For some of the residents of Southeast's Washington Towers, the drab apartment complex down the street from Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery has another name: Futro Towers. That's because many members of the music and multimedia collective Futro Records have posted there, whether to live, practice or party. And what parties they are.
The party is what unites this stable of 18 rappers, electro-house producers, artists and self-described ânerds.â When they all get together in the same place, the vibe is equal parts rager and family barbecue. The godfather is Danny Diana-Peebles, the smiling, rhyming half of the duo Serious Business. He, along with rapper-musicians Lane and Ripley Snell, founded Futro in 2011, with the concept of creating a superhero-esque stable of artists, each with a special ability. âIâve always liked TV shows like Voltron or X-Men,â Diana-Peebles says. âI loved the idea of a crew of people who have their own unique skills, but they all fight for the same cause.â Initially, the collective was headquartered at the Portland Radio Authority, an Internet radio station then located downtown above Kellyâs Olympian. âWe had a late-night DJ slot, and people used to come and kick it,â Diana-Peebles says. âHence the âKick It Club.â Basically thatâs where weâve practiced rapping for the past four years.â
Rapping is what Futro specializes in, though the group aims to maintain a balance between hip-hop and electronic music. âWe can all feed off each othersâ creativity to make sure that we stay individuals,â says rapper Das Leune. âEveryone has their own niche and market and character.â
Character is certainly not something lacking on the Futro roster. From Dual Modeâs ass-clapping nerd-party jams to Neill Von Tallyâs spacey, tape-based instrumental beats to Lane and Das Leuneâs gangsta self-reflection, the Futro aesthetic is all over the map. That idiosyncratic approach is also reflected in its use of technology: For Futro Kit 1.0, the labelâs first compilation, released on a 1-gigabyte USB card, eight of the tracks are accompanied by Videothing, a software tool for Mac that âslices, melts and beats up a video of your choice,â according to its creator, Alex Boyce.
Futro Kit 2.0 is set for release during a typically wild and multifaceted week: On Thursday, June 6, the crew is conducting an art show at SoHiTek Gallery, promoting its first zine. The official album-release party is June 9 at Holocene, featuring performances from the entire group, as well as from many âFutro friends.â The new comp includes Boyceâs latest invention, Audiothing, allowing for all sorts of chopping and screwing, along with videos and other âvisual arts/secrets.â Consider it a futuristic family photo album from Futroâs nonstop vacation.
SEE IT: The Futro Kit 2.0 release party is at Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., 239-7639, with Dual Mode, Sexbots, Futro Fam, HAR-1 and Rap Class, on Sunday, June 9. 9 pm. Free. 21+.