what we play,” says Baldwin. “If Emile has been writing for film, some of those sounds might drift over into what we play…. Whatever anyone is immersed in at the time will show itself. We’re at a cool place right now where everything blends and melts together.”

“We’ve all been slowly discovering ourselves in new ways musically,” adds Eiser. “The evolution of what we were into [individually] came together. Now we’re picking out elements and finding the ones that fit together to write for Human Love.”

However everything has circulated and congealed into their new music, and however you wish to try to define it, it’s different. When you’ve been playing music together your whole lives, you can sense growth out of one thing and into something else. Your instincts for who and what you are become honed. The members of Human love have learned to trust those instincts, even when leading them away from the familiarity and into the difference. So far, they haven’t steered wrong, and Human Love is the now—future.

“The biggest thing that we all come back to is what’s the kind of record that we want to listen to right now that we can’t,” reflects Mosseri on the new beginning. “But we didn’t want to [hold ourselves to a kind of record]. We wanted to be open to it changing, and I think we all surprised ourselves in that department. In the past, we were more locked into the idea of making a certain kind of record, and with this one, we were more elastic than we had ever been…. This feels very much like a new exciting sound. We’ve been playing music together our whole lives, but this is a completely new band with new music, a new vibe, new everything.”

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