They turned up at the requested time, thirty music execs armed with only a password. Outside the train station stood a man in a North African berber outfit, beneath a rusted metal effigy; a logo the industry types recognised from the 30-second clip of psychedelics and noise that had been surreptitiously distributed earlier that week. Transported to a secret venue for the debut performance, the execs were all on the phone straight away, offering the future to Black Futures.
Unconventional and brilliant, when Black Futures (the duo of Space and Vibes) finally inked their deal – with the legendary Music For Nations label – they did so literally; tattooing themselves and others with the band’s logo in the boardroom of Sony Music, surrounded by their tribe of hazmat-wearing devotees. That logo, and slogan, Never Not Nothing, “means absolutely nothing but absolutely everything at the same time,” says Space. “It’s all encompassing”; “Infinite nothingness,” Vibes adds.
Having learnt their craft by writing with The Prodigy and producing Idles, Black Futures’ single releases gradually unveiled their manifesto. ‘Love’ was based on the idea that “if it’s end of times, you’ve got ten minutes left, what are you gonna do? You’re gonna go around and tell everyone you love them, then get weird.” The mellower, more psychedelic ‘Karma Ya Dig!?’ was an anthem of solidarity, a tribute to friends Space had lost to suicide: “It’s the idea of holding the best of the people you lose in your mind and letting them live on through that.”
At the dawn of 2018, the NIN-meets-MGMT ‘Riches’ laid bare their dismissive disdain for all things financial, complete with mid-song infomercial, and later that year the sonic meta-rock bliss-blast that is ‘Trance’ hit a stunned radio, accompanied by a website encouraging club members to “tell me all your secrets”.
Tours with Skindred and Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes and a plethora of festival dates throughout 2018 taught Black Futures to create intense events in any situation. Hazmats paraded across stages waving flags of futuristic revolution or crowd-surfed on inflatable unicorns. “If we come up with a stupid idea we’ll probably make it happen,” says Space, “but only once.”
Then, early in 2019, came the corroded Kasabian garage glam of ‘Me. TV’, a call for social revolution to overthrow the modern me-me-me mindset and what Bobby Gillespie, in his guest rap, calls “hyper-capitalist zombification”. “We’d written the manifesto of the song,” Space says, “we wanted someone to punctuate it with something really visceral, a call to arms. He was at the top of the list.”
And now, Black Futures’ are preparing to eject their debut album Never Not Nothing, a further insight to their vision of a crumbling world, inhabited by a cast of random reprobates and shot through with a sardonic British humour. It features new single ‘Tunnel Vision’ and is a devasting collection of monumental, maximalist and magnificent music, laser-honed to conquer what’s left of the world.