Interview: Future Islands on Polarizing Performances & Aerobics Videos

By Shannon Carlin

“Were you the woman with her mouth hanging open in the front row?” Future Islands frontman, Samuel T. Herring asked me the day after their Coachella debut.

For the record, I was not, but Herring was on the hunt to find this female festival-goer. He says she spent the whole time during his band’s set in the Gobi Tent the first Saturday of the fest staring at him with her mouth gaping open—jaw fully dropped.

At first, Herring was convinced she hated it, that her shocked face was an adverse reaction to his stage presence. But after getting a few songs into the set, he realized it was the exact opposite. “She loved it!” he said laughing.

Related: Coachella 2014, Day 2: Muse Rocks Out, While Pharrell Gets By With a Little Help From His Friends

Since busting out all the right moves on The Late Show with David Lettermana performance that had the host looking to turn Herring into an internet meme of sorts—the agile singer and his bandmates, Gerrit Welmers and William Cashion, have gotten used to large crowds gawking at them. But it isn’t always in adulation.

“That performance has been polarizing,” Herring explained of the band’s late night debut. “I mean, some people think it is a joke. They’re like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ But that’s a good thing…Art should be polarizing at its best and draw people in different directions.”

Herring also makes it clear, that the Letterman performance is a good primer for what you can expect from a Future Islands show. “If you see that video and say, ‘What the hell is this?,’ please don’t come,” he said laughing. “Now you know, it’s not for you. And that’s fine.”

With all the attention on his dancing, Herring says fans have been asking him when he’s going to release his own workout video. And while he’ll never say never, right now, he has no plans to trademark his signature moves. “They’re for the world,” Herring said with a chuckle. “They’re truly for the world.”

Watch the interview above to see Future Islands talk about their song “Seasons (Waiting on You)” off their new album, Singles, the latest dance move Herring is workshopping and why the guys are a little concerned about their upcoming show in New York City.


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