Published on October 20th, 2015 | by Candace Parker-Dickerson0
Futurebirds Land in Oxford for Proud Larry’s Performance
It’s been two years since Athens-based alt-country band Futurebirds released their sophomore album, Baba Yaga. And now the band is back with their third full length album, Hotel Parties, which has already received rave reviews from the likes of Paste, Stereogum, and USA Today. Just a few weeks into the album promotion tour, the band will be making their stop in Oxford for a performance at Proud Larry’s on Thursday October 22nd. In anticipation of their upcoming performance, I had the privilege of chatting with Futurebirds’ singer/guitarist Carter King about the new record, the evolution of the band, yard golf, and more.
How did the band come together?
We all got together in Athens, Georgia. That’s where it all started. We were all just friends and hanging out together before we realized we all played music. And we were all in other bands that weren’t doing too well, or weren’t what we were looking for and we got together and magic started happening.
Futurebirds is a really unique band name. What’s the story behind it?
I came up with that name in the middle of a poetry evaluation class that I was taking at the University of Georgia. The professor was telling us a story about all the different cultures that use the patterns of migrating birds to predict the future. And the name just kind of came to me. I thought it had a nice ring to it.
It’s been two years since Baba Yaga was released (2013) and now you’ve just released your new album, Hotel Parties (2015). How do you feel like you guys have evolved, sound-wise, between the two albums?
Baba Yaga is really washy and ethereal, with lots of reverb and layers of guitars and sonic texture. And this new record is more stripped back and to the point. And I think that just came from the songs we had. They’re a little more to the point lyrically and have a running theme.
You released the last record on Fat Possum. Why did you guys decide to go with Easy Sound Recording Company for Hotel Parties?
They were just the right fit. We were looking for a specific kind of partner for this record and we had a lot of long talks with them. And they saw things the way we did, so we had a shared vision for how we saw the record coming out and how it would see success.
Upon the release of Hotel Parties, one of the album tracks, “Twentyseven,” came in at number six on USA Today’s “10 Best Songs of the Week.” Congratulations! What was the reaction when you guys found out?
It’s great, because we spent so long recording this record. And after we were done, we had to sit on it for a while, as we were figuring out what to do with it. So to finally put it out, two plus years after recording it, when good feedback starts coming it’s immeasurably rewarding.
I definitely picked up on the idea that a lot of the album is written about being on the road, what else inspired you to write this album?
A lot of it has to do with coming to terms with growing up a little bit. And we’re still chasing this thing that a lot of people see as a childish dream and we’re coming to grips with keeping that a real thing and being smart about what we’re doing and being able to mature, become adults, and live a little more settled down lifestyle but still be doing this. It’s a balancing act for sure. We’re talking about it from one perspective, because it’s the one that we know. It’s a pretty universal thing that people have to deal with in all different forms whether it’s how hard you’re working, or how many hours you’re spending at the office and balancing out what it is you’re passionate about with what you have to do to get by.
My favorite track is the title track, “Hotel Parties.” Do you have a favorite track from the new record?
You have to love all your children equally, right? So I don’t know if I can pick a favorite, but “Hotel Parties” is a heck of a song to play live!
While listening to the album, I was feeling some Ryan Adam vibes circa 2007. What artists inspire you?
What are you listening to right now?
We listen to a lot of Grateful Dead, Neil Young, and Rolling Stones. The Charleston music scene has a lot going on right now. Our buddies that we’re playing some shows with on this tour, Susto, are just fantastic!
I saw the video for “Deadbeat Hitz”—which is a very catchy song, by the way—and I noticed you guys play a lot of golf, as well as seeing mention of disc golf on your twitter. Is golfing somewhat of a band hobby for you guys?
Yeah, I actually made that video from footage I filmed while we were doing demos and recording for the record itself. We did all the demos out on this farm outside of Athens. It was Thomas [Johnson]’s family’s property that had an old, vacant house on it. So we just camped out and set up the studio. So when we needed to take a break our bassist went to the Goodwill and bought a few one dollar golf clubs and a big bag of balls. And so we played yard golf. A few guys in the band are actually real golfers, but me, not so much. But I enjoy playing every once in awhile.
What’s next for Futurebirds?