Future Teens talk Polar Seltzer, Sad Aliens, and New Music!

(Facebook) photo by Lauren Garant
Future Teens are an up-and-coming Boston based “summer bummer” rock band who have just put out an awesome new EP, Bored and Alone! Dan Radin (vocals and bass), Amy Hoffman (vocals and guitar), Nick Cortezi (guitar) and Dylan Vadakin (drums) have been gracing the world with their music since 2015.

“I’m impressed by anyone that goes out every weekend when I haven’t left the house,”  The title track “Bored and Alone” is the ultimate lazy day anthem. It is reminiscent of days spent watching grown men do “paternity backflips” on Maury in your favorite T-shirt, you know the one…The Eagles shirt you got sophomore year to match your Radio Club friends…

“She’s 22 years and just graduated/ Tells me that Boston sucks/  it’s so overrated/ I try to steer the conversation somewhere else/ but it obvious it’s not going to help,”

I’ve lived in Boston my entire life and I’ve done it all. Afternoons spent watching the Harvard crew team take on the Charles, using my high school ID to get discounted MFA tickets,  or just hanging out in the Boston Commons. Like everyone who lives here, we fondly reflect on icy hikes through unshoveled sidewalks and days spent praying the T would get us to our destination without breaking down…yet again. Never once in my humble eighteen years of life have I ever uttered the words “Boston” and “sucks” in the same sentence. It’s taboo. Almost as sacrilegious as not being a sports fan. Boston’s ‘ride or die’ sports culture is notorious. The search for Tom Brady’s missing jersey is practically considered international news, not to mention the numerous fan jerseys sold calling the Patriots the Super Bowl winners before the actual game. Although this city is known for a number of things, a prosperous music scene is not one of them. Recent venue closings and an ever tightening club restrictions….kinda, sorta, really…suck! But Future Teens have managed to blast through a puritan haze with their latest release Bored and Alone. 

The EP features five tracks including: Party Ethic, In Love or Whatever, Literally Falling For You, Kissing Chemistry and finishes with the title track Bored and Alone.

We were fortunate enough to get a chance to talk with band members Dan and Amy!

You guys are extremely charitable, some of the profits from Still Afraid of Allston went toward Planned Parenthood and you guys released a Christmas single called ‘Regift my Heart’ to raise money for Trans Lifeline. What were your motivations behind choosing those specific charities?

DAN: When we got the offer from Green Line Records to record and mix a song and we had this EP already done, that’s coming out in a couple weeks. We don’t want to put an original song out, but it would be really funny to write a Christmas song. So we decide to write this Christmas song. And then obviously after the election we were, like everyone else, looking for a way to help the people who were and will be oppressed with the change over in politics and the administration. We thought something that’s a little more niche, a little less recognized by a lot of people would be an organization that could use extra help. Especially a lifeline which is helping people in various terrifying times is extremely important. It seemed like kind of a no brainer for us. It’s a really dumb song, I don’t know if you listened to it. Let’s just write this really dumb and give to a really important cause. That’s the just the kind of juxtaposition we’d like.

Would you ever consider doing an entire Christmas album?

DAN: What do you think, Amy?

AMY: I think I could get down. Think we could get Smashmouth to do a little Christmas tour with us?

DAN: Oh yeah. [Laughs]

AMY: Smash Mouth has some Christmas bangers.

 

What has been your favorite venue and your most memorable performance so far?

DAN: Let’s see. In town? Probably, we played at Charlie’s Kitchen. It was like one of our first like real shows as a band. It’s basically a dive bar that has shows like on the floor. There’s no stage or anything. You’re just right there with everyone. That was really fun.  We also played a show in Williamstown (MA) at another diver bar, also on the floor. There’s a theme here. And that was a really good time too. It was basically just set up in the corner of this bar but we ended up having a really good time. It was just this small college town, where Williams College is. A friend of mine runs the Williamstown Theater thing down there and we were on tour, so we set up a show for the unsuspecting bar patrons and then some suspecting bar patrons. We had a really nice time in Williamstown. We had kind of like a day off. We went to see a movie and drank a lot of coffee and laid around. It was a fond memory from this past summer.   

AMY: It was fun! They put us up in dorm rooms.

What is the best part of being in the Boston area?

