Interviews About Albums: Bar Creeps - Human Remains (2018)

1. What can you say about this new EP/CD?

WARRICK: The tone and themes of our album, Human Remains, are set by the opening track, On Dying, which is a 30 second sample of Ray Kurzweil speaking about his fear of dying. Kurzweil is an inventor - he created an early synthesizer (with help from Stevie Wonder) amongst other things. He now works for Google and his big focus is on humans achieving immortality. In his book ‘The Singularity is Near’ he forecasts that humans will merge with machines and therefore have the possibility of living forever by 2045. I think the consensus is that he’s probably wrong about the timeline (immortality won’t be achieved quite so quickly), but his ideas are scientifically rational. When I first heard about these ideas I was shocked. I was both fascinated and appalled by it. I had a strong emotional reaction that I didn’t really know how to interpret, and I wanted to explore how I felt about all this on ‘Human Remains’.

MARK: Human Remains is essentially a concept album, which is very daring for a band's sophomore release. As Warrick said the over arching theme is the future, technology, human destiny and a new industrial age. It was fun piecing together the songs when we recorded it so they flowed together into one mega 20 minute monolith. I wanted it to have a similar feel to the Breach album 'Its me God' which has lots of mechanical sounds playing in the background of the music and between the songs, giving it a spooky industrial sound and adding to the brutality of the Swedish hardcore. I think we achieved that and Wayne (the guy who recorded it) is super into noise and glitches, so he totally got into it. 

2. What is the meaning of the EP/CD name?

WARRICK: I’m not entirely sure. I wrote the song Human Remains as a kind of knee jerk reaction to watching the film Transcendent Man, which is a documentary about Ray Kurzweil from which the 30 second intro clip is taken. I think it’s probably the idea that, if humans have to merge with machines to achieve immortality, we will have to sacrifice some of our humanness. It’s something of a Faustian bargain. The emotional centre of the album is that I think we all understand the plight of Icarus - even though we know our wings will melt if we get too close to the sun, we’re going to push it as far as we can. The idea of not trying to see the sun up close isn’t an option. Curiosity is our genius and our folly.

MARK: I think the title perfectly spells out what the album is about. What is left of us as humans? The once hunter gatherer people now live in a world they have created, a synthetic 'paradise of things' which have no intrinsic value. I like the idea of re-evaluating what it is to be human, will there be a point where 'human' no longer describes what we are? 

3. Which one is the composer of the CD/EP?

WARRICK: I write most of the songs but arranging them is a band effort. For example, there’s a song on the album called Unreasonable Man (about the founder of McDonalds). We rewrote a lot of that song as a band - the original version was significantly different.

4. If you have to pick one song, which one would you pick?

It’s a toss up between two - I’m particularly proud of Trauma Team and Kill Chain.

WARRICK: Trauma Team is about someone who works as a trauma medic. It’s them talking about how their faith in God is a utility that helps them deal with the difficulty of their work. I really like the sentiment in Screeching Weasel’s The Science of Myth so that was a bit of an influence. Musically I tried to make it sound like a siren - the guitars, the melody lines ascending and descending constantly. 

Kill Chain was loosely based on a character in the book, The Cartel by Don Winslow, which is about the Mexican drug wars. It’s a very bleak, unrelenting book. I’m not sure I recommend it. The body count is staggering. I really like how Lana Del Rey is able to make very emotionally resonant songs about bleak subjects. She hones right in on the humanness of often unhappy situations. So I tried to do the same and make ‘Kill Chain’ about doomed lovers reuniting - a man who knows he’s going to be executed takes solace in the idea that he might be reunited in the afterlife with a girl who was killed in a car accident.

MARK: I agree with Warrick, Kill Chain is some of his, and our finest work. Its powerful, has a great hook and and awesome atmospheric ending. 

5. Is there a special message in this EP/CD?If there is what it is?

WARRICK: No, there’s no special message.

6. Are there some lyrics that you´d love to share?

WARRICK: There’s a song called Grey Goo, which is about the theory that we need to be careful how we build AI, because intelligent machines may one day be able to exponentially self-multiply, coating the planet in ‘grey goo’ (machine matter) and wiping humans out.

The chorus lyric is:

We’ll cry on day 29
Why can’t we live forever?
But we’ll find a way to survive
We’re gonna live forever

That sums up the album’s sentiments I think.

7. Which inspirations haven been important for this album ? Like musically or friends, family, someone you'd love to thanks specially?

WARRICK: I wanted the music to reflect the radical technological ideas inherent in the Singularity - to sound machine-like and furious, with the speed and intensity of something like Slayer’s Reign In Blood. I also wanted it to be quite short - I think it comes in at 10 tracks in 23 minutes. The influence there was the Lifetime albums Hello Bastards and Jersey’s Best Dancers. So we tried to aim high...

MARK: The mechanical sound was something we all agreed it has to have. The guitar sounds had to be super agressive and edgy. I think Shellac was a band we talked about in terms of inspiration, Albini's guitars always sounds so immense. Obviously we all like fast punk so those 90s albums we loved are always in the back of our minds.  

8. Something to add?

Sure, you can listen to Human Remains here:

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