Future Bubblers released its 7th compilation album in October last year, and we had the opportunity to chat with both the team and the artists about the album, its songs, and the Future Bubblers program. Future Bubblers is a development initiative for artists, designed to mentor and guide them into the music industry, aiming to level the playing field and provide opportunities for artists often excluded from the industry. The compilation album, crafted by the newest generation of bubblers, spans various genres and themes that promise to captivate listeners.
‘The Way‘ by ROMY NOVA is described as a tender offering with hypnotic harmonies. Can you tell us more about the influences behind this track and these hypnotic harmonies?
My time studying various world music and jazz taught me to value taking time to develop ideas throughout a piece. To respect the layers, and be patient in growing its intensity. Many sounds have inspired me over the years: the soaring horns of Pharaoh Sanders, Zim Ngqawana, and Archie Shepp; those biting riffs from Shuggie Otis, and the haunting vocals of Unloved, Mary Margaret O’Hara, and Sainkho Namtchylak. I wanted to create a piece that sang like they all did.
Jackie Moonbather’s ‘Separate Ways’ is a captivating example of classic funk, and it’s clear that the genre has a timeless appeal. However, marketing classic funk to a modern audience comes with its own set of challenges. How do artists like yourself navigate the delicate balance of introducing traditional funk to a contemporary audience while maintaining the authenticity and essence of the genre?
Marketing is not something that enters my mind when making music. It is important to get people on board, but that comes after. The music is the art and not the marketing tool. I like to play with a lot of genres; mixing my influences. I think that is the authenticity. Plus in the studio, there was loads of gear from the 70’s: Rhodes, Moog, vintage amps, and stuff. It was just like, “Ok, let’s go!”.
‘Blomster‘ by NEY LIQA blends trip-hop and Swedish pop. How do you incorporate those early musical influences into this unique fusion?
I think I kind of gave up on trying to stick to a genre or a ’sound’. This past year I’ve just been making music that I like, which inevitably is taking inspiration from a massive range of music – which I also think is why all my songs are quite different from each other! ‘Blomster‘ specifically was inspired by ’The Leanover’ by Life Without Buildings, as well as a ringtone album (by) Your Name Ringtone (it’s ridiculous). But, me and my friend Lukas laughed so much about the sheer volume of tracks on it and then we made the guitar loop that is the backbone of ’Blomster’ after it.
LANDEL’s track ‘2 Many‘ stands out due to its distinctive production and instrumentation. Could you delve into the creative decisions made during the production, such as the choice of instruments, the arrangement, and how the songwriting process unfolded?
The song was created out of many group decisions. Someone plays something; the room hears it and likes it. Myself, Paal, Kairi, and Tommy had been doing sessions prior and everybody brings their own skill set. We mostly just played around and found what felt right, with everyone having their input skill-wise and opinion-wise. I sometimes write better on my own so I took home the beat and finished the writing process there.
‘Brisk‘ by Pertrelli Purple is described as a ‘miscellaneous north’ sound. Could you explain what this means and how it’s reflected in the track?
I really don’t know. They asked me where I was from and I was like “Yeah, just the north.”. As I can be and am often anywhere, (it) really depends. But then in all fairness, it does describe ‘Brisk‘. I think it sounds like northern cities. They’re less cramped than in London. During your night commutes there are less distractions, so a long walk or looking out of the window on the way home you are suspended in place. I think it allows your mind to wonder. Maybe, idk.
With ‘Stryder‘ by Marysia Osu, what are the inspirations of the track and the messages you wanted to convey?
I started making the beat that became ‘Stryder’ during the 2020 lockdown. The music is a reflection of some of the feelings that came up during that time. No one knew what was going on. It felt a little bit like the world was falling apart, and we realised how fragile everything is. But there is also a lot of hope and love in the music. The choir and strings (played beautifully by Emma Barnaby) are singing in unison and convey another feeling; of people coming together in unity to overcome the challenges facing us right now.
Michael Diamond’s ‘Aether‘ floats between jazz and electronic landscapes. What inspired this genre-blending approach?
