Once Human: Overcoming Vulnerability – Distorted Sound Magazine

It’s been a minute since we last heard from the melodic death metal band from Los Angeles ONCE HUMAN. Since bursting onto the scene in 2014 and initial impact with his first full release The life that I remember they have continued to impress and become a truly exciting prospect over the years. Their previous release Evolution dropped in 2017 and really helped propel them into the limelight with its high levels of energy and powerful intensity. When informed of this fact, the singer lauren Stag was particularly surprised at the time that had passed.

“Wow, has it really been five years? It doesn’t look like that at all. I guess the last few years have been a bit of a pause button, so they don’t count!” They haven’t been sitting on their backs, but the pandemic has given them plenty of time to work on the long-awaited follow-up.” I found the process quite difficult because I usually work better under deadlines and under pressure, but because with limited time I have less opportunity to question myself and fine-tune things.” lauren said. “The album release kept getting pushed back so I was able to keep rewriting things, so more time can be pretty terrible for a perfectionist! I’m sure a lot of good has come out of these changes, it’s improved a lot of things, it’s all real and true to what was happening at the time and how I felt at the time and I think a lot of people will find it more relevant because of that.

Although the past two years have not been the ideal time to be a musician, with the largest share of many bands’ income from touring and live performances coming to a screeching halt, ONCE HUMAN persevered and got down to work on their third album titled Scar Weaver which is due out in February and is set to set fire to 2022, showing significant progression and a bit of stylistic change for ONCE HUMAN as they continue to refine their sound and identity in the future. The introduction of the guitarist Max Karon in the lap has brought significant benefits, lightening the load and taking some of the burden off the shoulders of the guitarist Logan Maker. “I think we definitely got closer to defining our true sound between the first album and now. Evolution was awesome and I still stand by it, the title was very appropriate because since then we have changed a lot. Our guitarist Max took on quite a lot of writing duties and he’s really responsible for changing our sound and what we did with it Scar Weaver.”

As well as upgrading their songwriting abilities lauren really challenged herself when it came to variation in her vocal production, breaking out of her comfort zone and pushing her abilities to even more impressive levels. “I think people will notice the change in my vocal styles. I feel like a completely different person. be able to turn with KAMELOT really showed me what I’m capable of and Maxthe music of really pushed me to my limits, so I’m really grateful for that,” admits lauren. “When we started with ONCE HUMAN I really didn’t want to do clean vocals at all because I just felt pretty uncomfortable with them.

Being able to perform vocals on an album and then taking those tracks on the road and being able to perform them live night after night in front of a crowd is a whole different ballgame and that’s a particular aspect where lauren progressed by leaps and bounds. “It’s quite a contrast to the screams because you can be nervous, go ahead and in the first few words you sink into the groove, but with a clean vocal it’s a lot more personal and confronting, it can make you feel very vulnerable, but I’m gaining confidence and becoming more comfortable with her. I wanted to use more styles and have this brush in my tool belt. New colors to play with! It took some time for everything to settle into a live environment as my screams are naturally very loud in volume and my cleans were quite quiet and subdued and it was quite difficult for a sound guy to cut and change styles. Breathing techniques are also quite difficult as they require a lot of control and use of your diaphragm and I managed to find a way to seamlessly switch between the two.

Scar Weaver opened the opportunity to work with the illustrious robb Flynna man who Logan has a long-standing relationship with his many years of contribution to MACHINE HEAD. Her appearance on the previously released single Dead end was one of lauren‘s highlights of the whole album process. “I feel so lucky to have been able to work with robb. I didn’t know that was happening and I didn’t expect it, at the time he had never really done feature films. He came back with this amazing chorus which was way better than the one I had written and we were blown away by the result of the song. It’s become one of our favorites on the album. Having him in the music video was also another highlight, having him perform with us in San Francisco was amazing.

ONCE HUMAN were one of the lucky bands to hit the road again and be able to give lucky attendees a taste of their new material on their support slot for CRADLE OF DIRT back in October 2021. While there are still restrictions to consider, lauren was relieved to be able to experience some level of normalcy, however brief it may have been. “Being able to tour again was a great feeling but it was also very different because I love being able to interact and talk with the fans and we haven’t been able to do that and I have a feeling it will be like this for a long time. We have plans in place for early 2022 but it’s unclear if they manage to take place, get postponed or get canceled altogether We just have to hope for the best and I’m sure most people do exactly the same at this point.

Scar Weaver is now available through earMusic.

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