Thursday, December 16, 2010

Future Islands (SCQ's Year-End Questionnaire Part II)

The trio of William Cashion, J Gerrit Welmers and Samuel T Herring made such a stirring, sudden impression on me with their undeniable “In Evening Air”, I’m still playing catch-up four months later. With this mini-interview, Cashion connects some welcoming dots (their admiration for Former Ghosts, for example) while peeling back some of Future Islands' intoxicating mystique.

SCQ: Every list-lover's favourite question: what are your top albums of 2010? Feel free to include any older yet worthy records you discovered this year.

WC: Veelee “The Future Sight”
Javelin “No Mas”
Double Dagger “Masks”
Quiet Hooves “Saddle Up!”
Lower Dens “Twin-Hand Movement”
The Texas Governor & The Starlight Orchestra “Angels to Sleep” single
Beach House “Teen Dream”
Former Ghosts “New Love”
Abe Vigoda “Crush”
The Sisters of Mercy "First and Last and Always" (just heard this for
the first time this year and I can't stop listening to it)

SCQ: What were you listening to a lot of while recording the excellent "In Evening Air"?

WC: As a band, we were all really heavily diggin the OMD "Dazzle Ships" album... I remember listening to Brian Eno's "Ambient 2" and Paul Simon's "Graceland" during those sessions as well.

SCQ: Be cocky for once in your life: what was the finest thing you did all year? That moment where you actually thought "shit, I nailed that..."?

WC: I'm not sure if I can pinpoint one moment. This year has been really good for us - we've stayed really busy and released a good deal of music in one year. I think the one thing that I'm most proud of was our first ever acoustic performance at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore... It was at an art opening that I had some work in (my first time showing work since I graduated college in 2006!). Also, we were all curious to see how our songs would turn out when done acoustic, if it would even work, and I think it sounded beautiful. The experience was really exciting, to bring in some friends and teach them our songs and figuring out how to re-arrange things. It was all very new and refreshing. We have a recording of that show that I'm sure will be properly released at some point down the road.

SCQ: Effect and Cause: On the first morning of my New England vacation - the kind of late summer dawn where you wake up early just to bask in it before the world catches up - I first sampled your LP next to a drizzly window view. The experience required just shy of five minutes; 'Walking Through That Door' immediately hijacked my heart-rate into believing it was 1am on a Saturday night, and a few hours later I was buying the disc in downtown Manchester, N.H. Okay, your turn: confess a true tale that inspired one of the songs on "In Evening Air".

WC: Before Sam & Gerrit moved to Baltimore, they'd come up and stay at my place before we went off on tour. The first time Gerrit came up, he wrote this instrumental piano piece he called "Detour" - it was the first song he wrote while in Baltimore... On tour, he would play various songs he had worked on and when "Detour" came on, Sam was immediately like "This is the kind of instrumental piece that I'd love to have on the album!" - I'm pretty sure that was in Brooklyn. So we decided it should be called something else - we made it the title track, "In Evening Air". Chester and I sent the song through this home-made tape machine that he has, which gives the song this really nice antique warble... There's a good handful of layers of the same song run through the tape machine to get it to sound the way it does on record. Also, Sam really wanted to have sounds of rain on the record, so we recorded rain in our backyard during the IEA sessions, which were added to the end of "In Evening Air" as a segue to "Swept Inside". So, in a way, all three of us created & manipulated this song in subtle ways. And there you have the story of "In Evening Air" (the song).

SCQ: If all the reasonable and implausible ideas in your head came to fruition in 2011, what would they be?

WC: We would play SNL and hopefully open for the Flaming Lips. Maybe even tour Japan & Australia.

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