Human Larvae Interview

29 January 2011 xdementia No Comment

Existence Establishment is proud to present some words with our own functioning artist Daniel Burfoot the sole entity behind the German power electronics/industrial unit Human Larvae, and the spastic harsh noise project Broken Diode. Having released full-lengths for both projects on Existence Establishment in the past, we’ve decided it was time to catch up on his more current activities.

How was the project Human Larvae created and what is the over-arching concept of the project?

Human Larvae was launched in 2005 after playing around with different styles of dark electronics. I had then found the path I wanted to follow for this project, where it will lead me I have yet to find out. A big part of the concept are obsessions on interpersonal levels and personal dispair.

Were you already recording under the Broken Diode moniker at that point? Had you decided to start a separate project from the beginning of Human Larvae or was it something that evolved out of what you were already doing?

I started recording for Broken Diode a little later, looking for a way to perform live, which wasn’t possible at the time with HL, having no hardware whatsoever. So I started buying pedals and mics, eager to see what sounds could be created with each new piece of gear. I didn’t deem it fit to mix the two projects back then, but I can imagine bringing more harsh elements to HL in the future.

That’s interesting that you mention you had the concepts already worked out and bringing in new gear found new ways to express those concepts. Is that often how things work with you? Does it matter what gear you use, or is it more about the concepts and aesthetics? That said, what gear do you prefer to work with? Is there gear that is off limits?

It often starts with a vague idea of how the track will be built up, looking for sounds that create the right mood and ambience. I like variety and dynamics, letting tracks morph, at best without the listener being aware of it, from one subject matter to the next very subtly. Each piece of added equipment does alter the sound more or less and adds to the whole. I can’t think of any gear being off limits, apart from maybe toy keyboards or crap like that. Other than that I use anything under the sun, modular analogue, vitual analogue, digital, contact mics, field recordings, movies, tapes, vinyl etc. anything goes. But yes, I would say that gear itself is secondary compared to the concepts and aestetics. The result counts.

Stylistically you push the boundaries with power electronics, dark ambient, industrial and even some almost neo-classical elements especially on Home is Where the Hurt Is. Was this a conscious decision, or is it something that just naturally happened while working out the material? Has other Human Larvae releases seen this blending of genres as well?

I would say, it’s just the way I work. While recording “Home…” I had gathered a wide assortment of sample material and if I liked the sound of something, or it got me in the state of mind I wanted to achieve, I used it. Part of the charm is not always knowing what you will have at the end of a session. Some may have this purist vision of how power electronics has to be, and that’s fine, but I wouldn’t want to limit myself to their rules. I’m pretty sure hat HL will keep it’s diversity and keep evolving on upcoming releases.

How about musical influences? Are they as varied as the styles on Home is Where the Hurt Is? You obviously employ a more composed approach to your sound so I’m guessing free improv probably isn’t where a lot of your influence is culled? Care to list a few acts and how/why they influence you?

In general I do prefer composing to improv, being too much of a perfectionist to give chance too much room, but it would also interest me to try out a live recording situation. I just haven’t had the opportunity or the equipment to do so. Over the years I have been through most of the genres the music industry and underground have to offer, so the influences are just as wide spread, for instance dark jazz or neofolk. The albums I bought right in the beginning as I came across the pe scene are the ones that influenced me the most and belong to my all time favs:

  • Con-dom – Control Domination: Seeing Mike live for the first time blew me away. The guy is in a league of his own and is a good example of how to manifest a theme into a live performance.
  • Pain Nail – End Times: I loved the atmosphere on this one, deep rumblings, ritualistic and dark.
  • NTT – The Church Of Dead Girls: Also a big influence. Tracks blending in from one to the other, bluilding up tension, climaxing, fading out, blasting back in. A great variety of sounds, topics and Lee’s vocals won me over instantly. Never got tired of these two discs.
  • Control – The Cleansing: The density of sound gave me a claustraphobic feeling which I tried to recapture in some of my own tracks. I think this is where he did it best, didn’t care much for his later releases.

How does Human Larvae fit into your current taste in music? What aspects of your influences are you trying to capture? For instance you mentioned being into dark jazz, does that really have an affect on what you record as Human Larvae?

I’d say it’s about the atmosphere. Even jazz has a darkside and that’s what I try to capture in my own music. These influences certainly won’t change the sound as a whole, but may be incorporated in upcoming tracks, however distinguishable they will be.

Much of the Human Larvae discography is very composed and focused. Does this generally leak over into live performances? I’ve seen photos of props being used in HL live aktions like chains, animal parts etc. What is the purpose of this? How does the HL live material differ from the recorded material? What has been the response to HL live performances so far?

The HL performances focus more on the performance itself, using videos, props and audience confrontation to underline the content of the songs the photos you’re referring to are from the Odour Of Love set). The album material is used as backup with some additional sounds created on the spot with chains and metal or other prerecorded sounds. So far the response has been very positive with the occational animal rights actvist complaining about the pigs hearts, but since I don’t have any friends down at the morgue, they’ll just have to deal with it, heh.

Is Human Larvae always a solitary endeavor or do you also collaborate with other artists?

Til now I have been the soul member, no collaborations so far. There have been offers but I haven’t accepted them yet as there still some albums to be completed before I can focus on working with someone else.

Next up there’ll be a tape on Unrest Productions, more albums are in the make. Gigs will be postponed to 2011.

Human Larvae’s debut full length Home Is Where the Hurt Is is available at the Existence Establishment shop.

Check out the Human Larvae website for more up to date information.

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