“Art is evolution:” The Future Thrills chat ‘Is It Real’ and their process of maturing

“We wanted to give people a flow and experience,” The Future Thrills said of their new EP Is It Real?

It’s already been a stacked year for music, but shining above even the starriest of new tunes is Is It Real?, the debut album from Sydney five-piece The Future Thrills.

Spanning aughties nostalgia to shimmering indie rock, the three-track project arrives with aplomb, spotlighting a band equally at home in both gritty noise and introspective moments. 

The Future Thrills interview

Fresh off the release of Is It Real? and standout track Look Up, we caught up with Samir Sharma of The Future Thrills for an insightful chat about the EP, sonic evolution, and the importance of “let[ting] all the unimportant shit in your life go.”

Catch our full interview with the band below, and scroll down to listen to their debut EP Is It Real?

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

THE FUTURE THRILLS: I just got a haircut at Mr Wolf then had a scorpino and some Grifters at Bar Planet with the guys. It’s been a great day tell you the truth.

HAPPY: Is there a certain level of pressure that comes with releasing a debut project?

THE FUTURE THRILLS: There is. It’s quite a process when it comes to releasing an EP, and our first one at that. From choosing which songs deserve to be on it to the recording stage and the post-production stage.

It was a more tedious process than we thought and it came from a place of making it as authentic as possible. There was a lot of doubt as to whether it would end up being solid enough but we found seeking perfection was pretty futile.

By the end of the whole project when you’re listening to the songs they almost don’t make sense anymore, it’s like saying a word over and over again and all that’s left are meaningless syllables.

It’s pretty weird and annoying. But in the end we were happy with it and hope it resonates well with people and the current music scene.

The Future Thrills interview

HAPPY: Tell us a little bit about the genesis of Is It Real? How did it come to fruition?

THE FUTURE THRILLS: For us, putting out an EP was always the next step. We chose 3 songs that we felt were our best but were also really different from each other.

The aspect they all had in common was breaking out of our usual expectations of reality. They were written in our apartment in Marrickville by Tyler and I on a broken couch with two acoustic guitars and an endless supply of beers.

The way I see the EP is ‘Look Up’ dives straight into it, ‘Always Be The Same’ gives people time to breathe and digest before the grand finale; ‘Is It Real’. We wanted to give people a flow and experience that made sense.

HAPPY: Your EP Is It Real? spans a variety of sounds within the broad rock umbrella. Which sound do you feel most at home in?

THE FUTURE THRILLS: Hmmmm, I feel most at home with ‘Is It Real?’ probably because I wrote it and it’s comfortable. ‘Always Be The Same’ is also fun to play at shows too because I can sit back and relax before I have to start belting again.

The thing with being an artist though is you feel the need to push yourself and be uncomfortable and that’s what we’re going to do more of in the future. Art is evolution I guess so we got to evolve with it.

The Future Thrills interview

HAPPY: How does your hometown of Sydney’s inner west influence your music?

THE FUTURE THRILLS: The music scene in the inner-west influenced us quite a lot and seeing all these cool bands like Salarymen, Misty Lanes and Downgirl doing their thing really made us comfortable in what we’re doing.

It made us feel kind of reassured and excited to be ambitious like these other artists. Newtown and Marrickville are probably the best places to catch gigs in Sydney and it feels great living within that community.

HAPPY: Being in quite a large band, how do you manage to incorporate the ideas of each member into your work?

THE FUTURE THRILLS: Tyler and I are the main songwriters of the group so there are a lot of songs that we play where I’ve written vocals, guitar parts and synth like ‘Is It Real’ and songs like ‘Always Be The Same’ where Tyler has written the guitar parts and I’ve written the vocals and synth.

Lincoln and Jojo support our songwriting ideas and back it up perfectly when we bring them into rehearsal. We’ve never had to really change anything they do, we’re always on the same page and it works super well.

Recently though we’ve become more collaborative; like Lincoln had a major hand in ‘Look Up’ when Tyler and I were writing it and turned the song into something we probably wouldn’t have thought of ourselves.

So, we work really well as a unit and it’s quite organic which is lucky.

The Future Thrills interview

HAPPY: Now with the EP out, is there anything else exciting on the horizon that you can tease for us?

THE FUTURE THRILLS: We got a lot of plans for this year. We’re going to record a single soon which is my favourite song that we’ve ever written. We’re also currently working with Gary Page who directed the INXS video ‘Just Keep Walking’.

He’s currently getting footage for a music video for us and we’ll hopefully put something out after the single. Besides that, we’re trying to gig as much as possible and potentially do some inter-state tours/festivals. 

HAPPY: Is there anything you’ve watched or read that inspires your music?

I’m halfway through Rick Rubin’s ‘The Creative Act: A Way of Being’. It’s unreal. You can turn to any page and it’ll speak to you no matter who you are and change the way you think about whatever you’ve been thinking about.

He reassures you that your dreams aren’t as out of reach as you might think. It’s awesome. He also talks about branching out and bringing different palettes to your art which is something we’ll definitely be doing going forward.

The Future Thrills interview

HAPPY: What makes you happy? 

THE FUTURE THRILLS: After a good show when I can tell the crowd has had a good time, it brings me a sense of gratification like we’ve done our jobs.

Also, someone important in my life taught me to enjoy the little things, I never really used to until I met her. It made me not take things too seriously all the time and just to let all the unimportant shit in your life go and focus on the good stuff.

That works for me at least.