The Humans (ft. Bill Rieflin Of R.E.M.) Play New York At Highline Ballroom On 9.27

THE HUMANS are an innovative, three-piece, contemporary rock band comprising Toyah Willcox, Bill Rieflin and Chris Wong. The group brings together three lifetimes of musical experience, experimentation and craftsmanship. The band are the brainchild of Toyah Willcox.

THE HUMANS were formed in 2007 after Toyah was invited by the Estonian ambassador to tour Estonia. Highly experimental, the band reflects the distinctly different musical backgrounds and life experiences of its members. This creative formation marked a radical departure for Toyah who comments: “The songs are deconstructed down to the bones of raw experience, exposing human nature and irony”. Dispensing with the conventional rock band line-up, the DNA of The Humans consists of the voice (taking much more of a role as instrument) flanked by two bass players, with no designated drummer or guitarist. Although recorded and live work can include programmed drumming, beats or guest guitar, the intention is to allow space for the vocal to sit above and alongside the sound scape rather than compete with the noise of a rock band.

Before they had ever set foot into a recording studio, The Humans premiered their material in 2008 with a sell-out series of concerts in Estonia attended by the Estonian president. These songs then formed the basis of their debut album We Are The Humans, which was recorded in Bill Rieflin’s home ground of Seattle. Produced by Rieflin, the 10-song album was mixed by Don Gunn & Rieflin and mastered by Simon Heyworth (Tubular Bells, Brian Eno). It was released in May 2009 to coincide with the band’s return to Estonia to headline at ‘Tartufest’. Album highlights include the eerily, ambient Quicksilver, the majestic, Demigod and the live band-groove of Icarus. The Humans quickly carved out their sound as European experimental meets West Coast American grunge with overarching avant-garde and filmic qualities.

The album received its UK digital release in September 2009 along with the band’s first single, ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, a provocative, 21st century twist on the Nancy Sinatra classic, featuring guest guitar from Robert Fripp. This track was recently used by the BBC on their television
coverage of the World Cup football final matches, reaching a substantial audience of worldwide viewers and listeners.

The Humans marked their first ever live UK appearances with a series of warm-up concerts in the very intimate and beautiful surroundings of St. Michael’s & All Angels’ Church and St. Anne’s Church, Worcester. These were followed up by dates across the UK, featuring special guest Robert Fripp playing live with the band.

They also appeared on the bill of acts invited to perform at The Roundhouse for the Helping Haiti fundraiser concert. The Humans tour culminated in a headline date at London’s Scala, yielding a 4-star review from the Financial Times who concluded it was an “intriguing, often terrific, show” with “programmed beats, sinewy, rumbling rhythms, a kind of twisted funk”.

Their set included a presentation of the entire debut album, newly written songs and their unique interpretations of These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ alongside the Hendrix classic, Purple Haze.

THE HUMANS have dedicated three years to establishing their sound, songs and performance. Crystallizing what is at the core of The Humans’ manifesto, the album Sugar Rush bears a cinematic density with stirring moments of exhilarating energy (Sugar Rush) tender contemplation (Love In A Di¬erent Way) and brooding soundscapes (Sea Of Size). The album also features guest guitar on all tracks from Robert Fripp.

Concerts are being lined-up to include UK, Europe and USA and may include cinemas, theatres, churches and other unusual spaces alongside traditional rock venues.

The End Records are proud to announce the September 27, 2011 release of the album Sugar Rush which will be supported by US concert dates.

East Coast Tour Dates
September 25th – Church – Boston, MA *
September 26th – The World Cafe – Philadelphia, PA *
September 27th – Highline Ballroom – New York, NY *
* w/ Kid Savant

Tracklisting

1. Titanium Girl
2. Love In A Different Way
3. Sea Of Size
4. Pebble
5. Small Town Psychopath
6. Sweet Agitation
7. Playing In The Dark
8. Snow At 10:23
9. Sugar Rush
10. This Reasoning
11. Fragment Pool
12. Put A Woman On The Moon
13. Small Town Psychopath (version) [Bonus Track]

www.thehumansofficial.com
www.theendrecords.com

Interview with James Wan & Leigh Whannell

James Wan & Leigh Whannell are the director and the writer of “Insidious” (respectively).  The started their career by creating the “Saw” franchise.  Since then the guys have worked together on various other projects including “Death Sentence” and “Dead Silence”.  James and Leigh took aside some time during their very busy press day for “Insidious” to chat with Movie Mikes about the new film and working together again on this project.

