The City Magazine Since 1975

Drink Up

Drink Up
April 2018

Human Resources’ Champagne will leave you buzzed

Paul Chelmis, Aaron Utterback, Matt Zutell, and Dries Vandenberg release Champagne (inset) in June.

“We’re essentially an Internet band,” says Aaron Utterback, bassist and vocalist for Charleston alt pop-rock outfit Human Resources. E-mailing tracks, group chatting, and Google calendar-sharing is often the only way this foursome can make progress on an album. While Utterback’s busy playing with Brave Baby, guitarist and vocalist Dries Vandenberg is often on the road with SUSTO. Drummer Matt Zutell owns downtown studio Coast Records, and keyboardist Paul Chelmis works as a photographer and visual artist.

But this June, more than a year of virtual collaboration culminates in the release of Champagne, the band’s third album. Two of the songs were recorded at L.A.’s Velveteen Laboratory. Among them is “Sylvia,” which Paste magazine premiered in January, noting, “It is a smart, fun, and exquisitely produced track bringing to mind the best elements of Hall & Oates, early Phoenix, Duran Duran, and Vampire Weekend.”

Zutell produced Champagne’s other 10 songs, including the adrenaline-pumping “Judy Jones and Wilson.” With staccato drumbeats and electronic flourishes, it is “the most ambitious, furthest away from radio-play song we’ve ever written,” says Utterback. Meanwhile, “Atlanta,” featuring guest vocals by SUSTO’s Justin Osborne, is fit for the climax of some great, unreleased John Hughes movie, and “Casually”—about “a sleaze-bag principal”—features Utterback’s falsetto vocals over a bouncy, almost tropical beat that belies the darker subject matter. Watch for new singles to be released in the coming weeks and for local shows to be announced at


Photographs by (band) Paul Chelmis & courtesy of (album cover) Human Resources