ARTIST SPOTLIGHTS: HUMID, Overhand

Overhand.

The Basement Collective hosted a stacked bill at Cactus Club featuring Milwaukee bands HUMID, Overhand and Shamewave alongside Chicago-Rockford dark post-punk band Bleached Cross; the show was the first stop on a weekend tour Shamewave and Bleached Cross embarked together.

HUMID are a shoegaze band consisting of vocalist-guitarist Matt Tomashek, guitarist Ben Schuelke, bassist Sam Gargulak, and drummer Cody Ratley. It’s essentially Tomashek’s solo project but has evolved into a full band, as he explains.

“It kind of started as a bedroom project with me just writing songs by myself, and then eventually I wanted to turn it into a band. Some people got interested in wanting to play; it’s definitely more of a full band now but I still write all the songs. I wanted a name with some texture and I thought “HUMID” was a cool name for a shoegaze band.”

Some of his biggest influences are Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon), Chino Moreno (Deftones) and Matt Pike (Sleep, High on Fire). Their debut EP “Spun Around” came out in May 2021 and then debut album “One Dimensional Hell” was released exactly a year later. Speaking on “One Dimensional Hell”, Tomashek recalled, “We went into our bassist’s studio and recorded seven songs, and it took about four or five months to get it all tracked and mixed. I’m really, really happy with it. The title kind of came to me per what I was writing about; a lot of the album is about struggling and going it alone, feeling like you’re trapped.”

Tomashek elaborates on his lyrics a bit. “A lot of my songs are about finding out what you want, who you are and what makes you tick,” he shared. “I’m very self-calculated and I try to be metaphoric and secretive.”

HUMID are working on another full-length album. “This one’s going to be twelve songs and we’re going to be recording it over the winter and spring,” Tomashek said. “I’m not rushing it; I really want to play more shows and keep playing songs from “One Dimensional Hell” so hopefully it’ll be out in the next year.”

Thursday marked the last show HUMID played their current set; they have no more upcoming shows at the moment.

Overhand comprises of vocalist-guitarist Ian Wilkinson, bassist-vocalist Alex Stromski, guitarist Guillermo Alvarez, and drummer Liam Sullivan. Their style takes alternative rock in a heavy emo direction; they are influenced by a lot of 90s emo bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Jawbreaker, Hum and Mineral but also take inspiration from more modern bands like Title Fight. The band began as Wilkinson and Sullivan but have been in their current form for about six months; their first show was at X-Ray Arcade. “I used to work there, and I actually saw Overhand play there before I joined the band,” Stromski said.

The band’s debut album “Plaster Saint” came out in March 2021 and then recent EP “Your Subtraction” was released in November. Speaking on what went into “Your Subtraction”, Wilkinson explained, “We did it DIY so it was kind of a prolonged process. A lot of the guitars and drums were recorded before Stromski joined and then we finished it up with him. The lyrics are kind of all over the place as far as topics but I think they fit together; I tend to write about pretty personal stuff but I obscure it a bit with phrasing to make it a little mysterious.”

“I appreciate that they gave me basal freedom to write my own touches on it,” Stromski added.

Now that the EP is out, Overhand are already working on new material. “I’ve written a lot of songs that I’m just now starting to show to the band, so that might be a flavor of what’s to come.”

Overhand are playing WMSE’s Local/Live at Anodyne on January 17th.

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