The opening line to Future States‘ new track “Heaven” makes it’s clear this cheery psych-pop jam isn’t as carefree as it’s cracked up to be. “There’s no going to heaven/ I’m fine with that,” their frontman sings, “When we die we die/ When we’re dead we’re dead.” You might miss the lyrical skepticism over the sound of this steady, straightforward groove, and that’s what makes us love this deceptively layered song. Split evenly between Montreal and Ottawa, alt-rock foursome Future States are two pairs of longtime friends and collaborators who came together to form a new kind of guitar band. Listen to our premiere of “Heaven” below, and check out a brief interview with the band!
Indie Current: Tell us more about how the two of you became friends and began making music
Future States: We formed from two pairs of friends: Brodie and Chuck grew up together in Northern Ontario, and Nick and Dave met while studying music at uni in Southwestern Ontario. We’ve been collaborating and making music in these pairings for 10+ years—playing in bands, writing experimental music, and sometimes even dabbling in comedy. There are countless finished and unfinished songs and videos between the lot of us (literally e-mail inboxes full of this stuff!). We all collided in Montreal six years ago, and found a commonality in what we were hoping to do with music. We have pretty different backgrounds and processes, so it took a while to cohere as a unit. In the time since, we’ve really grown and find that we’re at our best when playing and arranging together, each person bringing something important to the table, whether it be the ability to pick-up on the catchiest vocal melody, the ear for arranging harmony, or the propensity to syncopate all the rhythms.
IC: Are the new songs being written and produced over the internet between you two, or do you usually meet in person to collaborate on new ideas?
FS: We definitely do a bit of both! Though we converged in Montreal, Brodie doesn’t actually live here – he’s currently based in Ottawa, which is about 200KM away. While it’s not an ideal arrangement, it is really motivating and means we have to be extra creative with our time and energy, doing intensive rehearsal weekends in either city, and orchestrating a lot of online file sharing. While it can be tough not to rehearse regularly, our intensive weekends have formed a nice ritual that we look forward to—we make music, but we also cook together, play cards (save for Brodie), watch Star Trek (save for Nick), go out for coffee, and listen to records…When we’re together we’ll bounce ideas off each other, improvise and experiment, recording everything as we go and on the regular we do a lot of file sharing and working alone or in pairs on ideas.
IC: Where does the band play most often? Would you say Future States has a scene of bands that you regularly share bills with?
FS: While we tour quite a bit (we got US Visas for the last year, so have been dipping our toes south of the border), we also take pride in being part of the music communities around our two home cities in Ottawa and Montreal. We play both on the reg, and they each have a near bottomless depth of talent, amazing artists, and strong community initiatives. In Ottawa we’ve been lucky enough to play several festivals including two of the best community-run fests, Arboretum, and MEGAPHONO, both of which shine a ton of light on the regional music scene, while bringing in some limit-bending outside artists (Deerhoof was at Arb last year, for instance).
In Montreal we’ve formed friendships within a community of artists in the city, having organized tours with pals in the bands Chairs, Ada Lea, and Run Coyote (TO), and played a few shows with a really amazing pop band Pallice. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We really value building relationships with other artists and community organizers, and try to create supportive partnerships where everyone is sharing their art, sharing the workload and coming out feeling like we contribute to building each other up.
IC: What’s your idea of heaven? What does it look like? How does one get there?
FS: We think these questions can be best addressed as follows: “They say in heaven, love comes first. We’ll make heaven a place on earth. Ooh, heaven is a place on earth.” – Belinda Carlisle
upcoming mini-tour dates:
15 March 2018 @ The Smiling Buddha – Toronto, ON
16 March 2018 @ Pressed – Ottawa, ON W/ PILL (presented by Arboretum)
17 March 2018 @ Casa del Popolo – Montreal, QC W/ Pallice and Napster Vertigo (presented by Blue Skies Turn Black)