Got it goin’ on: meet Human Nature’s Toby Allen

It’s hard to believe the guys from Human Nature have been working non-stop for nearly three decades. In that time, they’ve released 12 albums (soon to be 13), opened for Michael Jackson and received multi-platinum success on the ARIA charts – so to call them hard workers would be an understatement.

Since 2009, the band have been based in Las Vegas, performing at some of the city’s top casinos. Now they’re briefly back on home turf to promote their newest album 'Romance of the Jukebox'. We caught up with bandmember Toby Allen, to hear about life in the States and the secret behind the band’s longevity. Be sure to catch Toby and the rest of Human Nature at their Watergardens Performance and Meet & Greet on the Saturday 18 August from 10am in Town Square.

You’ve spent nine years living and working in Las Vegas; what’s been the steepest learning curve during your time in the States?

The lifestyles are completely different. Las Vegas operates on a whole different level to anywhere I have lived before. The city literally never sleeps, even in the ‘burbs. I have certainly embraced the lifestyle of knowing that if I need anything from a carton of milk to a power drill, I could probably get it any time of day here in Las Vegas. That doesn’t always happen back home in Oz – and that’s also why I still love it [Australia] dearly. It’s good to have a reason not to do those things sometimes.

Human Nature has been together for 29 years, an amazing feat for any band. What’s your secret?

There’s a whole list of things that have kept us together all this time. Family is one. We always put our trust in each other in so many aspects of what we do – hitting the right note in our harmonies, listening to each other, knowing our choreography well enough to not run into each other (too much!).

Passion is another. We’ve grown up together sharing our love of performing and pride in what we create. Our common love of music and entertaining is a shared experience and a huge part of how our relationships have formed over the years.

The third is time. For us, it feels like time has been crucial to our longevity. We had significant time to explore the prospects of singing together and what the future might hold, without the pressure of deadlines and corporate expectation. We used our early time together honing the group that we would ultimately become, so that when things did take off, we were already a long way down the road of knowing ourselves as a group and as friends.

What are you most looking forward to about being back in Australia in August?

In no particular order: seeing family, coffee, releasing a brand-new album, pies, getting to perform for our incredible fans (even if it’s only one show – sorry!), sausage rolls, diving into a beach - I know it’s winter, but beggars can’t be choosers!

Which Aussie snacks do you miss the most?

Twisties, Cherry Ripe and Bounty.

Do the US fans differ much from Aussie fans?

The main difference I have noticed is really only due to the longer time we have been working in Australia. Our fans [in Australia] have grown up with us and certainly bring an excitement from years of enjoying what we do. Our US fans have been exposed to us for far less time and are probably playing a little catch-up. That said, we still have some fans in the US who have racked up seeing more than 200 of our shows!

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve received in your career?

The best advice we have received to this day, was given to us before we even released our first single back in 1996. We were still called “The 4 Trax” then and had been involved in a couple of programs, where we were mentored by professionals from a wide range of fields including singing, fashion, tech and marketing. It was during that time that somebody said to us: “Listen to everything. You never know where a good idea is going to come from.” We live by that ideal to this day, taking in as many points or opinions as we can, using all of these things to work out how we want to move forward.

Human Nature will be performing at Watergardens Town Square on Saturday 18 August from 10am.