In Conversation with… HUMAN NOISE

There is something undeniably frenetic about the razor sharp songwriting of Sydney based indie-punk outfit Human Noise. With strong ties to both punk rock and singer-songwriter roots, the songs of Eddie Boyd and the band (formerly known as Boydos) are agitated, witty, and above all else, incredibly clever.

Injected with equal measures of angst and humour, their latest single ‘Bad Language’ (the follow up from 2020’s ‘How Is It You Do That?’) manages to comment on both self and society with acute awareness, and like all good satire, leaves its audience with little choice but to focus that lens towards themselves and their own choices.

Recently, Human Noise’s Eddie Boyd was kind enough to answer some questions for me.

Hey Eddie, thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions. Congrats on another brilliant release. I was immediately taken with your music from the minute I heard the Boydos stuff. Whilst Human Noise is very clearly the product of the same mind as Boydos (at least from an outsider’s perspective) it feels quite different energetically. I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about the name change? How did you come up with the name Human Noise, and how do you see the project in relation to Boydos?

Thanks Harrie, it feels great to be releasing music again.

I wrote and recorded the recent Human Noise tracks with the intention to release as Boydos and it wasn’t really until the cusp of their release that I decided to change the name. So yeah in my head these songs were always a continuation of Boydos. It wasn’t anything in the music that made me feel like the name had to change, just that I never felt like Boydos was right. 

After writing It’s Alright, Look at me I’m Young (the album we released as Boydos) I naturally drifted toward writing heavier, more energetic songs. I think that came from wanting to play more energetic shows. There were some lulls in energy in our live set that pushed me to write songs to fill that space. I love the world of singer-songwriters but deep down I just want people to scream out my lyrics and throw up on my shoes.

I feel much more settled with the new name. It feels right. I was reading a lot of Raymond Carver and this phrase really blew me away: “I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone’s heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.”

To me ‘Human Noise’ feels heavy and light and vague in a way that makes you think about it.

Sonically, there is an intense and frantic quality to the first two singles from Human Noise, but it’s balanced out entirely by the tongue in cheek lyricism that is present through all your work so far. Could you tell me a little bit about how you approach your songwriting process?

Yeah, I guess, for me the lyrics and the music begin as two separate processes. I used to do a lot of day to day journaling and more recently I’ve been writing a lot of poetry as a way to process certain feelings or situations. Sometimes that feels like it flows very directly into my lyric writing and other times the lyrics feel like they come out of the blue, but I think having that process happening pretty constantly means that things are always brewing. 

In terms of the musical side of things I’ve usually got a few riffs or progressions floating around and whether they ever make it out of voice memos kind of depends on whether lyrical inspiration hits or not. Every now and again everything comes together really quickly in a way that can feel almost effortless, but a lot of the time it’s just repetition and re-working and getting mad and coming back to it later until I’ve got something I’m happy with.

What is your earliest memory of songwriting?

Being, like, eight and writing songs with my younger sister and brother. I used to play guitar and sing and my sister would hit pots and my brother who was two would provide the lyrical inspiration. ‘Me Wish Go On a Horse Again’ was a classic of ours. 

Your latest two music videos are great, and feel really in line with the project. How do you tackle the creation of a visual identity for your music? 

Thanks! Yeah, I find the visual side of things to be a tricky one. It happened quite naturally with these latest videos. I decided after the Boydos album that I wasn’t going to spend any more money on clips so they’ve got this DIY aesthetic that I think fits quite well with our music. Working within the confines of zero budget and a shitty camera really forced me to focus on capturing the energy of the songs and presenting it in an interesting way rather than trying to come up with any larger concepts or storylines.

I guess at this point I approach video clips as vessels for the songs instead of trying to convey anything more than that.

What is a lyric that you wish you had written and why? 

“It’s such a perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you. Such a perfect day, you just keep me hangin on, you just keep me hanging on.” ‘Perfect Day,’ Lou Reed.

It’s just so simple but so beautiful and real and I’ve listened to that song countless times but every time I hear that line it makes me feel so many things.

What is your favourite lyric that you’ve written? 

Hmm that’s a haaaard question. I’m going to be topical and say “they hit me with an eftpos fee, I hit em’ with some bad language”.

I despise eftpos fees and I’ve wanted to communicate that in song for a very long time. It feels great to sing.

One of the things that I love the most about your work is its ability to showcase big existential problems that are pretty universal, and somehow make light of them without minimising the gravity of them. How conscious are you of the sense of comedy within your work? 

Humour is definitely something that I’m conscious of when I write.

Peppering my lyrics with those brief moments of comedy I think is what keeps them from crossing into self-pity territory. It’s important for me to convey that I know that my problems aren’t so bad, and that I can see the humour in them. But yeah it can be a tricky balance between not taking yourself too seriously and taking yourself seriously enough.

What are three songs you are currently loving? 

‘Robber’ by The Weather Station – Great drums, great lyrics, great vision, all great.

‘Someone Great’ by LCD Soundsystem – Very late to the party on this one but I’ve recently fallen in love with it. When that title lyric hits at the end it gets me right in the heart.

‘Mirror in the Bathroom’ by The Beat – I just rediscovered their record, I Just Can’t Stop It. This track is the opener and is a total banger.

What’s on the cards for Human Noise in the next year?

Hopefully some gigs where people can stand up while holding a beer. Or even dance! 

Lots of new music, hopefully some more low budget video clips.

If Human Noise were a cake, what kind of cake would you be and why? 

Ha! Umm I’m going to say banana bread because for some reason it seems to be the only cake that people think is acceptable to eat in the morning. I think it’s just because it has the word bread in it. You can listen to Human Noise at any time of day and society will never shame you.

Human Noise’s latest release, ‘Bad Language,’ is out now. For more music and merch, visit the band’s Bandcamp page, here.

Find Human Noise on Facebook and Instagram.

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