Pensacola, Florida
Saturday June 23rd 2018


Your Future Looks Bright

By Kate Peterson

Opinions from musicians about their own band’s wiki pages goes a little something like this, either they edit it themselves, think it is all lies – or have not even read it in a long time. Payton Bradford, drummer/vocals for the band Futurebirds, is in the last category. “Honestly, I don’t know what wiki says, I haven’t read it in a while,” he said.

Futurebirds are an indie rock band from Athens, Ga. For only being around for a short time, they have amassed an impressive resume playing with such acts as Widespread Panic, Drive-By Truckers, Dead Confederate and the Whigs. They toured with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals on the Bonnaroo Buzz Tour, performed at Bonnaroo twice and had a stint at South by Southwest this year.

IN had the opportunity to chat with Bradford as he was traveling back to Athens, Ga. He was heading back home through Atlanta; we caught up with him in the car, in traffic – where else.

IN: When did the Futurebirds become a band?
BRADFORD: We all met mostly through the University of Georgia. The pedal steel guitar player went to school with Carter King, and the bass player worked in the studio with us. Each of us had been in bands with other people, and then those bands dissolved. We played together under a different name and setup. 2008 is when we came together as the Futurebirds. We had no goal set up, like by this date we should have achieved this or that. We toured in 2009; all of us were done with school by then.

IN: In a relatively short time, Futurebirds have concurred some of the biggest music stages. What is the latest big festival you have played?
BRADFORD: Riverbend in Chattanooga, Tenn. We are headed to Wakarusa this year in Ozark, Ark.; South by Southwest (SXSW); and Austin City Limits (ACL). We like playing big festivals, ACL is really well run, it benefits from no on-site camping and that there are buses bringing people in each day. At SXSW, we played about seven or eight shows. It was a thrill to be there. We did end up playing to a crowd eating pizza at a Mellow Mushroom in the afternoon. That was weird. We are a better band than we were then.

IN: How did you come up with such a unique name?
BRADFORD: Carter King, the band’s guitarist/vocalist was taking a class in college on poultry science at University of Georgia. While in a chicken science lecture, he learned that chickens were used to predict the future – chicken soothsayers, if you will – and, so the Futurebirds were named.

IN: What is the band’s latest music news?
BRADFORD: For Record Store Day we released a live recording of one of our shows. It was professionally recorded in a chapel in Athens, Ga. Also, we just finished mixing a new record in New York City. Now we are organizing the order of the songs we chose. We are shopping the record too because we have no label right now. With our last label, we had a one-album arrangement. We have 15 songs chosen and we are making sure they work well together.

IN: Have you played in Pensacola before?
BRADFORD: About a year and a half ago, we opened for Drive-By Truckers at Vinyl Music Hall. We also played Hangout Music Festival last year.

IN: Any additional comments?
BRADFORD: We are ready for some fun. We need to get in some beach time.

Saturday 11:15 a.m.-12 p.m., “Letting Go” Stage