Interview by Helena MȺrkos
Photography: Teresa Espadafor
Huma is the alias of Andrés Satué. Born in Galicia but living in Barcelona, he is a sound engineer with a long history in musical experimentation, from his first groups of math-kraut-rock and prog, to experimental electronics with his previous project Esquelas and now with Huma. He has released several albums on labels such as Bestiarie, ENSMBLE, Matapadre and now Opal Tapes. He has participated in the Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp in Madrid, has played in some of the most relevant experimental electronic festivals in Spain, he is co-founder of the Hedonic label Reversal, where he has released most of Huma’s albums, and the Bicefal Festival. He also runs a monthly radio show with his label mate Miguel Sueiro at Dublab Barcelona.
Huma’s new album ‘Hyperchaotic’ explores chaos, theoretical physics, uncertainties and how order emerges out of the fog of the real. No apparent or understandable reason is required for this or anything else to simply, be. The album seeks balance between randomness and certainty, between abrasion and delicacy. Sound design references elemental processes that seem to take on a life of their own: combining, interfacing and modulating each other. Sound, space and silence creating symbiosis and an incredibly detailed listening experience which evokes the kinesthetics of Gábor Lázár or the cybernetic wild cards of Terminal 11. The album is released at Opal Tapes in collaboration with Huma’s own imprint, Hedonic Reversal – hedonicreversal.bandcamp.com – Where cassette tape versions of this release can be found.
Just a few days after the release of his album, we feel that the concept could also represent an accurate metaphor for the current hyperchaotic status quo we live in, seeking balance in the chaos and uncertainty. In this Q & A, Andrés talks about his creative process, his imprint Hedonic Reversal, and reflects on the Spanish electronic music scene.
T.O.P: Hi Andrés, how did your project HUMA emerge? Tell us a few things about your Hedonic Reversal imprint and what is the moment we find you?
Huma was born when I was still working with Esquelas, my previous project, and it was born out of the need to find my own music language. Hedonic Reversal was born at the same time as Huma, in fact the first release of the label is my first release as Huma, and it was born out of necessity, a friend, my partner in the label Miguel Sueiro has another label, Bestiarie, and we decided to work together in a new label where the music we both love would fit. Right now we are revitalizing it and coming back strong (after covid) with several interesting releases pending for this year.
T.O.P: How do you see the electronic music scene in Spain at this moment?
I see more and more interesting and different artists who are doing great music, I think there is still a long way to go to have a consolidated scene in terms of more experimental electronics, but I am optimistic. The scene is not only the artists, but the whole ecosystem: venues, promoters, media, agencies, and last but not least, the public. I believe that all these elements have to help and collaborate much more than they do today.
T.O.P: How do you express yourself in the studio and what is your main drive? What is for you the most important part of this process?
I work mostly with the computer, it’s the tool I’m most comfortable with, my natural medium. Sometimes I like to spend afternoons playing with other synths or sampling interesting things, but in the end I always come back to the laptop. The most important part is the very beginning, when I’m still thinking about the idea behind the album, and all the sound experiments I have to do to set up the building blocks I need to start working on each track.
T.O.P: What is your advice for artists or label owners who are at the start of their journey?
Find a gap that needs to be filled and never stop working.
T.O.P: Any side projects you might want to share with us?
Not really, but I’m about to release a new album called Hyperchaotic on Opal Tapes in March, I’m very excited to be able to release it on one of my most beloved labels.
T.O.P: Finally, how do you see and experience the new covid state of things? What are the significant challenges for you?
Well, tired like everyone else I guess, waiting for things to return once and for all to normality, or at least to a more or less functional stability where we can enjoy concerts, festivals and culture in general in a calm and less restricted way.