The genesis of Human Impact—featuring guitarist and vocalist Chris Spencer (Unsane), keyboardist Jim Coleman (Cop Shoot Cop), bassist Chris Pravdica (Swans, Xiu Xiu), and drummer Phil Puleo (Cop Shoot Cop, Swans)—goes back almost three decades. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, each member of the band was trying to make a name for themselves in the Lower East Side’s grimy noise and noise rock scene.
“[Jim and I] always talked about making some music,” says Chris Spencer. “We’ve always wanted to work together. I wanted to bring Jim in to do samples for Unsane in the ’90s when Cop Shoot Cop broke up. Now, we’re really doing it.”
The impetus to finally get together and create some music occurred after an Unsane show a few years ago, Spencer says. With that simple encounter, he decided to make Human Impact his main endeavor. Soon, they brought in Pravdica and Puleo, and they were a full band, ready to get down to the business of making some new noise.
The fruit of their labors is a self-titled, debut album which comes out on Ipecac tomorrow, March 13, 2020. Human Impact’s sound is layered and dense and contains plenty of the grime and feedback you would expect from a band of its pedigree, but also has a slight melodic side, especially in the vocal lines, that makes it memorable. The lyrics deal with issues that are important to Spencer.
“The world is changing, don’t you know?” he says. “I’m sure you’re aware of it. I walk down the street in New York City and see so many phone zombies, it’s ridiculous. A bunch of the stuff I’m writing about is painfully obvious. This is stuff that means something to me. I’m not going to write about how I’m love with some girl or anything like that. I’ve traveled quite a bit, and I’ve seen how overpopulation affects the planet. So, I write about stuff like that.”
Human Impact’s live debut took place last year in the band’s hometown of New York City. The gig went down as a major success, though Spencer had a little trepidation going into it.
“Did I feel any nerves? Yes and no,” he says. “It was a no-pressure situation. I say that sarcastically. These days, everybody has their phones recording stuff. What if an amp blows up? Or somebody dies? That’s the only show we have on record for three months. I think we did alright.”
Expect more live action from the band in the near future. They have a record release show scheduled for March 14, 2020, at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn and then plan to hit the road for some touring.
“We’re looking at July for the States, and then in the fall, we’ll hit Europe and the States again,” Spencer says. “We are deciding to lay low for a little bit after the record comes out and let it be out there and get absorbed by people. Then we plan to do as much touring as we possibly can.”
It might have taken a long time to get to this point, but Spencer is content where he is right now in his creative life. The future is wide open.
“These are guys I’ve known forever and that I’ve always wanted to play with,” he says.
Human Impact’s debut album is out on March 13; purchase it here.