Sorry people - should have cut and pasted it, yes, the tribune website is utterly useless - almost as bad as the sunday business post one
heres the piece...
The million dollar question
TRYING to talk to Humanzi frontman Shaun Mulrooney without mentioning that record deal is impossible. Whether he likes it or not, it's one of the main reasons we're doing the interview. Six months ago Humanzi were just another young Dublin indie rock band, but when the A&R men came from across the water, the word got out.
This sort of thing doesn't happen to everyone. Clinching a "label deal" with Fiction, which is a fairly autonomous part of the Universal leviathan, the " 1m" word got around too.
Mulrooney insists this is all crap.
"We're nowhere, " he says from his bus in England, making the hard yards as part of an NME club tour across Britain. "We're only starting. Maybe in Ireland we have had a good year and people know who we are. Some people hate us and some people don't. We really want to take this to another level because we know what we have is good enough."
It's clear that with all the press about the deal there is a huge amount of resentment towards Humanzi, probably because there is very little material to go on. A mini Irish tour and first single, 'Fix the Cracks', behind them, their debut album is now recorded, mixed and awaiting a title and release date. The rest is done. So who hates them? "Well there is a sort of a nasty thing going on on internet chat sites, " he says. "I don't really go on chat sites but I've been told about it.
There's a nasty side to these faceless people who go around and begrudge us.
Nobody's heard our stuff.
We got a brutal review of our single. Somebody was reviewing it in a big paper that I won't name and they didn't mention the song.
They were just talking about the band. Lazy journalism really but nobody really knows what we're up to. So until the album is out I think people should stay away from judging us."
What about the now infamous record contract?
"Don't mind that. It's just unfortunate people latch on to these stupid things. But we got a review and it was like 'review the single don't review the band and the situation we're in'. They didn't review the single. . ."
A strange predicament for any band, but there's no denying the benefits of any kind of press no matter how bad it is. It's only natural that people are going to judge the band more harshly than most. "Yeah, of course they would when they read about the deal, but would they believe it?
No new band would get signed for 1m. If you were any way in the know you'd go, that's not true. But we are signed to a major and there is no denying that you are obviously going to get people knocking you for that straight away.
Everybody is owned by everybody now, so it's no big deal, but the people we work with, Fiction, have given us complete people.
They work with some really good bands, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Queens of the Stone Age came through there, so we are totally confident in the people around us. At the end of the day we want to sell as many records and connect to as many people as possible and you won't be able to do that on some crappy label."
With major label support has come the opportunity to work with top producers and engineers, as well as securing the NME tour. Half of it was recorded with Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna and some of it with Gareth Mannix, an up-andcoming producer who has worked with the Thrills and the Chalets among others.
Here is a band that got signed with just a bunch of demos. "We gave our manager the tapes and then the company decided they would pay for us to go in and get better recordings but we ended up keeping them. So half of the album is built on the old demos and the other half is newer stuff. . . The whole album came together in this weird way. It was all done over months even though we only spent 14 days in total recording it."
Once recorded, the four went over to Connecticut for the mixing with Peter Katis, who produced both Interpol albums. "We love the sound of Interpol's stuff and Peter mixed the whole thing so it sounds like a proper album now and not just a bunch of songs." The band have about five working titles and hope to draw a catch-all title picked up from the pervading mood of the album: edgy and claustrophobic. "The album is dark, moody and intense and there's not much of a breather on it either which we're getting a bit of stick for, but f**k it. . .
It's 90mph for the whole thing, but we're very happy with it."
Mulrooney is surprised to learn that I've heard quite a lot of it, courtesy of their manager. It sounds confident, catchy and noisy;
it's rock 'n' roll all right.
'Diet Pills' has a killer bassline reminiscent of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, while on 'Out on A Wire' the Interpol/Joy Division influences are apparent but it's much more poppy, with a singalong chorus. Another one, 'I Want Silence', is dirtier, faster and has an excellent guitar run with cool keys in the background.
There's a bit more to this band than hype; if only they can avoid becoming the next JJ72 and keep working hard like Bell X1. There really is no rush.
Mulrooney met fellow singer/guitarist Colm Rutledge, bassist Gary Lonergan and drummer Brian Gallagher in "boozers in town" when they were all about 17 years old. "We didn't really like each other at first but ended up becoming friends over time, " says Mulrooney. "We used to drink in Bruxelles when we used to think we were the dog's bollocks.
And we used go to Temple Bar Music Centre to Screamadelica."
Now 23, Mulrooney writes most Humanzi lyrics.
About what? "Sometimes a song is very direct like 'Diet Pills'. I was in America and looking at TV and it seemed so claustrophobic, and then I just wrote this direct song, and then other times it goes off on big tangents. There's a lot of social conscience in my writing and then there's a lot of paranoia; the feeling on a Monday morning after partying too much on the weekend, " he laughs.
His favourite artists are Iggy Pop, Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees and all that edgy stuff "but we all love the Stones as well. Exile on Main Street is the tour bus album."
After the hype back home you get the sense that Humanzi are enjoying the hard graft of trying to win over hip English audiences who don't know anything about them. "This is where you have to do your homework, do your apprenticeship, " he says.
"People are just going nuts for bands over here. We were on tour with Hard-Fi and there were millions of girls queuing up early in the day. It's like Dublin but 20 times bigger. People are into music, but the Irish press aren't taking much notice of what's happening at the moment. Every time I come back there are 10 new outstanding bands that are playing. There is a real scene there but the press don't seem to be picking up on it. They are not really current and relevant."
Mulrooney is talking about a festival of young Irish bands including The Things, Mainline, Sickboy and the Zealots called Psychofest that was held in October.
"It was a really current vibrant thing but it was the usual crap . . . no one from the press turned up, " he says.
It's this kind of thing that could produce the next really big Irish rock band.
"Yeah we hope it's us. . . but on the other hand, if it isn't I could be back in Argos packing shelves. . ."