New York indie four-piece Future Generations have just released their self-titled debut album. Here keys player Michael Sansevere tells Big Issue North how the band’s first name got them into a spot of bother.
Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences.
When asked, we usually categorise ourselves as an indie pop band. Our sound is primarily synth and guitar driven, with a focus on big singalong choruses. On our new record, there is definitely some of that “we recorded parts of this in our bedroom” charm to the music. As far as influences, I think the common thread among all of the band members is indie music of the past 10 years – bands like Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit, The Gorillaz. And hip-hop – things like J Dilla and BadBadNotGood.
How have you evolved as a band over the years?
The band has come pretty far the past few years. A couple of years ago, we were a studio (aka dorm room) band – some of the earliest songs were hip-hop beats Mike made, which he then emailed to Eddie and Eric, who added lyrics, keyboards and guitars. The live show was also pretty much non-existent at that time. Since then we went through a few line-up changes, worked on honing our sound, and really focused on crafting and elevating our live performance. We are fortunate for how far we’ve come as a band and are excited to keep grinding and improving in the future.
Were there any alternative band names before you arrived at this one?
There were so many names – arriving at the name Future Generations was pretty stressful. We started off as The Suits and self-released some music online and became attached to the name. After a threat to take legal action by a third party claiming the “The Suits” name, we needed to find a new name, and had a band existential mini-crisis in the process. After so many names thrown into our group chat, we finally decided on the name Future Generations (which was actually one of the first names we considered).
What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We spent a lot of time working on this record and getting our live show in order. Now that we’re all living together, we’re getting back into the writing and demoing phase, experimenting with new sounds and trying to make tunes that are familiar to the Future Generations sound on our record, but with a new twist. We’ve also been making some hip-hop beats and messing around remixing some of the songs from our record.
How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?
We think it comes down to staying true to yourself, making music you want to listen to, and being open to borrowing ideas and sounds from a wide range of influences.
What’s on your rider?
That moment when you’re answering interview questions and have to Google: “What is a rider?” One time we played a pretty sweet show at Le Poisson Rouge for an “on the rise” showcase and they had tater tots [deep-fried, grated potatoes] in the green room. That was pretty sweet, so maybe those.
Tell us about your worst live show.
That’s a tough one – there have been so many (just kidding). Well, one of our first shows ever as a fledgling band was pretty bad. We played a Cinco De Mayo show at our school on 3 May, our freshman year. We didn’t have a drummer, the sound was pretty bad, and no one was really there. We wound up munching on free Taco Bell during the show – definitely not one of our finer moments.