XX Flames of Humanart
Yep, the fire still burns... more so in Black Metal! 20 years of Humanart and there is still fire enough in JJ to keep the flame burning, the band going and release a new album!
Don’t you just love Trivia facts? Well, here’s an interesting one for you: Humanart started back in 1998 (that’s the damn last century!!! No, wait… the last millennium!!!) and wrote their first Mcd in 1999. It was called (wait for it!) “Fossil”. And they’re still around with great music and enough energy to show you some Human Art… much thanks to guitarist and songwriter JJ, who also happens to be the only remaining founding member.
Despite the obstacles and setbacks the band has released one author-edition album & 2 Mcd's, a Special Tape Edition for their 10th anniversary (“X Flames of Humanart”) and a video clip for 2014’s “The Darkest Light”.
Back with a new album about to be released in 2019, Humanart features JJ on solo guitar, Sathronus on vocals, Fareal on rhythm guitar, Leyak on bass and Njiord on drums.
I saw them live in January 2017 and decided to drop by their 20th Anniversary celebration “XX Flames of Humanart” in Oporto on September 1st. And this is how it went down when, after a great show, I sat down for a cool chat with JJ.
Crow Xp: Welcome, JJ. I must say I really dig the make-up you guys use on stage… a nice way of, let’s say, illustrating the name of the band…
JJ: Yes indeed, it`s tradition, we are traditional Black Metal guys showing our Art in our putrid Human corpses.
Crow Xp: That was a very cool 20th anniversary celebration… A real milestone in Humanart’s history…
JJ: 20 years of pure dedication with many achievements as only a few in our style did in this country (Portugal), even though most of our poor media ignored us for most of the time preferring to engage in advertising their friends and boot lickers.
Crow Xp: You have much material so far… some author’s editions. Same for the next?
JJ: Our discography consists of 2 Mcd`s, 1 Tape (celebrating the 10th anniversary, released by: Praise Unholy Records), 1 Album and the 2nd album will be released in the beginning of 2019 (released with the support of Ultraje). The Mcd`s and the first Album were self-released in periods of life when I had the time and will to carry all the back office work (avoiding bad contracts only to say that we were a signed band).
Crow Xp: I know for a fact you have shared stage with Moonspell among other great national and international bands… What’s your take on the Portuguese (Black) Metal scene?
JJ: Yes, we shared stage with bands like Moonspell (Pt), Ramp (Pt), Inquisition (Usa/Col), Bal Sagoth (Eng), Abaddon Incarnate (Irl), Balmog (Sp), Prejudice (Bel), Inferi (Arg), Basilisk (Ger), Psychonaut 4 (Geo), Nocturnal Depression (Fra) etc…and played in festivals with other also well-known bands like Ancient Rites (Bel), Holy Moses (Ger), Centvrian (Ned), Prostitute Disfigurement (Ned), Tygers of Pan Tang (Eng), etc…
Regarding Portugal we don’t get along with the crappy novels of some of the BM scene. I am almost 40 years old and still a die-hard Black Metal fan for the last 25 years, I respect some bands and have friends in several but for me the majority of the bands are image/hype over substance (specially the called “raw” ones), I am interested in extreme dark music, not two notes toilet sounds.
Crow Xp: It must be a struggle for many bands considering the size of the country. Speaking of struggle… back in 2005-2007 Humanart had a complicated couple of years… But you didn’t give up on the band…
JJ: It’s a struggle because we row against the tide, if we stopped being wolves to become sheep it would be so much easier. My obsession with this music style always gave me strength to keep on going with the band and to get new members to share the responsibility of carrying Humanart`s name further. The difficulty growing in a rotted underground scene with other band`s members spreading lies about us to get us out of venues, having almost no trustful media and promoters, etc, just gave us the extra kick to spread more and more darkness.
Crow Xp: And you did well! Sitting here chatting after your 20th Anniversary show is proof of that. Well played. What about your new album?
JJ: The new album is ready to be recorded and will be one more step forward, our path is deeper and darker than ever before. We will have some big names in the international scene working in the sound and design of the album, as for us the album will only be completed when all art forms work well together. It will be released in the beginning of 2019 with the title: (Further) Into the Depths.
Crow Xp: And as for tour dates/ plans for 2019?
JJ: Play mostly outside Portugal and some selected concerts here. Till this day we played 61 times in Portugal and 3 in Spain, we must change that.
Crow Xp: On the professional level… is there anything you would have done differently? Any advice for bands in their early stages?
JJ: We grew with all experiences and after watching the metal environment from close range we still wouldn`t get along with insignificant beings just to be more popular. My advice is don`t sell yourself cheap, in Portugal the underground is upside down, bands are the bitches of rogue promoters, the weak part of the industry. Artists should be unique, proud and free, by the way you can check our new song “Underground Slut”, our sincere thoughts for some of the worms out there!
Crow Xp: 20 years of showbiz is a long time to collect some nice stories… Any particular stories/anecdotes you’d like to share with our readers?
JJ: So many, we will sure have some time to spend with the fans to share a lot of those stories as we appreciate talking and sharing experiences with people we meet on the road. Maybe one day I`ll write a compilation of those situations in a book about Humanart. Honor, Alcohol and Black metal! would be a cool name.
Crow Xp: Nice chat, JJ. Hope we speak again before the 21st flame…
JJ: It was a pleasure, let`s see what mighty events 2019 will bring for us in order to promote the new album and spread the Black Crusade!