Experimental, Transgressive Space Punk: An Interview with Future Death
Written by Lanny Lieu on April 7, 2015
Angie: I’m Angie. I sing and I play synth.
Bill: I’m Bill and I play guitar.
Alton: I’m Alton and I’m the drummer.
Future Death has been together for about two years now. In that amount of time, you have self-released an EP as well as released your full-length album via Bloodmoss Records. Not to mention, you have added two new members to the group: Angie & Jeremy. Would you have ever thought you would come this far since 2013?
Bill: Yeah, we were all pretty much ready to go. We didn’t know each other. We weren’t friends. We found each other via the internet so we are all on the same speed.
Angie: No bullshit. We fuck around a lot but we don’t fuck around.
Bill: No wasting time. We’re productive. We productively fuck around.
When searching for additional band members, did you limit your search to the Austin area of where you’re from?
Bill: We were all in Austin.
Angie: I’m the only person not native to Texas. None of us are native to Austin.
Since you guys are based in Austin, Texas, how did you become associated with the Portland record label, Bloodmoss Records?
Angie: I reached out to Portals because they had featured my solo project a long time ago. They’ve actually done a lot since then… I know Tyler [Andere] worked somewhat with Lefse Records and Tyler is one of the main guys of Portals and that’s how that kind of happened.
Regarding your self-released EP, how did you produce and promote that release? Did you do it through friends, play a lot of local shows, etc?
Bill: We recorded it in my house and finished it after Angie joined. We debuted it with the “Bodies” video that Angie did and we’ve had some tapes made. Immediately after releasing the video, we just played a bunch of shows. Angie and Alton did a lot of promotion.
Were you guys well-connected in the Austin community when it came to booking shows?
Bill: I was in a four year band-less spell by the time I had met the other members. My old band had some contacts but you know, a lot changes in four years. A lot of contacts moved and some venues aren’t even there anymore. But we’ve had people reach out to us and that’s been really helpful.
Angie: We’re in the digital age now and everything is accessible. I feel like Instagram is a big power. There’s BandCamp now.
Bill: We’re easy to reach. It’s been very cool to see the response and get offers to do things as well as putting in our work.
Angie: Actually, one of the first shows we played was with Boyfrndz so they have really helped us out. This Will Destroy You, who went on tour with, has also helped us out. We’ve really been blessed with touring and booking shows but we’ve all been through the wringer and I feel like we payed our dues. Bill, more so than the rest of us, I think.
Bill: We’ve been really tactical with what we’re doing. We’re just trying to be efficient and trying to keep things moving.
For people who have never heard of you, how would you describe your sound to them?
Angie: Experimental, transgressive space punk.
Do you guys have any ideas of how you want your sound to progress in future releases?
Bill: We know they will but we’re kind of moment when it comes to stuff like that.
Angie: I feel like we are definitely taking a more experimental approach but also trying to deconstruct pop music. That seems to be a theme that we’re working towards. It’s not really intentional. It’s more of our impulsive nature to go off of feelings. So however it evolves, it evolves – which is great that we can be on that playing field with each other.
Is there anything you guys want to explore when it comes to production or the song-writing approach?
Angie: I definitely think a lot more electronic influence will either creep in or we’ll take it out. We want to stay true to being a rock band and the structure of having live instruments but we’re not opposed to using samples or electronic instruments.
How did you guys select which tracks to put on Special Victim (2014)?
Alton: That was all we had. There were a couple of songs that we pushed aside but it was what we had and it seemed appropriate. It all flowed well. I mean, she [Angie] makes it flow well. When she puts her vocals on, it all comes together. That’s when it all makes sense.
Bill: There were songs we talked about scrapping but we said to just wait and it always worked out in the end.
Where does the name Special Victim come from?
Angie: It’s appropriate because Bill and I are obsessed with Law & Order but it also has this underlying theme of death and my personal feminist approach to this band which is very separate from the rest of the band for obvious reasons. It’s my personal journey to take. Since I’m the vocalist, I do feel like we are a feminist band and they just support that because they have no other choice.
[laughs] Oh, so you’re the Alpha?
Angie [laughs]: I try to let it be a democratic system.
Let’s talk about touring. You were recently at SXSW and now you’re at Treefort a few days later. How have you guys been dealing with the busy schedule?
Bill: There’s no slack, y’know? If there ever is, it’s addressed and picked up.
Angie: I think that lends to the fact that we didn’t start as friends. I’ve played with friends and it’s really personal and you end up procrastinating because you just want to hang out. We get to have fun but we’re pretty on top of things. We want to get to the venue early. We don’t want to be one of those bands who show up five minutes before their set every time and is disrespectful to their sound guy. I think that overall that creates a hostile environment.
Speaking of festivals, I have noticed that there haven’t been too many female-fronted bands or bands with a female member at all playing Treefort or any other festivals. I was wondering, Angie, since you are the female of the band. What is your opinion on the lack of females in the music industry, in general?
Angie: I think women are just afraid. I don’t think we should hold it against them. I think we should encourage them. I put that responsibility on men because they are the ones who keep it hostile. I’m not saying ‘men are the cause of all things’ because women can also be very much responsible. There is internalized misogyny. I know women who are like, ‘why would i ever want to be in a touring band? I have to be in an uncomfortable situation.’ I mean, you have to change your perspective on that. If a girl wants to be in a band, I would say, just fucking do it. What’s holding you back from doing it? If it’s fear, then you’re not built to be in a band, honestly. You have to be tough-skinned to do anything creative and really pursue it. I’m not just talking about music. Art, too. It’s not an industry known for creating income so you have to have your priorities in order. I work from the road. I have a part-time job that supports me to be in this band and it’s just like, no babies. If you’re gonna be a baby about it, then you’re not gonna be able to put up with it. I put up with misogyny all the time. I’ll come to the door and people will ask if I’m the girlfriend of the band, not even thinking that I’m in the band. I have to consciously make sure that I’m walking with my gear. The door guy might not be a bad guy but he might just not be used to seeing a woman playing a show. To me, it’s upsetting that there’s not more women playing but I get it, too. I was that girl and it took me a long time to find a band that I felt comfortable with. Having the support of my band mates is so important. I can hold my own but it’s nice to feel safe.
Special Victim is out now via Bloodmoss Records