Heels & Picks: Foreseeable Futures
BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Those who have a knack for spotting the next hip thing on the local music scene have probably been keeping an eye on Foreseeable Futures. The dynamic acoustic duo, who are also a couple, have been making appearances at events ranging from Art & Flea to weddings and yoga classes.
With their smooth, indie blend of harmonies, heartfelt delivery and their sleek sense of style, Anna Sachs (vocals) and Phil Potter (vocals/guitar) are carving out a name for themselves in Honolulu. One Wednesday a month you can find them performing at Bevy in Kakaako. Moscow Mule, anyone?
Recently the band launched their debut single (“Be Right Back”) with two events – a concert at the Doris Duke Theatre and a launch party at clothing store Kit and Ace in the Ala Moana Center. Sachs can often be found on the runway at fashion shows in Honolulu as a model, and with their sense of style, a clothing store launch is a stellar idea.
The single is the first from what will ultimately be a full-length record for Foreseeable Futures. The band is working to generate the funds to make the album through a Kickstarter campaign, and with 10 days still to go, they are very close to achieving their goal. Kickstarter rewards for fans range from Spanish lessons with Sachs (she has a masters in Spanish literature), custom leather guitar straps and a karaoke party with the band.
Sonically, Potter and Sachs’ voices blend well and have a warm quality to them. Low key yet engaging, the band seems to keep things chill even on more upbeat tempo songs, but the hushed vibe works for them. It’s relaxed without losing it’s edge.
I love running into these two – they are buddies of mine, but our crazy schedules usually keep us apart. I caught up with Sachs via email to find out more about their Kickstarter, the band and the new album.
HONOLULU STAR ADVERTISER: What are some of the major sonic influences for your music?
ANNA SACHS: We have always been huge fans of songwriters like Ryan Adams (did you hear his cover of Taylor Swift’s entire 1989 album?) and the power duo JohnnySwim. The rawness of the lyrics combined with the often times wistful or roaring riffs hit us where we feel it, and it makes us want to write songs that make people feel the same way.
SA: What can fans expect from your upcoming full-length album? Are there other players on the record? Who is producing it?
AS: On our album, we’ll be featuring eight original songs that we wrote over the past couple years, including our single “Right Back” (currently on iTunes, Spotify, you name it). For a few of the tracks we’ll be bringing in several collaborators to help us realize the sound we’re looking for. The details are under wraps and still in flux, so listeners will just have to wait! However, we can tell you that Brandon Apeles helped us produce our single “Right Back” & will continue to guide us in the production of this album. We are so excited that it’s all finally happening, since these are songs that we have played out for a while but have never been recorded. Many people who aren’t able to come to our gigs haven’t even heard some of them!
SA: You two are fashion fans and you know we love that over at Heels & Picks. What pieces from your current wardrobes best suit your music?
AS: Our Truffaux panama hats are a staple in both our closets, and we often wear them to our gigs. A good hat really pulls an outfit together. These particular hats are especially great for the daily grind, like running errands or lazing on the beach. Then, we wear them straight up on stage and they match perfectly with the folky sounds we make. Sometimes, I make Phil take his hat off if we’re wearing similar ones. It happens more than you would think!
Phil swears by the slim fit non-iron button up shirts from H&M, and has one in every color they offer. That plus dark jeans is his standard go-to gig outfit. For more casual evenings, he throws on one of his favorite Big Pineapple tees made by local artists Travis Sasaki and Ryan Dancemachine or his new, soft short-sleeve polo by Kit & Ace.
SA: Is it difficult to keep the regular details and squabbles of being a couple out of your musical life? Which one of you is Yoko? ;)
AS: We manage it pretty well by dividing and conquering, but the stress is inevitable with all the things we juggle – full time day jobs, school, modeling, writing music, playing music, seeing music! In our recent planning for our Kickstarter campaign, we found that Phil and I have very different working styles. Phil is the typical type-A planner. He’s got spreadsheets and set deadlines for almost everything! Meanwhile, I work in short bursts – a raging fire of productivity, but only when the mood strikes me. Phil helps me in organization, while I help Phil think more creatively and relax. We make a pretty good team.
SA: Tell us about your Kickstarter launch at Kit & Ace.
AS: We were lucky enough to actually have two launch parties for our single release and Kickstarter launch. The first one was at the Doris Duke Theater and the second one was hosted by the newly opened Ala Moana store, Kit & Ace. Both events left us absolutely buzzing with excitement to record our first album and also blown away by the unbridled support from everyone around us. Within the first day of our Kickstarter, we had already reached ⅓ of our goal and by the second week, we were almost half way! Our launch party at Kit & Ace was especially memorable because never did we expect that we would someday be playing our original music in a cashmere store. Everyone at Kit & Ace was incredibly supportive of us. They reached out and offered to host the event entirely, with amazing promotion and free drinks! It was the perfect way to celebrate the release of “Right Back” and kick-off our month long Kickstarter!
SA: What is the coolest, most memorable perk from your Kickstarter rewards?
AS: That’s like choosing your favorite child! But, if we had to choose: a ticket to our Wrap Party! For the past year we have been collaborating with Lan Thai (The Drunken Master Chef) to provide live music at her Farm To Chopstix dinners up on the North Shore. Basically she sets up one long table seating 100 guests in the middle of a field or a farm, and serves them amazing local food paired with artisanal beers. We love the opportunity to match our music with the amazing food she serves! Lan was kind enough to reserve a full table just for our Kickstarter backers at her upcoming event on the 17th. You can support our project by buying a ticket via our Kickstarter, and you’ll also receive our album when it’s ready! Expect a great night of food, drinks, music and dancing under the stars.
SA: What are some of your favorite albums from this year?
AS: Lord Huron – “Strange Trails”: We listen to this on repeat. The whole album flows together in a sort of adventure tale that pulls you in and never lets go.
The Paper Kites – “twelvefour”: A complete departure from their gentle acoustic duo on the last album. This one sports a solo vocal act with a rock sound.
Kaleo – “All The Pretty Girls”: This is an Icelandic group, currently living in Texas, named after the Hawaiian word for “the voice.” And they’re incredible!
Anyone who pledges to our Kickstarter will get a full Spotify playlist of our musical inspirations – what we sing to in the shower and jam out to in the car!
SA: What song on the new album resonates with you the most?
PHIL POTTER: “By and Bye” was the first song I ever wrote, and it was about Anna, so it will be very special for me to hear it all gussied up in a studio recording.
AS: I agree with Phil. That song is part of our love story, and despite how many times we’ve sang it together, it will always make me feel something.
SA: Do you have a title for the album?
AS: Not yet! But we think we’ll sit down once the tracks are completed, listen to the finished product, and see what speaks to us. Whatever it is, it will be reflective of our personal journeys – the ones we’ve taken to get here and the ones whose paths we have yet to find.
SA: Do you have any fun, quirky studio stories?
AS: Recording our single was a totally new experience for us, and we really underestimated the amount of time it would take! When we got to the studio at 4 p.m. on a weekday, our sound engineer Lock Lynch asked how many songs we planned to record that night. We responded, sheepishly, “Just the one!”. He responded, “Okay, well we have the studio until 8 a.m., so I’m sure we can handle that.” We laughed, thinking we’d have it wrapped by bedtime. Fast forward to 4 a.m., with Anna asleep on the futon and Phil on his fifth take of the guitar solos. 11 hours for a 3-minute song! But we got it just the way we wanted, and that’s all that matters! We are so looking forward to recording the whole album, and plan to drink a lot more coffee to prepare.
Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.