DAN: What’s the best part of being in Boston? The sort of flavor of Boston is sports, and I’m not a huge sports fan, which makes it exciting when you meet another musician. Whereas when you are in Nashville or New York and you meet another musician it’s kind of like: ‘Yep. We’re all musicians here.’ But here, like when you meet someone who plays music or creates art it’s kind of an exciting thing because there is so many people here who are not doing that. So I really like that aspect of Boston. There’s like a nice community of musicians and everyone kind of, more or less, knows each other or has like one degree of separation.

I’ve heard a lot about Boston being pretty restrictive in terms of venue restrictions, shutting down DIY venues, weird alcohol laws etc. What’s Boston like? Who are some of the people who have influenced you in some your favorite places?

DAN: For me, each genre seems to have its own community around it and its own set of venues that you kind of play at if you are in that group. There’s also a lot of crossover, a lot of people are in multiple bands. That’s kind of nice. I think the DIY scene has been coming back. It was cracked down on by the police for a little while so it kind of went further underground. It’s definitely been coming back and now a lot of the people in the DIY scene work at the venues. The Boston music scene is becoming more and more legitimate in and outside of Boston, which is nice.

Where were some of the basement shows that were particularly memorable? Or some of the spaces that you guys have really clung to that have helped you grow as artists.

DAN: You a cop? [Laughs] ‘What are specifically some of the addresses?’ Like Amy said, we played a couple now. I think they often change. There was one I used to go to in college all the time called The Butcher Shop and I saw so many good bands there. I saw Vivian Girls play there, Radiator Hospital, and all these bands that have gone on to play much bigger spots. I think they had Waxahatchee a while back as well. They kind of change over quickly because a lot of the people who run them are in college or they end up moving to New York, or whatever. Our drummer, Dylan, is much more involved. I think he knows a lot more people in the scene cause he’s been playing in it for like forever since he’s been in Boston. He’d probably know better some of the actual spaces.     

AMY: I can’t keep up with what any of them are called anymore. I knew when I lived on the street where all the venues are in college, but now I have to ask someone every time I hear about a house show. Like ‘which house is this again? Is that the one with the stage or the one that’s just really hot?’

DAN: We did play this one that was with a stage and was really hot.

AMY: I’ve never sweat so much in my life.

DAN: Yeah, that was really fun. We got in there we were like: ‘Wait, this is kind of legit.’ They had like a stage and a nice PA. That was one of the good ones for sure.

Still Afraid of Allston, your first EP, came with handcrafted floppy disks. That’s a unique touch. What inspired you guys to design floppy disks?

DAN: I was having a conversation with my friend Nick [not the band member]. He’s a DJ at WZBC,90.3 here. I think he tweeted a joke tweet, which was like ‘starting a floppy disk label, please apply,’ or something like that. I texted him immediately and I was like ‘Wait, we should actually do this. It’s hilarious.’ So we decided to make like 20 of them, or something like that, and I put them online. Again, this was all a joke. I thought ‘no one is going to buy these, we’ll just have them and it will be funny.’ And we ended up selling all of them within the first day or two. [Laughs] I was like ‘Alright? I guess there’s some demand for novelty merch items that I didn’t realize existed.’ It was a little bit making fun of the different mediums that people release albums on. I mean this is clearly a different medium, which is why the label that we came up with was called Defunct Records. It pretty much started as a joke. Actually the whole band started as a joke. It has since become more and more serious. We still don’t take it too seriously, but we definitely have actually played shows now. Our new EP is gonna be out on a cassette tape, which is one step up from a floppy disk. Even if you access the music on the Floppy Disk, it’s some of the lowest quality, most terrible sounding music you’ll ever hear. Its 1.4 megabytes for the whole thing, and its five songs.

AMY: We had somebody come to a show, get a floppy disk, go out the next day and buy a floppy drive just to listen to it.

DAN: There’s a secret message on each one too, so if you want to get the secret message you have to get floppy drive. Hack into the mainframe!

Last year, you guys played with PWR BTTM. You guys held a show at Lesley University, which is right in your backyard. How was that experience? What was it like?

