Unlike many other genres and music communities, the indie/alt culture appreciates new and rising artists that create diversity and new insights within the genre.
Every week we feature a notable rising artist on the verge of success. Meet this week’s artist, Wonderful Humans:
"Hailing from New York City, Wonderful Humans began as a writing project between couple Brian Cag [of pop group Action Item] and Amanda Carl [of indie-rock group Born Cages]. The project came to life when they teamed up with producer Dylan Scott (Young Rising Sons, Hasley)."
Nsync - Tearing Up My Heart
Nirvana - Nevermind
Notorious BIG - Ready To Die (When I heard this for the first time, I was blown away that artists can be that free to say whatever they wanted in their art. It really changed how I defined freedom of expression.)
What are your fondest musical memories?
I remember being in the 7th grade, on a plane with my father, flying to Poland to visit my relatives. It was during the school year, and they let me take a week off school. I felt like such a badass. We spent a couple days exploring the country, and stumbled upon an old, hidden record shop in the middle of a major city. My dad let me get any two CDs I wanted, so of course I chose to get Linkin Park’s ‘Hybrid Theory’ and Crazy Town’s full-length. The best part of this story wasn’t about the actual music I bought, but rather the fact that my father embraced my love for music, without judging the actual content in the basket.
As a band, I think we’re so lucky to be able to do what we love. It’s a very blessed situation to have your significant other as your writing partner, and actually love what they come up with.
You two, Brian and Amanda, are in a relationship as well as writing partners in Wonderful Humans. How did you two meet and how did you decide to collaborate on a new music project? How did you decide on the name ‘Wonderful Humans’?
Brian and I have known each other since around 2010. We have a mutual friend, and would see each other every so often. We kept in touch, and would say we wanted to meet up, until the stars finally aligned. We haven’t stopped talking since.
Since we started dating, we always liked the idea of writing together, but we never knew how to go about it. A few months ago, we decided to give it a go, and we turned out “Edge of the Night.” After that, we knew we had something special. We kept on with the sound, and it just felt so natural and right to be working together, so we turned it into something real.
Brian and I were thinking of a name for the project all day one day, and we ran into my little sister and her friends who were bad mouthing some girl from their high school. Of course the word wh*re came out so we decided to abbreviate it into something friendlier to make her laugh. We got as far as Wonderful Humans and right then and there, in front of my sister, we decided that was the name for the project. It’s tongue and cheek, kind of funny and ironic, and that I think sums up how Brian and I interact.
Together with producer Dylan Scott, you three come from three successful and different musical backgrounds ranging from POP to indie-rock to alternative. How did you approach the writing process with your wide range in experience? What elements from your backgrounds did you use to create such a differing alternative sound from your main projects?
It bodes well that we come from different backgrounds musically with our respective bands. We approached the writing process just as any three friends would working together. The thing that was different was, we had no limits—no one to please, no one to look to for approval. This was just an elaborate musical experiment. We took elements of music we love to listen to, as well as knowledge from our specialties (Dylan, producing, Brian, infectious melodies and myself, keyboard and synth) and then melded them all together in a sort of organic way.
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
The 80s. Really attracted to the Blondie-esque synths and drum tones. I think you can hear some of the appreciation in our tracks out right now.
WH’s sound seems to perfectly capture the current trend in alternative music with its strong nostalgic 80s influence mixed with elements of various genres. How did you decide on this sound? Why do you think the trend is to revive the 80s bright synth-pop sound? What do you think of the current alt scene and bands, such as those you’re frequently compared to (CHVRCHES, MS MR, and The Naked & Famous)?
The funny thing is, we didn’t really “decide on” any real sound for the project before we started creating. The keyboard is my instrument of choice, and that is how Brian and I write mostly, so it just organically became the main focus of the project. I think the 80’s synth trend is so popular today simply because of technology. If you spent one day playing with all of the synth programs out there, you would feel the same. There are endless possibilities with synth. And the sound is just infectious. Dance is coming back in a big way, and along with that, the synth.
We love the alt bands we’re compared to. A lot of work goes into making a song that people want to sing along to. They deserve the praise they receive.
What is Wonderful Humans currently working on? Any new projects?
New music is a constant project for us. It’s really enjoyable to be able to do it at our own pace, and really focus on something we are passionate about. No one is telling us what we can or can’t do.
Do you intend WH to be a performance group or are you just focusing on putting out a different kind of music than you’re used to? Have you played a live show as Wonderful Humans yet?
We haven’t played a show as Wonderful Humans yet. We are planning on doing a few shows in the New York City area in the fall. Right now we are constantly writing and focusing on the sound of the band.
What is your dream collaboration?
I think there’s a bunch. Being able to work with writers like Ezra Koenig and Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend would be something we’d love. RAC has such a creative outlook on music as well.
Finally, keeping with the summer theme here at IndieBeat, which songs are you currently obsessed with? What new acts do you recommend to our listeners?
Brian and I love RAC lately, and also we listen to a lot of Darwin Deez, St. Lucia, and Bad Suns. I’m getting ready to be really inspired by Jenny Lewis’ new album The Voyager, that comes out soon. I’m also currently obsessed with Ariana Grande’s “One Less Problem” because who doesn’t love a good summer hit? I turn it up and sing every time I hear it. As for new acts, I know Brian is really into this guy Porter Robinson. His stuff is seriously good. Also I just played a show with this band called Paperwhite, a brother-sister duo from Brooklyn who I love. Check them out.