Interview with Ant West from Futures
Futures is a four piece band from Buckinghamshire signed to Mercury Records, formed from the ashes of ‘Tonight is Goodbye’. While still unsigned, the band’s debut seven track mini album ‘The Holiday’, was given away as a cover mounted CD with Rock Sound magazine.
The band play Academy 2 in Dublin on May 28th. I caught up with singer, Ant West, while he was having breakfast and chatted about their upcoming album, Fruit ‘n Fibre and yes, even Gina G.
Your first gig as Futures sold out, do you think that was fall out from your previous band or had you managed to build a new fanbase in that time?
‘I think it probably was but I think it was more positive as in people were excited to see what we had done, rather than ‘Oh let’s go see that band again’, it was ‘let’s go see the old members from that band’. I think it was the excitement for that but I guess they were old fans who were seeing what we were doing.‘
Rock Sound obviously has had a huge impact on what has happened to the band. It’s a while now since your CD was cover mounted on the magazine. Looking at things now, can you see how much you have gained from that?
‘Oh Totally, that just took us from one place, right to another overnight, it was wild. We wouldn’t where we are today, at all, without that phonecall that we got from them. We can totally see it, we can look back and say ‘Wow that was a big starting point for us’. It was so early on for us within the band as well and it was really the most amazing opportuntity and for them to take on such a new band as well and frontier it. It was great.’
You were going to give ‘The Holiday’ away for free anyway, so that was a great opportunity.
‘If we gave it away for free before that it would have been, no physical copies, just a free download, which no one really values these days. Everybody downloads, terrible. To have a physical copy in your hand and there’s 25000 of it, it’s just, instant platform.’
You’ve been recording with Gil Norton for your album, have you got any names yet?
‘We’re still thinking about it at the moment, whether to do a self-titled or track name. We’re still getting mixes, it’s hard to listen to it as an album yet cos we’re still waiting on the last couple of tracks back. I think that it will come to us and overnight we’ll be like, here, that’s the name. That’ll happen once we hear it properly’.
When are you hoping to get it out ?
‘We’re still talking to the label about it at the moment. We’re not sure about releasing it in the last quarter of the year because the X-Factor, all that stuff’s going on and we don’t want to get caught up in that. So probably early in the new year, then we’d start the year with a new album, which would be a cool feeling.’
Of the tracks you’ve heard so far, what’s the one you’re most proud of?
‘There’s a song called ‘A Million Lights’, I’m probably most proud of myself. It’s a real kind of journey song. It’s hard to explain its like a big journey from start to finish. It starts with me and a guitar by the end of it, its a mass of thousand, million, instruments. It’s great.’
As a band what way does the songwriting process work?
‘Before the album, we had a bunch of songs that were sitting round, that we had written over a while. The we realized that we kinda needed to step it up so we rented a house up near Peterborough in the countryside and it had a lake outside, it was great. Basically we were in there for two sessions, eight or nine weeks and wrote the album there. It was the best way we could have done it, really intense. I think it got the best out of us’.
You’re quite a visual band, your website is video based and you started Futures TV on YouTube. How much do you individually put into this? With branding and identity, everything has to appear crossover and appear seamless.
‘Yeah, it hard to keep everything branded and have a set feel for the band. I think we’re still trying to find what that brand is for us. Visuals are really important. As soon as you see ‘A Day in the Life of the band’ or something, people just feel so much closer to you I think, speaking to them on a Ustream or something, just being able to see someone as well as hearing their voice is much more powerful than just hearing a voice because you can actually put a voice to the face and that’s really important for us. That instant connection with fans, being able to connect like that, it’s really important.’
Your tour starts this week, do the rest of the band have any bad habits that really get on your wick when you’re on tour with them?
‘There’s going to be eight of us on the road including a few friends, as soon as we go out that’s when the real fun starts, everyone’s true side comes out. There’s always one that’s the last to be dragged out of the club cos he’s talking to a bunch of girls and we all want to go asleep but we have to drive back to the hotel. ‘Where’s he gone?’, ‘Nah, no, he’s not in there!’, ‘Is he round the back?’ It’s one of them but it’s fun.’
I love how this person is remaining nameless.
‘Oh yeah, he knows exactly who he is, so it’s alright.’
When you’re not playing or rehearsing, so you see each other much on a daily basis?
‘Yeah we do, we’re constantly writing. We’ve just recorded the album and we’re writing our second album. Our second album is just writing because it’s why we all play music, just to write. It’s our job, sort of thing, and we love doing it. We’re always with each other’.
You are starting the tour, are you going to do any festivals after that?
‘We’re doing bits, we’re not doing a crazy amounts because we haven’t got an album to release. We’re holding back for next year basically. We’ve been playing ‘The Holiday’ for two years now so we don’t want to go out and it be too stale so we want to wait til the new album is out and then actually play new songs from it, open it up to a bigger audience. We’re playing a few things, we’re playing a handful but it’s given us time to write and get back into that.’
When it comes to media and interviews, do you always get lumbered with it or do the other guys pull their weight?
‘I always offer to do them because I always think of the singer as the spokesperson. They are the person everyone kinda focuses on when you’re onstage and I think you have to have that voice for the public as well, people want to hear. I think they’re (the rest of the band) are cool with it. I say what we all want to say, basically. I don’t feel like I’m lumbered on me. I offer to do it, it’s part of the fun.’
In your ‘Oxegen’ video, did you drop any of those balls?
‘Oh yeah, Jeez, we had to go find them. We couldn’t find them anywhere. We had to go to Reading to get them and they got smashed on the way back so we had to go get more. It was like hell, hell was within this little bright globe. It was terrible. It worked out I think. Right in the video I dropped one but they managed to edit it out.’
What was the first record you ever bought?
‘First record? Oh My God! Gina G!
Ooh Aah… Just a little Bit? The 1996 Eurovision Entry ?
‘Yeah that one, classic, she’s wearing some horrible Union Jack cropped top, terrible. I still got it. To think that represented Britain, nice!’
If you were stuck on a desert island and you could bring three things what would you bring ?
‘I would bring an array of musical instruments, a guitar, a piano, hmmm. I’m really into Fruit ‘n Fibre at the moment, maybe Fruit ‘n Fibre and a bottle of Jack Daniels, not mixed though. Alright, a guitar, Fruit ‘n Fibre and a bottle of Jack Daniels.’
Futures play Academy 2 on May 28th. Tickets are 13 euro and available from Ticketmaster.ie