10 Minutes with: Future Garden

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Beatrice Cook
Writer

‘From churches, caves and underground vaults, Future Garden goes where no others have stepped before…’ Such is the motto of Future Garden, a motley group brought together by a shared love of music, in their quest to bring you the best in house and disco of an evening. From their beginnings at university in Southampton, the Future Garden boys aim to change up the often bland and overwhelming array of club nights and events on offer by incorporating their distinctive sound and DIY style to create an intimate and innovative take on what definitely won’t be your average night out.

Comprised of Aaron Sycamore, Nathanael Baring, Tim Price and Tom Noon, Future Garden is a real grassroots project. Their success has seen them move from playing raucous house parties in their respective uni and home towns, to hosting a range of events in locations including The Church in London, and as far afield as Cornwall for the biannual Masked Ball. The boys’ repertoire extends beyond just throwing an epic event, with their SoundCloud podcasts and guest mixes acting as a way of educating their followers in all things house and disco.

With support and solid reviews, including from Bristol-based Crack Magazine, as well as a dedicated crowd following them from their humble beginnings, Future Garden is set for bigger and better things. With their Second Birthday event at the DOT Basement in London just around the corner, the Glasgow Guardian was lucky enough to talk to the Future Garden guys about their plans, their parties, and most important of all, their music. And who knows, maybe someday they’ll bring the party north of the border…

Guardian: What’s the history behind Future Garden?

Future Garden: It started two years ago when all of us met at university down in Southampton. There were a handful of good nights going on already, but we felt that there wasn’t anything for people to really enjoy, so we started off putting on house parties focused on creating a proper atmosphere. It began as us playing the music we loved to a bunch of good friends, and things moved along from there.

Guardian: Who’s on the roster for Future Garden?

Future Garden: It’s currently just ourselves and a few friends; we tend to play as Future Garden DJs at our own parties, although we have some festivals that we will playing at this summer.

Guardian: How and why has Future Garden progressed from intimate house parties to playing an eclectic mix of venues in the south?

Future Garden: I think it was a gradual move towards something more serious or better planned. House parties were unbelievable fun but always fairly risky, and didn’t really have a sustainable future. We really had to search around Southampton for interesting venues to put on events in; we didn’t want to move to an already established club and become “just another club night”. We always try and put lots of effort in to finding an interesting space and making it different using lots of decoration. We like creating our decor DIY style, and often spend the days before events planning and making creations.

Guardian: Any favourite venues to play?

I think for all of us The Vault would have to be our favourite venue. In Southampton there are a bunch of old medieval wine cellars that are occasionally used for events such as art exhibitions, and we ended up using the Lancaster vault which was a small space in the centre of town. It’s such a unique space, and even though it was a huge amount of effort to put on, it was well worth it. Playing to 100 friends in such an intimate venue was an unbelievable experience. An honourable mention would have to go to The Church [in London] as it has been our home for many an epic night, it gave us so much flexibility to put in our own ideas. Unfortunately it has recently closed due to renovation costs.

Guardian: What are Future Garden’s main musical influences, past and present?

Future Garden: Difficult to choose only a few, as a group of us we are all into a wide range of music ranging from jazz to techno. We are all really into discovering music whether it’s new or old, and our taste is constantly evolving. The musical influence that started Future Garden was disco and house though, that’s where we all found familiar ground. Our main influences come from the disco era with bands and groups such as Gap Band, Teddy Pendergrass, Sister Sledge, and Sylvester. If money was no object, we would be spending our days crate digging for new wax.

Guardian: Can you describe the ‘sound’ of Future Garden?

Future Garden: It changes from event to event as every party has a different vibe, but I guess the general sounds that we play out revolve mainly around the disco end of house music. Anything from old disco records, to Chicago house and anything in between. Everything we play has a slight disco touch to it though, but it’s pretty much summed up by all the guys we’ve booked so far, including Leon Vynehall, Felix Dickinson, Francis Inferno Orchestra and many others.

Guardian: Do you think there has been a resurgence in the popularity of house/disco in the past couple years? If so, why?

Future Garden: Absolutely. Firstly, they are both great genres of music that have always been popular in certain circles. There has definitely been an increase in popularity, probably due to big artists such as Daft Punk bringing into the mainstream. It’s great to have a wide range of producers and events within the spectrum of house and disco. However on the other hand there are a lot of people jumping on the “house” bandwagon.

Guardian: What’s your thoughts on the relevance of social media as a platform for new music?

Future Garden:  It would be nice not to have to use it; creating a buzz by word of mouth is always more special. Social media sites are essential in a way that people can see what you are doing and the word spreads. Especially with Soundcloud, it’s important to share what sort of music you are interested in to connect with like- minded people.

Guardian: Any interesting stories from previous events, or any personal highlights?

Future Garden: Many a great story, some best left for the grandkids. I think one of our favourites would have to be from the first time we put on our vault party. The venue was originally only allowed to contain 60 people due to it having one fire exit. However, there was another door that after further inspection led into the basement of a Chinese restaurant. The restaurant owner Dave, possibly the craziest Chinese man we’ve ever met, spoke very little English. After hours of dumbed down English, we managed to persuade him to allow us to use his basement as an exit, so that we could increase the capacity to 100.

We ended up spending the next day clearing his basement and, after some encouraging, he even came for a little boogie on the night. To this day, we’re still not sure that Dave understood what was really going on; when we said it would finish at 5, he presumed 5 in the afternoon and was all ready to leave. Interesting who you end up working with when you put on events like this.

Guardian: Your move to becoming a record label – explain a little about this?

Future Garden: We’re looking to start this at the end of this year. We have reached out to some of our friends and artists and are looking to release some interesting music soon…if anyone is interested in sending any demos, please send to [email protected]

Guardian:  What can we expect from FG in 2015?

Future Garden:  Next up this year we have our 2nd birthday, which is also going to be our first party in London this March, which is really exciting for us. This will be followed by some more events in London hopefully in some really interesting venues. We’re heading back to the Masked Ball festival this summer to host another stage there which is also amazing, especially with the line-up they have this year. Also, we have a few festival sets over summer; all in all, just moving along slowly enjoying what we are doing.

Future Garden’s Second Birthday show at DOT Basement, London, on the 14th of March is SOLD OUT.