William Cashion: “We create music either in Gerrit’s bedroom in Baltimore, or our living room. I prefer any room that we can smoke cigarettes in. Gerrit generally comes up with a bunch of ideas on his own – most of my ideas come from riffing/jamming with Gerrit. Personally, the most important things for me to have in here are my bass guitar and amp. After that, probably computers and keyboards. Until very recently, we were writing every day for about five to seven hours a day working on material for the new album. We often get together in spurts of inspiration, usually after a big tour, recollecting our thoughts and ideas regarding new material. Usually Gerrit will have a drum loop he made and a chord progression or riff and I’ll come in and figure out my bass parts to move along top of/under it. Other times I may have a chord progression or idea that I show to Gerrit and he works with me to figure out his parts. Sam usually hangs out and writes lyrics out while we jam. Sometimes we’ll play the same riff for half an hour and Sam will keep reworking his melody or words (or both). Sam’s words often decide the form the song will take, like when the chorus will start, and if there is a bridge before or after the chorus, things like that. I have a Yamaha bass guitar that I’m pretty sure is a metal guitar (not made of metal, but made for metal music) run through an echo pedal and a Rat distortion pedal. I guess my favorite part of this room is the tape machine (or mini disc recorder), where we capture ideas, the rough sketches of songs that never get officially released.”
Gerrit Welmers: “It’s small and packed full of things, which is nicely balanced. In here, I have midi controllers, computers, and keyboards. There are a couple guitars and small instruments. I also use an Akai Midi Keyboard that controls Reason. There is an audio interface, a mixer, four-track, tape player, overly gigantic speakers that make everything sound like three six mafia and that’s about it. The most important thing for me to have here is my collection of everything that has existed since I was born. I probably spend too much time here. I seem to be writing or playing music all of the time. I tend to work alone a lot. It’s easier for me to figure things out. We, as a group, will then compile the song later. What I tend to like most about this space is that it’s mine.”
Musical Rooms was talking to William Cashion and Gerrit Welmers of Future Islands.
Future Islands are a new-wave dance band from North Carolina, who now live in Baltimore. Gerrit Welmers, Sam Herring and William Cashion play terse, passionate music built around Welmers’ cart-wheeling synthesizer melodies and Cashion’s post-punk bass pulse. They have been writing songs together since 2003 in the guise of absurdist party project Art Lord & The Self Portraits and their sound has become exponentially faster and surprisingly powerful. They wrote and recorded an EP, ‘Little Advances’, in time for their first tour in 2006. This was followed by their debut album Wave Like Home in 2008, with the help of Dan Deacon’s producer Chester Endersby Gwazda (Dan Deacon). They released Feathers & Hallways, a 7″ EP earlier this year and play upstairs at Whelan’s on September 9th with support from Ear Pwr (Carpark Recordings/Baltimore) and We Cut Corners. Doors are 8pm, admission is €12 plus booking fee from WAV Box-Office (Lo-Call 1890 200 078), City Discs, Sound Cellar, www.tickets.ie and Ticketmaster. For more information visit www.myspace.com/futureislands.