INTERVIEWS

Dystopian Future Movies: atmospheric catharsis and colossal heaviness

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words: Elena Mara Reed, photo: Elmore, 2016-10-18

Dystopian Future Movies were described as "quite frankly better than any new band has any right to be" by Terrorizer (March, 2015). During the last 2 years Nottinghamians have truly made their way through. The trio is endorsed by fans of Chelsea Wolfe and FVNERALS, while their otherworldly atmospheric soundscapes do not really compare to other post-rock bands. I caught up with Caroline, the visionary of DFM (vocals and guitar) and Bill (drums) to talk about the progress they made, creativity and the importance of music in their lives.

You are one of those bands that have made an incredible progress in a very short time. What is the recipe?

Caroline: Hard work is the recipe! To make progress as a band these days, you need to be a band manager, booking agent, tour manager, artist, designer, videographer and accountant all in one. If you would like to make progress, you need to be happy to put the hours in. The great thing is that you get to have complete ownership over what you produce. The urgency you feel when there are songs that you believe in is incredible fuel. It drives you on, through deadlines, endless to-do lists and constant email correspondence. We seem to have a growing and loyal fan-base not only in the UK and Europe but also in the US; online music platforms are a great way of reaching fans. We have been asked to support some amazing acts like Amenra, SubRosa, Alunah and Crippled Black Phoenix in the past year too, which has introduced us to new fans. 

 

DFM came about in such an organic way that it feels harder to pigeonhole.

You have been compared to many very different bands from Solstafir to Chelsea Wolfe, how would you define DFM yourself?

Caroline: DFM came about in such an organic way that it feels harder to pigeonhole. It evolved into what it is now by feeling our way - writing and arranging what comes out naturally without forcing it into some genre or some style. It helps that we all have varying interests when it comes to music we love. That makes it feel extra special when we all come together. While we recorded the debut album, Emily played something so beautiful and moving over a track that really means a lot to me that I got goose bumps. It just fit and it made the song [Time] come alive. I think that the songs come from such an emotional and true place that there may be some comparisons but the honesty of it is unique to who we are.

'Bloody Fuckload' wasn't quite right, there were numerous others.  It's not really a political thing, dystopian-future themed art has the overarching feeling of everyone being inescapably doomed, which is exactly what we are trying to muster.

How did you come up with the title? I personally believe that it suits the band well since your music is atmospheric and very cinematic.

Bill: We went through lots of ideas until the right one arrived. 'Bloody Fuckload' wasn't quite right, there were numerous others.  It's not really a political thing, dystopian-future themed art has the overarching feeling of everyone being inescapably doomed, which is exactly what we are trying to muster. And movies specifically because it brings to mind motion, grayscale, softness and grit. 

You have just premiered a video for NYD. It looks totally amazing! Could you elaborate on the process of making this video? Have you worked in past (or planning to work in the future) with particular artists for DFM artwork / videos/ visuals / lights/ etc?

Bill: We filmed it ourselves in our practise space and recording studio, the Doom Room, Nottingham. Just on SLR mainly, spliced with some tour van footage of the peak district. Down to time/money constraints and keeping the DIY spirit, we thought we'd just keep it simple. I edited it at home over a couple of days; it all came together quite easily.

For the first few shows we used Le Jetee projected as a backdrop which worked really well but we've given that a break for a bit. We're talking to a number of different artists about future videos and artwork, Nottingham has a very active art scene, keep your eyes peeled!

Caroline: Emily is a great photographer and we would like to use a particular one of her prints for the debut album. I was really moved by the collection that the photo came from, a collection she made in Berlin when she was studying there. I believe that particular photograph we have in mind has a voice of its own. It draws you into its story. I guess that’s what I feel DFM songs do. Bill is also a great designer and artist and has contributed a lot to what DFM are visually.

 

 

There is nothing quite like the feeling when you write something new and it resonates with every fibre of your being. You eat it, sleep it and breathe it. When lyrics flow and heal difficult emotions or when a chord sequence changes something within you. Each song alters you. 

A very simple and perhaps at the same time difficult question – why are you doing what you are doing?

Bill: I would agree with that. It became apparent a while ago that making music and art will continue whatever happens so it should become the main focus of my time.

Caroline: I absolutely need to be doing this. There is nothing quite like the feeling when you write something new and it resonates with every fibre of your being. You eat it, sleep it and breathe it. When lyrics flow and heal difficult emotions or when a chord sequence changes something within you. Each song alters you. Augments your way of being and I’m addicted to that process now. I have always felt deeply and irrevocably moved by other people’s music since I was a small child and once you begin to create something meaningful in this way yourself, I can imagine it is impossible to replace. 

 My ideas for DFM are highly emotional and I let them run their own path.

Who or what does influence your music most? How do you write song for DFM?

Caroline: Personal life has a huge part to play as an inspiration. My ideas for DFM are highly emotional and I let them run their own path. Influences and my favourite music plays a huge part too. What moves me as a listener and reader also tends to move me as a writer.

Bill: Caroline will usually come with vocal and guitar parts as the song idea, then we'll all jam in the room, develop bass and drum ideas, then put the whole arrangement together. Sometimes we'll record rough versions to aid the arrangement process.

You toured and will tour again with FVNERALS. The tour is about to start! What else to look forward to?

Caroline: They are fantastic guys! It is crazy how well we get on and how similar our outlook on music and life is. Syd (Fvnerals) and I have a well-established friendship at this stage due to spending months at a time booking tours together. We’ve shared the joys and frustrations well! After the last tour, we missed those guys on our return to Nottingham, so we are really looking forward to doing the full UK tour together this time!

We will release our debut album early next year, we are really excited about getting it out into the world!