ARTIST PROFILE: FUTURE BLACK
The Future is Black, And He’s Bringing the Bass
Hailing from Columbus, Ohio but now residing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Future Black is a twenty-six-year-old artist currently in the fifth year of his journey as a music maker. With a brand new release just on the horizon, I sat down to speak with him about his growth as an artist and what we can expect from him.
To start, how did you come up with the name Future Black?
"I changed to Future Black in early 2020. My former name was Makesumruckus. But after getting some marketing feedback from a record label, I changed to Future Black. My reasoning was:
1) I have a futuristic type of music and 2) I’m a black man. So I combined the two and created a bit of word play with “future bass” to become Future Black."
Where would you say your love of music comes from?
"Definitely anime and video games. The Sword Art Online opener is a favorite. But even older stuff like the music in the original release of Pokémon Red and especially Naruto in 2007. It was so vibrant and colorful. Also lots of GameCube music like Pokémon Colosseum battle music–always a go-to."
So do you prefer lyrical music like an anime opener or something purely instrumental?
"I definitely prefer pure instrumental. Poetry was a hobby of mine in high school, but I’ve never really felt like making music with lyrics. I feel with instrumentals I have more freedom, versus when there are lyrics, I feel like I have to build the sounds around the lyrics. I’d rather just play around with a melody and see what feels right and sounds good."
Did you have other hobbies or passions in school that developed into creating music?
"I actually went to college for mechanical engineering. I used to have Lego as a kid and loved building, using my hands. That kinda grew into making music. My friend had an analog board, and I loved just moving the pegs and sliders around and seeing what kinds of sounds I would make. I wasn’t great with music theory–I’ve always been more hands-on with things."
How did you learn to produce music?
"YouTube is like the ultimate teacher. In high school, I played around with a digital workstation app on my phone but gave it up after three days. Then I was on YouTube one day and saw a video of Avicii in my recommended videos. I fell in love with the melody. So I started looking stuff up: compression, EQ-ing, side-chaining. Just watching others and learning."
What was your first song you released then?
"A house remix of Eiffel 65’s Blue. I just used stock plug-ins and samples. No EQ, side-chain, reverb, compression, nothing. Listening to it again, the melody was great, but the rest...hahaha...it was bad. But it’s cool to see how far I’ve come. An amazing journey."
How would you describe your style now compared to then?
"Future bass is how I usually describe it, but honestly I’d maybe say it’s more electro-pop. I’ve definitely been trying out new genres and styles but usually end up going back to what I’m comfortable with. I’d love to branch out and try more dubstep or true house, though."
And what about your inspiration? What inspires you?
"A lot of smaller artists on SoundCloud. Also anime openers and closers."
So you’re a big anime fan?
"Hahaha. Anime and video games. Especially GameCube. KirbyAir Ride is my all-time favorite video game soundtrack–so much nostalgia. Those melodies were stuck in my head for two years."
Is video game music how you found Tiny Waves?
"Actually, I was on SoundCloud one day and found the song “Start Up” by Asseri, and the artist SARE. I just started going through all of the Tiny Waves music and absolutely loved it. So much nostalgia with the Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing mixes."
So are you pretty excited to be working with Tiny Waves on your new release?
"Absolutely. That was one of the top labels that I wanted to release my music on. I just love TinyWaves. I submitted a track to them before, but it wasn’t what they were looking for at the time. Ben Briggs was super kind, though, and gave creative feedback within a few days. It was so refreshing compared to other labels who would either just give a generic rejection or not even reply for six months. Working with Ben, he’s been extremely professional and leading me through the whole process for this release. TinyWaves has been awesome. It’s such a melting pot of creatives, and it’s been great getting to know others in the group."
Speaking on this new release specifically, how would you describe the track and its vibe?
"'A new adventure.' Like when an anime character is suddenly transported to a new world. I wanted it to be like that. I want it to feel like you walked into an arcade and put a coin in the machine and got transported to the video game world. I truly want everyone who hears it to feel not only a sense of joy but a sense of adventure."
Any big plans after this new release? What does the future hold for Future Black?
"I want to make more music that gets released by record labels. I also want to do more collabs. But I don’t want it to weigh on me like a regular job. I want to keep loving it like when I was just doing it as a hobby. If I can get to a place where I can do this full time, though, I’d absolutely doit. I want my music to take me somewhere new. Maybe playing at a music festival or something like that. But really, I just want to be the best artist I can be."
Where can people find you and your music?
Any final words for our readers and your listeners?
"Number one: you’re loved. And I hope you love the song."
A perfect balance of enthusiasm and humility, Future Black is an ambitious young artist who is sure to bring a new energy to the independent EDM scene. Be sure to keep an eye out and ears open for Future Black’s new release with Tiny Waves, and don’t forget to follow both Future Black and Tiny Waves on all our social media for upcoming releases and incredible music.
-Charming H. Thomas