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Interview: The Futures League

The Futures League has a sound that’s unlike anything we’ve heard this decade. A product of Southern California, The Futures League pays homage to the underground Garage Rock scene of the 1960’s while maintaining their own identity. Since forming in late 2012; Jon Arman, Jack Rose, Scott Ruth, and John Fontana made major waves with the release of their first single “Mojo Back” and their cover of Outkast’s Hey Ya. For production of their EP Don’t Be A Drag, then they’ve partnered up with guru Gus Seyffert who is best known for his work with Sia, Nora Jones, and The Black Keys.

When I first listened to their new EP entitled Don’t Be A Drag, immediately fell in love with their authentic and unique sound and immediately wanted more. Their tracks “Women, Trials and Tribulations” and “Too Many Lies” reminded me immediately of early Rolling Stones, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and even a sprinkle of David Bowie.

I had a chance to interview Jon Arman, John Fantana, and Jack Rose last night, two days before they are set to take the stage for Switchfoot’s Bro-Am benefit concert. The proceeds from the Bro-Am concert goes toward providing assistance to at-risk and homeless teens in Encinitas.

When did you become a band and how did you come up with the name “The Futures League”:

We’ve been a band for just over a year and a half. We all met through mutual friends and began to jam together. The name came from our friend Alex who is an artist. He was in a tunnel doing some art stuff and looked up and saw the word “The Futures League”. We conversed amongst ourselves and felt that the name fit. So that’s how we became The Futures Leagues.

How did you go about developing your sound for Don’t Be A Drag”?

We all have similar and overlapping tastes in music. We often write together and that’s how we set our energy. Plus, Gus helped us hone our craft in many different ways. He’s awesome and he knew exactly where we were going with our direction.

How long did it take for you to decide which songs you were going to go with for the EP? Was the process difficult?

It was hard at first but it comes with being a part of a band. We had about 6-7 songs to choose from and the ones we chose seemed like the best fit.

Using Analog gear and recording your EP live was an amazing idea. As a music lover, it took me back to the sounds of David Bowie and The Stones. Was this the direction you planned on taking for the EP?

Yes. Our producer [Gus] doesn’t use digital equipment at all. We tried our best to keep each track as tight as possible and since we were playing these songs for about a month or two before the EP’s release, it felt natural and it flowed. We are heavily into live performance and wanted to give the same feel through our EP.

Is this the direction you will be taking for your album?

Yes. Definitely.

Your first Youtube video Mojo Back introduced you to the world early last year. How do you feel your musical style changed from then to now?

Working with Gus helped us with honing our sound, so we could definitely say there’s been a change in style. Before working with Gus, we primarily used our own equipment.

How did it feel to perform at the Bonnaroo Festival on a bill that included musical legends such as Elton John, Lionel Richie, and Lauryn Hill?

It was cool and such and honor to be a part of that. It was amazing!

How did the crowd receive the music at Bonnaroo? The show was a couple of days after the release of your EP.

A lot of the songs we were playing for a while, but 90% of the crowd had no idea who we were. It was good to see that the crowd was feeling it.

Who are some of your musical influences?

Most of the greats from the late 60’s era of course. Basically the whole era! We love obscure psych garage bands and unknown bands from the late 60’s.

Where could we expect to see you next?

This weekend we’re playing at Switchfoot’s Bro-Am show in California. The concert is for an amazing cause and it’s a truly rewarding feeling to give back to the less privilege.

What was some of the best advice you’ve ever received as artists?

To keep writing and keep playing live.

Majority of GrungeCake readers are aspiring artists… What advice would you give to them?

Play as many shows as your can. Stick with it and never play ‘pay to play’ shows.

Any final words?

We’re working out details for a tour and we will be back in the studio later this year or early next year. Download the Craigslist App! Shoutout to Rob Rowalv and Olga Tee for always being there for us! By the way, your Elliphant interview was great! So are your tech designs! Thank you.

For more of The Futures League, just click here.

Written by Manny King John

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