In the recent swarm of labels and collectives popping up all over the globe, the preeminent, seasoned collectives have risen to the forefront in taste-making circles. Labels that have stuck to their guns amidst the rollercoaster ride that has been the dance music industry in the past decade are now finding themselves miles ahead in a competitive industry. Enter Future Classic from Sydney, Australia. Nearly eight years in the making, Future Classic is an engrossing and eclectic music label, agency, DJ collective and publishing company, and in the past year their popularity has seemed to reach all corners of the globe with releases like Flight Facilities’ “With You,” Anna Lunoe’s “Real Talk,” and Danny Daze’s “Zone.” Last month, Future Classic released their first compilation — a beast of a release featuring some of the best tracks I’ve heard this year — so naturally I had to check in with Future Classic DJ Chad Gillard and hear what the fellas from Sydney were up to. Read on for the interview and a FREE track from the compilation.
Gotta Dance Dirty™: Sticking with GDD interview tradition, what is your usual drink order?
Chad Gillard: I’m pretty partial to dark spirits, especially Appleton Estate or Mount Gay and Coke, but no lime! James quite likes vodka and cloudy apple juice (I think) and Nathan is a bit more sophisticated and would probably go for a good drop of whiskey on the rocks.
GDD™: Future Classic is one of the most buzzing music companies in the world at the moment. What would you say is the main force behind the popularity and acclaim that FC has received around the world lately?
CG: Thanks for the kind words, we’re stoked any time people are aware/across what we’re working away on. We just try to work with music and artists that we’re excited by and are passionate about and it’s really nice that there’s some international interest for what we’re doing.
We bring a lot of international artists to Australia, and that’s probably not something that our international audience is completely aware of. In the last twelve months we’ve toured The Whitest Boy Alive, Sebastien Tellier, Little Dragon, Tensnake, Prins Thomas, DJ Koze, John Talabot, Classixx, Isolee, Jacques Renault, Dixon, Joakim, Tiger & Woods, Aeroplane, The Magician, Tevo Howard and Robag Wruhme to Australia.
So it’s kind of a two way street or a cultural exchange that we have with our label acts being exposed to international audiences and us bringing our favourite international artists out for Australian audiences to experience. That kind of interaction with like minded artists/labels from around the world definitely helps keep us motivated and inspired!
GDD™: How has Sydney influenced the A&R of the label? Could Future Classic have been born anywhere else?
CG: We work with artists from around the world, though I guess the artists that we’ve been working with on bigger or more long term label projects are more likely to be Australian based.
We love our hometown of Sydney and we often get told that the music we put out has a really ‘summery’ or ‘sunny’ vibe to it. We don’t actively search out brighter sounding music, we just look for music that we really like and find engaging. I don’t think we really see Future Classic as having a particular sound, though when we look back at the recent catalogue I can see how it could be categorised as ‘sunny’. The three of us that make up Future Classic DJs are all Sydney born and bred so it probably has had some impact on us whether we’re aware of it or not.
It was Nathan and his (now) wife Jay that first started Future Classic and they’ve always been pretty in love with Berlin, so perhaps Berlin might’ve been a logical home for the label when it first started. Nath just got back from 3 months in Europe earlier this year and I spent a month in the US in March. We quite like the idea that the label can operate from wherever we are in the world at any given time though Sydney will always be home base.
GDD™: What does Future Classic do differently than other labels and collectives? What sets you apart from your contemporaries?
CG: Not sure what makes us different, I guess our taste/A&R is what makes us the label we are though. There’s so much good music out there these days and good music definitely feels more accessible than in the past. There’s plenty of labels/collectives out there that we love who are doing great things and working with great acts and we all seem to have our own style and way of going about things. It’s a question that an outsider could probably better answer better than us.
GDD™: The Future Classic DJs Compilation was released last month, and I have to tell you, it’s absolutely amazing. What inspired this first official compilation?
CG: It was a combination of factors that led us to release the comp. It’s all music we’re excited about and a lot of it is music that was sent to us and we didn’t necessarily have a good home for releasing.
The comp also follows nicely from the monthly Soundcloud DJ mixes that we’d been doing, seemed like a natural progression to do a mix using only tracks in our label catalogue.
GDD™: Tell us a little about the Future Classic DJs. Who are you three and how’d you come together?
CG: Future Classic DJs are Nathan McLay, James McInnes and myself. It’s basically the three of us that had been working at Future Classic, we were spending 5 days a week in an office together working with, talking about and listening to great music and we were also playing at most of the club shows with the artists that we tour. Future Classic DJs seemed like a pretty obvious name for us when we played out and it’s what people had started calling us as well as they knew we were the guys behind the label, events and touring company.
James has recently finished up working in the office with us but is still very much part of the FC family and will continue as part of the Future Classic DJs as well as continuing to co-host our weekly radio show…. you can catch us every week streaming live on FBi radio 6-8pm on Saturdays Sydney time!
GDD™: Why did you choose to release music via the compilation as opposed to individual releases? I read that half of the tunes on here are exclusive to this release?
CG: We’ve got plenty of records lined up for release at any given time and there’s often more music than we can put out. Doing the comp felt like a pretty great way to get a bunch of music out at once, especially some of the one offs that perhaps didn’t fit into any of our other planned releases.
And yes, 10 of the tracks you’ll only find on this compilation.
GDD™: What is your most played track off of the compilation so far?
CG: I’ve been playing the Tigerskin ‘In Public’ a fair bit when playing out. We’ve got a 4 track 12″ coming for Tigerskin with another 3 new tracks from him, it’s going to be a really nice piece of vinyl. For headphone listening, the Worst Friends remix of Gung Ho’s track ‘Twin Rays’ would be right up there.
GDD™: Future Classic is known for its eclecticism as you guys have put out everything from Disco to Indie Rock to Deep House in past years. Do you foresee Future Classic utilizing the sub-label formula as other imprints like Moda and Turbo have done, or will all Future Classic releases always be under the same umbrella?
CG: We actually dabbled with that in the past when Future Classic first started almost 8 years ago now. We had a couple releases that came out on a sister imprint called Risky Disko that was basically a home for some of the tougher tunes we were into, particularly a lot of the tunes that were coming from one of our Sydney acts Stick Figures.
These days it seems to be working fine to just put out all of our releases through Future Classic, we’re ok with our output being a little diverse musically.
GDD™: What’s coming up for Future Classic? Any tours, releases, collaborations, etc. that we should know about?
CG: Always plenty going on here at FC HQ. Flume’s had a really amazing 12 months and his debut album is due out in November, expecting big things for that one. Mitzi have a new album that will be ready early next year and it’s sounding great, they’ve been working with Ash Workman who did the most recent Metronomy album amongst others.
One of our newest signings, Panama also have an EP coming in October. Their first single ‘Magic’ came with some stellar remixes from Midnight Magic and Gavin Russom (bit of a NYC affair ; ). For the lead single on the new Panama EP we’re doing a 12″ with more of a European flavour featuring remixes from Kolsch, Dave DK and Ejeca, that 12″ has come out really nicely and the EP is super great too.
And last thing I’ll mention is a new 12″ from one of our more mysterious FC family members, Touch Sensitive. Been up for a solo 12″ from him for a while and it’s not too far off now!