Normally static signals a bad connection, or the loss of something you previously had. For Australian metalcore act Future Static, any fizzle (or sizzle) you hear is the sound of their very bright future. The band has a sonic fearlessness akin to Spiritbox and fellow countrymen Northlane. Both of the songs that are out now – “Waves” and “Venenosa” – will be on their forthcoming full-length and showcase how adept they are at emotional storytelling, and leveraging lyrical concepts into distinct, dynamic ragers.
“I think this sort of early on in our career, we’re just sort of honing in on our sound,” says guitarist Ryan Qualizza. “But at the moment, we’re just sort of doing whatever the fuck we want, and whatever sounds cool to us at any given point in time.”
These are the first songs with new vocalist Amariah “Ami” Cook, who is a powerhouse behind the mic. What attracted her to Future Static?
“[For] one, absolutely the music that they were just about to put out. I heard it because I was really good friends with the drummer, and they showed me the demos. I was like, ‘Oh my God, that sounds amazing. Man, I would love to do that.’ It’s just everything I’ve always been looking for in a band. It’s melodic. It’s heavy. It’s catchy. I’ve always had a dream to pursue music with a group of friends that I get along with on an emotional level. These guys were absolutely that, and the music. I just, yeah, just always wanted to be a part of it, I guess. I think, yeah, the universe just gave me that luck.”
Cook’s unique vocal abilities clearly contributed to the multifaceted music on display, so has her insertion into Future Static influenced these new songs?
“I’d like to think so [laughs]. I guess I’ve always enjoyed writing vocals and lyrics, and kind of taking somebody’s song and trying to perceive what it wants to portray in a way, or what it can portray. When Ryan brought an instrumental out, we’ll listen to it a couple of times and before I even start thinking about melodies or anything, just really acknowledge how it makes me feel inside first. And then I’ll connect that to something that I could possibly write about, or sometimes I’ll have poems or lyrics that would fit well with the vibe of the song. I definitely feel like the music that Ryan was writing called for a lot more screaming than I initially was comfortable doing, but I found a real love for it. I kind of really…”
“We kind of shoved you in the deep end right away, huh?” Qualizza chuckles.
“Oh yeah. It’s like, ‘I could sing over this, but it just really needs it. It really needs some screams here. I’m just going to do it. It just has to happen.” I guess my vocal writing and lyrical compositions could have shaped the band, but a lot of what Ryan writes shapes what I do on top of it.”
There’s this synergy between the instrumentals and vocals that feels like Future Static’s hallmark, and it’s evident even just conversing with the two of them at almost midnight, Melbourne time.
There’s definitely a voice in the instrumentals, which makes the interweaving of music and voice so much more powerful. It sometimes feels like the voices are speaking together in perfect harmony.
“Well, it’s funny you should bring that up,” Qualizza notes, “because call and response is like a huge thing, like a huge pillar of the way I write music. You hear it a lot in ‘Waves,’ like I’ll play the same riff twice, but the tail end will be a little bit different. The first riff’s saying, ‘Hello,’ and then the second riff is saying, ‘Hi, how are you?’ It’s a really powerful thing. It creates that conversation, which is sick. But as a guitarist, I’m always just trying to write the best song possible. And then obviously Ami, as the singer, is trying to write the best song possible, so yeah, it all sort of speaks to each other, which is sick. It’s made writing this new album a bit of a dream, which is fantastic.”
Qualizza explains that there was one positive of writing extensively during the lockdowns:
“[Writing] made some fun out of it. We’d lock ourselves in our separate studios. That was a really cool experience. It was like Christmas every day. You’d wake up one morning and it would be like, ‘Oh, Jack sent through a new riff idea.’ ‘Ami sent through a new vocal demo or sent through lyrics.’ It’s just like unwrapping all these really sick presents from your band members. (It) put a bit of sunshine on the dreariness that was the last two years. So yeah, that was cool.”
That’s the most wholesome answer I’ve had to any question since the start of 2020, and maybe ever.
“Most wholesome band in this world, baby,” Qualizza quips.
When discussing the lyrical themes of the two available songs, Cook notes that the way Qualizza writes brought out her experiences in a way that was unexpectedly emotional. When he was about to apologize for opening up past wounds accidentally, Cook was happy to interject:
“No, in a good way. This is how I’m dealing with my trauma, bro. This is the best thing that’s happened. I don’t need therapy [now]!”
Cook shares some background about the themes of “Waves”:
“I have an autoimmune disease, and it comes and goes. It’s like that flow. It’s like I have good times, and I have bad times. It’s about the feeling of just being overwhelmed by everything, of wanting to do things and not being able to, and knowing that your body’s just going to give up on you even though you really want to be doing things. It’s also a reminder to take a breath and just let your body do what it has to do, and rest as much as you can. Yeah, and when you are feeling good, go for it. Just go hard. It doesn’t matter if it’s going to come back. Just go hard. Do everything that you possibly can. Drain yourself, and then have your months of rest.”
“And then “Venenosa” is about a time where I guess I was feeling very down,” Cook expands. “There was a lot of bad energy in my life, and I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. I wasn’t feeling connection with people as much as I normally would. And then I went on a little self-adventure down to a beach area for one night and had a really weird experience where I just had this horrible dream. Black stuff started coming out of my skin. I jumped in the shower and was trying to scrub it off, and I realized that all of the negativity that I was feeling was because I was being a horrible person to people. I was the toxic influence. And it was just like after that little trip I took, I went back home and I was like, ‘Okay. Time to stop being a horrible person.'”
That vivid, inspired experience directly fed into the horror-themed music video. It feels like Cronenberg is directing his take on the Evil Dead films, where the demons you have to exorcise were yours all along. Qualizza explains:
“[Our bassist Kira Neil] is really into films in general. She loves all the horror stuff, Evil Dead, and she loves The Brood, all those ’80s schlocky body horror movies. So she wrote this amazing treatment around the idea of “Venenosa,” and all these different things that would happen to the band members as they went into this creepy house. Yeah, we were sort of blown away when she wrote it, and to see it up there is like, it’s really rewarding.”
The two new songs definitely feel and sound brighter than their debut EP, which featured a different vocalist. Qualizza concurs and adds:
“Yeah. Well yeah, it’s funny that you bring up hope because Fatalist was one of the most nihilistic pieces of work that I’ve written as an instrumentalist. It was just this feeling that nothing was going to get better. Everything’s fucked, and there’s nothing you can do about it, just in the instrumentals alone. I’m a little bit older than I was back then, you know? I don’t want to say I’m this old guru who knows everything about everything and is content with their life. But I’ve sort of learned that being cynical and just being this sad sack doesn’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t make you better. It doesn’t make you smart or clever or cool. We’re getting old. The joints are getting squeaky [laughs]. There’s hope in this new record, and we’re exploring new territory just by trying to be happy. It’s awesome.”
“I just want to uplift everyone,” Cook adds, “even though the stories are so dark. I always want to make people feel good, and that’s the intention behind it.”
Photo courtesy of Andress Basso