Future Islands: 2024

Future Islands (photo by Gus Philippas for WFUV)
by Kara Manning | 02/12/2024 | 12:01am

Future Islands (photo by Gus Philippas for WFUV)

Future Islands first emerged from Baltimore, but these days, when not touring together or recording, the band's members — singer and lyricist Samuel Herring, guitarist/bassist William Cashion, keyboardist/programmer Gerrit Welmers, and drummer Michael Lowery — are spread out across the country. However, that geographic distance hasn't affected the intimacy that Future Islands conjures in the studio, especially on their seventh album, People Who Aren't There Anymore, which is likely the quartet's most emotionally powerful and heartbroken release to date.

As Herring and Cashion discussed in our conversation, they rode out rough years during the pandemic as each of their relationships dissolved. Sam broke up with his longtime Swedish girlfriend, for whom he'd moved to Sweden until the Covid-19 lockdown separated them, and William went through a divorce. Although Future Islands' 2020 album, As Long As You Are, was very much about the heady flush of new love, the songs on People Who Aren't There Anymore, plunge into an opposite sphere, as romance dissipates and a relationship dies.

While its foundations might be melancholy, Future Islands buoy the songs on this album with billowy, cascading synths, and Herring's expressive, mutable baritone — something evident in their FUV Live set of three songs pulled from People Who Aren't There Anymore: "The Tower," "The Thief," and "The Sickness," the latter which Herring describes as "the whole story."

In addition to chatting about the hard knocks of love (and hopeful turns too), the band discussed their inimitable bond of friendship and looking back on the decade since the release of 2014's Singles. Sam also delved into his new side gig too — as an actor, carrying a major role on the Apple+ horror series, "The Changeling."

[Recorded: 1/25/24; Engineered by Jim O'Hara; produced by Meghan Offtermatt]

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