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Rock/electronica/dance duo Human Face are Hertfordshire-based Gavin Clarke and James Garner. Rosy Moorhead sits down with bassist James, originally from Edgware, and talks GCSEs, self-expression and tight-jeans-wearing indie rockers.
Where did you two meet? In Music GCSE class back in 1993 at Claremont High School in Kenton - we’ve been making music together ever since. Human Face has been going since 2011, but Gavin and I had been in many bands before that. We released our first album, Forever Is, under our old name, Mindset, back in 2008, and we still use this material in our live sets.
Why the name Human Face? It’s about what we really want to show people in our music - our ‘human face’. We got it from watching a documentary or from reading a news item or something. Someone said about getting on the ground to talk to people to see the ‘human face’ of the situation and it just stuck. We thought it reflected what we are about.
Tell me about the new album, No Axe To Grind We wanted a change from the usual indie guitar band set-ups, with the emphasis more on lead keyboard parts rather than lead guitar parts. It has distinctive harmonies throughout including female backing vocal harmonies to help give a contrast to Gavin's male, multi-tracked vocals. Who are your musical influences? We have a wide range of influences from the classic rock/pop sounds of The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, The Smiths and Pearl Jam, through to the modern electronic dance sounds of dubstep - Nero, Chase & Status. And we love lots of different genres, such as classical, chill out, indie.
We like to think we write well-crafted pop songs mixing rock elements with a contemporary electronic edge. We’re very lucky in that we are able to use Earthworks Studio in Barnet during their downtime, which is a brilliant studio for anyone considering recording a great quality demo.
Is there a typical Human Face gig-goer? We get a broad mix of people come to our gigs. When you’re unsigned, you have to create a real buzz as there are only so many times your friends will come to see you! Whether it’s playing as a full band or at a more stripped down acoustic night, the feedback from the punters, other bands and the venues is always positive, and we have seen our Facebook and Twitter followers grow with each live performance.
The type of people we get at our gigs varies hugely, from the tight jeans young indie rockers to 50-year-old family guys. We seem to create a response wherever we play.
Where can we see you playing? We start gigging again in March 2012 - March 6 at The Kings Arms in Acton and March 25 at Bar Vinyl in Camden, with more dates to be confirmed on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to get back out and play.
For information on the band’s upcoming dates and for how to get hold of a copy of No Axe To Grind, go to https://www.facebook.com/humanfacemusic.