Q&A with Futurebirds
Athens group Futurebirds are no strangers in Macon. The band has played here multiple times over the past few years and has built up a very supportive fanbase. On Monday, May 30th, they will be returning to Macon to open for the illustrious Grace Potter & The Nocturnals as part of the Bonnaroo Buzz Tour. The bands have been traveling all around the East Coast to promote the 10th anniversary of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and their featured performances that weekend. I got to talk to Payton Bradford as the band was driving from Nashville to Louisville and he filled me in on their happenings. You can purchase tickets to the May 30th show in Macon at: Book Tickets at The Cox!
TBI (Sean Pritchard): We’ve mentioned you all before on TheBlueIndian.com but haven’t been able to set up an interview yet so thanks for sitting down and talking to me.
Futurebirds (Payton Bradford): Of course, glad that we can talk.
TBI: Where are you guys at right now?
FBirds: We’re just in the van driving from Nashville to Louisville. We had yesterday off after playing in Arkansas so we got to spend some time in Nashville relaxing with friends.
TBI: This comes at a perfect time too, given the advances you guys have made this year with the number of festivals you’ll be playing and of course the Bonnaroo Buzz Tour. From what I can tell from your US tour scheduling in the past, this is the most legitimate set of dates you all have done. How have the shows been so far?
FBirds: Every night so far has been amazing. These venues are some of the largest rooms that we’ve ever played, aside from the dates we did with Drive By Truckers and because we’re right before Grace Potter, the crowds have been super energetic and into what we’ve got going on.
TBI: I was checking over the dates you guys have lined up. Looks like you’ll be at Campout East, AthFest, Bonnaroo, and Austin City Limits to name a few larger festivals, but you’ll also be making stops at clubs all around the country. What are you looking forward to with all this traveling around?
FBirds: Just getting around, playing shows in cities that we haven’t been too, and seeing old friends. We played Baltimore and Asbury Park at the beginning of the tour, both cities that we have never made it too. Still, the crowds response was great and a decent group of people were familiar with us.
TBI: I’ve been working on board with Bragg Jam, Macon’s annual city-wide festival and we’re very excited that you all will be coming back. I think I’ve seen you guys 3 or 4 times around town before at The Hummingbird and then more recently at the Capitol Theatre with Dead Confederate. What keeps you all coming back to Macon?
FBirds: Aside from a large group of friends we’ve got there, Macon is a really friendly town. We’re fortunate enough to have almost always had a great crowd there (aside from our first show years ago that MAYBE 70 people came out to at a 500 person venue) and people are great about singing and dancing along with us.
TBI: How did you feel about the last two shows you’ve played here? You opened for The Whigs in October and before that Dead Confederate, and now you’re back opening for Grace Potter. I guess my last question seems a bit redundant now that I think about it…
FBirds: We’ll we’re just lucky to be at the right place at the right time, I guess. Macon treats us well so we don’t really have a good reason to quit stopping in.
TBI: You all have the EP and Full Length under your belts, and Holy Own just issued a re-mastered version of the original EP. I assume you all have been writing and working on a follow up to Hampton’s Lullaby?
FBirds: We have been, but it’s nothing serious yet. This year has been super busy with touring so we haven’t really gotten the chance to sit down to work out the ideas that we have. Everyone has been fiddling around with a few different parts that eventually we’ll get to put together.
TBI: While every band hopes to mature and grow with their music, what new direction do you see the next record going in, or will it be more of a refinement and renovation of the previous works?
FBirds: To be honest, we’re just not that deep into the process of writing yet. I think everyone wants to move forward and progress with our sound, but that of course takes time. While we’re excited about writing and recording, the album that we’re touring on is only about a year old and the songs are still new to us and our audiences. We’re not in a hurry, that’s a good thing.
TBI: When I chatted with Dead Confederate in an interview in December, I asked them about passing along the names of some bands from Athens or around the state that you guys have been getting into or would like to spread the word about. They mentioned you guys and all of Bradford Cox’s projects. Who can you pass on to us to check out?
FBirds: Man, there is so much going on in Athens, all the time. Being on the road so much this year, it’s been hard to keep up with everything but definitely check out Venice Is Sinking and Wood Fangs. You’ll probably be into those guys.
TBI: Payton, thanks again for taking the time to chat with me. I’m really excited about seeing you guys again and I think this is going to be one of the best shows to come to the Capitol Theatre in a while. Good luck with the rest of the tour and we’ll see you Monday.
FBirds: Thanks Sean, We’re all looking forward to it.