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The Baltimore-based band Future Islands is out with a new album "Singles."
The band consists of Gerrit Welmers on keyboard, William Cashion on bass, and singer Sam Herring, who all join Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson to discuss the new album and how the band's sound has changed over the years.
On how Herring's change in voice has impacted their style
Herring: "My voice has definitely decayed over time. But in that, it's not really what I've lost, but what I've gained, is kind of how I've looked at it. Honestly, I thought that my voice was kind of gone for a second, like, right before we started recording or writing songs, end of 2008, beginning of of 2009.
"So I was kind of exploring what I could do with my voice, since I felt like there were a lot of things I couldn't do anymore. And in that, eventually, I realized, 'Oh hey, I'm finding new ways to use my voice, this is a positive thing.' Because I feel like if you listen to our first band's tracks 2003, 2004, like, I sound almost angelic on some of them — high, clear, nice voice. I didn't know how to sing, but I had this great voice, and I feel like now my voice has decayed over time, but I know how to use my voice now. You know, I've found ways around what I can't do, and I feel like it's my own voice.
"I think that for us, too --like, we just want to be those bands that if you hear one of our songs, you know that that's a Future Islands song, you know? I think that's something that I feel, with my voice, it's become that thing, where if you hear my voice, you're like, 'Oh, that's Future Islands.'"
On their sound
Cashion: "We've always referred to us as post-wave, ever since we were, like, 18 years old. Sort of post-punk and new wave, kind of putting those together. We thought it'd catch on, but it hasn't caught on. So we're still flying that flag. At this point, we're calling ourselves post-wave pioneers."
Herring: "We do consider ourselves a pop band, just because the fact — you know, we want to write catchy songs that make people move, or make people think, or make people feel. But you know, we don't go into politics, or religion, or really too deeply. It's kind of just about the human experience."
On feedback from fans about how their music affects them
Herring: "That happens almost every show, at least one person. And we get emails from people, some of them very light and friendly, and some of them very, very heavy. And those are the ones that are hard to read, the dark ones, but those are the ones that I think mean the most and one of the reasons that we keep pushing what we do.
"When you realize that you've helped people through some really dark times in their lives — I mean, that's what the music has done for me. Like, we're making music together for 11 years now — it's like, my two best friends — and I've had rough patches that these guys have helped me through. And in a big way, it's just — even just creating music, that's something that's helped to keep me alive in this world and feel like I'm doing something.
"But when that becomes something where you're helping someone else, then that's the most beautiful compliment in the world, that you could affect somebody with what you do, because we want to be that kind of band that we loved when we were kids, who we hung on their every word and everything they put out, we would be there, because they would be speaking right to us. And if we can do that for people, become a part of their lives, you know it's just a beautiful thing — it's an accomplishment, in a way."
This story aired on March 27, 2014.
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