HUMAN COLONIES: a Noisy, Colourful Rising Star from Italy
I've taken a shine to Human Colonies music since I first saw them on stage in my hometown of Rome. It was about a year ago. They were headlining at a small, precious, one-night Shoegaze fest and I hadn't really heard much about them before.
Their performance didn't last longer than half an hour, but it was enough to convince me and many others that the three musicians had something to say, and they were speaking out loud and clear.
I later understood at that time they were promoting their EP Big Domino Vortex, whose colorful artwork perfectly matched the good vibes of their music, made up of short fuzzy melodies, captivating rhythms with a pleasing hint of melancholy in vocals.
Recently Human Colonies released Midnight Screamer, another interesting work which confirmed their creativity and high-impact live sound. It seems they're taking off with this album and tour, and I felt that it was time for me to talk personally to these guys and introduce them to Noise Artists readers.
Enjoy our interview and have a listen to their sweet fuzzed tones.
Human Colonies line-up is:
- Giuseppe Mazzoni (guitar, vocals)
- Sara Telesca (bass, backing vocals)
- Riccardo Cotti (drums)
As for the band's history, they told us:
"At present the band is formed by me (author's note: Giuseppe Mazzoni) on guitar, Sara on the bass and Riccardo Cotti who recently joined us as a drummer. Members came together and formed the group in Bologna (a.n.: a city in north Italy) in 2013.
Following some tries with local bands, me and my brother Roman Dagner (a former member of Human Colonies) felt we’d like to start a band drawing inspiration from the sound of Jesus and Mary Chain, MBV, Ride, Dinosaur Jr.
Shortly afterwards Sara joined the band along with Davide Hara on drums. Our history as a band is not different from that of many other groups. We felt like we’d like to play to have some fun, to get together and share our passions.
If you ask me what has changed so far, well we were obviously younger and more reckless back then. :) All the gigs we did were so funny. Above all, we enjoyed playing along with our brothers Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger! and The Whip Hand."
What are the origins of the band name?
The band’s name comes from the merging of two songs we like in particular, that is to say DIIV’s “Human” and Joy Division’s “Colony”, which we turned into “Colonies”. What we are often asked is if is somehow related to sci-fi, but despite our love for the genre we’ve to say it has nothing to do with that.
What is your music about?
"Our music is about the things that surround us everyday, anything we somehow get into. It’s just about life, which is made up of good and bad things.
Our focus is playing itself, because that’s what make us feel good. Through our music we only aim at making some kind of emotional connection with our audience."
"For us the most influential artists are and will always be Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana, MBV, Melvins, Sparklehorse, And you will know us by the trail of Dead, BRMC, Elliot Smith, Cream, Jimi Hendrix… plus many, many more."
WHY we love them
Positivity: we all have some artist whose music gives us a sense of openness. In this case, a touch of light-heartedness lingers in any song, even the saddest ones. When you listen to Midnight Screamer, in particular, it's like they took an ironic approach to their own music, which is not so common.
Balance. It seems Human Colonies have a taste for balancing punchy noise and melancholic pop tunes. On both recorded tracks and live performances you get the right amount of energy and emotion, condensed in 3-minute-or-so songs. You can find such opposite nuances merging into the very same song or in different tracks within their albums. Their work typically features blasting punk-ish songs as well as mellow almost-instrumental tunes, to great effect.
Consistency: since their earlier works the band has developed an energetic, bright sound. Their 90s inspirations are clear, yet you can feel their genuineness all along. Fuzzy, rough tones are pulsing into the core, while a smooth melody surfaces. They blend in a groove you can't resist.
Because they are really kind and easy-going. Apart from the music quality, it's always nice to promote and collaborate with friendly artists. After seeing their first gig in Rome I contacted them for the interview and we got to know each other online. Later this year, I had the chance to see them live again and we met in person offstage. Although they had seemed to me a bit shy at first, I was impressed by their warm relationship with fans or people around and we got along pretty well.
The comparison game
- Pixies: directness, raw sounds and a jaunty attitude to pop-like song structure are major features Human Colonies share with such inspiration.
- Dinosaur Jr: massive use of fuzz and loud volumes as opposed to a casual stage presence, drawling vocals often kicking in - they immediately reminded me of J Mascis & co.
I told Giuseppe directly, and he didn't seem unhappy at all to hear so.
Human Colonies complete discography includes a Demo EP (self-released in 2013) followed by the EP Calvary (self-released in 2015) along with two brilliant covers: Chapterhouse Breather (2015) and Ulrika Spacek Porcelain (2016).
However, in our talk they focused on their most recent works, Big Domino Vortex (EP, released in 2017 on Lady Sometimes Records) and Midnight Screamer (LP, released in April 2018 on Mia Cameretta Records and Lady Sometimes Records in cooperation with Asap Arts):
"Both of the albums were recorded by sound engineer Filippo Strang (who had formerly worked with bands such as Flying Vaginas and Stranger Paws) at VDSS Recording Studio, in Morolo (a.n.: a village situated in Lazio region, central Italy)
Regarding Big Domino Vortex, we are very happy with the final product as well as with the high response it’s had.
It gave us the opportunity to tour around Italy which was really fun. We did somewhere around fifteen gigs, and we really enjoyed those dates. We have had positive results, considering that it’s an EP.
The creative process behind the album was rather spontaneous, basically we set out to mix a typical pop-song structure with lots of noise. We are noise addicts with a great passion for analog stuff, our pursuit of noise is constant and enthusiastic.
The mood of the EP is quite dark and introspective. It’s about some episodes that deeply affected ourselves. I would suggest you give it a listen from beginning to end – it just takes you a couple of cigarettes’ time :)
We don’t have any particular fave, we are equally fond of each track off this work, we think of it as a sort of concept album."
"As for Midnight Screamer, we have composed it having a more relaxed attitude towards the outside world somehow.
It’s about acceptance, forgiveness, surrender – in the best sense of the word, I mean. It opens a window on our own selves and on the others, but this actually comes at a price.
Eventually time makes you realize the person you have been and the mistakes you’ve made, sooner or later there will be the day of reckoning. You have to let time show you, no matter how awkward it will be. In other words, it’s a personal journey toward self-deconstruction. I have been trying so hard to find an easy way out several times, but I just couldn’t. In the end I felt I needed to stay focused and silence my own Black dog.
Musically speaking, the album shows a more powerful use of vocals. While maintaining their dissonant, often “sonic” tune, guitars come out less urgently. Bass lines are warmer, rounder and more intricate, while the drum beats are strong and sharp.
Our greatest inspirations were Cees Nooteboom’s “Licht overal” (a.n.: a collection of poems published in 2016) and bands such as Sparklehorse, Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana and Sonic Youth.
The artwork for the album cover was designed by our all-time idol Travis Millard.
In addition, we are now touring quite a lot and we hope to keep up the good work! :)"
Tell us about the artists you have worked with
"We’ve been playing around with a lot of Italian bands and artists. Those previously mentioned are the ones we are the best fond of: Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger!, The Whip Hand, Black Tail, Stranger Paws."
WHERE to find their work
Human Colonies material is available for free listening/ buying on:
You can also follow them on
Some good videos to watch
Apart from those included above, I suggest the official video for the title-track of their previous EP...
...And a live performance of another track taken off the same release.
What others have said
Other bands they recommend
"Poptones, Blonderr, Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger!, The Whip Hand, Black Tail, Flying Vaginas, Stranger Paws."
"Our cat and dog, grandparents."