Mike Gencarelli: James, Tell us about how you became attached to “Insidious”?
James Wan: This is a project that happened when I met with one of the producers of “Paranormal Activity”, we hit it off.   I met with the rest of the gang and introduced them to my partner in crime Leigh Whannell.  We said “Guys we want to do a project together”. We all got along so well, we decided to go out there and work on a film together.  That marriage became “Insidious”.

MG: Leigh, Tell us about coming up with this idea for the script?
Leigh Whannell: This idea, like all, James and I came up with it together, even before we came up with “Saw”.  We were trying to find something that we could shot in a really low budget way.  We had a goal for a $5,000 budget for a film and we were trying to come up with idea that would suit that budget.  The core idea at the heart of “Insidious” is what we came up with.  I don’t want to give anything away to the readers but the end is what we essentially came up with.  We thought it was pretty good and almost went with it.  But one day James called me and said he had the idea of two guys chained up in a public toilet.  I thought that was a better idea and I am glad we went with that.  So we filed the idea for “Insidious” in the file cabinet in the back of your brain. When James had the meeting with Steven Schneider, one of the producers of “Paranormal” that he was just talking about… we came to the belief that we would be pretty foolish by not making this film.

MG: You guys have worked together on every project now, would you consider this project to be you’re most difficult?
JW: I think this actually has been the most fun project that Leigh and I have working together on.
LW: I agree, but not easiest in terms of coming up with the idea, writing the film and directing it.  That stuff is hard…and it is definitely hard to do those things on a small budget. But the ease came from great people.  The cast and crew were just so easy to get along with.  The producers were so great and stayed true to there word by letting us make a film we wanted to make, while also giving us great ideas and thoughts.  They were true collaborators. Everything was just so great.  I definitely have had the most fun working on this, the same as James.

MG: Since the film was low budget, did you feel still feel you were able to achieve everything you wanted?
JW: Oddly, this film actually cost less to make than “Saw” and “Saw” was very low budget.  Yet the ironic thing is I managed to pretty much make the movie I wanted to make.  I think this is the reason why, “Saw” was my first film and  I didn’t have a filmmaking infrastructure around me.  I didn’t have the support or a crew that I knew.  Fast forward to four films later… “Insidious” is my fourth movie, even though it is less money, I have brought in a really great team of people and crew.  I got a cinematographer that I love…an AD that is brilliant…costume and production design…hair and makeup…everyone came to work on this film because they wanted to work with me again. I managed to get an A quality film for basically a no-budget movie.

MG: James, Why did you take on the task of editing as well as directing?
JW: Purely because I love editing [laughs].  It is a simple as that.  I love editing just as much as directing.  I have always edited my own stuff back in film school.  When you get to Hollywood people do not want you to wear yourself too thin.  So usually you have to give up the editing aspect of it.  Due to this being such a small movie and in some way real garage filmmaking for me, it was very experimental.  I got to shoot digital for the first time, which I loved.  It allowed me to do a lot of things that I couldn’t do with film.  I cut it myself in my bedroom on my little Macintosh Apple computer.  It was very liberating.  I thought only I would be able to crop the scare sequences because I shot it knowing how I planned to edit it.  That is the only way I would be able to get around shooting a film in only 22 days. I had a very strong specific way on how I was going to cut.  For me, I felt the scare scenes needed to be very effective and that all comes from how the film is edited and how the sound interacts with that footage.  If you are one second off, then your whole scare sequence is thrown off the curve.

