There is nothing as gratifying as greeting four fancy gents at the front door of The Family Wash and pouring a few cold beers for them, just for the sake of stealing a mere hour of their time. It is especially gratifying when the individuals I am about to depict walk through that door. I hold firm to the belief that any human being would be content in simply conversing with them, and I am no exception.
Who are these four men? In a literal sense, they bring their forces together to create the local band Future Thieves. For people who embrace the Nashville music scene —or current music in general—this name will resound in their minds like the bells and whistles they would while to attend a Future Thieves show. The band consists of Elliot Collett (lead singer/rhythm guitarist), Austin McCool (lead guitarist), Nick Goss (bassist) and Gianni Gibson (drummer). While Nick and Austin have known each other since attending the same Evansville, Indiana grade school, Elliot and Gianni hail from Kentucky and Los Angeles, respectively. Each band member carved their own route throughout the country (and Europe for a season of Gianni’s life) to reach the location they now realize to be a pinnacle of their musical existence—Nashville, Tennessee.
Ladies and Gentlemen, without further ado I present Future Thieves…
Repertoire: I know most people ask this question, but how did you guys find each other?
Austin – Nick and I went to grade school, high school and college together, and he got me a job at a country club when I moved down here. We were in different bands at the time, so we would drink beers and play music. Those bands eventually broke up, and Nick introduced me to G (Gianni). At that time, Gianni heard what we were working on, let his current band down easy with a case of Michelob Ultra, and started playing with us. Elliot joined not too long after, and we just starting playing.
R: Did you have an intrinsic desire to be a rock band based on what you guys grew up listening to? If so, what first tipped you off that in the land of broken cowboys this type of sound would work?
Gianni- The great thing about us is that there are common threads that link us together, but we grew up listening to various genres. I grew up listening to punk, jazz and funk while Nick was “mild metal” and jam bands. With those common threads, we can gauge what we like and want to produce. Collectively, we love listening to The Killers, Delta Spirit, My Morning Jacket, and a lot of Ryan Adams. We respect these artists and bands because they stay true to the core of their music while remaining relevant.
As for migrating to Nashville, it was the closest music mecca for most of us. I personally was in Connecticut before moving to New York and then London. As I left London I was either heading to Los Angeles or Nashville. With the connection I had to these guys, it was a no brainer.
R: Who came up with the band name?
FT: Elliot came up with the name while he was living in Los Angeles. It doesn’t have a big backstory, it was just something that we loved and listeners were intrigued by. The name is also signature for us. The only other trademark with “Future Thieves” we have stumbled across is a burlesque site, so we figured it was safe for us to use it as the band name.
R: Your collective sound is damn near flawless and impeccable. Do you attribute your quick tenure in town to that natural chemistry?
FT: We actually found our groove and produced our first record “Horizon Line” in under a year. We started in 2013 as a 5-piece band with a blues-influenced guitarist. He decided to leave the band in February of 2015, and his leaving served as a catalyst for us to find our groove and exact sound in less than a week before our first Lightning 100 show. Soon after that metamorphosis we finished building our studio we were ready to use all of our demos and other recordings to create our album. Miles Davis said it best when he said the music is just an extension of the ensemble of players. We can definitely say that we have the same kindred spirits and band chemistry together whether we are grilling out and watching football together or recording a song.
R: What song(s) resonates with you the most on this new album “Horizon Line?”
FT: We gravitate toward several songs, and we gravitate to each one for a different reason. For instance, “Nightmares” is a band favorite based on how quickly and beautifully it came together. We wrote for about twenty minutes and produced that song. We also experimented with some unique sounds on both “On Fire” and “Diamonds,” which is always fun to do. We are excited to have that little Latin section and layered percussion ensemble in “On Fire.” To be honest, we choreographed all of the songs and the song order on our album. We imagine the listeners playing the album from beginning to end as they would on vintage vinyl decades ago, and the album making sense to them as a full story.
R: I know you guys collaborated with Leah Blevins on “Joel’s Song.” Did any other third parties have a hand in the creation and production of the album?
FT: Our producer, Alex Jarvis, assisted with a lot of creative ideas regarding the record. He is a very talented engineer and was present with us from the day we recorded drums to the day we finished the album. At one point he brought over a toy chest and let us implement the sounds from children’s toys during some of the transitions. He even let us use his soundboard, which is the same board that was used at the 1996 Olympics.