DAN: We only got to play one show with them. The one show we did play was very dreamy. They were both extremely nice people and very supportive. We had a nice chat with them afterward about the trials and tribulations of the music industry and it was just a really, really positive experience. Everyone at Lesley was also really nice.They are like one of our favorite bands.  Nick’s been seeing them live since like the first time they came to Boston. He like wet his pants when he heard we were going to get to play with them. He was very excited. (You can write that he literally wet his pants if you want.)

AMY: [Laughs] I think we all melted into the floor a little bit. I did, definitely. My knees buckled. Like you’re probably kidding. Do [go see PWR BTTM live] the moment you get the chance. They’re two of the sweetest people I have ever had the chance to meet and they are making unbelievable music and doing wildly important things. They’re a huge deal.

 

Why did you decide to make the sad alien come your mascot? Is there any new merch in the works, besides the cassettes of course.

DAN: The sad alien – I know I went through a phase where I was really into the classic alien thing, which is a little hint about what our music video will be. Aliens play a big part. I liked the idea of an alien and human being in some sort of ambiguously romantic relationship and maybe there’s a metaphor there, I don’t know. You can read into it what you will. I thought aliens were funny and cute. [Laughs] I don’t know. We worked with this really great artist. This guy, Vinnie Neuberg, who is a friend of my brother’s. I kind of was like ‘Hey, I have this idea for a T-shirt where an alien is sad that a human is leaving their planet.’ He was like ‘Alright, I’ll whip something up.’ And he just sort of killed it. He nailed everything about it and made it look really sad and good. I think if I were to describe our music in two words it would be “funny sad.” For our merch we tried to go on brand and be kind of funny and kind of sad.

What were some of the influences for Bored and Alone? How was writing this album different than the writing process for Still Afraid of Allston?

DAN: This EP that’s coming out in a couple of weeks, it’s truly a four piece band. We arranged the songs together and wrote a lot of the parts together. Still Afraid of Allston was just me and former member, Gabe. We wrote those songs and we never even played the live actually. We just wrote them and just recorded them and arranged them just on the computer. This new EP is much more of a band effort and much more of a collaborative effort than the previous thing. When Still Afraid of Allston was written, there was really no band. The band kind of formed around the EP and we went from there.

Have people responded to them well? Do you have anyone singing along yet?

DAN:I think the only song people have sung to is, well, “Jennifer Lawrence.” It has a very easy chorus to remember. But hopefully when we release this new EP in a couple weeks people will enjoy it. We think the songs are sing-along-able, so that’d be nice.

What are you guy’s favorite lyrics off the new EP and why?

DAN: I’ll give my answer. I think – one song I wrote the lyrics of but now Amy sings called Kissing Chemistry. It’s a song I wrote about some experiences I had but then hearing Amy sing the lyrics is kind of like ‘whoa.’ It’s different when you hear the lyrics that you felt sung by someone else. It’s kind of a exciting. Like she puts her own spin on the song and makes it way sadder than when I sing it. That was really exciting to hear for me.

AMY: There are a lot of lines on the EP that make me laugh and then everytime I play Kissing Chemistry I almost cry. [Laughs] The PWR BTTM show was right after a rough break up for me, so that song – I was already having a really emotional time playing in front of a band that really inspires me and to play that song was just ‘ugh.’ It’s always happy sad. It’s cathartic. I think for as much as In Love or Whatever cracks me up, every set, Kissing Chemistry crushes me a little bit in a good way.

DAN: There’s one line on In Love or Whatever, that we are releasing next Friday, where we get to scream ‘Boston Sucks,’ and that’s really fun.

You guys are really passionate about Polar Seltzer. Can you give your best 30 second pitch why you deserve a lifetime supply?

DAN: Go for it Amy.

AMY: I mean Polar Seltzer gives me life and I feel like we can have a solid relationship in that. I have been living on the grapefruit seltzer for longer than I would like to admit or that is probably healthy. Nick and I bond over this pretty routinely. I think the whole Polar thing was just like me and Nick in the car going to the first couple shows of tour, sending selfies of us with Polar back and forth. And it got a little out of hand but I’m not sorry. [Laughs] Hopefully our time will come. That’s like the two goals we have: Polar to hook it up now and then and be celebrity burrito rollers at local burrito powerhouse, Anna’s Taqueria.

Make sure to listen Bored And Alone below!

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