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Published: 2011/08/31
by Marc Shapiro

Future Pulls Back the Slingshot

“The original inspiration just came from living in northern Virginia,” Sterling said. “The guy could have been anybody I knew and really anybody who grew up in upper middle class America.”

When he came to his bandmates with the idea, all he knew was he wanted the album to follow a guy through life, have him get in some real trouble, die and follow him through the afterlife. The incidents and episodes in the life of the character were crafted during the writing process.

“We constantly were just putting pieces into the puzzle,” Bucket said.

On Mortalitas, the first disc, the child is born, and quickly develops a sense of disconnection from his safe, secure world and his parents. He gets into graffiti, but gets caught and sent to military school, where he gets molded into a hard, conservative man.

The disc takes him to college, where he studies law, and he becomes a lawyer for the mob after graduating. He gets caught up in the fast life, and when a deal goes wrong, everyone, including his mob associates, wants him dead. He is gunned down in “Black Van,” the disc’s closer.

On Spiritus, which was released in April, the character goes through “Jabulon Square,” the underworld Future invented and the title of the second track. Demons make him feel the pain that he dealt on Earth, and he gets locked up to reflect on his life. Judges put him on trial and sentence him.

“His sentence is to be reincarnated,” Sterling said. “So, he goes back because he didn’t learn what he needed to.”

The character prepares to be born again, and is reborn on the hidden track, which is a rehashed version of the beginning of “Kickin’ and Screamin,’” the first track from Mortalitas that signifies birth.

The lyrical subjects weren’t anything too far-fetched for a band that covered subjects like interracial relationships, homelessness, environmental awareness and the brainwashing effects of television on its debut album.

The difference here was that as the band got into OEOI, they became the album. Band members deconstructed their playing to fit different stories and lived in the world they created.

“It’s almost like as people, we became the album, or different parts of it,” Sterling said. “It was really strange.”

To craft lyrics and concepts for Spiritus, Bucket read up on South American tribal history to learn about different concepts of the underworld.

“I spent two weeks reading stories about the underworld and Mayan prophecies for disc two,” Bucket said. “For two weeks, everyone thought I was weird as hell.”

But the weight has been lifted. The band no longer has to tailor each song to a specific theme, worrying about what kind of guitar part fits the mood or how to move a character from one chapter to the next.

In addition to helping the band mature by leaps and bounds, OEOI also cemented Mills, then a guest, as the sixth member of the band.

With a renewed sense of self, the band is taking the summer to concentrate on writing new material that showcases its six-piece format.

“We can sit back and make…music that messes with the mood and the soul in a completely different way than The Outer Edge of Inside, ” Bucket said.

As Future concentrates on new music, they’re playing a few shows and planning to release some “Back to the Sun” remixes by Washington, D.C.-area DJs.

“It’s almost like a slingshot,” Sterling said.

With an already rich body of work to its name, when this five-year-old band does fire the slingshot, it’s sure to hit hard and sting.

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