From the boiling synthwave and darksynth French scene, Humanity In Decay has just released a magnificent EP.
We had the chance to ask the producer a few questions.
Check out the interview!
Headphones For Robots: Who is Humanity in Decay? Where do you come from? Where do you live?
Humanity in Decay: This is just myself, a 24 years old french guy living in Poitiers (southwest of France, place of birth of the Tourteau Fromager). I was born near Lille, in the north of France. I stayed there for my first three days then moved a lot during my youth.
HFR: How did you start making music? Could you tell us a bit about your influences?
Humanity in Decay: I started music at a very young age, playing on a little djembe in a small club. I then moved on to drums and other percussions until the end of high school. I couldn’t play anymore in my small student apartment, so I tried new things and started composing some little tracks. This was quite difficult since I was extremely lazy during music theory classes!
As for my influences, they come from very different places and are always evolving a little. When I started composing, I just discovered Perturbator, and I believe this is why I make synthwave. However, progressive metal, movie and game soundtracks, rap, jazz, various electro genres, are all things I listen to and thus influence. I even remember being influenced by a Christmas song.
HFR: You have just released Seed, a concept album. Can you introduce us to your universe?
Humanity in Decay: My universe is a mixture of cyberpunk and Lovecraftian themes. I am a big fan of dystopian science fiction, with its social, technological, and philosophical questions. But I wanted something a bit more mysterious than that and thought that some Lovecraftian things here and there would spice it up a bit. I then started building a universe around that and thought of a story I am currently telling with my releases.
The story of the henchman, which is clearly not only about him, will ultimately be a blend between the fear of AI, and the fear of cosmic godlike entities. But this is just the geeky stuff. From the music point of view, I started with quite classic dark synth sonorities, but I’m more and more using industrial, cold, eerie sounds. Seed is the first real step in this direction, and I tried a lot of new things with this release.
HFR: How did you approach writing the songs for the album?
Humanity in Decay: By not knowing what I was going to do. It just started with SymBIOS: I wanted a single, and to work with a singer for the first time. I had a really hard time finding one, and especially one that fitted. Thanks to the French Synthwave Compilation Vol.II, and almost a year after I first composed the instrumental for this track, I found one: unTIL BEN. And he even wrote the lyrics!
Then, I started to want something more, to not just try a song with vocals, but to try other things. So I thought of an extended version of the story of SymBIOS, and picked some things that could inspire me to try other things. I wanted to do a first track that goes right into things, so I made Reboot. I wanted to try something more repetitive, a more banger track, so I made While. I wanted to try a more “soundtrack-like” composition, so I made Entropy. And finally, I wanted to add some progressive metal influences, so I made Backup and Restore.
HFR: Do you play video games? Which one had an impact on you and your music?
Humanity in Decay: I do, and I believe the Metroid series had the most impact on me and my music. I always loved the atmosphere in these games, both with visuals and sound. But there are a lot of other games that had an influence on me and my music, mostly Nintendo ones like Zelda and Mario, but also World of Warcraft, since I lost my teenage years to this game, and more recently indie games, like The Binding of Isaac.
Oh, and of course, the last two Doom games, and their incredible composer Mick Gordon.
HFR: Could you tell us a bit about your “go-to” equipment? What do you use when writing a song and which are your favorite instruments?
Humanity in Decay: My equipment is just a small MIDI keyboard, a mouse, a keyboard, and the computer that goes with it. I never learned to play other instruments than percussions, so I just use my knowledge of xylophones and other marimbas to find some melodies on my keyboard.
Then I rewrite them by hand, because I just can’t play it correctly. It’s either this, or I compose some bits in my head that I write down on a small paper and try not to forget by the time I get in front of my computer.
HFR: Will you play your new album live? Do you have other projects?
Humanity in Decay: Well since I can’t play the keyboard, this is quite difficult! More seriously, I have no plan to play it live right now. I’m thinking about a live set, but at this stage, I do not have the knowledge, the equipment, nor the money to buy it. I am working with some friends on a costume though, so that will be done. As for my other projects, I do have some, like working on another album which ends the story of the henchman, for which I want to blend everything I learned while doing Seed into a new Humanity In Decay sound. I’d also like to work on an indie game or short film soundtrack someday. However, I also have some projects outside of music, so I try to organize myself between everything but so far I’m quite terrible at it!
HFR: Last words?
Humanity in Decay: Fhtagn, obviously.
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