Olivier Perdrizat, Ben Pluss

Almost Human

As a part of a collaboration with Reverbnation, Metal Temple selected artist ALMOST HUMAN to feature as an exclusive on their site. Editor-In-Chief Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell prepared an interview with the band.
August 29, 2017
Olivier Perdrizat
Please allow me to give you a big welcome from Metal Temple! Can you take us back to the early years when the band formed…how did you all meet and come together to form the band?

Rosario (drummer) and I (Olivier, guitar) are the historical band members. We started to play together in a band called Clean Dirt which was a grunge band with Nick Maeder, the actual singer of Gotthard. We produced a LP with our first line up, then after a long break, Jan (bass), Chris (guitar) et Ben (vocal) joined the band. Chris has been introduced by Jan and I have discovered Ben on the internet while searching for a voice.

Your debut EP was released in 2012. Can you talk about the sound you were aiming for, and some of the individual tracks? How would you describe your sound to people who are unfamiliar with your band?

Our EP is 100% self-produced excepted for the mastering which was made at the Cutting Room Studio in Sweden. We tried to obtain a massive sound that will satisfy us, one of the one to reach that goal was by comparing it with excellent production. We have particular effect on most guitars which is giving us a specific sonority a bit outside of regular metal sound (if there's any). We're also using many different sounds to create atmospheres and textures but most of the weird sounds you can hear are played by guitars.

Since the beginning, we've been trying to compose a dense and varied music with few samples incorporated in the sound. For the LP, we recorded a tablas player and added a few virtual instruments.
Ben is able to propose several types of singing regarding to the track or the theme which is also  feeding our music. We're longing to have as much possibilities while composing not to get stuck in a style that won't be able to make it evolve afterwards.

"Normosis" is the track I first heard from you, and it turned my head immediately. That opening riff is eerie and I love the sound. What are some of the lyrical themes on the EP and where did they come from?

Thanks a lot. In Normosis, we're talking about what we call normality and our relation with it. Each of us is about our lifes wandered by too many unusful sufferings and frustrations. Morning Star and Obey, Consume or disappear are both talking about the problem about consuming been established as the essential lifestyle that we accept because it's the easiest way.

Through our lyrics we are asking those questions : What do we see ? The reality or the idea that we have of it, the way things are or the one which we are longing for?

To me, it seems that we all have an ensemble of moral values and believes (the good/bad, the right/wrong, beauty/ugliness… etc.) which depend of our background… so everyone is coloring the world through his own vision, wearing the glasses of his conditioning. Beliefs and habits aren't the problem but the relation that we maintain with it is. It's often hard to take so step back from it because questioning our self is not always an easy thing to do.

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Music is inspiring, which I believe it the reason that it is such a powerful medium. Who were some of your influences growing up? What inspires you when composing your music?

Metal gives you a chance to express darker ones, no matter if there conscious or sleeping inside. The Beatles or Queen were played pretty often before I sold my soul the Gods of Metal  but I still appreciate those bands for their sense of melody, their songwriting and the richness of their discography.

In my case, I'm trying to offer a free life to all my ideas then I record everyone that sounds good for me without knowing what the hell I'm gonna do with it. I can start composing over just a sound, a riff, a loop or even a written purpose. I find it more interesting to build from something which already exists like a vocal phrase.

Have you had the pleasure of touring as a band? Are there any fun or interesting stories from the road that you can share with us? How have reactions from the audience been?

We had very few gigs so far but two great opportunities. Our second concert was at Silence Festival in Kathmandu with Textures and Freak Kitchen (Mattias Eklund). We also collaborated with two well known swiss comedians who created a fake metal band for one of their character. They wanted to push that joke further by releasing an EP which we produced. A year after this CD, we played the songs live on prime time in the front of 40'000 people in one the most famous summer music festival in Europe called the Paleo Festival.

To play so far away like we did in Nepal which may not be the "easiest" destination to produce  a show, it gave us a small preview of "how it's like" to produce shows around the world. The audience's reaction was great… we sold more t-shirts than the headliners. At the Paleo Festival, we're impressed by the quality of our hosts and how they take good care of the artist because most of them of volunteers.

If you could tour with anyone and anywhere you wanted, who and what would you choose?

If we have good conditions, I guess that we will play almost everywhere. Playing in Nepal was an enriching experience. To learn from bands with more experience than us about how to handle a tour is very precious. Same thing about bands we could play with… the "who" doesn't matter because it's an opportunity to learn from experimented musicians.

What are your favorite song to play live?

Since recently, we're focused on our LP's production and the health problems of a AH's member delayed our comeback on stage. Playing songs is communication… so let's wait for the coming up feedback from an audience to decide which set list we should play.

I find that many Metal bands are totally self-sufficient, and I think that is inspiring because you are free to make your music without influence from a label. However, it must be difficult in terms of being financially stable. As an independent band, what keeps you motivated to keep going?

The self-sufficiency does have some advantages but as always also a price to pay. To be doing everything on your own… or at least trying to… take a lot of time and you need to gain many different & tricky knowledges. There's no place for improvisation… and the time for music declines.

