Humanist is a big, ambitious record, a rush of future rock’n’roll which showcases the songwriting and production of Rob Marshall, and the vocal talents of Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Mark Lanegan (Queens of the Stone Age) and Mark Gardner (Ride) among others – a heady brew, masterfully conducted by Rob Marshall (guitarist of Exit Calm and co-writer of Mark Lanegan’s celebrated “Gargoyle” album) who wrote, played and produced all the music: a swirling Niagara of fuzzed-out industrial melody and noise, flowing into darker, more brooding territories, the boom of drop forges in shadowy, cavernous factories pounding white-hot steel…
Perhaps it’s in the blood: Rob hails from Teesside in the North East of England, a land of blast furnaces, petrochemical estuaries and fiery skies, the broken heartland of the industrial revolution. He grew up in a small terraced house, with six framed pictures of Elvis in the living room, and music never far from his parents’ record player. At the tender age of eleven, Rob saw Jimi Hendrix on the telly, and his young mind was blown. He spent the next five months secretly stashing his £1.50 bus fare and lunch money by walking to school and not eating, just so he could buy the cheap guitar and amp set he’d set his heart on. He proceeded to teach himself how to play by practicing endlessly to Hendrix, T-Rex, Stones and Beach Boys records.
“I’m fairly quiet and dreamy,” he muses, “my head’s away in clouds of thoughts and imagination, but I’m driven to be as real and authentic as I possibly can musically, trying to push forward and harness all I’ve got; it was never really a choice, but the only thing I ever felt I could do – to swim with the tide, accept your fate, ride the waves. I’m a shy person but on stage my guitar leads me to a place of innate confidence, so I guess that’s where I’m most comfortable”.