It’s something I can’t control

It’s something I can’t control

Human Reunion release ‘Arc De Square’

By Kyle Melton

Human Reunion Photo by Kidtee Hello

In the volatile world of underground rock, the likelihood of a band lasting more than a few months is a dicey proposition. For a band to endure nearly five years as one of Dayton’s perennial live favorites is even more unlikely. In the case of electro-rock quartet Human Reunion, their endurance and commitment brought them to the point of release for their debut album, Arc De Square.

Following the demise of one of Dayton’s most enigmatic acts of the early 2000s, The Dirty Walk, Human Reunion – Jeremy Frederick (guitar/keyboards/vocals), Tim Krug (guitar/keyboards/vocals), Alan Baker (bass/keyboards/vocals) and Michael Chase (drums) – sought to carve out a new path in their collective
musical explorations.

“I wanted to do a band that was electronic that was mixed with rock that wasn’t just rave music,” Frederick recalled. “I was working at Wright State and (original HR drummer) Ian Kaplan found me asleep on a couch in between classes and said ‘I heard you’re trying to get an electronic band together. I’ve got the perfect guy,’ and it was (Tim). After that we needed a bass player, and that’s where Alan steps in.”

As Frederick began to work with Krug, Baker, and original drummer Ian Kaplan, their blend of electronic and rock influences quickly gelled into an engaging amalgamation. While the band sought to break into uncharted musical territory, they quickly learned that inspiration could come in a variety of forms.

“There’s a lot of experimentation,” Krug admitted. “We might try to write a song and
realize, ‘Well, this one doesn’t work, so let’s not have guitar in it. Let’s have a keyboard instead.’ It’s not something that any of us have really done in a group. Making electronic music with people, it’s weird. It’s been where Ian would play a drum beat and there would be a song a couple minutes later. (Sometimes) Jeremy will have a song that he’s written out and we’d all put it together. That’s a hard thing to do and we had to work at it a lot, just being able to
let things go.”

From their initial sessions, the band’s songwriting abilities in this strange new context flourished. It wasn’t long before the quartet sought the aid of an old comrade to help them capture their raw energy on disc.

“(John Schmersal of Enon/Brainiac) got a hold of me and asked me to send him some stuff,” Frederick explained. “I sent him some crude practice demos. He was like, ‘Dude, I’ve gotta record this shit. You’ve gotta get this thing off the ground.’ He was impressed, so I was excited, as was everyone else.”

With Schmersal at the helm, Human Reunion visited Schmersal’s home studio in Philadelphia throughout 2007. The resulting tracks that comprise Arc De Square took a long and torturous route to finally see release. Finally taking the reigns themselves to put out the album on their own Minor Manor imprint, ‘Arc De Square’ is an unapologetic debut from one of Dayton’s most exciting live acts. From raucous stage favorites “Red Ape” and their recent 7” single release “Carbonics” to more nuanced, melodic tracks like “Rapture Nurse” and “Working Man”, the thread of electronic-based music ties this disc together. Throughout the disc, Kaplan centers the maelstrom with a relentless big beat in tandem with Baker’s perfectly pulsating bass lines. As Frederick and Krug bark and bait with their vocal deliveries, the incessant bleeps and squalls of their trademark synths provide incredible sonic tension against spastic guitars. The resultant sonic boom provides an exuberant dance party fueled with an undeniable raw energy. Before Arc De Square could be released, however, original drummer Ian Kaplan parted ways with the band. Fortunately, the band brought in current drummer Michael Chase (ex-The Dirty War) in summer of 2009 to keep
things moving.

“I felt like it was a pretty natural fit,” Chase admitted. “I was excited to know that Jeremy, Tim, and Alan were looking
for me.”

In keeping their live show moving forward and working toward the eventual release of Arc De Square, Human Reunion built their reputation in Dayton and beyond on the strength of an unpredictable live show and their ability to host equally incredible touring bands.

“Whatever kind of reputation we’ve built over the years is about the bands we’ve brought to town to play with us,” Krug explained.
“Islands have come to town and played with us. We’ve done a lot of shows with The Mae Shi and Yea Big + Kid Static. People kind of
expect that if we’re bringing a band, even if they’ve never heard of them, they’ll wanna
check it out.”

Having withstood the inherent pressures of surviving in the world of modern music,
Human Reunion thrive on a shared passion and gratitude for the music they make together.

“We didn’t go into the Human Reunion knowing how to run it,” Frederick admitted. “It’s a friendship based around trying to be as crazy and kick-ass as we can. I think it was intuitive that it might take this band five
years to work.”

“I think we’re just doing something that we all genuinely enjoy,” Baker concluded. “We’re just happy that other people like it.”

Human Reunion will celebrate the release of ‘Arc De Square’ with a show on Friday, August 30 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Also on the bill are
Astro Fang, Letter Camp (Detroit) and Dirty
Socialites. Doors open at 9 p.m. and admission is $5
for 21 and up. For more information,
visit www.HumanReunion.com.

Reach DCP freelance
writer Kyle Melton at contactus@daytoncitypaper.com


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