Track x Track: Future Static - Liminality

Track x Track: Future Static - Liminality

With their highly anticipated relentless debut album now released, breakthrough Aussie purveyors of all things heavy Future Static talk us through it

Image credit: Andrew Basso

In a time where genre-blurring is the norm, Naarm/Melbourne-based five-piece Future Static truly embody this with a unique and addictive blend of metalcore, progressive metal, alt-rock and pop, with plenty of crushing heaviness alongside infectious hooks - as heard on their long-awaited debut album Liminality which has just been released.

Produced, mixed and mastered by Christopher Vernon (Windwaker, The Beautiful Monument), Liminality highlights one of Future Static’s unique features - the stunning dual lead vocals from bassist Kira Neil who showcases her vocals that gel perfectly with the electrifying Melbourne born, Barcelona raised front-woman Amariah Cook. Meanwhile, guitarist Jack Smith created the record’s striking artwork that ties in with the album’s themes (as we find out below).

Speaking on their debut full-length, the band say "We're so proud to finally release our first full-length album, which we've been tirelessly working on and teasing to crowds for the past two years. Writing in lockdown allowed us to explore new ideas, technologies, and techniques in our own time and creature comforts. Whenever one of us would send through a new demo or piece to the aural puzzle, it felt like a gift in a time of persistent solitude. We emerged with a cohesive, yet diverse body of work, trickled with each member's unique musical voice and writing style. Everything about this album came from the heart and soul of the band. The best way to describe it? It is the physical representation of friendship, teamwork, and our unconditional love for music."

With Liminality out now and the band currently on tour supporting Germany’s Electric Callboy on their sold out Australian tour, Future Static were kind enough to take us through the album, track by track.

From an album artwork perspective, ‘Liminality’ is the space between - a nameless skull in stasis between materialising and deteriorating in serene nothingness. An amalgamation of traditional and digital mediums with painting brushstrokes that are mimicked by the bleeding pixels. Sinister but beautiful, chaotic but peaceful.

The art direction, artwork, design and layout were entirely designed by guitarist Jack Smith, from concept to completion. Although it was a challenging undertaking on top of an already challenging album process, everything about this album came from the heart and soul of the band, and we wanted the artwork to be no different.

Chemical Lobotomy

This is one of the only two songs on ‘Liminality’ where the lyrical theme directly relates to experiences and emotions had over lockdown. Its general theme is about the importance of friendship and a communal lack of self-control and indulgence in bad habits over isolation. Musically and lyrically, it flows through the many mood swings caused by seclusion, and it ends in a beautifully climactic break from the usual song structure, omitting a final chorus and replacing it with a continuous stream of uplifting, hopeful melodies and affirmations.

The name ‘Chemical Lobotomy’ surfaced alongside a few others extracted from the lyrics directly. It seemed the most fitting and felt more concise and original, so it was a fast decision, validated by the band in unison.

Venenosa



It’s absurd to believe that this was the first song (that made it on the album, second if you count an unfinished demo that didn’t fit the sound we were going for) that we wrote with Amariah. When Ryan sent through the instrumental demo, we all knew this heavy and melodic wall of sound was a great direction we were happy to proceed with indefinitely.

Amariah felt subconsciously inspired to verbally and sonically eject a certain toxicity that she’d thought to have overcome through the episode itself. However, she realised a certain guilt for her past actions still deeply lingered, until the weight of it had shifted out of her body and into what we ended up releasing as our second single.

‘Venenosa’ (Spanish for 'poisonous female') is based on the personal experience of coming to realise that the negative energy surrounding her was, in fact, due to her toxic behaviour towards the people whom she was supposed to care for. It takes the listener through the very intense and dangerous introspective journey she took to rid herself of this toxicity that was festering inside the depths of her subconscious and how she came out the other side full of love and respect for herself, along with those around her again.

Roach Queen


‘Roach Queen’ leans hard into Jack’s bouncing, pitch-shifted riffs and emotionally charged lyrics, inspired by another one of Amariah’s real-life experiences. The anger and frustration of the instrumentals provoked a resurgence of a repressed traumatic episode Amariah had in one of the apartments she lived in as a child in Barcelona. The place was infested by cockroaches, and for a long while, she had nightmares where they would climb into her mouth while she slept. She would wake up every night after one of these nightmares, needing to rush to the toilet, and in the dark, she thought she could see them in the water, making her believe she had regurgitated them.

