It’s taken 12 years for versatile former Machine Head shredder Logan Mader to step out from behind the mixing desk and pick up a guitar again.
Keeping himself busy producing for Five Finger Death Punch, Gojira and more, a natural evolution brought him back on track, conjuring death metal with a twist under the moniker Once Human.
“I got the itch to play again,” Logan tells us. “Once Human is a passion project – I’m doing it because I love the music. I haven’t played the guitar for fun in years, and I want to play again before I’m too old.”
This timely return wouldn’t have happened without the discovery of frontwoman Lauren Hart, who was being scouted by some major metal labels due to her unexpectedly ferocious chops.
“We hit it off immediately because Lauren comes from a black metal background, so she wanted to do real metal, not commercial metal. She’s a born artist; she plays piano, sings, screams, plays guitar, paints… she wrote and directed our first music video, and it’s brutal as hell.”
The band’s debut, The Life I Remember,* *pits Lauren’s merciless growls against Logan’s mean riffs in their organic state, simultaneously written and recorded by the duo. Recruit a sound engineer on bass and a session drummer, plug in some epic orchestral arrangements and you’ve got a killer comeback.
“As a child, Lauren had phantom symphonies playing in her head but never had a way to channel them before,” says Logan. “We managed to get two of them out of her brain and onto the record… it’s magical.”
But the evolution of Logan’s revival began some time ago, brought about by Five Finger Death Punch vocalist Ivan Moody. “He approached me at the Golden Gods in 2013, wanting me to play guitar for a side-project, but he was too busy to commit to it. No hard feelings.”
Once Human have already stared denial in the face, but Logan is nothing if not determined – and experienced.
“We were rejected by six labels but accepted by the seventh,” Logan explains. “It was discouraging, but I knew with my reputation and history, somebody would recognise the potential. It was fucking difficult, but there’s a lot of rejection in this business – if you can’t take it, get the fuck out!”
While fans may inevitably compare with his previous endeavours, Once Human is worlds apart; more bleak and devastating by half.
“Machine Head was all fun and games, but now I’ve got more responsibility. I’ve got a mission. All my experience as a producer, an artist, a developer and a manager is being implemented into my role in Once Human. It’s got its own identity… it’s Logan Mader as fuck!”
*The Life I Remember* is out now via earMusic