Human Resources: Self-Made and Self-Produced


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Human Resources had its beginnings when Matt Zutell transferred to the same high school as Aaron Utterback and Dries Vandenburg. The three quickly realized they all had a passion for playing music and began playing together. They met Paul Chelmis while attending college at Appalachian State and added the last piece of their band. They took a brief hiatus when Zutell transferred to the College of Charleston, but upon graduation, all the band members moved  to Charleston and continued playing, with Vandenburg on guitar, Utterback on base, Zutell on drums and Chelmis on the keyboard.

The band was originally named Donnie Dies, but when the band relocated to Charleston and lost their fifth member, they decided to take the opportunity to rebrand their sound. They tossed around several names but eventually decided on Human Resource basically on a whim, and the name stuck. The band is known for producing all of their own original content, from the logos to the music videos — they even produce their own recordings. “We are our own resources, in a sense,” said Zutell.  

Their passion for producing their own content came about in high school, when Utterback received an original MacBook for Christmas. Soon after, he and Zutell began experimenting with the music software on the computer. “We switched from video games over to [making music], and just kept rolling,” said Utterback. “It started just as a way for us to kill time after school, [but] we really started to like it.” Mixing music became a way for them to entertain themselves on the weekends. “Instead of hanging out at the shopping center or the movie theater, we’d go to someone’s house and [make music] all night,” Zutell said.

Zutell is the CEO and founder of Charleston’s own Coast Records, a project he began as a junior in college. It’s grown into an indie record label and recording business that now encompasses all members of Human Resources. “[The guys in HR] are part of Coast Record’s team, whether it’s taking the photos, doing graphic design, [or] making music videos. Really, we all kind of work together to do whatever needs to happen, whether for ourselves, or artists I work with,” said Zutell. Coast Records is about to get its first studio space downtown, which Zutell says should be up and running by January 2018. Human Resources will also be debuting a new album around that time.

The guys in Human Resources are a busy bunch. In addition to playing for HR, Vandenburg is also a member of the popular Charleston band Susto, and spends a large amount of time on tour with them. Zutell is busy with his full time job at Coast Records, and everyone else plays as guests for other bands frequently. Because of these scheduling conflicts, Human Resources is usually only able to play one or two shows together every few months. “It’s more of an event at this point for us to play [together],” said Zutell. Utterback and Zutell keep busy by playing drums and bass on a lot of Coast Record’s recordings. They keep in contact as often as possible while Vandenburg is away, and try to schedule shows and events as often as they can.

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