Baltimore boys Future Islands have been to Australia almost every year since 2012, which practically makes them locals.
The trio, made up of Samuel, William Cashion (bass, guitars), and Gerrit Welmers (keyboards, programming, guitars), have been touring pretty much non-stop for almost a decade, and Gerrit reckons they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s so awesome to be given an opportunity to play in front of people and we really enjoy playing live music. We have a lot of time on the road, but we meet a lot of people and we get to travel. It’s pretty gruelling, and there are definitely moments when it gets really hard and you don’t see your friends and your family, but in the end, it’s worth it. All the hard work has paid off and done us well,” he says.
Chatting with us from his home in Baltimore, Gerrit tells us how much he loved touring Australia doing the Laneway shows earlier this year.
“I love Australia. It’ a wonderful, wonderful place. Laneway was the most fun trip I’ve ever been on. The shows were amazing, everyone was super nice and the crowds were very receptive and energetic. It was a lot of fun,” he says.
“All of the other bands and people we were on tour with were great. We made a lot of new friends. We got to hear a lot of music I was unfamiliar with and was turned on to a lot of new things. We learned a lot and had the most fun.”
Hopefully we can show them just as good a time while they’re here touring their latest album Singles, which was released last year.
It’s the band’s fourth LP and, while it’s reflective of their equal parts melancholic and euphoric mood, they’ve refined their sound even further, which could be due to their new relationship with legendary label, 4AD records.
Now working with Chris Coady, (Beach House, TV On The radio, Grizzly Bear), Gerrit says the new partnership has had a positive start.
“It’s been great. Chris Coady has been super helpful and supportive with everything we wanted to do with the record. We also just put out a 7” with them. We tour a lot and they said, ‘You know, you really don’t have to tour so much! You’re working so hard. Why don’t you take some time off?’ But we enjoy touring so we won’t stop,” he says.
The band take a collaborative approach to writing, which has been no different with Singles, and Gerrit says they like to keep it easy.
“We have a practice space here in Baltimore so we try to keep it as simple as possible. We start with a drum machine and a drum loop, and then we start throwing around chords here and there and try to hit on something we enjoy. Then start writing based on the sounds we’re creating,” he says.
“I do a lot of programming stuff for the band, so I arrange things, add textures, and figure out a loop structure and see how it goes. We try to play all new music live in front of people before we actually make sure it’s a song because it’s very different when you play a song in front of people; it doesn’t always go so well!”
Future Islands are a hardworking band who have dedicated their career to getting out and taking their music to the people.
But last year, as their television debut, the group performed an impressive rendition of ‘Seasons’ on iconic program Letterman which boosted their profile immeasurably.
Such was the response to the performance, their popularity grew immediately, which came as a pleasant and welcome surprise to the guys.
“It was pretty surreal. Honestly, we didn’t think it was going to happen, and then it happened, and we thought, ‘Wow, this is really happening!’ We played the show and it went by really quick. We all played really well and thought we did a good job, and as the weeks went by, it sort of gained momentum and then a lot of people found out about us through that. It’s crazy,” Gerrit says.
As well as an energetic, emotive and captivating live performance, Future Islands offer another reason to get interested in them, and that’s their adorable gimmick of hiding concert tickets in the towns they play for fans to find.
“I forget who came up with the idea; possibly one of our tour managers,” Gerrit says. “But we try to get out before every show and hide two concert tickets at a local business, like a coffee show, a juice bar or local record store. It’s a little fun thing where people can come to the show, but also hopefully go into the local business and check it out. We will be doing it when we get to Australia, even for the sold out shows. We’ll just put them on the guest list.”
The trio head back to our shores for headlining shows, as well as joining Mumford and Sons in Melbourne, and at their ‘Gentlemen of the Road’ show at Sydney’s Domain.
Future Islands will play the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, supported by Curse ov Dialect, on Friday November 13 so grab your tickets through the venue and keep your eye on their Facebook page for any hidden ticket hints!
By Libby Parker