Revealing the Remains
An interview with Human Remains
by: Adam Wasylyk
A lot of people reading this interview may be asking themselves "Human Who"? Others may have heard their sole track, "Rote", off the _Death Is Just the Beginning 3_ compilation (named on the comp "Weeding Out the Thorns", incorrectly) and wondered when they would release an album. Human Remains' recently released mini-CD, _Using Sickness as a Hero_, is the band's first, but last record as the band is now defunct. Fans, as well as I, will miss the band's music trademarks: quirky riffing, harsh vocals, and insane drumming. However three of the five members will go on to form a new band named The Sky Is Denied.

I talked with drummer Dave Witte who was calling from Relapse's home office in Pennsylvania. Dave has kept himself very busy as he can be heard in a couple of other bands. He is busy at work recording the second CD for Discordance Axis and has also done some 7" work with Exit-13. Dave and I discussed Human Remains' death and the birth of his new project.

"I guess we were getting tired of it," begins Dave on the reason why Human Remains broke up. "Everybody in the band had different ideas and directions to go into, and it didn't work out, so we decided to stop. We're going to do our own thing, the bass player is doing his own thing now, and the guitarist is doing his own thing. Me, Steve, and Paul are going to be doing the new band." As to whether there was any resentment between ex-band members, Dave answered comfortably, "Oh no, everything's all right. It's just that we all had different ways in how we wanted to do things, and it wasn't working out."

On how Human Remains came to sign to Relapse, Dave made it sound so easy. "We pretty much just sent them the tape," Dave chuckles. "We sent them the tape a couple of times, and then [the band and Relapse] started talking. We convinced them to come see us one time, and afterwards, when they were really interested in us, they set us up a show, and they all came down. They dug us and we took it from there."

A lot of people's first exposure to Human Remains was through Relapse's compilation, _Death Is Just the Beginning 3_. Dave gave his comments on its success in getting the band's name out, and gave his opinion on how the tracks sounded. "It got [the Human Remains name] around, but we weren't too happy with the mix and the playing of the song, but it represented us, definitely."

Since relatively little is known about the band, I asked about musical influences of the band. "The major influence was Ripping Corpse in the beginning. A couple of us, including myself, didn't even play until we heard that band. They just opened up our world. And during the band's existence, bands like Rush and Skinny Puppy and some fast stuff. It's like a big melting pot."

_Using Sickness as a Hero_, a 6-song mini-CD (the 7th song, "Beyond Human Perception" is blank), is again the first and last recording for Human Remains. Dave gave his opinion on the record, which were far from great. "I think it could have been better," Dave starts with his criticisms, "but it represented us kind of well. I wasn't too happy with the mix; there was too much reverb on the drums. Next time we'll be better." Delays also plagued the recording, including re-recordings and even a foot injury suffered by Dave. Dave begins with an uncomfortable chuckle, "We had a bass player change and I had some torn ligaments in my foot. It was just a mess. I've listened to it, there's a lot of stuff that I'll hear myself that no one else will hear because it's my own little errors, little things here and there that irritate me".

One of my favorite aspects on _Using Sickness as a Hero_ is Dave's drumming ability, which still amazes me to this day. I asked him about his drum training, and was shocked to hear his lack of any. "I'm self-trained," Dave says with pride. "I took one lesson and I was pretty bored with it. I almost felt robbed! I didn't really like lessons so I just stayed home, so when everyone went out I just stayed home and played."

With Human Remains gone, the majority of its members will join and form The Sky Is Denied. So I asked Dave what the band sounds like compared to Human Remains, and when it will release its first record. "It's kinda hard to say when we'll release a record. We want to primarily write for ourselves at first, and once we're happy with it, then we'll see if anyone (labels) wants to do anything with it, with first choice to Relapse. [The sound] will be very experimental, it'll be a new form. It'll still have aspects and traits of Human Remains, but it'll be progressed, it'll be multiplied by a hundred."

(article submitted 18/11/1996)

11/18/1996 B Meloon 7 Human Remains - Using Sickness as a Hero
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