MG: This film looks quite scary especially for PG-13, tell about working within that rating?
JW: Particularly, I know for Leigh he was just setup to write the script and it just so happened to fall into the PG-13 world.  For me it was definitely more conscious.  I didn’t want swearing, I didn’t want blood and guts.  I honestly believe that a lot of it has gotten lost in the last few years.  I think in a big part thanks to the franchise that Leigh and I have created.  People have forgotten that you can make a very scary movie without blood and guts.  You can make a very suspenseful with out throwing buckets of blood at the screen and you can do it this creepy atmosphere that gets into your head.

MG: How was it working with horror genre favorite, Lin Shayne?
JW: I have known Lin Shayne for a while now and there was only one person I wanted to cast for the role.  Most people know here for some of the over the top stuff that she has done but for me I know her and she is more than capable of doing the drama.  She is really great at it.  I really I wanted to give her the chance to do that on this film. Since she comes from a comedic background there is a great quirkiness to the role, which I think is fantastic.

MG: Leigh, did you right the part with Lin in mind?
LW: James told me very early on that he wanted that character set for Lin Shayne to play.  I have worked with her and I was able to write the character for her, which is awesome.  It is always easier to write a character for somebody you know.  You can take years of life experiences, quirks and habits and put it into the character.  That is actually how I build from the ground up. I always like to base characters on people I know because it is the easiest access point.  It was great writing the character having her in mind.  I also wrote the ghost hunters characters for myself and Angus Sampson.  With Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson’s characters, I didn’t know them so I based the characters on people I know in my life.

MG: Leigh, you not only started the “Saw” franchise but also starred in it, were you always planned to take on both roles?
LW: Yeah, that was our plan! As I said before we were trying to make a film for $5,000 dollars. That was our post film school plan. James wanted to direct something and I wanted to act in something. We were frustrated, so we came up with the idea and went out and did it.  I love acting.  I just enjoy it as much as I do writing.  I am not afraid to say that if I write a film I love to put myself in it, that way I can still be involved in the filmmaking process after the writing is done. The writing is where it all starts.  These are the plans for the house and you can’t build anything without the blueprints. Once I start I want to be there on the building site.  I want to be hammering some nails and helping out.  So the best way to do that is to be acting.

MG: What do you guys have planned next together?
JW: We have separate things we have been working on that we always check with each other about.
LW: Together as the team the Wan/Whannell brand…we are talking about doing a Sci-Fi.  We have come up with an idea and we really like it.  We ran the idea past some investors and they really liked it.  So that is definitely upcoming.

MG: Do you feel nervous going up against this weeks new films?
LW: Yeah for sure! We are always nervous about going against big films.
JW: Our film is a small little film and it is hard to compete with big studio films, “Hop” and “The Source Code”.  Those are big studio films, with huge marketing behind them.  We are here to nip at the hills.

Interview with Brian Yunza

Brian Yunza is a Director/Screenwriter/Producer known best for his work on the “Re-Animator” and “The Dentist” series. Most of his film work falls into the horror genre. Brian has also started production company, Fantastic Factory. He has worked quite a bit with Stuart Gordon and they are both big fans of H.P. Lovecraft and together they have developed several of his stories into films. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian about his films and what he has planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you reflect your favorite film in the “Re-Animator” series?
Brian Yunza: My favorite of the “Re-Animator” films is the first one because that not only invented the thing but it was also the first movie I had produced. Not to mention that it was the most successful. When you make a movie for the first time everything is new, every situation is unique, each challenge is fresh. Just like a first love, a first film is a process of discovery that can’t be repeated. If “Re-Animator” had turned out badly perhaps I would have buried the memory and moved on to another movie for my fond reminiscences. The sequels have a place in my heart, of course, but I am well aware that each of them had the goal of fulfilling certain expectations created by the first film.

