Humanoid/Future Sound Of London’s Brian Dougans faces down the quick-fire question machine
Just 30 years between Humanoid albums then, what took you?
“Ha ha! Well, kind of been busy doing other stuff.”
So why now?
“It never felt right until a few years back. In 2016, I started recording a bunch of 303 stuff, which sounded very cool, like the original Humanoid sound. This is originally where I wanted Humanoid to go, but it’s more UK punk than Chicago house, which was the thinking in 1988.”
It’s not ‘Stakker Humanoid’ part two, is it?
“If you want a Part Two there’s countless versions out there to enjoy, along with many cover versions including death metal, brass bands, German hard house… personally I like The Osmonds/Stakker mash-up ‘Crazy Humanoids’.
It’ll also be an eye-opener for those who know FSOL?
“Nah, not sure that’s correct. The live ‘ISDN’ album from 94 has a similarly heavy production, and some of the recent albums, like ‘Environment Six’, have been touching on pure electronica, some of the side projects on FSOLdigital.com delve into some pretty dark territories.”
How would you describe ‘Build By Humanoid’?
“Post-Human Orfan Atmospheres, nah… futurist concrète synthesis.”
It’s a proper sonic assault, could you have made sounds like that in 1988?
“I did consider this recently. I think parts of it, perhaps. In 1988, electronic music was still going down to tape, once digital editors came along the game changed. Some of this album was written using an old Atari 1040, running C-Lab, which is what was used on ‘Stakker’, and through most of the 90s with FSOL.”
Always like to hear people are using their original 303… are you?
“Yeah, it’s still going strong. We use the 303 fairly often, you will hear it popping up on FSOL stuff.”
What’s it like to hold THREE Guinness World Records?
“Ah yes, very humbled and proud. Last year, Guinness World Records awarded us retrospectively for having achieved the First Internet Music Download, which was via New York-based bulletin board SonicNet on 22 June 1994, pipping Geffen Records and Aerosmith to the post.”
And the other two?
“They relate to our live performances, which in 1994 were performed live from our studio and transmitted using ISDN lines to millions of people via Radio 1. As a way of reaching a lot of people at once, in their homes, it worked. Back then we talked in the press about how this will be the future for music… and we were right, as Guinness have authenticated.
What do you think Bruno Brooks would make of the new record?
“I suddenly got a flashback to ‘Smash Hits’… what did he make of it the first time round?
He described ‘Stakker Humanoid’ as “mega”…
Brian looks off into the distance, remembering walking down a Nottingham street, hearing ‘Stakker Humanoid’ blaring out a car window followed by Bruno Brooks babbling the words “mega”…