Oliver Kass of the Edinburgh-based electronic project tells us about their formation and their exciting year ahead
Future Get Down released their first EP, aptly titled EP1, in April and they are gearing up for a big summer with the release of EP2 and appearances at Kelburn Garden Party and Blue Dot Festival. The group, fronted by Oliver Kass and Ally Dennis, specialise in dark, throbbing dance music with propulsive synths and have been championed by BBC 6 Music's Steve Lamacq whilst honing their live show with support slots for Kraftwerk's Wolfgang Flür and Jenny Hval. We asked the group about their formation, their influences, and what they see down the pipeline.
Future Get Down was formed in the wake of your previous band with Ally Dennis, Homework. Can you talk us through the process of moving from that project to this one? I think the thought of starting something new was incredibly appealing to all of us. We just didn't all have the same thing in mind.
Can you talk about how the last year has been for you – being championed by BBC 6 Music and getting on several festival bills throughout the country – and how a band like yourselves build on this momentum? It's heartening that some people have been into what we're doing at an early stage but the motivating factor, for me at least, is to keep getting better at what we do. Of course you want to keep pulling more people into your orbit as you go but you can't force it. Future Get Down is still finding its feet. It's possible it may never find its feet. Maybe that's a good thing. The fact that you're making the music you want to make is the most important thing.
If all else fails there's always gonna be a demand for whale music on Spotify.
Your music feels pretty transnational; do you feel rooted to the sounds of Edinburgh or are you aiming to expand beyond any 'Scottish' sound? I'm not too sure Edinburgh or Scotland has a sound. Maybe a little bit back in the 80s / 90s when some of the Scottish indie labels were front and centre but less so now. When you start to unpick Scottish music it's unbelievably diverse in terms of output. As a band or artist you have to keep evolving, if things stops evolving within an established structure it's probably time to rethink the structure.
Looking at your Instagram feed, I see a lot of references to disparate genres of music. How important is to you to keep a broad scope with your influences? Well we're usually all music fans long before we start making music and that never leaves you. I've also found that the more music you make, the more you come to appreciate other people's work as well. There's always diamonds to unearth.
[Van Morrison's] Astral Weeks is a great example. I remember buying that at uni just because of its classic album status. I think I probably got stoned and put it on and all of a sudden here's this abrasive mystical Irishman scattering incoherently about ballerinas and Cyprus Avenue. I couldn't take it. Completely dismissed it. I still kept it though. A few years down the line it gets dusted off and it's mind blowing and I'm starting to think, "how did he come up with that?" or "where is that street in Belfast?" and "how did all the jazz guys find playing along?" etc. I'd say it definitely had an influence on bits of EP1.
Equally, I went to Factory Floor at Stereo a couple of years back and came out of that with a few less brain cells and a renewed respect for brutal repetition.
Can we just have more questions on other people's music?
I read that you are planning to release three EPs this year, instead of going straight for an album with a label, can you talk through the reasons for doing this? We did originally make an album…around half of it went into EP1.
I guess I liked the idea at the start of the year of being able to tackle things in smaller chunks. It's not good for stuff to fester, there's a danger that if you sit on something for too long it becomes old news to you i.e. you've already written the next record before the current one comes out. It's hard describe how utterly sick you can be of hearing a release when you've spent so much time getting it to that stage. It's pretty much therapy diving into the next one.
Three EPs gives us a chance to do things differently on each release. EP2 is out in a few weeks and it's the first set of recordings with a settled line-up. I've got plans for how we take EP3 somewhere else and that's the focus now.
If there's a label we like out there who wants to release the EPs next year while we work on album, we'll happily hand over the masters.
With only a few gigs under your belt, you have already got quite a live reputation. How did you put together the live band? You have to put the work in to find the right people. It's a big commitment rehearsing, recording and playing live. At our level you're really doing it for the love. This means you need to find folk that fit in musically, you also need people that you like spending time with and you need people that aren't gonna flake out after a few months. Those folks were Sam, Jeanne and Brian. Obviously there's still friction from time to time but that's often where the best stuff comes out.
What can people expect when they catch you on the road? I'd say to expect a lot of strobe lighting but we don't quite have the budget for the strobes yet. We always try and hit the audience hard regardless. You're either gonna love it or hate it. That's the way it should be. I can't remember half the bands I've seen at festivals but you tend to remember the ones who blew you away and the ones you walked out on.
Do you think you are on track for your three EPs goal? Do you know what's next for your band? EP2 is out in July so technically we've got five months to get EP3 sorted. I'd like us to make an album in 2019.
Future Get Down's EP2 will be released in the next month, and you can catch the band's live shows at festival dates over the summer.