R: Let’s talk about the video for Horizon Line. The video seems like a classic, straightforward and fun rock n roll take on a country music video. What was the journey from presenting the song to creating a visual illustration of it?
FT: That song has a “riding in a jeep through the open field” feeling to it, without any deep story attached. The song carries a carefree essence, and the stylistic shots in the video portray that essence. We shot the video on Elliot’s parents’ farm in Kentucky, and we wrote a lot of the record in the cabin on that land. Our buddy Preston captured all of the wide-angle shots and executed our vision for the video. Here’s a funny piece of trivia: Elliot accidentally broke Preston’s video camera, so we had to finish shooting the video in Nashville. As luck would have it, both Leah and Lacey Blevins acted the part of the young woman in the video. They are identical twins, and when Lacey could not make it to the last bit of filming in Nashville, Leah stepped in to help. We Full-housed the video so to speak.
R: You probably get this question a lot, but with this type of trajectory, where do you guys set your goals for the next year or two? Essentially, what do you have up your artistic sleeves?
FT: We are going to partake in a lot of touring. We have actually started writing the second album, and are demoing those songs as we speak. This next album will be in the same vein of music, but with this one we will be ironing each song out in real time, instead of playing the songs live and going back in to record. With the last album, we knew how we wanted each song to sound while recording because we had played live so many times with those songs. We now have the autonomy to create as we go all in one punch. As for the next year, we just want to continue to grow and present our abilities. Whether we play the Ryman or a small venue in Franklin you will get the same show.
R: What’s your favorite venue or state to play/that you have played?
FT: Probably Rockwood Music Hall in New York. We also love playing here in town. We had great experiences at both Third and Lindsley and Live on the Green. Perhaps the most surreal show was at War Memorial Auditorium when we opened for Judah and the Lion. As we were about to take the stage, we did our backstage chant and took a moment to soak it all in. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech there, David Bowie played there, and there is 90 years of history in that room. We felt humbled to have the opportunity to walk out onto that stage with three best friends to play the show of a lifetime.
R: Who have you met in your time as a musician that you fan girl-ed over?
Elliot- Lily Aldridge touched my shoulder one time and I was in awe. Amos Lee came to one of our shows, which we were excited to find out. Then of course there was that one time we saw Local Natives play a show at the Ryman and then randomly hung out with them at 308 the same night.
Gianni- My favorite celebrity moment occurred when I was still delivering Jimmy Johns sandwiches. I saw this blacked out Suburban and caught a glimpse of what appeared to be Little Richard in the Suburban. I’ll never forget it; I was on my delivery bike and yelled out to the Suburban “Hey Little Richard!” He then replied, “What’s up baby!” We exchanged a few words and then he drove off. Only in Nashville!
R: What would you have done professionally had you not gone into music?
Elliot- I would have surfed in some perfect world, but really I would have used my audio degree and be a sound engineer.
Austin- I have a Finance degree, so I would go into something corporate…I am definitely an expert at budgeting the fifty cents sitting on my dresser!
Nick- Yeah, Austin and I would have gone into a corporate job with our degrees.
Gianni- I grew up around the music industry with my mom designing platinum records and my dad playing music, but I always had a deep respect for my Uncle. He was a police officer, so I would have probably followed in his footsteps.
R: What’s the craziest/most potentially illegal thing you’ve done on tour?
FT: We lost our van one night in Manhattan after a show, and we decided to run on top of parked cars to look for it. Austin crossed the street at one point yelling, “KILL ME!” and Elliot traversed 100 blocks by himself on his own special journey.
R: What is your must-have tour bus/van food and liquor of choice?
FT: We drink whatever the venues will give us, and we are a big fan of Tito’s Vodka. As for food, we will pack homemade sandwiches for the van and feast on them during our travels. We have simply coined them, “van sandwiches.”
R: Where is your favorite local spot in Nashville to hang out when you are not touring?
FT: HOME. We hate to say that is the true answer, but it is. We will hang out at Dino’s or Bobby’s Idol hour, it is easy on our wallets. We also love Santa’s Pub. Our favorite past time is partaking in bonfire season. We will start coming here to The Family Wash though, just for the record.
R: Last question, I promise! What’s your go-to word in the English dictionary, profane or otherwise?
FT: We collectively love the word “strudel.” “Knucklehead” and “gaggle” are two useful words as well.