Music. For all the rhythms, melodies, vibrations, and lyrics, it’s hard to put into words why we love it, but we do.
Engaging in the love of music is an integral part of being human, and it’s also an integral part of Recover. In January of 2016, Recover started the Recover Artist Development (RAD) program to highlight and support up-and-coming artists. The artists provide the design, Recover provides the apparel, and everyone discovers great music while the word about sustainability spreads.
Futurebirds, a critically-acclaimed band that’s lighting up stages all over the U.S. this spring and summer, was one of Recover’s first RAD bands. We caught up with Recover Ambassador and Futurebirds’ singer, guitarist, and songwriter Carter King about the inconveniences of finding hats when you have a large head, sustainability, life on the road, and of course.... Music.
When did you start playing music?
I’ve always been drawn to musical instruments and things that make noise in general. I started playing trumpet in 3rd grade, drums in 5th, and in 6th or 7th grade, I talked my mom into getting me a Sam’s Club Yamaha Strat. The guitar really stuck, but I was good at trumpet. I will say I still have my trumpet and although I don’t remember how to actually play notes, I do remember how to make a loud noise. I usually can do that for about 45 seconds until everyone says, “You’ve got to shut up.”
How did Futurebirds start?
I went to school in Athens, Georgia because I knew I wanted to be part of the great music fun scene there in general. I met some of the guys while I was interning and working at the Chase Park Transduction studio in town, where Drive-by Truckers, etc. recorded. I met a handful of other dudes and a few of the guys I met in bars before we even realized that we all played musical instruments. There was a rotating cast of 7 or 8 and between all of us, we had 5 bands going at the same time with different ideas behind each, backing each other up. Futurebirds molded a couple of the bands together and it stuck the most.
What’s it like to be a musician?
Constant motion. You need a real good duffel bag. I haven’t unpacked in 4 or 5 months. There’s no sort of routine, except when you’re out on tours. You never know what you have coming down the line on any given Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon. You have to have a real open mind about the whole thing.
Tell us about Futurebirds and Recover’s RAD program...
Recover’s Co-Founder Bill knew our original manager and used to let us sleep on his floor when we were starting out and swung through town. We loved hearing about Recover as it got started, and everything they’re doing. Also, Bill and I both have extremely large heads, so we connected really well on that. It’s really hard for me to find hats, so I am so happy Recover makes some that fit my head now.
As Recover grew, Bill reached out about RAD, which is a great program. Musicians and bands and apparel companies are two perfect joining of forces, especially in this day and age when you can just download music all the time. No one pays for music anymore, but you can’t download tee shirts and merchandise- it’s an important piece of it all now.
Want a Futurebirds tee? Check it out
And Recover isn’t just making tee shirts, they’re making them with a really cool cause behind it all. That feels good. It’s a huge part of our business and you can really get behind it, and feel good about what you’re doing. Even if we’re making a minuscule difference, it feels good to be part of bettering the world and not making it worse off.
What’s it like on tour?
Five or six dudes living on top of one another in a 40 passenger van that’s currently missing a front bumper, trying to keep it as clean and as fresh-smelling as possible. We load in, drive, set up for the show, play our hearts out, find a place to sleep and get onto the next spot. It’s lucky when drives are short and we get to town a little early because we can get into a little bit of what’s going on there. If it’s a good outdoor spot, a good city scene, or a good whatever, you try to get to know places as much as you can, but sometimes, you only get to meet the inside of one particular bar.
You recently played a show at Recover’s shop in Charlotte, how was it?
Daniel and I did a little acoustic duo show there. It’s a small, cool space and awesome to play for people in a room that’s a very quiet, intimate, intense setting. To be playing music for people without a sound system is a nice contrast to playing in a band with loud amps in a bar setting. We were dabbling and dipping our toes in that scene and Recover was nice enough to have us to their store with such a good crowd. Charlotte and Charlotte people are fun. It was a great success and I got one of those giant hats for my giant head. Big win.
Where do you get inspiration for your songwriting?
Inspiration for songs is all over. It’s not so much where it comes from in terms of a certain place, it’s more about having the receptors up and catching it when it comes. I never say, “Okay, now I’m going to sit down and be inspired and write a song.” Someone will say something, or a phrase will pop up and I’ll write it down before I forget it.
What’s important to you and why? (We know… we hit Carter hard with a deep one.)
Wow, that’s a big one! ... Leading a life that I can really get behind and doing something that I honestly and truly care about and am passionate about. It’s not an easy thing to do by any means, but it’s the most fulfilling thing we can do. We ain’t here long. The people in my life and family are also very important to me… Not being a terrible person is pretty important to me, I like to do right by folks.
And of course, as cliché as it is, we had to ask, Why do you love music?
I wasn’t given a choice in the matter, I don’t think. It hasn’t been something that I’ve been able to analyze. It’s just kind of something that flows over you when you hear a new amazing song. It stops you right in your tracks. It’s that thing that makes it great- the sheer power of it.