Throughout her adulthood, she’d continued believing that the roaches were crawling through her mouth into her stomach. It wasn’t until she had a revelation over lockdown about how that was extremely unlikely, and what she experienced was the power of the imagination of a neglected child trying to justify a traumatic event by themselves, possibly causing a more severe illness to materialise at the time. The name ‘Roach Queen’ felt fitting as the lyrics have overtones of developed independence and strength that eventuated from this experience.

The music video, filmed and directed by the master Colin Jeffs, was heavily attached to the story Amariah portrayed lyrically. However, she wanted to add how that experience (and any of the darker experiences she may have lived in her past) made her so powerful and independent now, hence choosing a Queen as her character.

Icarus

This is probably the happiest-sounding song on the album, ‘happy-sounding’ being a subjective description. If listened to more closely, it also alludes to a hidden sense of frustration through the sonically heavier parts and incessantly fast-paced drums. The feelings expressed lyrically were those of an ever-growing dissatisfaction within what was a wonderful, loving and pretty much perfect relationship otherwise. This song quickly turned into a cry for a level of intimacy that never came, mixed in with the contrasting feelings of guilt and shame that developed within both parties when discussed.

The title ‘Icarus’ stems from the chorus lyrics, “Lift me, lift me, higher, higher”. In Greek mythology, Icarus flew too close to the sun, where his wings melted, and he dropped to his watery death, drowning in the consequences of his stubbornness. Without connecting the fable too much to the lyrics, we thought it a great song title, seeing as the title to another song on the album (‘Iliad’) was named as a nod to ancient Greece.

…And The Walls That Were Built

This incredibly heart-wrenching song could fall into the category of a ballad for ‘Liminality’, taking large strides towards a more operatic and dramatic side of Future Static’s writing capabilities with choirs, interesting and unique drum patterns, emotive chord progressions and swelling vocal layers.

Although written about a former dissolution of love, the song’s lyrics have a subconsciously prophetic undercurrent to them. The song talks about the first time Amariah had to promptly numb her emotions by building that metaphorical ‘wall’ we all know of too well due to the pain of this particular heartbreak. Hence the song title. We connected the name of this song to the previous one (‘Icarus’) to hint at a connection between the two stories, even though, at the time, it didn’t seem apparent that life would eventually imitate art.

Waves

‘Waves’ was the second song written during the conception of Future Static's new era. We decided to release it as our first single after ‘Fatalist’, as we felt it showcased the new sound perfectly whilst also being a great transition from the last body of work. ‘Waves’, lyrically, is less specific than the other tracks. It resonates with many different experiences. It is filled with metaphors, collaboratively written by wordsmiths Amariah and Ryan, describing the emotions that start to surface when faced with a lack of stimuli for months, then jumping straight back into a fast-paced, relentless rhythm, with no certainty of anything going ahead, trying to balance all the needs with the wants. Attempting to give oneself and our loved ones equal time as structuring our lifestyle and working towards achieving our goals.

On a more personal note, Amariah suffers from an autoimmune disease called Graves. It is hormonal and speeds up the metabolism in a very unpleasant way, meaning it has a drastic impact on mental health as well as physiologically. This constantly fluctuating disease was a significant inspiration for the lyrics too, especially the chorus. The song also grasps on having neglected one's true calling, being unable to even pursue it due to these illnesses and the world's situation at the time. Falling prisoner to an endless cycle of taking one step forward but two steps back every time. No doubt, this was a shared sentiment across the world.

So far, it seems to cover a fairly pessimistic theme, but the music itself creates an outlet for the negativity and maintains an underlying hopeful spirit. Although you feel like you're drowning in an ocean and you can’t get out, instead of fighting, all you have to do is sit up and breathe: "Feel the waves, float away".

Iliad

This short, sharp, ridiculously heavy banger was a pure release of rage written by Ryan and Amariah. The incessant lyrics hold a mixture of anger and relief regarding the imminent finalisation of a long-term, toxic friendship.

‘Iliad’ was the original working title, and we decided to keep it, seeing as it sustains a poetic flow, coasting rapidly through themes of glory, pride, fate and wrath.

Will I…?

