Interview With Future Ghosts
Interview By Jen Nelson
With talent and charisma in every live performance, Future Ghosts is proving to be a force to be reckoned with in the music scene. While this band is originally from Greensboro, NC, they are not staying within the NC state lines. Members Aslan Freeman, Chris Carr and Mike Kane recently sat down with Jen Nelson to discuss their music and upcoming tour. Current tour dates can be found on the Future Ghosts website and Facebook.
Jen Nelson: Thank you guys again for meeting with me. Can you guys tell me your name and position in the band?
Aslan Freeman: I’m Aslan. I play guitar, and I sing.
Chris Carr: I’m Chris, and I play lead guitar.
Mike Kane: I’m Mike, and I play drums.
AF: Chris sings sometimes too.
CC: Yeah, but I don’t really think of myself as a singer.
JN: Greensboro has played home to several different local talents, so how do you think being surrounded by that talent has motivated and influenced you to make the music you make?
AF: As far as the kind of music, I don’t know how much Greensboro has to do with it, but I’ve been a fan of House Of Fools since I was a junior in High School. I saw them play and immediately fell in love and would drive [to Greensboro], to Raleigh, to wherever to hear them play. That part has been really cool, us being in Greensboro and being able to meet those bands and become friends with those bands. Obviously, I’ll let you guys talk about it. Mike’s been here a lot longer than I have.
CC: Going back to House Of Fools, we had an older song where we had that harmonized solo that we did specifically to sound like them.
AF: Oh my god, yeah, I forgot about that. As far as the Greensboro scene goes, I’m sure Mike can enlighten us.
MK: One thing with me, going back to the last part of your question about what’s driven and inspired us, is that I’ve seen some bands go through some really bad circumstances like bad record deals, bad touring, unfortunate record releases. I feel like being on the outside looking at that, we are able to say, “We don’t want to go through that.” We’ve kind of tailored out approach to ask, “What did they do?” and then say, “Well, we don’t want to do that.”
AF: I think Mike’s made the best point. We’ve seen a lot of really fantastic bands, especially from Greensboro, no get what they deserve or what they wanted. That alone is motivating us.
JN: Can you explain the formation of the band and how you guys came together?
AF: Well, Chris and I have played in four bands now.
CC: Has it been four?
AF: Yeah, it’s been four. We were playing in other bands together, and that’s how we met initially. A friend asked us to write some music for a zombie film he was making. We went to my house back in Sanford, where I had a little studio in the basement. We kind of messed around and wrote a few songs, and thought they were actually pretty cool. We would just pick a genre and write a couple of songs in each genre to find what we liked. Then, we decided that we actually wanted to do that and make it a band. The bands we had been with at the time had kind of fallen by the wayside, so we decided to make the side project the main thing. Then, Mike and I grew up in the same town; we’re both from Sanford. I actually grew up watching his bands play when I was in high school. I was at the old Blind Tiger, and Mike walked in, and I knew that I knew him from somewhere. I guess it was just fate or whatever. I went up and talked to him and was like, “Hey, man, are you from Sanford by any chance?” and he was like, “Yeah, actually.” I told him I was too and that I used to watch his bands play. I asked him if he was still playing drums, and he said, “Actually, I just quit my job, moved out of my apartment and decided that I was going to play drums again.” All that had happened like a few hours earlier. I thought that was awesome, and my band needed a drummer. He came out and started practicing with us, and that was it.
MK: Actually, I think back, and I’m not sure why I went because you guys gave me your first demo stuff, and I thought it was terrible.
AF: Well, it wasn’t even Future Ghosts’ music at the time; it was the other band we were playing with. We needed a fill in drummer, and we got [Mike] to come out for that and told him that we wanted to do this other thing to see if he would be more interested in that. As far as bass players go, we’ve had like three now.
MK: Have you ever seen the movie Spinal Tap?
JN: Yes, I love that movie.
MK: Yeah, we have that same situation with bass players. In the movie, the drummer always dies or disappears or whatever. Our bass players are kind of like that.
