Exclusive Q&A with Futurist
What is the story behind your latest single?
“Olive Mountain” is the first single off of our upcoming record “Omens,” which is available on September 27. The title Olive Mountain is a play on the ‘Mount of Olives,’ where Jesus was praying before he was betrayed. Give it a listen:
https://soundcloud.com/futurist_music/olive-mountain It’s a tune that I’d been teasing out and working on for years, but it really came together during the recording session for this album. Thematically, the lyrics are on par with the title. It’s a song about betrayal, disappointment, and shrugging off all of the modern-day nihilism oozing out of my phone, my computer, and many relationships. I’m also reckoning with my own blind contributions to the problem in the hopes that I can turn my ship around before it crashes into the rocks.
When did you realize music was your calling?
I’ve been learning and performing music my entire life. I started playing piano at a very early age and was also heavily involved in choir and instrumental groups in the church and school. By the time I was in high school I was a major band-nerd, symphonic bands, marching band, and jazz band. It was around that time that I started playing in rock bands with my friends. I can’t say there was a specific moment, but it was around that time I decided to go to school for music, which I eventually did. I mean, my parents were incredibly encouraging of me being involved with music, so I suppose there was always that spark of knowing all along that there was something special in it for me.
How would you best describe your sound?
We’re a rock band. I know, that phrase hardly describes anything these days, but it’s a good jumping-off point. I think we fit squarely in the Alternative Rock genre with a bit of that vintage, psychedelic-pop sound that’s been seeping into popular music the past 5 years or so. Imagine if you put all of my favorite 70s guitar-rock bands (Pink Floyd, Neil Young, The Eagles, Tom petty, etc.) in a blender and then added a dash of modern alternative rock (My Morning Jacket, Spoon, Arctic Monkeys, etc) with the whimsical delivery of something a la Harry Nilsson or even something more recent like Cake (we all started playing music in the 90s anyway). I think what helps us out stand out to a new listener at our show is the diversity in our songs, which you can hear both live and on the records. I’ve had people come up to me after shows and tell me that they liked how different all of the songs were, so I think that gives us a lot of room to explore and try to find the bits that really work. We don’t really have one cookie-cutter song style and we use a lot of different instruments depending on the mood of the tune.
What do you hope listeners take away from your music?
I think that’s really up to them. It’s not that I don’t have intentions that I put into the music I make, it’s that the entire point of it all is communicating the ineffable. I couldn’t say what it is specifically I’m trying to transfer to a listener, which is why I write and perform in the first place and my hope is that the music would speak for itself in that way. At the very least, I’d hope that they’d see and hear how much of my life, emotional energy, and resources I have poured into something out of passion alone and maybe inspire them to do the same.
Who are your dream collaborators?
We’d love to record with Jonathan Wilson. We’d love to tour with Spoon.
Is there a possibility to perform your new music live?
Well, we just finished our summer tour, but we’ll have a fall/winter tour posted around the time our record comes out at the end of September.
What are some albums that really shaped you as an artist?
“Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” by Wilco.
“Kid A” by Radiohead.
“The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd.
“Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” by The Flaming Lips.
“( )” by Sigur Rós
What are some of your contenders for best song of 2019?
I’m embarrassingly out of touch with what is happening right now. The only things I’ve heard are Thom Yorke, Hot Chip, Jenny Lewis, The Tallest Man on Earth, and Anderson Paak. I think Paak takes the trophy so far. I really like “Make It Better (ft. Smokey Robinson).”