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 “nerds.” 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. “I’ve always liked TV shows like Voltron or X-Men,” Diana-Peebles says. “I loved the idea of a crew of people who have their own unique skills, but they all fight for the same cause.” Initially, the collective was headquartered at the Portland Radio Authority, an Internet radio station then located downtown above Kelly’s Olympian. “We had a late-night DJ slot, and people used to come and kick it,” Diana-Peebles says. “Hence the ‘Kick It Club.’ Basically that’s where we’ve practiced rapping for the past four years.”
Rapping is what Futro specializes in, though the group aims to maintain a balance between hip-hop and electronic music. “We can all feed off each others’ creativity to make sure that we stay individuals,” says rapper Das Leune. “Everyone has their own niche and market and character.”
Character is certainly not something lacking on the Futro roster. From Dual Mode’s ass-clapping nerd-party jams to Neill Von Tally’s spacey, tape-based instrumental beats to Lane and Das Leune’s 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 label’s first compilation, released on a 1-gigabyte USB card, eight of the tracks are accompanied by Videothing, a software tool for Mac that “slices, melts and beats up a video of your choice,” 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 “Futro friends.” The new comp includes Boyce’s latest invention,
Audiothing, allowing for all sorts of chopping and screwing, along with
videos and other “visual arts/secrets.” Consider it a futuristic family
photo album from Futro’s 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+.