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STRAND Showcase Spotlight: In Conversation With Good Future

Photo provided by Delux Music Collective

Welcome to our STRAND Showcase Artist Spotlight series, where if you haven’t bought a ticket to our upcoming live music showcase yet, we show you why you should.

Hailing from Greater Manchester, Nathan Shepherd has been releasing addictive, colourful tracks with his synth-pop band, 'Good Future', since 2019, focusing on the relatable and relevant themes of love and the modern age. Clutching a hot brew in one hand and his phone in the other, we spoke about The Beatles, having a unique image, and the negative side of social media, over (ironically) an Instagram video call.

We started our interview right at the beginning. Having parents who raised him on the sounds of the 80s, Nathan developed his own love for music: “I’ve got quite a few favourite bands; all kinds of stuff that my dad raised me on really. My first favourite band when I was a kid was probably The Clash. The Beatles were my high school favourites from [around] Year Seven onwards, and then they became my favourite band. So I've got loads of inspirations. I feel like in terms of songwriting, The Beatles are probably number one, just because of how well they [wrote] pop music.”

When I asked if growing up around the Manchester area has affected what Good Future makes music about and how it sounds, or if Shepherd draws inspiration from elsewhere, it was clear to see that modern technology has changed the dynamic of discovering, and being impacted by, music: “ I wouldn’t say Manchester itself [has had an impact], I suppose; I think it's a lot more broad now. I think how we can access music [has become] a bit different. Spotify and everything like that, you can open up your world to so many other different genres.”

We then spoke about the importance of having a unique image for maintaining audiences’ attention and standing out in the music industry. “I’ve said this before: music and image (like fashion), go hand in hand”, Shepherd tells me. “I think [you need] something to identify yourself with that someone can look at and go “oh, they look cool”. It's not that it downplays the music, because the music could be amazing; and you can look however you want to look. But, I feel like music isn't just [about] listening — people like to look at stuff as well. Nowadays, if you don't look good, on its own, then people are just going to turn off.” Jokingly, he finishes, "So that's why I've got long hair and a moustache, like everyone else does: to stand out, you know?”

Photo provided by Delux Music Collective

Moving from one element of an artist's image to another, Nathan revealed to me what was behind the creation of the name ‘Good Future’, as I suggested that it could be seen as more pessimistic than it appears. “I was a little bit inebriated, shall we say. I thought of the name, and then I thought it just sounded cool. [The words] just go together: Good Future. I feel like the majority of people on the planet right now are hoping that things are going to be better in the future… Although I agree it's a bit ironic that a band called Good Future is singing about how sh*t everything is right now.”

Despite having first started to release music in 2019, Good Future gained traction online by creating cross-artist mashups and songs from audience prompts, but when it comes to creating and finishing their own music, the process appears to be a lot more tricky to navigate. “It’s hard. I feel like you could continue to work on songs forever and never get them released. But in terms of finalising songs… We just need to be brutal and just stop [them] there and just get them out. I feel like you kind of know when you get to a comfortable spot, where you’re like, ‘Right, that’s enough of what it needs’. It’s precious for people, isn’t it? It's personal, in a way, and you kind of want to hold it to you and not show it to other people, just in case they think it’s sh*t.”

The story behind Good Future’s most popular song, ‘Socials’, is a surprising one that demonstrates the unpredictable nature of making music. ‘Socials’ was literally the most throwaway tune I've ever written… I was just on the acoustic guitar while making a brew, and as I was playing the chords I was like, [mumbles the song]... And then I just wrote about that theme of social media being terrible. It kind of just came together really… Some songs can just come together and others just need time to mature, and then you need time to mature [as a person] to think about what you’re actually writing about, to make sure you get it right. [For example], you could comment on society, but you’ve just got to make sure what you’re saying is correct and it’s not gonna be taken in a different way [to how you meant it].”

Since ‘Socials’, Shepherd has only continued to gain more attention and followers, so it was intriguing to see that the opinions he expressed in the song, largely revolving around the negative prominence of social media in our daily lives, haven't changed. “I’d probably say I’m the same. I’ve just written, or just finished, [another] song about social media, and how the world is f**ked but we’re all on social media. It’s just the way the world is now; it’s just dominated by social media. If you’re not avidly online then it's very hard. So I feel like my opinion on social media is still the same: that it’s difficult, and it's a weird part of the world.”

Photo provided by Delux Music Collective

Regardless, the artist still finds himself attached to his phone, a habit which he most definitely isn’t alone in. “Sometimes when I'm making a video or a song, I’ll take five minutes out and just endlessly scroll [through social media], and I think, ‘what am I actually getting from this?’ There’s no benefit of me sitting here and scrolling through videos that I’m gonna forget about in 30 seconds before I go onto the next one. I feel like I'm terrible at actually doing social media. I see all these artists and influencers making good content that’s actually fun to watch. Or even just posting a story of their day to day stuff. I'm terrible at doing that stuff, man, terrible.”

Here is where being an artist becomes a paradox; as we all know, reaping the benefits of social media requires constant engagement with it, and even then success is unpredictable. “I'm gonna sound like I'm moaning here, but you might spend 3 hours making a video, and then you post it and it only gets 500 views and 4 likes, and you're like ‘ugh, okay’. That’s just how it is, but you've got to keep going. [Social media is] fickle and it changes everyday, so if you keep going, hopefully one day it’ll click.”

It certainly looks like Good Future is going to keep going, with new music coming out in the next few months. “It's probably the best music that we’ve ever produced. It's certainly the best stuff that I’ve written. So yeah, it’s gonna be good." But that’s not the only goal that Nathan has: “The goal for Good Future is to take it to that next level, of people recognizing Good Future from not just the social media side of things, but as a band that produces and makes great music.”

Good Future certainly has the name, the look, and the catchy synth-pop music to take it to that next level, and it'll be interesting to hear how they add to their constantly improving sound in the near future. With an upbeat and positive take on today’s world, Nathan Shepherd continues to contribute towards shaping a ‘Good Future’ — and, with the band set to headline our second-ever STRAND Magazine showcase very soon, it's a future we're excited to be part of.

Make sure you don't miss out on listening to "probably the best music that Good Future's ever produced", by getting yourself a ticket to our STRAND Magazine X Gotobeat Showcase on March 25 at the Old Blue Last, Shoreditch.

To keep up with Good Future, be sure to check out their Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.


The artists' responses have been minimally edited for the purposes of clarity and concision. Edited by Talia Andrea, Music Editor.


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