Taking a cue from their namesake, East London duo Human Interest excel at crafting narratives of interpersonal connection, wrapped up in varied sonics of finger-picked guitar (‘Grounded’), The Kinks-esque groove (‘Cool Cats’), alt-rock riffs (‘Step On’) and much more besides.
Following on from 2022 EP ‘Desire Paths’, their sophomore studio outing ‘Empathy Lives In Outer Space’ lands tomorrow, its six tracks truly laying down the gauntlet of their artistic identity. Drawing inspiration from an image of an astronaut conducting the first-ever untethered freefall in outer space, the project speaks to notions of community and kinship, even in the seemingly loneliest of times. To celebrate its release, vocalist and guitarist Cat Harrison gives us a closer insight into the processes, stories, and people behind each song.
This song came about after I had some particularly sketchy surgery. I won’t go into detail, but if you fancy it, you can Google ‘pilonidal sinus removal’ – I had a vacuum attached to me for a month. I was pretty knocked out on codeine at this time, which I think explains the hypnoticism (we know this isn’t a word, but it’s a reference to School of Rock). It’s about trying to crack on with life while fighting through the monotony and dark thoughts that I was experiencing, and holding out hope for something useful on the other side.
I wrote this while living above the infamous Bar Nothing in Margate. The proprietor Kevin Morpurgo sadly died this summer, and he was a very good friend of mine. Many a night were had sat at his bar listening to an eclectic mix of records whilst we spoke about aliens or the occult. At the time, this song was about being unemployed and imagining a different world. Writing this now, I think of him.
This one is Tyler’s song predominately, and it felt really special to make. It was a short voice note that had this amazing melody to it. Something was in the air that day, and we had recorded the demo for it in a matter of hours; a real antennae moment. No thoughts, just instinct. We sent it to Nice Swan as a blank email at 3am – literally just the Soundcloud link – and the next day we were on the phone to them talking about working together. It’s really the catalyst for the whole EP.
All My Friends
One of the first songs written for Human Interest, around four years ago. I had stopped working with my other project, and this was part of the start of that new chapter, written whilst cat-sitting an adorable kitten at a friend’s place in Margate. I was playing on this beautiful hollow body guitar with loads of holes in. Funnily enough, I actually recorded the demo of ‘John Elton’ for Self Esteem that same week. The song is pretty clear with what it’s about – to put it in a nutshell, it’s an anthem for sadness and friendship.
This has been a staple of our live set since our first ever gig at The Old Blue Last in 2021. We always close on it, and it is so fun to play. It’s definitely the most raucous song we have, and always gets people moving if they’re feeling a little stiff – we toured France for the first time earlier this year, and watching people start a mosh pit and crowd surf to our music for the first time was an incredible feeling. We felt it was time to actually put it out!
Quite possibly my favourite track on the entire EP. The lyrics just seemed to be floating in the ether and all of a sudden something that had started as a joke whilst I had some time to kill – I was fucking around trying to make some sort of old Irish folk song to try and make my mate Brian laugh – actually turned into this beautifully sad story about queer love in war time. Who knows, maybe the whole song’s really a metaphor for something I’m still figuring out….
Human Interest will play an EP launch show in London at The Waiting Room on 29th November; ‘Empathy In Outer Space’ is out tomorrow via Nice Swan Records.