Musical Duo Electrifies Decatur

Nathaniel Gaul

Caroline Barber (left) and Thomas Sinclair (right) performing at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival
Courtesy of Thomas Sinclair
Caroline Barber (left) and Thomas Sinclair (right) performing at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival

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The two members of Human Activities choked down their nerves, took a breath and walked out onto the seemingly oversized stage to meet the unexpecting crowd at the 2014 Dogwood Festival.

Sophomores Thomas Sinclair and Caroline Barber have been playing music together for 2 years, and this was their first experience playing in front of a live audience.

“They weren’t expecting us to play what we played,” Sinclair said.

The act before had guitars, a bass and a drum set, whereas Sinclair and Barber had only a laptop, some controllers and a mic.

While other acts were tuning their instruments, Sinclair and Barber had to make sure the “laptop was all set up right.”

Their difference in musical style is a result of their difference in musical taste.

According to, if teenagers were to listen to one type of music for the rest of their lives the majority would choose pop, followed closely by country. Only .7% would choose electronic, and this is where Human Activities draws most of its inspiration.

“Honestly, what we’re trying to do is just copy what we like in music,” Sinclair said, “we copy styles, we don’t do covers.”

The ideas for songs are Barber’s and Sinclair does the production.

“I help formulate Caroline’s ideas,” Sinclair said. “I interpret her ideas into something you can hear.”

Barber writes the majority of the lyrics for Human Activities. She gets inspiration from things she thinks are “cool”, Barber said, some of which she finds on the internet. An example can be heard in their song “Cargo Cult”, which is about a cult that is fascinated with luggage.

“I think about an abstract concept,” she said, “then I insert myself in it, and write about it from a first person perspective.”

Human Activities’ style and image may be unconventional, but according to Barber, “We are cool. I don’t need to make us look cool”.