Human Nature is one of Australia’s great musical success stories. Since forming the band 24 years ago, they have released nine albums – five of which went to number one in Australia – achieving 23 platinum awards, 17 top 40 hits and five top 10 hits worldwide. They have sold more than two million albums in Australia alone. Their album The Motown Record has also reached number one on the US Billboard Heat Seekers chart. In 2009 Human Nature became the first Australian group to start a Las Vegas residency in the famed live performance mecca. I caught up the boys to chat about their new album, their Australian tour and living in the US.
What are you up to at the moment?
Andrew: We just released our very first Christmas album [Human Nature: The Christmas Album], so we are back [in Australia] for that and we are back for a tour, which we are really excited about.
What should people expect from the show?
Andrew: It’s a combination. It’s very Christmas heavy, we want people to come and have a Christmas night out but we also get the chance to do some of our older hits, some Motown and a few surprises.
What is it like living and working in Las Vegas?
Michael: It’s great, we are enjoying it, we have been there 4 1/2 years now and we just moved to a new casino, The Venetian, this year where we perform five nights a week. We were at the Imperial Palace before that, an older casino and it was a little run down and [The Venetian] is in such a great spot.
Phil: It’s all about Location, location, location in Las Vegas!
Have you had many celebrities come and see you show?
Michael: Yes we just had George Benson come and see your show a week ago.
Toby: We have had people like Mike Tyson, Shania Twain [and] Tito Jackson.
What made you move into Motown music?
Andrew: Originally, when we first started in high school, we started singing as a group and older people would say “you should listen to Motown” and that is what sort of introduced us to it and influenced our music. Motown was something we always put in our show; we would say that we wanted to pay tribute to the bands that we grew up listening to and put this section in the show and the crowd would go crazy, it felt like electricity, and we thought “why don’t we do an album of this” and [the album] just went crazy , it was a huge hit here and it spawned a tour and two more records and it’s basically re-energized our career… it is a legimate second half of our career.
You were a hot boy band of the 90’s was it an easy transition to go from a pop band to a Motown sound?
Phil: The whole “hot”, thing was cooling off a bit [laughs]. That was one of the reasons we thought of making a bit of a change, we were getting to the point where we thought the boy band thing was not really us anymore and it just felt right to go into Motown and because we had loved the music for so long, it was a fairly easy transition for us.
You see so many bands come and go but you have been together 24 years, what’s the secret?
Michael: I think people just appreciate the acts that keep sticking around and believing what they do and continuing their career. Not just boy bands but there are so many pop acts that come and go and so I think when acts continue and reinvent themselves and stay around you end up earning the respect.
It’s amazing you are still friends after all these years!
Phil: I think because we were friends before we started, that’s been a real big thing for us. There was no audition process for us when becoming a group, there was no getting to know each other because we already knew each other so it was a lot more of a relaxed start so I think the initial friendship is one of the reasons we have stayed together for so long.
What would you say is the secret to your success?
Toby: Hard work and a long journey.
Michael: keeping enjoying what you do; we still enjoy a performing and entertaining people. There are a lot of acts that don’t enjoy that.
Do you hang out together when you’re not performing?
Phil: Sometimes – we do like our own space because we do perform a lot together [laughs], but if someone is having a birthday or a party all of us are there.
Andrew: We have a Human Nature annual Halloween party and Mike is having n ugly sweater Christmas party this year, it’s nice to do fun things like that together.
What do you enjoy the most when you come back to Australia?
Toby: We are catching up on good coffee!
Michael: We all really appreciate the harbour when we come back.
Will you move back to Australia one day?
Toby: Australia to us always going to be home, there is something about Australia. It’s great to take the opportunities that we have got overseas but you just can’t beat the lifestyle that we have here. I’m sure we will be back eventually.
WE WENT TO The Bar at the End of The Wharf, Dawes Point.
WE ATE Cherry tomato, artichoke, caramelized onion, goats cheese & rocket pizza; Peri Peri chicken pizza; Roast chicken, tomoato and corn toasty; quiche of the day; wild mushroom arancini.
WE DRANK a lemon lime and bitters; Snake + Herring ‘Perfect Day’ Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Margaret River, WA ; Little Creatures, Pale ale.
I WORE a LOVER dress.
Human Nature ‘The Christmas Tour’ Sydney dates:
December 17 and 18, Sydney State Theater. Ticketmaster.com.au
Photo: Steven Siewert