HERE LIES THE HOMUNCULI: But there are humans out there + Interview
Here Lies The Homunculi are an electronic duo currently residing in Mount Maunganui, but they have previously spent time in Wellington, playing shows there and around the country. It's certainly hard to put them into one box, their style weaves together sounds and rhythms coming from rave music, experimental hip-hop and downtempo, among others. The results from that melting pot are quite spectacular, take a listen for yourself..
We shot over a few questions to Milan, aka Lady Rain (rapper/vocalist/producer), who is one of the founding members of the group:
How'd you guys initially meet and form the group?
Whelp. We are really a two piece - it's me and Petra that write (at the moment) all of the music that is on the albums. R.G Laking (The other name on the page) is a madman that we are friends with who still lives in Wellington. Live for the last couple of months we have had Rik and Matt from this other band Super Narco Man playing with us, and that'll probably continue for the near future.
Me and Pet just got intimate and we made music, as for how this started. She's weird and I was depressed as fuck; here we are now. Basically, our band will just always include whoever we find ourselves around. Just trying to build up as much shared mythology and ideology so that we don't all become superseded by AI in our lifetime.
I'm sure we're not too far away from AI and algorithms creating songs.. Is there a story behind the name? How'd you come up with it?
Fuck yeah, bring on some AI music. I want to know what 1000 superhuman AI's with intellect 1,000,000 times ours could do to address my personal musical desires. Shits gonna be casH$$$$$$.
(In terms of the name) - Personal fascinations with alchemy. Carl Jung's adaptations of alchemical principles in application to psychology pretty much gave me the tools to stop being such a depressant cunt. In particular his expression of the homunculi, much more metaphysical than it appears in western alchemical traditions, is pretty next level shit, and goes a long way to sort out all this human level gender equality cesspool we exist within.
That explains (somewhat) the homunculi part anyway. Here lies... pretty simple, little wordplay shit on dying and lying, two things we all seem to be pretty good at. Plus, bonus weabo note, Fullmetal Alchemist is a gem of an anime, and the homunculi in that series are all class A bad-ass metaphors for all us evil little humans (lelz).
That explains that then. Your music's pretty abrasive and industrial sounding, yet a few of the songs have some underlying soul in the instrumentation. Who are some of your influences? I hear a little bit of Death Grips, some trip-hop and perhaps other things but I can't put my finger on what/who. It sounds pretty unique, especially here in New Zealand.
I don't want to speak too much for all the other people involved, but for me personally I've gone from being an 8 year old with an Eminem CD, through high-school pretty much obsessed and immersed in death metal, have been down to Wellington for jazz school and now I just listen to Yeezy all day like a true 2016 MLG Hypebeast. But yeah, Death Grips is fuckin' rad, I'll even forgive them for blowing off a tour with NIN (Nine Inch Nails). Cause in my holy trinity I guess Death Grips and NIN occupy two of those slots. In Death Grips' case I don't even really think the music is what I'm into (even though I'm really into it), their whole philosophy of life is just right, you know?
TLDR; ignore all the above and go listen to World's End Girlfriend. I really don't think anyone in the world is on the level of that guy. All Imperfect Love Song off his album Dream's End Come True is the masterpiece that ended and started all this.
How would you best describe your sound?
Distortions of all the shit you love. We are all just trying to beautify the process of improvement we all suffer through. A very distinct line needs to be drawn between an acknowledgement of an awful thing's beauty and the justification of it, cause most people you meet who are immersed in the idea of artists and their tragedy focus too much on the experience of suffering rather than the end goal. At the moment we try to achieve that by taking all the surface level art that we interact and enjoy, and to reprocess those influences to better reflect the general tone of our generation. Honesty is key to everything we try to do. Anything past that is really just masturbating on our individual aesthetic "kinks" ;)
What's your typical recording process for a song? It seems like you have a habit of extending tracks out and not conforming to traditional, commercial lengths/formats.
Basically me and Petra share a recording setup, we just have a single Scarlett 2i2 powering some KRK's, and we just switch the cable between my old Mac and her slightly newer one. The writing process basically starts from one of the million stems we have floating around on those machines. When we feel like releasing some music we just pick whatever ones feel most inspiring towards our current mindsets and expand on them. But I guess it is important to note that we basically don't ever work at the same time, just pass it on to the other when we feel our personal contributions have run dry for the moment. We typically build songs from drums up (in my case) or a melody up (as Petra seems to favour), then we just flesh out the tracks until they are interesting enough to listen to alone as instrumentals.
Then we just jump into the closet and put some vocals on, master it down, and doneskies. It's a pretty efficient process that allows us to get it all done fairly quickly. Gotta have that honesty and trust though to do it. As far as the length, as you can probably tell from these long as fuck answers, sometime you just need the word count (shots fired education system, censorship on the depth of ideas is no better than censorship on content).
It must be hard to stop sometimes, there's always loads of directions you can take a track. What does the future hold for the duo? You're back in Mount Maunganui now?
We will be here in the Mount till the end of summer then we gonna go somewhere overseas. In that time just gonna be releasing more music and playing shows when it's appropriate. Not gonna try pretend for a moment though that any plans we make are set in stone, the universe does what it wants lel. If you had to ask me, I'm going to find all the fuckin' rad people here and we gonna go exodus and spread some love round this little space rock. Might not be next year but we have time. And to the distant future, I hope when my body finally stops moving one day that it happens in China.