Although at various stages it's taken on board the input of fellow producers Oliver Huntemann and P Kjonberg, Humate is best defined as the ongoing musical project of Gerret Frerichs who's steered its course for six years now and continues to produce sounds under this moniker in a solo role. In its post-natal stages Humate was very much a creature of the trance-based rave scene that dominated Germany - and in turn Melbourne - in the first half of the 90's, taking their place alongside Sven Vath, Kid Paul, Marmion, Jens and Cosmic Baby in the trance hall of fame. While fellow German producers like Jammin' Unit, Walker, Mike Ink, Roland Caspar and Thomas Heckmann plundered the underground and tweaked the acid on their own mad tangents, these guys created soaring anthems with tight production standards, strings and orchestral flourishes that helped make the morning come-downs at parties a far more tolerable experience. And, afterall, this was way before the insipid sounds of dream trance were a twinkling in Robert Miles' eye.
"When we started out I wanted to create very melodic music and at that time [around 1991] there was really no such thing as trance," says Gerret Frerichs. "Anyway I got really carried away into that whole thing, but over time my experiences in the music business and in life itself changed my perceptions and these days I'm more into industrial and far more techno-oriented. So what I like in terms of melody these days you'll find is very, very different from that which defined Humate when we first started."
Placing himself in the context of contemporary German electronica isn't an easy proposition for Gerret to define, although he does try. "There are two camps in this country right now - on one hand you have those people into minimal techno like Steve Bug and Thomas Heckmann, then on the other you have the people reaching the extremes of, say, Robert Miles . . . awful commercial stuff. Those are the two extremes and in between there's nothing. I try to incorporate the best parts of both worlds."
The 1997 model of Humate has understandably modified itself since its initial design stage. "What does Humate sound like at the moment- . . . really strange, to be honest. I'm really experimenting and the most recent single slows down the tempo quite significantly, to about 85 BPM - and it's influenced by trip hop as well as projects like the Prodigy and Propellerheads. On the flipside of the record is a remix which is like a reincarnation of basic techno. So those are the two angles I'm working with at the moment - getting back to real techno roots but trying to do that on another tip."
This realignment possibly explains the use of remixers Cari Lekebusch, Steve Bug and The Advent on the Humate track 'Sound'. These, afterall, are people who drift towards the harder and more cutting edge extremes of the techno scale. "I like Cari Lekebusch a lot," confirms Gerret. "I think he's a great, great talent and I think the original version of 'Sound' was heavily influenced by his style. Then again I'm always searching for new sounds, and while I like that style there are other forms equally important to me."
Like whose- "There are, like, a zillion producers I respect and admire. Danny Tenaglia's one, Quazar's another, and I always liked CJ Bolland but I think he's lost it; I was really disappointed with his new album. Another person I admire is Speedy J, but I haven't heard his recent work. I really want to find a copy and have a listen."
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