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Future Islands

Future Islands

ALL ARTIST INFO IS PULLED FROM PUBLICLY AVAILABLE DATA.
IF YOU REPRESENT THIS ARTIST AND WOULD LIKE TO VERIFY YOUR PAGE OR UPDATE THE INFO, Click Here
Biography

Future Islands is an American alternative rock and synth-pop band from Greenville, North Carolina. The band is currently based in Baltimore, Maryland, and they’ve been active since 2006. 

The band’s lineup consists of frontman Sam Herring, drummer Mike Lowry, keyboardist Gerrit Welmers, and bassist William Cashion. They’re best known for Samuel Herring’s passionate vocals and their 80s-inspired synths and keyboards, as well as for an unforgettable performance on The Late Show with David Letterman from back in 2014. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Future Islands.

instruments played
bass
keyboards
percussion
programming
Vocals
Associated Acts

Art Lord & the Self-Portraits, The Snails, Moss of Aura, Peals, Hemlock Ernst

Genres

Synth-pop, alternative rock, indie pop

Labels

4AD, Thrill Jockey, Upset The Rhythm, Friends Records

Origin

Greenville, North Carolina, United States

Years Active

2006 - present

Formation

Frontman Sam Herring and keyboard player Gerrit Welmers are childhood friends, having grown up together in Morehead City, North Carolina. The two bonded over their mutual love for music, and they started working on recordings together while attending East Carolina University.  Gerrit and Sam eventually formed a band called Art Lord & the Self-Portraits, making music inspired by new wave bands like New Order and classic electronic music from the likes of Kraftwerk and Giovanni Giorgio. The group disbanded in 2005, and Gerrit, Sam, and fellow member William Cashion went on to form Future Islands. The band's first EP, Little Advances, featured drummer Erick Murillo on an electronic drum kit, along with Cashion on electric guitar and bass, Herring singing, and Herring on keyboards and synthesizers. At the time of the album's release, Herring was struggling with substance abuse issues, and he ended up spending time in Asheville, North Carolina getting clean. Afterwards, Future Islands continued making music together, releasing their debut album, Wave Like Home, in 2008.

Early Albums

Wave Like Home was the only album that the band recorded with Drummer Erick Murillo. Murillo was also featured on their debut EP, along with a Split CD with Moss of Aura, Gerrit Welmers' side project. After Murillo quit the band in 2007, the other members moved to different parts of North Carolina. Eventually, several of their friends and fellow musicians – including Dan Deacon – encouraged them to relocate to Baltimore. There, the band linked up with a new drummer, Sam Ortiz, and got signed to the London label Upset the Rhythm.  After getting signed, the band put out their second album, In Evening Air, on May 4, 2010. Released via Thrill Jockey Records, the album earned positive reviews from Pitchfork, Drowned in Sound, and PopMatters. The record features the singles "In the Fall" and "Tin Man," and it was produced by Chester Endersby Gwazda. Cover art for the record was illustrated by former Art Lord member Kymia Nawabi.

On the Water 

The band's second album via Thrill Jockey, On the Water, came out on October 11, 2011. The record features Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak, and it was the band's first entry onto the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The album was another critical success, earning positive reviews from notoriously stingy reviewers.

Singles 

Working with producer Chris Coady, the band released their fourth album Singles via 4AD, on March 24, 2014. The album became an indie hit, in large part thanks to the success of singles like "A Dream of You and Me" and "Seasons (Waiting on You)." The latter track was famously performed on The Late Show with David Letterman, and the video of the performance became the most-viewed clip from the show of all time.

The Far Field 

The band's next album, released on April 7, 2017, was made with producer John Congleton and features the singles "Ran" and "Cave." The album features a cameo from Blondie's Debbie Harry, as well as album artwork by Kymia Nawabi.  Following the album's release, the band played Coachella 2017, but the experience was a mixed bag for the group's members. They didn't feel altogether satisfied with The Far Field, especially due to the fact that the album was recorded as fast as possible over a period of three weeks. Bassist William Cashion described the experience to The Guardian as "Fucking embarrassing," adding, "Rushing to make that deadline was bullshit." It wasn't until their next record that the group found themselves again and felt satisfied with their work.

As Long as You Are

The band followed up The Far Field with their sixth studio album, As Long as You Are, on October 9, 2020. The record was produced by Gerrit Welmers, Samuel Herring, and William Cashion, and it made it to number 108 on the Billboard 200. The band’s most recent release is a collaboration with friend and fellow Baltimore resident Dan Deacon. It’s a remix of “For Sure,” one of the singles from As Long as You Are, and it was released earlier in 2021. “For Sure” was featured in an episode of Nine Perfect Strangers this year, and it became one of the most popular songs on the new record alongside “Plastic Beach.”

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