Monday, February 23, 2009

The Neon Nostalgia of Futurecop!

The dazzling Nintendo disco of Futurecop! descends unto The Pike Room on March 2nd.

by Thomas Matich

It’s 1984 and you slide down the stairs, lace up your Reebok hi-tops, zip-up your Members Only jacket, don the Ray-Bans, hop into the DeLorean and zoom away to day of sunny paradise in The Valley. Futurecop!’s “Transformers” is what’s blaring out of your cassette deck. With warm, kinetic sci-fi synthesizers that sound like the soundtrack to a “Two Coreys” space adventure that was never made, British boys Manzur Iqbal and Peter Carrol formed Futurecop! a few years ago and have since saw their blog love balloon into hyper fans spinning their tunes across the globe.

Futurecop! is part of an elite electronic movement bubbling out of Europe (with strong ties to America) which forms a viral scene that best represents what word of mouth looks like in the global music community. There's the pounding heartbeats of College, the glossy suave stylings and jaw dropping remixes by Anoraak, the superhuman DJ powers of Russ Chimes, the disco queen dynamics of La Roux, the acidic glam of Minitel Rose, the euphoric house of Justin Faust and the glitzy dreamy dance pop of Jupiter among so many others. Crystal Castles, Keenhouse, The Golden Filter and Weird Tapes are some of the stateside allies that make up this electronic new world order where MySpace is the command center and blogs like DiscoDust, BIGSTEREO and Ohh Crap! report on the movers and shakers.

With College (David Grellier) and his Valerie collective pals Anoraak just wrapping up their first North American and Australian tour, Crystal Castles taking the world by storm and The Golden Filter debuting in New York and building hype for their first release, this music is beginning to put a much deserved crater-sized dent into the earth. It's thrilling because outside of our current thriving Detroit scene with gems like Deastro (who I believe fits right in line with the electronic movement), these artists are the exciting future of music, one that doesn't go for retro '80s shtick but time warps you to that nostalgic, innocent, fun era and builds a whole new world with tools and ideas from the future.

With their energetic, body movin' live shows and carefree mantra towards embracing the '80s pop culture aesthetic, Futurecop! is poised to make plenty of noise on their coming North American trek. I've been addicted to the handful of songs you can "officially" get your hands on, from the bombastic Brat Pack jam "Class of 1984" that makes you want to do the running man until you pass out on the living room carpet to the robotic cosmic tango of "Transformers." Their recently released EP available on BeatPort, The Unicorn & The Lost City Of Alvograth, was put out by the Los Angeles label IHEARTCOMIX and features three stellar tracks.

The synthesizers on "N.A.S.A." get about as intergalactic as one would expect and "Tonight's Hero," whisks you away to an arcade fantasy adventure with a thumping bass line and zippy xylophone that sounds as if it could've came out of Vince Clarke's playbook. But the standout might be "As Seen On TV," which begins with an aggressive, crunchy blitz of distorted synthesizers that quickly erupts into a Dan Deacon like blast of cartoon glee, conjuring a Chia Pet commercial springing to life in your living room and flying you away to green pastures where you get down with the Babes In Toyland.

Futurecop! - "Eyes Like The Ocean

The duo have also worked their Game Genie magic with remixes of cuts by Ciara, M.I.A and Crystal Castles (they make "Alice Practice" listenable) as they unload their secret codes and splatter electronic neon nostalgia over these cuts to create something fresh to def. It's that old school flavor that makes Futurecop! a real sweet treat, as they make music not for the club but the treehouse and by getting in touch with the little kid in all of us, they're sure to raise the roof.

Deep Cutz caught up with Futurecop! founder Manz Iqbal via email in anticipation of their debut performance in Detroit, one you won't want to miss...

Deep Cutz: How did your music become to be influenced by ‘80s American pop culture?
Manz Iqbal: The music has to do with creating a nostalgic feel from when I was a kid growing up in a boring town glued to the TV.

DC: The ‘80s revival has reached overkill lately, what is it about Futurecop! that separates you from the pack?
MI: I don’t make music to consciously separate me from anything. I make music that satisfies me and I try to create what I’m feeling in my head. Whatever that comes out is what it is and if people like it it’s even more amazing!

DC: Are you nervous about this big North American tour? What do you hope to take from your visit?
MI: Not really, more excited - we want to just show what we are about to America and I’m sure they’ll love it.

DC: I love "Class of 1984," but I think Anoraak might have made it into a better track. How do you feel, as a remixer yourself, when someone takes on one of your songs?
MI: I’m not really into remixing myself unless I love the track and I’m not really into dance/club music (Pete is more the dance freak). However it’s nice when someone likes our music in the first place and someone asking us to remix it is even better, no matter whom it is.

Futurecop! - Class of 1984 (ANORAAK Remix)

DC: What is the inspiration behind the title of the EP: The Unicorn & The Lost City Of Alvograth?
MI: It’s a fantasy movie idea based on our favorite movie; The Never Ending Story (title song kicks ass) and the songs are the soundtrack to the movie.

DC: Where do you see Futurecop! in 5 years?
MI: Whatever’s happened so far is amazing and unreal! We never knew about electronic production and I’m still learning even simple things now. All we did is put a MySpace up and send 3 songs to a blog. Whatever we have done we are proud of so we can’t really say what’s going to happen we're just going with the flow.

DC: How did you guys link up with IHEARTCOMIX and what made you decide to release the EP with them?
MI: We did an IHEARTCOMIX gig last year in LA and we got on well with Franki Chan. Then when we decided to release an EP with Southern Fried, we decided to have Franki on board. So the main reason was we really liked Franki and his team, especially when a lot music industry people are weird.

DC: You guys don't have a lot of recorded material out yet, so what are you going to perform live after you do the EP tracks? Remixes, DJ sets?
MI: We’ve got lot of mash-ups in there plus when we play live we play songs that I’ve never put on our MySpace or given to blogs - so if you came to our show there will be a lot of new material.

DC: Judging from the MySpace photos of the live shows, you guys have been able to draw good crowds that want to dance and have fun like at a Girl Talk gig. Have you been surprised? Has it been easy to promote the music/shows?
MI: Not surprised – I’m happy it’s like that - the music is all about having fun, dressing up and dancing again, instead of moshing to noise/techno music. Personally, promoting the music feels really easy because as I said I hardly did anything - people just wanted to help promote it because they loved what we were doing from managers, agents, promoters, labels and the fans etc.

DC: You guys have some incredibly awesome artwork. How does it come together?
MI: It’s just in our heads and what we experienced in our childhood, which we are trying to bring out.

DC: There's seems to be an unique, worldwide bond between some of the electronic artists right now like yourself, College, Crystal Castles and a few others and the blogs that support you. Does it feel like you guys are on the verge of taking over the world?
MI: It actually does - especially at shows where people are so enthusiastic about it and the amazing buzz we get when we play.

DC: With a song named “N.A.S.A.” and some other odes to space, I’m wondering if you wanted to be an astronaut as a kid?
MI: LOL - Yes I did!

DC: Bangladesh has it's own unique music and film culture, does that have any influence on you and what does your family think of your music?
MI: The old stuff, yes. Family think it’s weird how people like the music without vocals lol but they are supportive and I make them wear the t-shirt when they are shopping at Tescos! //DC//

Watch: Futurecop! live in L.A.

Futurecop! @ MySpace

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