MG:Tell us about working on “The Dentist” series? Would love to see that series continue?
BY: The first film in the series originated as an idea by the head of Trimark Pictures, Mark Amin. I agreed to develop and direct his idea and at that time my company would have also produced it for him. Mark didn’t insist on a particular story, only that the film should focus on the fear of sitting in the dentist chair, not on some fantastical or sci fi type of twist. We listened to pitches from over two dozen writers before settling on the story, and even then the script didn’t give us what we wanted. The process of working with Trimark was a very supportive and congenial one, and when I went off to Canada to produce Crying Freeman I was happy for them to make the movie without me if that worked out better for their schedule. When I returned and new writer had made some interesting improvements in the script and Pierre David had come on board to produce. I rejoined the project even though the budget had been slashed and worked on the script with on of Pierre’s executives while we were in pre production. Trimark did a great job of helping us find an appropriate and talented cast for the movie, and I can’t say enough about Corbin Bersen and his contribution to the film. He was more than just a lead actor, he was always there to help solve problems with creative solutions. I was insecure about The Dentist- I just didn’t know if it was going to work. I had never had such a minimalist situation for a story which led me to design the shooting of the movie more than I ever had before. It also had something I was not experienced in which was a ‘body count’. I was concerned that the killings be stylish and visual. All the sound and music was done by Alan Howarth in his studio in a very short time. Finally, when it was all over and I had seen it with a few audiences my fears were allayed and I realized that it did work and Corbin’s dentist character was truly memorable. The sequel was more difficult in many ways, not just because the budget was even smaller, but because I was unable to work with the script until the weekend before we began shooting. So, Corbin (and leading actress Julian McWhirter) would have dinner each evening after work to review and amend the scenes for the next day. The sequel is less successful than the original, but a lot of fun in its own way- mainly because the Dentist character is so much fun to watch. Corbin and I have discussed often our desire to continue the series. But we can’t because we don’t control the rights. Corbin is determined to revive the character. It was the character that introduced him to genre films and he now he loves the genre.

MG: When making “Return of the Living Dead III”, how much did you lean on the prior films in the series?
BY: I don’t think I “leaned” on the previous “Return” films at all. I admire the first one greatly, and was very aware that it was an unofficial sequel to “Night of the Living Dead”- so I wanted to respect both of those movies while doing something original. The straight forward horror of Romero’s film and the EC Comics style of O’Bannon’s film both influence “Return 3″”, but I think that the film that screenwriter John Penney and I fashioned goes its own way. Some fans were not happy that “Return 3” wasn’t as comedic as the first, but as a fan myself I find “Return 3” to be a very satisfying, fun horror film. I changed interpreted the underlying mythology of the living dead in a way that I felt did justice to both Romero and O’Bannon- the Trioxin gas remains as the reanimating agent, but the saliva of the living dead was able to turn victims into zombies. The studio, Trimark, insisted on only one requirement- that the movie contain “brain eating”- so I decided that the living dead ate flesh, not for the meat, but for the nerves in it, and the biggest bundle of nerves was the brain. So, you can see that I wanted to take the story a little more seriously that “Return 1”.
I didn’t draw on “Return 2” for inspiration as I thought it had been burdened by the requirement to carry on characters from the first film and to be wildly comedic. I was actually more inclined toward an ironic humor and especially the character of Julie as a living dead heroine. After making “Bride of Re-Animator” I realized that I was most interested in the character of the “Bride” and she only showed up in the third act. So with “Return 3” I was able to make that kind of character the core of the movie.

MM: Going from working in the horror genre, how did you get involved with Disney and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” as co-producer and writer?
BY: After making “Re-Animater”, Stuart Gordon (director of “Re-Animator”) and I were having a BBQ at my house and decided that we should make a movie for our young children. I recalled imagining myself to be smaller than a blade of grass as a kid, riding on an ant, and how exciting that would be. Stuart immediately saw it as a Disney movie and we quickly came up with the idea of an inventor who shrinks his kids. We were able to get a meeting with a development executive at Disney and on a plane ride back from Rome (where we were shooting “From Beyond and Dolls”) Stuart and I wrote out the whole story on a legal pad and pitched it upon arriving in LA. Surprisingly Disney loved the idea and immediately and put it into development. For the next year we worked on the project making set designs and storyboards, casting and special FX. We built all the sets in Mexico (full sized since there were no digital FX back then). Unfortunately, a few weeks before shooting Stuart had health problems and had to bow out.