The music business changed so much in just a decade. Now that you have access to music without paying for it… the artist have a huge loss of income that is influencing  the new world of music. In a world mainly rolled by the maximization of short term profits and a unrestrained economic competition, everyone is fighting for his survival which doesn't promote solidarity. Do bands and labels escape from this system? I don't think so.

From that statement, I still want to collaborate with people outside the band as long as we have common goals and the capacity to converse. If labels or others actors of the music industry are doing their job honestly… I bet there's no problem. It depends also of the way we consider people outside the band: docile employees (I caricature) or partners for a common adventure? If both sides consider the other just a fruit to take whole the juice out of it to throw it afterwards… then it's better that everyone stays on his side.

The perseverance and patience are the keys to go further while being conscious about the musical context in which we are evolving… so I'm going through contradictory feelings. So it is essential to find the balance between a big piece of dream and a piece of reality which stays digest. Almost Human's music gives me also the opportunity to express what I won't be able to verbalize.

I think a lot of fans like to get to know as much about their favorite band members as possible. Outside of music, what do you all do? If you were not a musician, what else do you think you might be doing for a career?

If 3 members of the band have family and kids, I took the "cats' option". Three of us have a professional activity in music outside the band (teaching, producing, session musician, etc.) the rest of the troop has a real job… I mean a serious one, but we all have another professional background (electrician, tiler, typographer, etc.). I'm a web designer. I think all of us love to travel and we're open to others cultures.

I'm not really sure for the guys excepted for Ben… social working and helping others are important professional activities for him… for example: fighting against the waist of food by collecting it in the shops to distribute to those who need it. On my side, I could have been an archaeologist to restore ancient monuments and objects from the past. I'm interested in oriental philosophies, meditation and food 'coz a part of us is made of what we're eating… so I cook as well.

What is the Metal scene like it Switzerland? I think your sound is on the cutting edge of Metal in terms of how you merge many different sub-genres together, and that is unique these days. Where do you see the future of Heavy Metal going?

There's a lot of bands in Switzerland and many of them are pretty good. With four national languages… there  many bands who are staying on their side. I don't feel like there's much solidarity but the it will be very helpful for the Swiss metal scene. At least, there are several summer festivals (Greenfield, Inferno, Irresistible, etc) and good clubs pretty much everywhere in Switzerland. The fusion between different genres  isn't on purpose but the fruit of years and year of listening… and still so many genres that I haven't explore yet! It a good way not to get stuck in a fixed genre and to keep on evolving.

I don't know about the futur of heavy scene but I hope that many bands from whole genres will be able to pay the bills and live decently of their art while sustained by a massive community of fans.

I feel many of my fellow Americans fall into the trap of only listening to American bands, yet there is no much incredible music coming from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in Europe and Australia in particular. We tend to be very ethnocentric as a nation. In what ways do you think we can work to solve this, and get more exposure for other countries music?

Does your statement concerns your folks or is it a general feeling in the US? Is it a Metal problem or a cultural one? What knowledge do american people have about the world? Does the education, media, lifestyle promote your inquisitiveness and curiosity about what going on outside the country? Your country is vast and the number of bands must be impressive… you would need several lives to listen to all of them. The bands need to have a local and national support to be a part of the game worldwide.

Taking the time to discover new bands needs curiosity and an opened mind… and a lot of time and sometime it's not appropriate. Today the offer is worldwide and limitless… so it's promote the zapping… so easy to switch from a track to the other without getting out of our habits.

Personaly, I know that there's always something to discover whatever the genre or the technical level is… there's always that moment where I say to myself: "Whoa… they made that thing sound like that… great idea… congrats guys!". Of course many bands are not giving me as much emotions as another bands do… but it doesn't mean that their music is bad or not interesting. The music which has been recorded in the past can't be change but the way we are listening to it can. I'm fighting against the habit of rejecting the unknown.

Are you all working on new material…perhaps a full-length album? If so, are there any details that you can share with us about that?

We're ending the mix and the artwork of our LP which will contain 14 tracks:

System Of Beliefs
Naked Now
What Makes You So Hard?
Chemical Breakfast
Divine Comedy
Beloved Pet
Promised ParaDies
In The Name(s) Of God(s)
Fucktory Of Illusions
From Womb 2 Tomb
Welcome 2 Neverland

We recorded at the Royal Studio where Chris Matthey is working. He has done an excellent job. He is evolving his skills production after production.

What are your goals for the future of your band?

We're going to present our work to the actors of the music industry and see what feedback we'll have. If nothing happens or at least nothing interesting  we're gonna release it on our own. We're setting up to get ready for live shows to promote our music and meet people. We will start with a few gigs in Switzerland… we are happy to go on the road again and meet metalheads to share time and a beer with.

Thank you again for this opportunity to talk with you. Is there anything else you wanted to share with us that I might not have asked?

Thanks to you and everybody at Metal Temple and those who took the time to read this interview. We looking forward to our coming out LP and to hit the stage again. Don't hesitate to contact us to share or ask "what ever" about our music.

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