‘We lost ourselves’: Future Islands, the synthpop band who nearly blew it – The Guardian

Ive definitely done some journaling up here, says Samuel T Herring. A lot of lyrics too. Its a great place for letting the mind wander.

Were sat on a rocky ledge overlooking a swimming hole near the house in rural south-east Sweden that Herring frontman of US synthpop band Future Islands increasingly calls home. A former quarry, the pool is deep and clear, with sheer granite cliffs rising 10 metres in places. At dusk, he says, red kites swoop through the air and skim the water. So inspired was Herring that he named a song after the bird Glada, Swedish for kite on the bands sixth album, As Long As You Are.

Glada is representative of that swirling freedom, says Herring. That song is a reopening of myself in a new space, and I was clear that I really wanted it to open the album. The song hangs around one line: Do I deserve the sea again? It is Herrings reckoning with his turbulent past. Pushing good things away because you feel you dont deserve them, but you do, he says. Julia showed me that, and gave me love and peace.

This is Julia Ragnarsson, Herrings partner of three years and the reason he is showing me around a tiny bucolic village, 20 minutes outside the town of Kristianstad. He met the renowned Swedish actor online in 2017, fast becoming friends and FaceTiming for at least an hour a day. After eight months, they finally came face to face in Copenhagen while the band were touring; they have been together ever since.

Meeting Julia was liberating, says Herring. Ill definitely follow her wherever she wants to be, because thats where my heart is. The pair are engaged, and while they have thus far split their time in Sweden between Stockholm and this house, owned by Ragnarssons parents, they are looking to settle down in Malm. Herring has applied for permanent residency, the paperwork all but complete.

But domestic bliss is just one of the themes that shaped As Long As You Are. Its also a reaction to burnout, unrealistic expectations and fame following the success of 2014 album Singles, which was boosted by a glorious viral performance of Seasons (Waiting on You) on David Lettermans talkshow, with Herring twisting, beating his chest and delivering its climactic lyrics in a death metal roar.

Playing the game after that success, as Herring puts it, didnt suit them and caused tension; writing and recording their next album, The Far Field, left them disappointed and unsatisfied. We lost ourselves, Herring says. That record is condescending because I wasnt honest in my writing. Written over just a few months following the mammoth two-year Singles tour, it was rush-recorded in three weeks in LA. The reason for the tight schedule was Coachella 2017 with a prominent slot booked, a new record was required, one that would cement Future Islands as one of the worlds most in-demand live acts.

Fucking embarrassing, says the bassist, William Cashion, of the idea now. Rushing to make that deadline was bullshit. The band talk of unwanted compromise acquiescing and putting trust in others as Cashion puts it that they now regret.

For As Long As You Are, a decision was made to take their time and do it right, says Cashion. Being off the road helped, as did getting our heads back on straight and just living a normal life, according to the keyboardist and programmer, Gerrit Welmers. Over a year, the band spent hours in the studio just jamming and working through ideas. Herring worked on lyrics feverishly, sitting in his favourite spot in the garden or by that swimming hole. The result is a record with a relaxed, easy vibe that harks back to Singles and their earlier work; a strut tempo as described by the drummer, Mike Lowry, now officially a fourth member. From the breezy, top-down chug of road trip song Hit the Coast to the euphoric rush of Plastic Beach, they sound re-energised just by being themselves.

Theres definitely a looseness to it, says Cashion. New and fresh, adds Welmers, noting that the band were all in a more comfortable space in our private lives, more mature as well. That translated to the music.

For Herring, the difference is stark. Weve dealt with that fear of losing the dream wed worked so hard to achieve, he says, and we put art before commerce. Its us being open to the possibilities of personal growth, and not being constrained by what people think we are. Thats where real art comes from.

As Long As You Are is released on 9 October on 4AD

Visit link:

'We lost ourselves': Future Islands, the synthpop band who nearly blew it - The Guardian

Related Post

Comments are closed.