TALKING TO BLACK FUTURES
Meet Space and Vibes, creators of Black Futures and providers of music to make your head vibrate with vivacity. Having released their debut album Never Not Nothing back in August 2019 the duo have gone onto make waves in the music scene with their immersive live shows. We caught up with Space at his studio to talk about what the future holds for this Surrey-based duo.
IN YOUR OWN WORDS, FOR THOSE WHO MIGHT NOT KNOW, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE SOUNDS OF BLACK FUTURES?
Anarchic. Energetic. Annihilistic. Positive. Full of contradictions! It’s party music for the end of the world – hopefully not.
THE TWO OF YOU ARE NO STRANGERS TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY ARE YOU, BEING FORMER MEMBERS OF BANDS SUBSOURCE AND PRINCESS SLAYER. HOW DID YOU TWO GET TOGETHER?
We’ve never actually told the truth about that. We usually offer about four options in which there are various truths, so let’s go with story number one.
We met playing at a festival in Beijing – like a showcase for western music – in a football stadium there. It was kind of fun. It was the biggest stage I’ve ever seen, and it had a pyramid in the middle. It had like a million lights on it and a runaway. We had to send all our lyrics off to the government beforehand, and they vetted everything and said we couldn’t play certain things. It was bizarre – a really weird experience. Instead of smoke machines, they had rows of dudes with wheelbarrows and burning charcoal, like the chemicals they use in Chinese theatre, and cardboard boxes wafting acrid chemical smoke on stage – yet they could afford to put the biggest stage up. It was pretty intense.
Another version of potential truth is that we met because I was his teacher. I taught him music composition and about playing in an ensemble.
INDIVIDUALLY YOU’VE BOTH WORKED WITH OTHER ARTISTS SUCH AS IDLES, THE PRODIGY AND JAMIE LENMAN – DO YOU THINK THAT HAS HELPED SHAPE HOW YOU APPROACH PRODUCING MUSIC TOGETHER?
I think yes and no. In some ways it really shapes what we do. When we’re working with other artists and different projects, it’s no different from your own project. You throw yourself in 100% and go all out: You envelop yourself in the world of that band or artist and their language. It all goes in and becomes a part of the palette.
In other ways, when we’re not working with other people it’s like a holiday. We get to do all the stuff that we weren’t allowed to do whilst working on projects with other bands and artists. Sometimes it has an opposite effect – you kind of rebel against what you were doing before – so yeah a bit of both.
LEGENDARY PRIMAL SCREAM FRONT MAN BOBBY GILLESPIE FEATURES ON YOUR TRACK ME.TV. THE SONG FEATURES THE LYRIC / MANTRA ‘TURN DOWN YOUR ME.TV AND TURN UP FOR YOUR COMMUNITY’– HOW DID THAT COLLABORATION COME TO FRUITION?
It was a weird one actually. He’s a friend of a friend, and we were looking for someone to punctuate the end of the song. He was right at the top of the list; as we’re massive Primal Scream fans. We just thought he’d be brilliant. He’s a really great voice for the underdog, and is just a great Punk poet. He’s got a great voice for just saying whatever he likes. We thought it was a long shot, but we sent him some music and chatted a bit about what the song was about. We left it that, thinking he’d politely decline.
The next thing, I think, was that we were doing a show at RAK Studios in London, setting up for this immersive arts show. Someone from our record label came in saying, ‘I’ve got a vocal that Bobby sent through for you, he’s written something, and he wants you to check it out’.That was the day after we’d sent it to him, so he obviously heard it, got on it, and the song came into being from there.
We put it on in the studio right then and there, and just whacked it up really loud. I was just so happy that he totally nailed the whole idea of the song, and made it into a call to arms almost. It was pretty overwhelming how perfect what he wrote was.
IN THE NAME OF COMMUNITY, YOU TEAMED UP WITH THE PURPOSE NETWORK, DOIT.LIFE, WHEREBY LISTENERS CAN HEAD TO YOUR WEBSITE AND FIND LOCAL VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES – DO YOU TAKE PART IN ANY KIND OF VOLUNTEERING YOURSELVES?
Whenever the opportunity arises to get stuck in with something really. We try and volunteer for things as much as possible. A lot of our community stuff revolves around The Boileroom in Guildford, as a community hub, and the community projects that are going on there.
Also, in a more informal way, with helping people out when they’re in need; exchanging time with friends and family and people that need a hand with something. Someone’s building a fence down the road – can you help out for the day? That always works out in a nice way, because then people come back around whenever you’re doing something and in need.
Whenever I travel I try and get involved in the community there – speak to lots of people, maybe do some volunteering whilst there. It’s really interesting to find out what’s going on socially, wherever you are. That’s a big bonus to being a musician and travelling as a job – you get to kind of mainline straight into a community.
It’s important to think of community as more than just your geographical space – your community can be pretty spread out. It can be as little as checking in on people every now and then to find out how they’re doing. Just taking a minute to say ‘hello’, you know?
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR 2020?
Not many that we can talk about but yes, there will be some new music released in January. Then we have multiple releases planned for next year; a lot of new music…and other things… projects… happenings.
We’re going on tour with a Japanese band called Crossfaith around Europe and the UK in February, and then we’ll be following that with a headline tour, then festivals and stuff.
Find out more about Black Futures and visit www.blackfutures.co.uk
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