Interview with Huminoida
Kimmo Karjalainen, alias K-K- from the Finnish electro act Huminoida. Hello Kimmo, Vox Empirea gives the welcome to you.
> Thanks Max, nice of you to make the interview.
Huminoida is an idea originally formed in 2007 by the collaboration between you and AugM. What motivations have you convinced to refine a common project considering that your musical orientations were so different? You come from the electronic disciplines of Neuroactive, while the influences of AugM were tipically ethereal-gothic/darkwave, those of his band This Empty Flow.
> We've been friends for about 20 years and both are music addicts with rather versatile tastes varying from guitar-driven indiepop through electronic obscurities to krautrock, so no problems there. In fact our music taste seemed to be so similar that it's surprising that we didn't form a band earlier.
Before AugM decided to exit from the project Huminoida, you have recorded two singles: the 7" self-titled " Huminoida "released in 2007 and "A/B (Other Side / The Other)"
published in 2009. Do you remember if there was an immediate harmony between you in the creation of two releases? In which way you've subdivided your respective roles in
the writing of the lyrics and the music?
> Actually we didn't make any recordings together, so it wasn't teamwork in that sense. I made the a-side of the first single, and then we had a "scratching session" for the vinyl b-sides (the hand-made spectacle called "Unique"). Our approach on the second single was even simpler: AugM made the b-side (The Other), I made the a-side (Other Side). Eventually we kind of realised that we were making two different bands, and AugM had so many things cooking (His own record company for example), that he decided to leave the band
What feelings did you feel making your first solo-experiment of three tracks, the EP "Huminoida Loves You" of 2010? In which direction is changed your music imprint after
AugM left the project?
> I don't think the direction changed much because we had already made the songs separately, and after AugM left I just continued doing the stuff as before. It also helped that I had rather clear idea from very early on that the first album should be partly old school electropop, partly darkwave/experimental, and that the tracks should be loosely linked together. It helped to concentrate on individual tracks when I had the "big picture" already imagined.
Are you still in contact with AugM?
> Yes sure, we see every now and then.
You substantially affirm you're not agree with the concept in which each episode of an album should correspond necessarily to an event aimed to the simple "good track"
concept": on the contrary, you admire in the artist their ability to dare and to propose what they really feels in their soul, regardless of a specific sales strategy.
I think you're right, but I'm sure it conflicts with the interests of the most part of the labels that, with few exceptions, they are mainly interested in their business rather than the real meaning of the discs they promote. Do you agree?
> Yeah, I said: "I'm not a big fan of the idea that every track on the record should be nice and easy and exactly alike to make it sell truckloads.." Good track, preferably great track is of course always the aim when making music regardless of the genre or record company. What I wanted to say is that I prefer records where the artist's unfiltered, uncensored vision comes through, records with some risk-taking and some variety of the songs.Big companies are in the business to sell records and make money. It's a fact, and that's perfectly ok to me. It''s always been that way and I understand that some people like to make money with the music. But at some point the big companies took the overblanding and over-simplifying to the level that is unbearable. It seems that they're not interested in releasing anything else than some cynically manufactured half-arsed crap. (TV-related, if possible) Fortunately smaller labels still have the guts to put out uncompromising stuff as well.
Is therefore this the reason why you produced yourself by Out Of Range Records label? Do you mean this is right way to feel you musically free?
< Exactly. I never even thought of offering Huminoida to any record company.
Not that any big company would have been begging...To me the most important thing, actually the whole
point of making music is the freedom to do whatever comes to mind and whatever feels right without too
much thinking about the current trends or financial realities. Other important thing is that I like to
concentrate on the artwork and record sleeves. I very much doubt that any record company would have agreed to
release "Whiter Album" on 2LP + CD combo with coloured vinyls and all the inserts.
I have listened to and reviewed "Whiter Album", your latest creation. I found it is really deep, carefully arranged. It's also full of great "minimal-synth" insights, mixed to other "wave" elements. Evaluating it at a certain period of time following its publication, do you find that there's something you would to modify in its structure, or you are fully satisfied with it?
> Nice to hear, Max!I am indeed very happy with "Whiter Album" and the song order / structure still feels just right. I pushed the tiny set-up and myself to the limit during the recording & mixing, there wasn't anything more I could've done, no steam left neither in the man nor the machines. I wouldn't change it a bit.
Depending on what you can notice everyday, how do you rate the music listened by the new generations? I find that most of the current publications, especially from the
mainstream circuits, are only ephemeral episodes devoid of any substance...
> Ah yes, majority of the music seems to be targeted to the people who don't really like music, they just need some sort of easily digested background noise to fill the silence. But I don't know if it's a generation thing. There's always been great, original and imaginative bands and there still is, but maybe they're not that widely known and it may take a little more effort to find them.
It seems that you have officially chosen to continue Huminoida only by yourself. Are you ever available to a possible integration of other elements, or Huminoida will remain a solo-project forever?
> It's very likely that there's going to be guest performers on Huminoida records, and I'm willing to co-operate with other bands. We just recorded 3 tracks to the forthcoming album of the Finnish electro act NYX - more of that later. But basically I guess that Huminoida will always be a "one man band".
You was part of Neuroactive in the albums "Fiber Optic Rhythm" and "Transients". What role you occupied in this project founded by Jarkko Tuohimaa? And objectively, how
has influenced your style this important experience?
> Neuroactive was a great experience for me and great fun too. I think our co-operation worked really well and I still like those records, especially the latter "Transients" is a solid album in it's genre. Originally Jarkko asked me to sing one track called "Parallel", but we were so happy with the result that I joined the band as full-time vocalist and lyricist. We're still good friends, and Jarkko also remastered Huminoida album. Synthpop was the first music genre that hooked me as a kid. The first records I bought were "Vienna" by Ultravox and "Organisation" by OMD. Oh boy, little Kimmo's mind was completely blown with the sounds of tomorrow, I saw the light AND the future at the same time. So I guess I was already fully influenced by electronic pop before I joined Neuroactive.
Returning to "Whiter Album" and its track-listing, I find that coexist simultaneously different styles in it: dark-synth, new wave and electronic minimalism. In particularly I've appreciated the magnificence of "Part-Time Isolation" and "Time And Space/Whiteout". Can you describe us better these two wonderful tracks?
> I wanted to make extremely slow and heavy track, a synth"pop" song that would be closer to Black Sabbath than say, Erasure. The result was "Part-time Isolation", basically a beautiful song but I don't know if it's pop at all, maybe it's some kind of synth-prog. The drums of the middle-section are very similar to the drums on Ultravox's Vienna, but they're not samples. The sound just seemed to fit in perfectly and it gives the track slightly "krautrockish" feel. "Time and Space" emerged from the need to end the record with a genuinely positive tone. It is lyrically sincere ode to friendship and musically also pretty nice synthpop with a touch of melancholy, although it's built on strangely harrowing saw-sound. It transforms into "Whiteout" and the record screeches and vanishes into white noise.
What about the future progress by Huminoida?
> More music. More releases.
It's time for greetings. I thank you on behalf of the Vox Empirea's people to whom I ask you now to dedicate a special thought: you've freedom of speech, Kimmo!
> I've already ranted enough, so now it's time to say Big Thanks to the music fans & readers of Vox Empirea. Keep on electropoppin'!