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Entering a Future Punx show can be confusing at first. You don’t understand why your body wants to sway to the sounds entering your ears. Your eyes can get confused because of the fog engulfing them. Your heartbeat starts to accelerate; it wants to match the flashing lights throbbing to the music playing. You feel like you’re going every which way to find the source of the music!
Future Punx can be called this century’s Devo. They dress-up on stage, travel with their own fog machine and light rig that are programmed to sync with their synthy-vibes and electronic tunes, and they seduce the audience into dancing like there’s no tomorrow!
Their latest full-length album, “This Is Post-Wave,” provides the listener with tunes that will seriously get feet tapping and hips swaying. Not trying to exaggerate, but it’s just impossible to not want to move to these melodies. Check it out for yourself on their Bandcamp!
BTRtoday connected with Future Punx bassist, Chris Pickering to discuss creative process, talk shit, and venture into the world of electronic, synthesized post-punk.
“We’re usually the oddballs out at shows,” Pickering confesses about playing live. “We set up all these lights and we have all this stuff—we don’t just wear our street clothes on stage, we dress-up and we dance around and hope you dance too.”
He adds that their high-energy and glittery performance tends to throw off many of the bands they share the stage with.
“When I got to New York I felt like every band I saw was just standing on stage looking really bored, and I was like, ‘man, if these guys are bored it’s no wonder everyone in the audience is bored,’” he tells BTRtoday about his first experiences of the NYC music scene. “So I was like, ’the next band I’m in I want to actually try to entertain people.’”
Which Future Punx sure does! The members, Pickering on bass, Jason Kelly on drums, Jake Pepper on guitar, and Heather Strange on synth, put in an astounding collaborative effort. They all contribute to lyrics, music, stage set-up, light programming, and everything that makes up Future Punx.
Pickering explains that they’ll separately bring a song to the table, but together pick and tweak it until it is Future Punx worthy. At the moment, the band is unable to write new music due to the time commitment of their current tour, but they’re itching to get back at it.
A year or two ago, they worked with artist Allison O’Daniel on an art film entitled “The Tuba Thieves,” where they were casted as an ‘80’s punk band.
They’re featured in a scene at a club, set in the 1980’s, called “The Deaf Club.” This was a real place, a social club for deaf kids that some punk rockers started throwing shows in. It became an environment where punks and the deaf community connected through music that shook the whole body.
They played a live show last month in Bushwick that re-created that scene—reconnecting punks of this century with the deaf community. Pickering claims that there were great vibes that night, with people grabbing the amps and dancing together.
Album art courtesy of Future Punx.
They did not always aim for this post-wave punk sound. Pickering claims he initially was striving for a female-fronted punk band, which was going to be fronted by their current synth player, Strange.
The band evolved after messing around with synthesizers and sequencers. Once they figured out the band name, Pickering says it solidified their post-wave sound and concept.
“It was like, ‘okay, Future Punx, that makes sense. Now we know what to do,’” he says.
Pickering has been playing music almost all of his life. Growing up in Texas, he says he started by picking up guitar, but eventually by popular demand, became a bassist.
He met the future Future Punx in NYC through the local music scene. Their guitarist, Kelly, was first in a band with Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts, called Fergus & Geronimo. Kelly invited Pickering to join the band and they started touring. However, Savage started to get more serious with Parquet Courts and decided to pursue that.
Pickering knew Kelly from growing up in Texas and they were not quite ready to separate as music buddies—thus, Future Punx was born!
The music they have currently released is not quite up to par for Pickering. He admits that he’s not thrilled about their EP, “I’m So Inspired.” He claims it’s nicely tailored and polished, and that’s just not what Future Punx is about. He was happy about their 7’’, “999/Livin’ In A Movie” and their recent full-length, but still he feels something is off.
“I think that it’s getting closer to what we want, but maybe not quite there yet,” he admits. “The albums fit more into how we want them to sound, but I don’t think either of them sound perfect yet—I think our next one will be even better!”
The tour will hit up most of the mid-west and then end back in NYC. After that they plan to get back into song writing and working towards creating an album that really expresses who Future Punx is. Pickering says he hopes to release a few singles or an EP by this summer or fall.
To hear the rest of the interview, tune into this week’s episode of The Discovery Corner!