JN: So what’s the story behind the name “Future Ghosts”?
AF: There’s a part of a lyric that I wrote for the band before us. I don’t remember what the whole line was, but it was something about talking to your future ghost. After I wrote the lyric, I just looked back at it, and I thought it was a cool idea. I think it actually reminded me of A Christmas Story. That might’ve been the initial thing. I thought it would be a cool name for a band. When Chris and I first started it and were trying to come up with a name for the guy to put it in the credits for that movie, I was kind of like, “Well, what about Future Ghosts?” I think there’s also a line in a Starting Line song that says something about a future ghost, but I think I heard that after we had already named the band.
CC: It really was a strange coincidence.
JN: I saw you guys live, and I loved it. I’ve also listened to your EP and loved it. It’s been on repeat in my car all the time. I feel like I have an emotional attachment to it, and I think you guys have done a great job being able to do that. How would you guys describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
AF: I usually take the cop out answer and go, “It’s just rock.”
CC: (Laughs) Yeah, that’s what I do too. It’s just so hard to explain.
AF: And then, I’ll say, “People usually say we sound like Jimmy Eat World or The Foo Fighters.”
MK: One thing that I’ve noticed that we’ve gotten in some of the reviews is that people say we have a feel-good vibe and that there’s a lot of depressing music out there, and we’re a breath of fresh air. It’s not overly serious, but it’s not corny and goofy at the same time. It’s relatable and not downtrodden.
AF: It’s funny because most of the actual lyrics are somewhat angry, but we just make it sound really happy.
JN: So you all are gearing up for your first real, big tour.
MK: It’s the first time we’ve played more than two shows in a row.
JN: Oh, wow.
CC: And we’re doing like 35 or something. It’s a big jump.
AF: It’s going to be intense.
JN: Well, how are you guys preparing for that?
AF: We just got another new bass player. We’re all just quitting our jobs and moving out of our house that we live in. That’s pretty much our preparation right now. We’re going back to my house in Sanford just to spend a week there practicing. We have a really awesome manager who tries to get us to focus on the harshest details and any little thing that we can improve.
MK: There are definitely certain rhythms you want to follow on stage. There are tour specific things that we’re thinking about: Do we bring food? Do we eat out every day? How do we do this? How do we do that? How are we going to pay for gas? How are we going to split driving up? There are all kinds of logistical nightmares. How are we going to organize this small circus?
AF: It is a small circus.
JN: Ok, so to get away from a more serious topic, here’s a scenario. You’re at a dinner party, and you can invite four guests, alive or dead, to have dinner with you. Who are you going to invite?
CC: Alive or dead?
AF: Yeah, we’ll do one as a band, and we’ll each pick one person. I’m going to go with Teddy Roosevelt.
MK: For the band?
AF: No, that’s mine. I’m bringing Teddy Roosevelt.
CC: I didn’t think about dead yet; you go ahead.
MK: I don’t have one yet. I was going to wait for you.
AF: Come on guys, you’ve got to think on your feet.
CC: I’m going to say Aziz Ansari.
AF: I dig it.
AF: All right, so for the band, what about Justin Timberlake?
MK: I’m down with him.
JN: So what do you think is the most important thing for people to know about you guys? When people think “Future Ghosts,” what do they need to think?
AF: That’s a really tough one.
MK: We mean what we say, and we say what we mean.
AF: Yeah, I mean, I really think it comes back to the fact that we’re just honest, ambitious people. We hope that we’re perceived that way. Actually, I know a good way to put it. We don’t want to come off as a band. We’re not a big deal. I don’t want it to sound like we think that we’re awesome or something. In the future I hope people will know who we are and will look at us as normal dudes. I hope people don’t think of some glitzy, glam-y, unapproachable rock star, band thing. We’re going to continue to be normal dudes.
JN: Well, thank you guys. I appreciate you guys meeting and talking with me.
All: Yeah, it was fun.