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August 2020

Black Futures: Future proof

Taken from the September issue of Upset, out now.
Published: 4:25 pm, August 28, 2019Words: Steven Loftin.
Black Futures: Future proof

Setting themselves off in unstoppable motion, space-punks Black Futures are going from strength to strength. With their debut 'Never Not Nothing' due out at the end of August, and having just completed their inaugural Download set, guitarist and singer Space and percussionist Vibes tell us what's what.

How’s it going, Black Futures, how was your set?

Space: It was good, man. We had a great time. We got weird, and we got in with the people, and Download was amazing. They were joining in, and they were having a great time, and it felt like a party that I’d like to go to - I think I was there, but sometimes I wonder.

Your live show has been growing since you first appeared, how do you account for that in a festival setting?

Space: I’m pretty horrible to be around a little while before the show, if I'm brutally honest. I usually go quite meditative and go quiet, and that sounds maximumly pretentious, but it’s what I gotta do. I’ve gotta stop being me for a little while and just kind of brood. I have to summon the dread, and then run away from the dread, towards the joy. For the crowd, and yourself, a healthy amount of fear, and the expectation that anything could happen over the next half hour. It’s where I wanna be, I wanna be on the edge of something and see where the fuck it goes, but there’s nothing worse than being complacent and walking on stage in front of loads of people, and then ask them to come with you on a journey. So yeah, we’re quite quiet and broody.
Vibes: I’m not as broody as this one, I manage to smile a little bit at least. I’m the ‘cheery’ one.
Space: I want to save as much energy, and then just let it go at the end.

That’s why your live show seems so alluring; it’s got natural chaos to it.

Space: There’s got to be an element of danger to it; it could fall apart at any given moment. When we designed the live set it was a lot around that feeling of when Vibes and I first went to a show, that very first experience where there are these creatures that have come out on stage, and they make you feel so excited and so afraid, and everybody is screaming around you. How do you even attempt to build that kind of atmosphere when everyone’s seen everything now? That’s where we want to take it, we want to pull people away from their everyday lives, into our world, and potentially be a little bit freaked out, but also have a really great fucking time, and then they can go back afterwards and maybe the grass is a little bit greener, or maybe they hate us.
It tends to be a rabbit in the headlights type thing when people see us for the first time because there’s a lot going on so I can always tell people that are here for the first time beach they’re just looking, they don’t know what to do with themselves. And sometimes that might scare people off, but I'm alright being marmite. You see those people come back again, and they know exactly what they wanna do when they come back, it’s like, ‘okay now we know the deal, now we’re gonna be the most outrageous, most wild and free that we wanna be’. It’s all about creating the space to be able to lose your inhibitions, and be maximum, and free, and be wild, and we’ve all been that guy or girl or person standing at the back wishing we were having a great time, really wanting to. I’ve been that person, and whenever I do it, I’m like why am I not down the front straightaway, because I’m having an amazing time and in life that’s what we want to do. Just try and bypass that little inhibition boundary and just go out and explore and have adventures.

And you’ve been out with Frank Carter - how was that from a support side?
Vibes: Our main goal was just to get the crowd hyped for Frank Carter initially, and we were quite happy with doing the job really, to be honest, and so was Frank!
Space: His fans are fantastic, they’re amazing, they really took to us and were super welcoming, and it felt like with a frontman like Frank Carter who we love so dearly, and the whole band, because he is such a great frontman, we don’t have to worry about stepping on his toes in any way. He’s gonna come out and level the place, and so we can be as extrovert and as crazy as we like knowing that it’s creating the environment for him to come out and be Frank Carter and it really worked nicely, and we had a really good time with the fans and with the guys as well.

Let’s move on to the album - how has it been taking what you’ve built so far and moulding it into this definitive first chapter?

Space: For us, it was always an album we wanted to start with, and so the ethos and the world of Black Futures grew from the very first song, we had it all in our minds. We’d created this world that we wanted the music to exist in. Every time we felt we were making a lot of music and producing a lot of records for other people, but we’d come back to Black Futures, our safe place, whenever we felt like real existential dread and completely at odds with the world around us, which so many of us feel at the moment because it’s mental. We would go back to Black Futures to create this place where we could be ourselves and be weird, and so it was a cathartic record in a way, but we wanted to build something that was reaching out - inviting people in, to join us on the fringes of wherever the fuck we are.

It features some tracks that you’ve previously released, how did you go about the rest?

Space: There are a couple that have been written post us singing to Music For Nations, where the album was done in our minds, but we were doing shows for the first time, and really developing, and just wanted to go back in, and there was some stuff that we wanted to get out. So some of it got written a little bit later, which was nice.

And you close the album out with the same song that plays you off stage, which is super self-referential.

Space: If you’re gonna write a song called ‘Power Drunk’, the name of the band has to be the chorus right?! Even just to feed our black humour, we’re not taking ourselves too seriously there, but that song is definitely about using humour to cope with the world really. Using that wry, British humour, that self-deprecating humour to make sense of shit a little bit, and it just came out super annoyingly catchy as well! I was so excited about the song, I sent it to my sister, and she was like, she called me up ‘Fuck you, man! This is so annoyingly catchy’, and so I would just call her up and sing it at her and then hang up - like in the middle of the night.

How are you feeling now that the statement piece is in motion?

Space: Excited for it to go out and be its own entity, for people to interact with it and for it to have its own life away from us. Our minds are already in expedition two, so we’re ready for it to be out in the world, doing its thing.

How about on a personal level, with the existentialism that helped create it all?

Space: We like to think of ourselves as positive nihilists, so we’re always trying to put a positive spin on nothing, do you know what I mean? Black Futures came about because we’re a little bit obsessed with ideas about the future. It’s infinitesimally vast, if you can dream up an idea of the future it could potentially happen, but very statistically low. Just the idea of it is fascinating, and so now we’re looking forward with a little less dread and now dreaming up worlds to change, and influence our own predicament and spurt as much love, and empathy and good vibes as possible.

Taken from the September issue of Upset. Black Futures' album 'Never Not Nothing' is out 30th August.

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