For this latest edition of our “Ya Herd?” series, I connected with Josh Andrews, the founder of an outstanding indie cassette label based out of Atlanta called Human Sounds Records.
Josh runs the label solo in addition to his full-time job, yet he’s managed to release a bunch of impressive tapes over the past few years. He’s worked with artists like Travis Bretzer (Mexican Summer alum), Julian Lynch (who recently joined Real Estate), Inner Wave (playing at Baby’s All Right later this month), and Bane’s World (who recently opened for Tyler the Creator and will be performing at Coachella this year).
Tell us a bit about yourself, and how/why you started Human Sounds.
My name is Josh Andrews. I’m 25 and have lived in Georgia my whole life (Atlanta for the past 7 years).
I started Human Sounds in October of 2014 after being introduced to a small Californian band called Suburban Campers online. I really loved their music and wanted to own a copy of each of their EPs physically, but at the time it was only available digitally on Bandcamp. I reached out to the band and asked if they would be interested in releasing their EPs on cassette and they agreed! I created a Bandcamp page, recorded each tape myself, and by the beginning of November the 50 tape run had sold out!
You put out tapes, but not vinyl. Was that more of a cost or a style decision?
The decision to release cassettes was initially based purely off of cost. I’ve been a vinyl collector since middle school, but to press a record would have been extremely costly and risky.
I had recently started collecting tapes in 2013 mainly from Canadian labels. There was a cassette label based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, called Poncho Records, which put out 60’s influenced psych pop and they were probably the biggest factor in me even thinking releasing cassettes could be a viable option. Back in this time, the cassette resurgence that we are seeing today really hadn’t made it down to the U.S. but it was in full swing in Canada.
Now that the label has grown considerably in the past 3 years. we will hopefully begin to do some vinyl releases soon.
There’s a distinct sound that runs across many of your releases. How would you best describe it?
I would describe the sound as surfy, mellow, and psychedelic indie rock. I’m a huge Beach Boys fan. Human Sounds is actually named after their album Pet Sounds, and I’d say the sound the label has developed is along the lines of their late 60’s – early 70’s sound.
What’s the toughest part about running your own label?
Definitely keeping up with the shipping — this past year has been insane on that end. Running a label alone and while working a full-time job can be stressful, but it is definitely worth all of the time commitment.
It seems like the album “Drowsy” by Bane’s World really took off. How’d you get in touch with him? Is that your best-selling tape?
I actually was introduced to Bane’s World in late 2016 when I noticed one of my friends on Facebook liked their band page. I really dug the music and reached out to Shane to see if he’d be interested in working together.
The growth in popularity they experienced throughout 2017 was staggering and hard to keep up with at times from a tape production/shipping perspective. I’m really happy for those guys and very excited to see where 2018 takes them. Yes, that is our top selling tape with VACATIONS’ Vibes & Days cassette right behind it.
What’s the indie music scene in Atlanta like?
I am actually not very familiar with Atlanta’s indie scene. One of the craziest things for me about the label is that I’ve worked with artists throughout Canada, Australia, and many parts of the US, but have never worked with an Atlanta artist. I really hope to change that soon though. As for Atlanta artists I’d recommend checking out Lunar Vacation! They put out an awesome EP in 2017.
When you’re not working on the label, do you also record your own music?
I’m not a musician at all, I just really have enjoyed listening to a variety of music since I was young. In high school I took piano class, but never got any good at playing. I actually did just buy a synthesizer at the beginning of this year, so maybe down the road I’ll make something!
Name one album you wish you could have released on your label in 2017.
I’m pretty astounded by all of the great albums I was able to release in 2017, but if I had to pick one I would have loved to release, it would probably be LAKE’s new album Forever Or Never. I’ve been a huge LAKE fan since I discovered their album Circular Doorway in 2013. They are a fantastic group of musicians and extremely nice people as well. I’m always waiting on the edge of my seat for new material from them.
Could you share some tracks you’ve been really into lately?