MG: What was the most challenging film you have worked on?
BY: That’s almost impossible to say because there have been so many difficult ones. But, I would say that the first film I did in Spain, the one that kick off the Fantastic Factory and demonstrated whether the idea of producing genre films in Spain using Spanish crew and talent would work, is one of the candidates for most challenging. That was “Faust: Love of the Damned”. One that would top “Faust” is the one I just finished, “Amphibious 3D”. Shooting in Indonesia with Indonesian crew and some Dutch key personnel, doing it in 3D and having lots of creature FX and CGI- well that was incredibly challenging. The guys who built the 30 foot long sea scorpion lived in the middle of the island of Bali, worked on the floor and had never been on a movie set before. But the main thing that made the production difficult was the collapse of the financing in the middle of the production. This is one of the main reasons for disorganization and insanity on a movie set: the lack of a solid financing structure. Everything is in flux. It is like building a house with a faulty foundation. However, maybe by challenging you don’t mean difficult, but, well, “challenging”. In that case certainly “Re-Animator” qualifies because it was the first movie I produced, and it was immensely challenging to try to do something one has never done before. Or “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”. Designing a movie for a mass audience with the Disney tradition to live up to is pretty challenging. Or how about “Beyond Re-Animator”? Making a “Re-Animator” movie that isn’t a complete failure when the only other person on the set that has an inkling of what we are trying to achieve is Jeffrey Combs. Shooting with a completely Spanish crew with mostly Spanish actors and trying to live up to the expectations of the fans was seriously challenging. You know all the movie productions have been involved with been very challenging, and a lot of that has to do with the goals we set for ourselves. One each one I try to raise the bar as high as I possibly can – and that’s the challenge.

MG: Do you think you will ever continue the “Re-Animator” franchise?
BY: I have been doing my best to continue it. After my years doing the Fantastic Factory I came to LA with the plan to get financing for a trilogy of “Re-Animator” sequels that would continue and bring the saga to a close. It was kind of shocking to be to not find a strong desire to participate at places like Lionsgate and New Line. Well, even then the business was changing. I continued developing the stories for the three films, and at one time thought that we had the financing in place for the first of the trilogy, “House of Re-Animator”. That was to be Herbert West in the White House. Stuart Gordon was going to direct and William Macy agreed to play the re-animated president. I wanted to have Dan Cain come back so we could have a good confrontation between him and West. But, the financing fell through. Then Obama got elected and Stuart lost his enthusiasm because he enjoyed the idea of using some of the irony in the film in political satire. The political angle to me was less interesting because I am of the opinion that politics works fine in sci-fi, but horror is more the domain of psychology and religion. At present I am actively developing a script for “Re-Animator Unbound”! It is the story of what happens after Herbert West’s adventures in the White House and he has gotten black ops funding for an experimental project. For the first time he has a fully equipped laboratory. Once I get the script in order I will try to get Jeffrey Combs to agree to do it and, one way or another, get the financing for it.
By the way, Stuart Gordon is presently presenting his adaptation of “Re-Animator” into a musical comedy- entitled, believe it or not…”Re-Animator :The Musical”. It is really entertaining and should be a big hit.

MG: Tell us what other upcoming projects are you woking on?
BY: I am currently working with The Little Film Company’s Robbie Little on the financing plan for “The Men”, a sci-fi thriller by Dan O’Bannon (“Alien”, “Total Recall”) which Stuart Gordon will direct. The script is really great, about a woman who discovers that all men are aliens – so you can see that even though it is a thriller it will have a good dose of irony. It is a project that I worked with Dan on way back twenty years ago so I am really thrilled to be seeing it finally get going. Of course, I am working on “Re-Animator Unbound!” I am developing a 3D immersion film called “Necronauts” based on the short story of the same name. And I just finished co-writing with John Penney a pretty wild script called “The Pope”. Mainly I am working on arranging for a financing facility for making another label, or line, of films.