Future Islands Talks Coldplay & Foo Fighters Love and Hitting Coachella Stage

Future Islands
 Misha Vladimirskiy

Future Islands on Day 2 of the 2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

One of the most buzzed-about sets from an act without a top 10 album during weekend one of Coachella 2014 was Future Islands’ Saturday night stint at the Gobi stage.


“This is our first Coachella, festivals are still kind of new to us,’ frontman Sam Herring told us backstage. “This will definitely be our biggest stage we got to play on.”

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But as anyone who saw them deliver “Seasons (Waiting On You)” on “Late Night With David Letterman” can attest the Baltimore-based band is not going to shy away from the spotlight. That performance earned them not only over a million views on YouTube, but a lot of love from other musicians. That “Letterman” performance was tweeted by Coldplay and Foo Fighters gave the band a shout out as well. Herring is still in disbelief over the love from fellow artists.

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“When you get it from your peers, people who have been doing this for a long time or people you respect and look up to, it means a lot cause they know how hard it is to do this,” he told Billboard backstage at Coachella. “They know the work that you have to do to create these things. I remember when Coldplay tweeted the performance, we were like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ And that’s awesome, because in a way they’re helping us to just reach more people. So it means a lot coming from peers. Then again, for us, we were just doing what we do every night on stage.”

For Herring, the buzz that surrounds “Singles” is a natural progression from their 2010 tour in support of “In Evening Air.” “That 2010 tour we were playing DIY venues across the country, some clubs in bigger cities that we had played many times, built up through the underground a name for ourselves,” he said. “But we were basically playing a sold-out DIY tour and actually profiting on the road as a band. And I think that was really that first blast where things were starting to change. We felt that album would be a change because we believed in it really deeply.”

They found that same belief in themselves often on the new album, “Singles.” “That’s the confidence in the title,” Herring said of the new album. “I remember when we wrote ‘Seasons,’ I called the guys the day after we wrote it, probably jammed the tune out in an hour and a half, I went home and took a recording I had made on my computer, wrote the song in 30 minutes by chopping it up and then called the guys and was like, ‘This is the best song we’ve ever written.’ Of course, by the time we wrote the rest of the songs, I was like, ‘Maybe it’s not the best song we’ve ever written. I love these other songs too.’”

The band will get to show off the songs on the “Singles” collection throughout 2014, hitting the road hard, including another U.S. tour this fall, as well as two European tours. They will be headlining, but if they were opening for anyone it would be an ‘80s band. Thinking about their dream tours, Herring said, “I’m gonna say the Cure for me. We’ve often talked about wanting to tour with OMD as well, that’s a band we really love and respect.”

They also are open for collaborations. “We’re trying to start a supergroup with Wye Oak. They are an amazing band,” Herring said. “Tina Turner, dude. I’d love to do Tina Turner’s background vocals.”