To give you a glimmer of what it’s about, futuretense programmer, Lexy Morvaridi, has put together this playlist of some of his favourite tracks from acts who have featured at, or are scheduled to perform in, the Southbank Centre’s futuretense.
Here’s the playlist, and beneath it Morvaridi explains why he’s enjoyed each of these artists, and why you should seek them out for yourself.
Zenel are a three piece electronic jazz inspired madness that have grown out of Tomorrow's Warriors. They performed at futuretense in 2019 and audiences loved their set. I first saw them live at Brainchild Festival (one of the best tastemaker festivals out there) a few years ago and was blown away. Featuring two BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year contenders and one of the most sought after drummers on the London scene at the moment, these guys are only just getting started – keep an eye out for more.
Something that always piques my personal interest is when I hear something for the first time and my initial reaction is ‘what is that?!’ This track is so weird it works, Famous have been knocking around The Windmill (great underground Brixton venue) scene with the likes of Black Midi, Black Country New Road and more, and it is no surprise that they are now on the up as well.
Sinead O Brien
A killer post-punk funky poet songwriter extraordinaire, Sinead O Brien played our futuretense slot in October 2019 during the London Literature Festival. Her distinct delivery is as potent as Patti Smith, and her lyricism invokes thought and playfulness at the same time. Releasing on the underground, but increasingly popular, Speedy Wunderground label, she has gone on to sell out venue shows in London and we look forward to welcoming her back in our Purcell Room or Queen Elizabeth Hall soon.
This is another record that stands out for me from last year. Who can't love an album that has a single called 'Disco Pregnancy'?! Electronic explorations that are funky in nature, whilst also taking you on an ethereal journey, all with Laima's whispered and thought provoking vocals over the top. Produced and released by the Dewee brother of Soulwax fame, and featuring Igor Cavelera throughout, this is an artist that has big ideas and will take them places, whilst definitely keeping it interesting along the way.
A very exciting songwriter who explores the darker side of pop with her melodic tracks and electronic production. What excites me about Jetta’s music is the fact she just dropped her new single 'Livin' – which is a catchy 2-step UKG inspired track – and her vocal ability is second to none. I’m really excited to see her take this to a live setting.
What to say about this? Well one thing is for certain, it's a vibe. I discovered this through our partners BBC Introducing who we work with on two shows a month at futuretense. Born in Zimbabwe, based in Humberside, Downtown Kayoto cites his influences as Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator, and Zimbabwean Bundhu Boys, and it can certainly be heard in the addictive hooks, slick production, and bars that I can only imagine will be so heavy live. Part of enigmatic collective, Khronic Vibes, this is an important addition to our lineup from outside of London.
Ego Ella May
An incredibly talented artist, whose appearance at futuretense in February 2020 was her first time performing in nearly a year. Hailing from South East London, her band is made up of some of the finest musicians in the capital, including Tomorrow’s Warriors alumni and members of Jorja Smith's band. Ego Ella May’s smooth RnB Jazz vocals, combined with a majestic craft for songwriting, has her tipped as one of the hottest upcoming acts in 2020. Not only is she a formidable musician, performer and songwriter, she also volunteers at her local community foodbanks. Everyone I spoke to here at the Southbank Centre was blown away by her futuretense slot; we can see her headlining a Royal Festival Hall before long.
A Manchester based band fronted by an enigmatic yet forthright songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer. Sonically on record Bunny Hoova are magnetic lo-fi grungy electronic pop, and experienced live they are a gutteral punch to the face. This is the sound of Manchester's underground alternative and could not sound further in the future, but also boasts the right sprinkling of nostalgic familiarity to hook you in.
Another artist I first saw live at Brainchild, Arlo Day comes from a burgeoning scene of artists from South East London that includes talents such as King Krule and Jerkcurb. Day recently signed to Domino records, and I personally cannot get enough of her three track EP. Her songs are infectious; well produced swathes of melancholic warmth with beautiful harmonies and straight to the point lyrics.
Last but not least, a fine demonstration of futuretense being a prime slot for internationally touring artists who are looking to build audiences in the UK. Coming out of Johannesburg, Sibulsie Xaba is one of the leading songwriters, musicians and voices from the South African jazz scene. His album Open Letter To Adoniah is a soothing emotional journey, where traditional South African vocal style meets contemporary sounds. This is an artist who – thanks to his unique yet captivating sound and performances, not to mention soulful delivery in all that he does – will be remembered for years to come.
The show must go on(line)
Sadly, for everyone’s safety, our venues are currently closed. But you can still get your Southbank Centre fix online. We will continue to share inspiring and thought-provoking arts stories through our website and social channels.
As a charity, we rely on ticket sales for a huge chunk of our income. But now they’ve stopped. And it's a huge worry to us, and the people we work with. We all need the escape of art and culture; it can inspire and unite us. So please – if you can afford to – consider a donation to the Southbank Centre today, to help us be there for you in the future.