Ultimately, I love the two genres independently. I also enjoy playing around with my synths and plugins to create interesting effects and textures. It just makes sense that my process of creating music incorporates all these aspects – a love of beat-driven music, with a focus on harmony/melody and an exploration of sound design. For this track specifically, my mate Grifton Forbes-Amos from Tomorrow’s Warriors was a huge inspiration. I’ve fallen in love with his very melodious and musical style of playing, and the whole track was built around his trumpet lines.
I don’t feel like I arrived at this sound in any intentional way. It just sort of happened as a byproduct of what I enjoy playing around with when I’m making music. And I’m excited to see how it continues to develop as I grow as a musician. I’ve already got some projects I’m enjoying working on with some jazz instrumentalists I love which will build on this sound more. More to come soon!
Coex rounds off the compilation with ‘Reflections‘. What message or feeling does this final track leave with the listeners, and how does it tie the compilation together?
‘Reflections’ leaves you with a bitter sweetness I think. There’s a strong strong sense of melancholic mellowness and yearning, juxtaposition with a slight angst-driven harshness. There was a lot of emotion that went into that piece, and we tried to sculpt it carefully with a luminous sound palette to try and encapsulate that sense of chaos and serenity. I think that is why it feels like a fitting place to end the album. When it all comes to a crescendo you can almost feel the echoes of the whole collaborative piece washing away. Within the album, it feels like it concludes a lot of soul and passion that each of the artists put into it.
Selassie TBC and Claudia (Future Bubblers Team)
Can you tell us more about the inspiration and goals behind the Future Bubblers Compilation?
We didn’t have any goals in particular. We wanted a project that clearly showcases our Bubblers’ talent and versatility, with hopes of different pockets of genres being touched upon. (Also), we wanted our Bubblers to do something outside of their comfort zones, something they wouldn’t be able to do without the PRS Foundation funding we acquire each year to fulfill this compilation. This is our last compilation as Future Bubblers as we have now transitioned to Future Bubblers Academy. I guess you could say a goal would be for the legacy to continue.
What distinguishes the Future Bubblers Compilation from other music initiatives?
The compilation is a collection of the work of the mentees who have been a part of the project. Its composition occurs after they have had the full year of mentorship, grown with us as artists, and are more creatively assured from when they started. This is visible in the resulting product, the artists are more confident and happy to experiment. We have also created a beautiful community, everyone on the compilation knows each other and some have collaborated on their individual projects after meeting through the programme. A true family affair. We always say once a Bubbler always a Bubbler, so you feel like a proud relative. It is a personal project and testimony to the mentees.
What challenges do emerging artists face in today’s music industry, and how do Future Bubblers address these challenges?
Well, there are many challenges emerging artists face. But, if we were to name a few it would be lack of visibility, financial aid, and knowledge on the music business industry. With this knowledge, we try to make that readily available not only to our Bubblers but to the public as information seems not to be readily accessible. This was one of the motivating forces for our restructuring to the Future Bubblers Academy. We now have a focus on four pillars we believe are the core areas of the Music Industry that emerging artists should be clued up on. With financial aid, we try and take over that burden with the artists and industry candidates we work with. In our community, we program our Bubblers for festivals, showcases, and any gigs we can. This year we managed to a few of them sync placements.
Where we can provide another source of income or teach them about another route we try our very best to do so. This kind crosses over with our lack of visibility, when working on pushing our compilation we work with the amazing Emerald East & Jess at Good Energy PR to ensure that our artists are getting the best placements, the best visibility, the best radio play that they can in the spaces they deserve to be in!
How does the cooperative model of the compilation benefit the participating artists?
For many of the artists, it’s their first time experiencing a proper rollout, working with a PR team, and a plugger. So, it allows them to gain insight whilst simultaneously growing their audiences. What kind of support or guidance will candidates receive in areas like funding, sync, and brand deals?
That is actually one of our pillars. We are very blessed to have a network of industry professionals within these areas who are able to provide workshops to further the knowledge of our Bubblers.
What can we expect in terms of collaborations and projects from the candidates who complete the Academy program?
Well, this is the first year of Future Bubblers Academy, so come with an open heart and mind. As always they are a talented bunch, who cross genres in their creativity so even we’ll probably be surprised haha.
Can you share some insights into the collaborative process between the artists and the Future Bubblers team in creating and producing these tracks?
It’s a classic model; we A&R the project and they make the magic. Perfect synergy.