‘Will I..?’ is the only full-length song written entirely by Amariah, minus a few lead guitar additions, including a tasty solo and some drum pattern changes. No doubt, it has a very different vibe to the rest of the album's instrumentals, the lack of riffs is replaced by a surrounding field of synths and the structure of the song is heavily based around the vocals.

Amariah wrote this song in 2020, before even joining Future Static, and she was very excited to use her new knowledge acquired from the music production course she’d just finished. The song manifested as a vocal melody and lyrics that kept reappearing in her head, which is now the chorus. Over lockdown, she enjoyed the time at home to be able to sit down and work this sonic apparition into a milestone composition.

The lyrics are quite trivial and metaphorical in a very disjointed manner. The song's overarching and subconsciously written theme is based around the rising need to pursue music as a career, regardless of the fear instilled in her while growing up watching the countless hurdles and hardships her musician parents went through to do the same. The rest of the lyrics around that main concept seem to have taken another prophetically subconscious incline by questioning whether she was really happy with the lifestyle and interpersonal connections she had developed thus far, later proving that more significant changes needed to be made. Only months after writing the song did she manage to join Future Static and embark on the adventure she longed for.

This song was never meant to go on the album, but the rest of the members all agreed that, with a couple of small yet impactful additions, it could be a wonderful piece to the album puzzle, and here we are. ‘Will I…?’ lives forever within ‘Liminality’.

The Hourglass

This banging tune is the most progressive song on ‘Liminality’.

Thematically, this song describes what it feels like when you say something situationally agitating or hurtful and, instead of just letting it pass, you try to fix it with more unnecessary and misinterpreted words, causing a deep questioning of one’s intentions and, in some cases, negatively life-changing. Leaning on the metaphor, ‘digging yourself into a hole’, the verses, written mostly by Amariah, talk about this in a generalised manner, compiling various situations caused by this cyclical behaviour. Whereas Kira wrote the chorus, describing a particular situation where this ‘verbal vomiting’ was induced.

The working title of this one was called ‘Ruin//Reclaim’. Jack coined the name due to the destructive energy of the beginning, and the rebuilding into a lighter sound after the bridge. We were almost going to keep this title but felt ‘The Hourglass’ more ideal for a single. The lyrical flow definitely attaches itself to the instrumental, since in the end, past the damage that is done from being hurtful, it is never irreversible when sincere remorse, compassion and forgiveness are the outcome.

Halfway Across The World

This little acoustic piece was written on a day where Amariah just couldn't find any inspiration to write over any of the heavy instrumentals that were getting sent through. She was adamant about writing something that day and decided to pick up her acoustic and have a little solo jam session.

She quickly whipped this out and sent it through to the band chat, searching for some opinions. Much to her surprise, it was heard as a great little acoustic break for our album.

Plated Gold

‘Plated Gold’ was lyrically inspired by the disillusion caused by dishonest personalities, and how frustrating it is to be the only one to see through these manipulative and narcissistic tendencies. The metaphor is self-explanatory.

This was definitely one of the most fun ones to write, having such bouncy and melodic instrumental layers. We also felt the second verse would be an amazing spot for Sean Harmanis to feature in, his vocals suited it so perfectly. These attributes made it a wonderful contender for a single.

The Embers

A slower yet equally as emotionally heavy tune to cap off our first full-length album. It has a similar theme to the opening song ‘Chemical Lobotomy’ but suggests a feeling of acceptance rather than pleading for change. This song talks about letting situations occur the way they have to, as well as friendship and growing up.

When Jack sent the instrumental demo through, it wasn’t long before Amariah found herself in tears writing the first verse. It was a beautifully cathartic experience, and that sentiment really shines through, making it the perfect closer, the end to this aural journey.

Future Static's new album Liminality is out now via Wild Thing Records

Future Static Liminality Artwork

FUTURE STATIC - ELECTRIC CALLBOY AUSTRALIAN TOUR
MON 27 NOV | HINDLEY STREET MUSIC HALL, TARNDANYA/ADELAIDE SA
WED 29 NOV | PICA, NAARM/MELBOURNE VIC
THU 30 NOV | HORDERN PAVILLION, EORA/SYDNEY NSW
FRI 1 DEC | EATONS HILLS HOTEL, MEANJIN/BRISBANE QLD

Follow Future Static: Instagram / Facebook

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