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Some people make music because they enjoy it and others do because they have no other choice, but Human Parts fall into both categories. Andrew Seward originally conceptualized the project during his tenure as the bassist in punk band Against Me! but it wasn't until he left the act earlier this year that he was able to give Human Parts the attention it deserved. Subsequently Andrew was able to focus his energy on his own unfiltered musical vision, one that's only made stronger by the inclusion of his friends, family and co–conspirators.

Although Human Parts started in Florida a year and half ago with Seward trying to write and record a song a night when he wasn't on tour, he didn't initially have any intention of releasing these songs. However once he got his wife Verite Seward to start singing last May, the project instantly took on a new life. "I've always tried to get her to sing because she has such a good voice. She's so painfully shy sometimes that getting my wife to sing into a microphone is probably one of the greatest accomplishments of my life," he jokes.

From there the project organically evolved from a family affair into one that also included longtime friends from the Gainesville music community such as vocalist Kim Helm (Whiskey & Company), guitarist Dave Kotinsley (who is the Sewards' tattoo artist and also married them) and Minneapolis transplant Andy "Pants" Schwich. "We were just watching our kids and Andy started humming a Sam Cooke song and I could tell he had a good voice so we went straight from the swing set to the studio and recorded some vocals," Andrew explains. "I felt like I had discovered a voice no one had heard here because he's never been in a band."

That's not to say that the recording process was easy–and it certainly was unorthodox. "These songs were recorded in chunks at my house so when my wife and daughter would go do errands I'd have everything cued up and as soon as they left I'd turn off the fan, hit record and try to do two perfect drum takes," Andrew explains adding that parental moments like knocking on the door were included on this recording. "It's a very parental record for someone who's in their thirties," he adds and the fact that his nephew and daughter both make appearances on Human Parts confirms this charming fact.

Human Parts manages to reference punk's past and present while effortlessly implementing elements from other genres the same way the Dead Kennedys did with surf guitar or Subhumans did with progressive rock. "This whole process has been about not over thinking and just having fun with it," Andrew says of his approach to the music. "It was completely liberating and it wasn't scary at all because there wasn't time for it to be scary. I just really wanted to get these songs out.”

From the Spaghetti Western–inspired singalong "I Work On Not Working" to the expansively arranged "Best Foot Forward," Human Parts manages to showcase the various sides of Andrew's musical identity without relying on writing the same song over and over. Another perfect example of this is the harmony–rich anthem "Call 'Em Off" which evokes classic acts such as The Clash without coming off as forced or inauthentic, right down to the deceptively simple single–string guitar solo.

Lyrically Human Parts focus on everything from the way the Sewards' dog reacts to a Thunderstorm ("The Rumble") to how difficult it is to give new music a fair shake when adult responsibilities begin to take over ("First Impressions"). In fact, one of the standout tracks is Andrew's bass–driven duet with Helm "Hi, Nice To Meet You" about the perils of celebrity culture. "Basically idolizing any public figure like a rockstar or movie star isn't the smartest of moves if you ask me," he explains of the track. "It's about hero worship and getting creepy with it."

Ultimately Human Parts is about Seward's experiences as a father, friend and former band member but none of these songs are about outside influences as much as they're a glimpse into Andrew's own thought processes, which includes the positives as well as the insecurities. "I've been gone for a decade and I love being home but I've also been playing in bands since I was 14 so I don't know how not to do this," Andrew summarizes when asked what the future holds for Human Parts. "Me and my wife talk all the time about the fact that we want our kid to see that neither of us were ever afraid to do anything and this band embodies that commitment."
Against Me!

Against Me!

Human Parts

Andrew Seward