"We wanted it to sound like all of existence slamming you in the face.." - Black Futures open up about their debut album Never Not Nothing
Duo Black Futures are a band with a lot of ambition. Born Paul Frazer and Vince Welch, the pair go by the names SPACE and VIBES when they are part of Black Futures. Big, expansive monikers for a band with big, expansive sonics and even bigger and more expansive ambitions.
Their debut album Never Not Nothing arrives in hmv stores today, it's a barrage of ideas, powerhouse production and direct melodies, making for a truly immersive experience.
We spoke to the band about how they put it together and how they secured a monologue from Primal Scream mainman Bobby Gillespie...
How did the experience of recording your debut album compare to how you’d imagined it would be?
"We are both producers and work with a lot of different artists so we are always in that environment in some shape or another. Using the studio as an instrument is second nature to us and so when we get to work on our own material we feel really set free. It’s getting out of the studio into the fresh air that I dream about!"
When were the songs written? Was it over a long period of time or were they all written fairly recently?
"We started writing the first few songs a couple of years ago and ever since that at every available moment between projects we’ve locked ourselves away to write more and expand the culture and language of the band."
You’ve got a guest spot from Bobby Gillespie on the album, how did that collaboration come about and what was he like to work with?
"To us collaborating with Bobby was a complete pipe dream. We had sent off the track to him with an idea of the vibe to see if he’d be up for it as a long shot. The next day he emailed us the finished vocal and we were just completely blown away. The only downside is that we’ve never all been in the same room thanks to the wonders of technology. We take every opportunity to thank Bobby for his contribution to the record. Cheers, Bobby!"
P.O.S is on there too, how did that collaboration come together?
"We’d been fans of P.O.S and Doomtree Collective for ages and so he was our first thought when we were looking for a collaborator on 'Love'. I also got into Marijuana Deathsquads, another project Stef is involved in through Bowen of Idles. It was really through mutual friends that we started chatting on the phone and sending demos over to him in Minnesota. Again I’m pretty sure we’ve never been in the same room together! Only a matter of time..."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
"Initially, we wanted to stick really simple mantras and mottos. Really brash and bold, but then songs rear there heads and can't be ignored. It is really an album that deals with the sheer scale of existence and throwing out as much love and empathy into the void despite your insignificance. There are definite themes of community, rebellion, freedom, anarchy, grief… with a healthy measure of black humour and sarcasm for seasoning. We wanted it to sound like all of existence slamming you in the face at once."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"I think there are two completely different versions of 'Me.TV' in existence. We really took the time to explore different variations of that song. Maybe we’ll put them out as a special release at some point."
And which came together most quickly?
"It’s hard to remember as our grasp on time and reality can be flimsy at the best of times! I think 'Tunnel Vision' came quickly. I had just gone to see Brian Eno and a few others talk on radical ideas and I dreamt the song that night. We were both lost to it for a couple of days and then there it was."
When did you decide on Never Not Nothing for the album title? Were any other titles in contention?
"Never Not Nothing has been the motto and underlying theme ever since we first started Black Futures. It may even predate all of the songs. It has always been the title of this album since the birth of the universe until the end of time!"
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"We like to attempt to create the perfect cocktail of immersion, danger, anarchy and pure joyous loving abandon. We pull the audience away from any sense of outside and then whack on the strobe and psychedelic visuals. There is a towering monolith and faceless characters in hazmat suits to steal away your inhibitions and ramp up the collective euphoria. Or something like that. It’s an apocalypse prevention party, it’s the best cult you’ll never join, It’s true rock and roll lunacy, it’s the Black Futures Existential Expedition Club."