Aug 21, 2015
The Digitally Imported Dial 19: Future Beats

We’re back with our weekly series with Digitally Imported, The Digitally Imported Dial, where we highlight some of the best channels and shows available on the Web’s premier electronic music streaming radio platform. Every channel is curated by hand, so we’ll hear from the men and women behind the scenes how they bring us the music we love.

This week we’re taking a look at one of DI’s newest channels, Future Beats. We spoke with the channel’s curators, Lueda, Shola, and Phil of Made Of Chalk and Earmilk, to find out exactly what the amorphous “future” term means to them and who some of their favorite artists are in the space.

Lueda, Shola, and Phil’s early musical influences are varied and complementary:

Lueda: I grew up with pop, electronic, classical and folk music in Albania (Europe). When I first heard Für Elise by Beethoven, my life changed forever; I began playing piano at age 7 because of it, which marks my official, long love affair with music. I currently reside in Canada with my partner-in-crime Shola and our lovely kitties. I somehow managed to turn my love for music into a full-time job! I work as a consultant and Made Of Chalk is my biggest passion project. Music and the Internet changed my life when I moved to Canada–they allowed me to connect with others across the globe at a time when I was a lonely teen in a foreign land.

Shola: I’m originally from the UK, but I moved to small-town Canada when I was young. My parents had a pretty diverse record collection, so I’ve always been into a wide range of music, and the Internet facilitated my endless search for new sounds to explore. Professionally, I’m a software consultant, and it’s my responsibility to take care of all of Made Of Chalk’s technical needs.

Phil: I was born in Indiana and have been living there ever since. My taste in music was pretty narrow throughout high school; I mainly listened to alternative or punk music such as Blink 182, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Good Charlotte, and Muse. It wasn’t until after I attended Bonnaroo, my first music festival, in 2008 that my musical taste really exploded.

For the DI Future Beats curators, “future” mainly means “boundary-pushing:”

Phil: For me, I define future beats as a melting pot genre. It does not have clear boundaries or consistent characteristics, but more of a unique combination of styles that are missing from the mainstream electronic scene. In my opinion, “future” can take on many shapes and forms, such as house, downtempo, trap, hip-hop, experimental, and R&B. The experimental aspect is the most important part to me.

Shola: I agree. I will say, though, that I think there’s definitely a future “sound” that is popular right now, but we’re really trying to draw attention to the artists who are legitimately pushing genre boundaries through their approach to recording, production, and performance.

Lueda: “Future” does not represent a genre as much as it represents authenticity, like Shola and Phil noted. I’m partial to hidden gems–electronic music that needs to be heard because it’s different, refreshing, and more importantly: creative.

Kaytranada, Emancipator, and Slow Magic are a few of the artists you will hear often on DI Future Beats:

Phil: There are a lot of artists I feature constantly. Some of the artists that I consistently listen to are Ta-ku, Shigeto, Shlohmo, Atu, Kaytranada, Flying Lotus, Arms and Sleepers, Elaquent, Slow Magic, Cashmere Cat, Jamie xx, and BlackBird BlackBird, just to name a few.

Lueda: ODESZA’s early work, Emancipator, Stèv, Frameworks, Yppah, Wax-Tailor, Lapa, Godblesscomputers–the list goes on and on.

Harrison, AlunaGeorge, and Godblesscomputers have had particularly deep impacts on the DI Future Beats curators:

Phil: One track that I came across a few years ago that blew my mind is Akira by Harrison. It was a song that was so different from the other songs I was sifting through in the depths of the Internet. It was one of my first experiences with “future,” though I had no idea at that time.

Shola: I come across so much amazing music that it’s difficult to single out individual tracks. I’d say that rediscovering AlunaGeorge’s debut album was a highlight of the preparation phase. Maybe I’m biased, but I love the UK “future” sound.

Lueda: I always have Godblesscomputers’ Closer on repeat!

Digitally Imported’s robust reporting system as well as friend advice are the main ways the curators get feedback on the channel:

Shola: We’re still getting a handle on all of the tools made available to us by Digitally Imported, but there’s a pretty robust monthly reporting system, which gives us an overview of what people are digging on DI Future Beats. We’re also constantly asking our friends for feedback, too, so we have a good idea of what’s working and what’s not working so far.

Listen to the Digitally Imported Future Beats channel here.

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