In a moment of universe zen, a moment of supreme psychic-nomenclature connection, FUTURE$RICH got the chance to interview FUTUREBIRDS. Since 2008, when they met at University of Georgia in Athens—that hotbed of musicality and sweaty weather that gave us REM and Of Montreal—the men of Futurebirds have been playing their brand of cosmic country around the country. With three albums under their belt and another on the way, these chicos have flapped their wings all the way to music heaven. Before their show at Brooklyn Bowl, LK + KR got the chance to shoot the breeze backstage with the birds: vocalist/guitarist Daniel, vocalist/guitarist Carter, vocalist/guitarist Thomas, drummer Johnny and bassist Brandon.
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This interview has been condensed because of TL;DR, IRL it was TL / not long enough. We condensed but we added...audio! Choice bits of song, story and bird calls are sprinkled throughout. Go catch 'em all.
KR: Why are you guys named Futurebirds? Is that a reference to eggs?
Daniel Womz: No, Aziz Ansari called us up and was like, "I’ve got this joke, I want to use futurebirds on my Parks and Recreation show." We kind of wish we hadn’t because we caught a lot of shit for that. People call us up all the time saying, “Ah, Aziz Ansari,” and we’re like, yeah, yeah, we let him do that.
LK: Johnny said it was a civil war something or other.
Thomas Johnson: I always thought it was a Native American thing.
DW: Johnny just got his hair cut and he’s not thinking straight right now. We went to University of Georgia and Carter took a Poultry Evaluation class there. Georgia is the poultry capital of the world? Well there he learned—
Carter King: I learned this story about how Roman armies would feed chickens and that’s how they foretold the outcome of battles. The chickens were always hungry and the Romans were always winning their battles.
LK: Do you think that was just a way for them to make feeding chickens more exciting?
CK: Maybe so.
LK: “Ugh, gotta do chores again.”
DW: There’s not much else to do.
CK: Dark times back then.
DW: We went through a lot of different names and we knew whenever we heard it we would know. We knew we wanted one word. That’s the only thing we knew. And then we heard this name.
CK: I came home and was like, "You better sit down."
DW: I’m glad I did. So yeah, we came up with Futurebirds and decided to go with it. We started a MySpace. I mean, the rest is history.
KR: Do you have a favorite song you like to sing live?
DW: It varies. Right now we’ve got a new song called "Olive Garden Day Dream #47."
LK: Is it about breadsticks?
DW: [sings] Baby, let's get stoned and go out to the Olive Garden.. thats how it starts. It's a fun song. We just got out of an old church outside of Athens, GA. We were recording a new EP, we got about 20 songs recorded.
Get serenaded with the new Futurebirds song. Listen here.
KR: Do you have a favorite shower song?
LK: Or, last song you sang in the shower?
DW: "Water Runs Dry" by Boys II Men.
LK: Can you give us a taste?
DW: We dont even talk any more we dont even know what we are. My high school's rival choir, Briarwood, sang that song, so I like to try to make my voice do that Briarwood thing. I don't have the strongest voice though.
LK: You gotta sing from the diaphragm, thats what I learned from Sister Act.
LK + DW: [singing together] I will follow him, follow him wherever he may go.
DW: That song is awesome. That's a great movie too because it teaches you that you can bridge the gap.
Want to hear Womz sing his shower song and explain his high school rivalry? Want to hear LK + Womz sing Sister Act together? Listen here.
After we marked them with some temporary tattoos, the Futurebirds entered the FUTURE$RICH lightning round....
KR: Are you ready for this lightning round? It's either/or.
LK: But you have to answer immediately. Like lightning.
DW: First thing that comes to mind, okay. I’m already thinking about a triangle for some reason.
LK: Good first instincts.
Dino Suit or Chicken Suit?
DW: Dino suit. I’ve got one in the van right now.
TJ: I said dino too. Probably cause we already have one.
LK: There’s bias there.
KR: I had a chicken suit, which is why I thought it might be a tougher question.
DW: I would like to have that. I would like to have a cow suit as well.
LK: Would that be a two person suit?
DW: That would be awesome.
TJ: It might be hard to pull off a two-person suit on stage.
LK: Would your hand just go straight to the udders?
DW: B. Miles just puts his fingers through the udders and plays the bass.
TJ: Like not even have udders, his fingers would just be the udders.
DW: He would like that too much. We’ll just keep it one man.
Here’s a musical one: beep boop or bop bop?
DW: What about beep bop?
TJ: Yeah, I was going to say, beep bop would be the best.
LK: Beep beep boop.
TJ: The first one, I’ve never even heard of that.
DW: Well yeah, bop bop, like bah bah bah bop bop.
LK: The first one is like a robot. Which leads us to our next question…
To hear Futurebird's musical stylings as they reasoned through the different bops and boops, listen here.
BB-8 or Wall-E?
TJ: Womz, you gotta go Wall-E because you had that existential experience with that.
CK: We’ll leave it at that.
DW: I accidentally took drugs. Well, it was intentional.
TJ: You accidentally took more drugs than you thought you were taking.
DW: That’s accurate. I was going to a Comparative Literature class that I was really enjoying at the time. It was one of the last classes I ever took in college.
TJ: Enjoyed it so much, never took a class again.
DW: We had a show that night and I was like if I take the acid now, eight hours from now I’ll be like post-acid....
DW: Exactly, clarity, feeling good. I was like I’ll take it now, cruise to class, whatever. Anyway, it was in a visine bottle and I thought he’d already rinsed it out with water and I just put it right in my mouth and rode my moped. I was on a moped at this time in my life. I used to ride 40 mph straight to the door, go on the side walk, pass busses.
LK: Like Keanu Reeves in Speed.
DW: I would compare it directly to Keanu Reeves in Speed. So I sit down and about fifteen minutes into class I start tripping really hard. Pretty sure the professor had to know. He was this old hippie dude with a ponytail, he kept looking at me. He had to know. Anyway, I ride home after class, and I’m just laughing hysterically. I’m riding my moped.
CK: Back to our house; we all lived together.
DW: I get home and I’m just like “I’m tripping my fucking balls off.” They put on Wall-E and left me there.
LK: As good a babysitter as any.
TJ: There’s no dialogue. There’s just sounds.
DW: It’s great. The whole thing just had this profound meaning.
LK: Was it more than the intended profound meaning?
DW: No, I think it was that I just think for whatever reason it was resonating even more.
TJ: For whatever reason?
DW: It was the drugs. It was just this whole thing, all this chaos would build up and then I would come back down to earth. Ahh pfff Wall-E would still be there. It was hilarious, it was very fun. So anyway, if you ever get clear acid from Prague... do it!
Peacock or cockatoo?
DW: Imma say peacock. If you said cockatiel then I would have had to go with that. We had cockatiels when I was growing up named Elvis and Priscilla. They could wolf whistle and they could sing different things.
LK: Do you know the sound a peacock makes? My mother does a really good impression of a peacock. [LK makes peacock sound "ooooh-ahh!"]
KR: Ohh! That is the sound they make!
[Everyone makes peacock sounds]
LK: Kind of like an owl but more exotic.
DW: [owl sounds]
LK: That's good owl! I like to do pigeon. [makes pigeon sounds]
DW: I like to do like a dove leaving the field in the morning [makes dove sounds]
Listen here for the sounds of the birds of the world as performed by Womz and LK.
DW: Well, that was fun
We left 'em backstage and went out to watch the show. They sang some old stuff, they sang some new stuff, and they sang a KR fave, "Rodeo." All in all, a perfect evening.