Written by Cait Deane
Humandala is a four piece electronic band from central Pennsylvania. These talented musicians have performed recently with other acts such as Jimkata, Spiritual Rez, Native Maze, Manifested, Cheezy and the Crackers, Catullus, Mr. Sampson and Flux Capacitor. They have had shows at venues like Sprout Music Collective, Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, and the Abbey Bar, as well as sets at festivals including SHARE, Gala in the Grove, and Bless the Woods 5. Members include Chris Simmens on the bass guitar, Patrick Bowman on guitar, David Turby on guitar and synthesizer, and Austin Mooney on Drums. Humandala has been diligently working on their debut album, Novel Destinations, which will be released at their CD release party at The Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center in on August 27th.
An Interview with Humandala
- How do you balance individual musical style to blend into Humandala’s overall sound?
Chris: Typically one of us, (usually either myself or patrick) will come to the table with a song structure. We will present the tempo, beat, melody and chord changes. Then, when everybody has a certain understanding of what the initial writer was going for, we jam out the parts, allowing everybody to recreate and expand upon the original ideas. Sometimes the arrangement ends up being very close to the original idea, sometimes it ends up completely different. That’s the magic of making music with other people.
Turby: Each of us come from very different musical backgrounds ranging from heavy rock to smooth jazz, electronica to reggae. Keeping an open mind to new and differing genres allows us to create a unique and diverse sound that is sure to spark a connection with a wide variety of listeners.
- What is your vision for your music? How does your new album, Novel Destinations contribute to that vision? What do you hope listeners take away from your music?
Chris: My greatest vision is to see the music affect people the way that other’s music has affected me. To create a soundtrack for people’s experiences, one that allows people to realize that so much of our experiences are shared. A soundtrack that can transport the listener to a different, hopefully more fulfilling headspace. Novel destinations closes the first chapter in our band’s quest to fulfill this vision. I think most musicians just want to record the fruits of their labor, to have something pcan take home with them.
Austin: A sense of timelessness is really quite humbling when you think about it. I hope folks who listen to the album will find a moment, or a song, or a riff or drum fill that really speaks to them and gives them just one more beautiful thing in the world that means something to them. Because it sure has meant a lot to us!
Turby: The album, “Novel Destinations”, represents the vision for Humandala’s music as it takes its listeners to that place in their mind where the outside world disappears and they are transported to a memory or beyond. We hope that our listeners experience that transcendence and can make an emotional connection with our music.
- What is your creative process? Who writes your songs and does that role ever change? What is the most challenging part of the process for the band? How do you overcome it?
Chris: We try to be fairly democratic. It’s common for us to be at odds with the music. One person may love something while another may hate it. Typically majority rules.
In making music that is genuine and unique, you must put your ego aside. There is no right and no wrong/good and bad. Only music that you will or will not allow into your heart.
Austin: Our creative process I think is still in its refinement phase. Chris writes most our songs, and Patrick has written a few as well. Writing something typically consists of a mostly constructed piece of music being brought in by either Chris or Patrick, and then we’ll learn it and make adjustments, large and small, over time. I’d say the hardest part of our creative process has been struggling to define what kinds of expressions and sounds best suit the band, while maintaining a certain level of artistic license. We want a unified sound, but there’s certainly plenty of difference in everyone’s heads of where that is. I feel that over the months and years, our chemistry will continue to strengthen, and our ability to respond to each other’s’ music will improve greatly.
- How would you describe the style of your music? Do you have any particular artists that you model your sound after? What are your influences and inspirations?
Turby: This has been the most difficult question for all of us to answer whenever it comes up (quite often)! As a group, we try not to necessarily “model” our sound after any particular artist or band, but rather take in as much influence as we can from anything we listen to and let that influence flow through us naturally during our playing. Personally, I’m a huge fan of John Scofield, Grateful Dead, Tauk, Papadosio, Lotus, and The Malah. I’ve always been more influenced by Blues, Jazz/ Jazz Fusion, Jam music.
Chris: Someone once told me; there is music that makes you dance and there is music that makes you think. I think our music is somewhat reflective.
Musically I love Papadosio, Hiatus Kaiyote, Entheogenic, Steel Pulse, CHON.
A lot of my songs are inspired by dreams.
- What kind of development would you like to see in the music scene?
Chris: I would like to see a more forward thinking ethos develop in the festival scene. It’s important to come together on the weekends to relieve the stress of living in a cut-throat culture. But once you’ve returned to a harmonious state of being it’s important to translate that back into the real world. Instead of sharing jokes and beers, I would like to see people sharing thoughts and ideas, and then collaborating to manifest their greater fantasies. I feel that festivals are a perfect inspiration for how we can better our society, but I would like to see them become intentional platforms for positive social development.
- Where can we find and listen to your music?
Our debut album “Novel Destinations” will be released on August 27th at our CD release party at The Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center in Harrisburg. Albums will be available at upcoming show and on the internet via Spotify, Bandcamp, Reverbnation, and our website Humandalamusic.com
August 5-7 Wills Mountain Festival 2016
August 12-14 – Kind Minds: Transcendental Music & Arts Festival
August 27th – Humandala CD Release at Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center
October 13-16 Luna Light Music and Arts Festival