If you go to concerts around Long Beach, you start to notice some of the same acts. You’ve got your local rappers – and rap collectives – the hipster indie bands with acoustic guitars, and the punk rockers who are all looking to land somewhere between NOFX and Social Distortion.
And then you have the band that seems to be on more Long Beach shows than anyone, the bizarre and somewhat genre-less Furcast. The LBC always likes to keep things weird, and Furcast fits that mold perfectly.
But Furcast isn’t your uncle’s drug-induced “psychedelic” band. Nor is it your brother and his friends messing around on their laptops making beats and samples that don’t go together. It actually sounds like a little bit of both of those mixed with a whole lot of other things.
"We're definitely not following a structure or a sound on purpose," says Johann Carbajal, the multi-instrumental vocalist of Furcast. "We're just telling a story, like a film. There's an intro, and then maybe it gets in a fight, and then if we overcome the situation, we write on that. We're scoring our timeline, so there's no real hooks or choruses like you'd hear on the radio."
What Carbajal describes may sound like an epic undertaking, and that’s because it is. Each Furcast song is more of an experience for Carbajal and his bandmates – Vincent Mazza, Gary Bramlett, and Kael Sharp – than it is a simple piece of music. With everything from live guitars and horns to pre-recorded beats and samples, any given Furcast song could contain a wide range of sounds and elements for your auditory experience, which is exactly why the band and their fans value their live shows so much. Beyond the music, Carbajal and crew will throw everything from light shows to live dancers into the mix in order to bring their visions to life.
"Quentin [Tarantino], he does all these different movies in different times," Carbajal says when asked about Furcast's ever-expanding live show. "We could bring actors up there and make it a play or a musical. We could bring more dancers or a stage setting for the visuals. I know we already have ideas for the next album and visuals, which is another concept."
But no band can rely on their live shows exclusively. Carbajal laughs as he says that the band is pretty much exactly the same as it was a handful of years ago when they couldn’t get more than a few shows a year booked, but it’s also true in some ways. The band hasn’t put out an official release since 2010’s Together EP despite how much the group has evolved since then. Carbajal is careful not to mention any specifics or definite dates for their long-awaited full-length album, but it should be coming within the next couple of months.
"The full-length is the focus right now," Carbajal says. "I know it's been a minute, but we want to do it the right way this time. We've messed up before, and it kind of put us in a bad spot. We did the EP ourselves, and it made everybody else feel like they should just wait for the next one. We did that the wrong way."
For now, you’ll be able to find Long Beach’s most complex quartet performing at various shows across the city as they work the kinks out on the new record and a dramatic stop-motion music video created by Carbajal’s sister. The video’s a perfect fit for Furcast’s soundtrack-like tune – even if it had to be cut from 10 minutes to about 3 in order to fit the visual. While many bands opt for live videos (or at least to be featured in their own videos), the guys in Furcast don’t really care what other bands are doing or what they’re “supposed to” do. That’s actually what brought them all together in the first place.
"It all goes back to that there are no limits and no title, so you create that leeway for yourself," Bramlett says. "Other bands have rules, or even an images, where you can't do this or you can't do that."
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"I think that's what attracted us to each other," Mazza adds. "We played in previous bands, and there were always rules. There were times when it was like 'That sounded amazing, but you can't do that' in other bands."
As for the name, it’s as much of a mystery to the bandmates as it is to anyone else. Is it a cast made of fur? Is it a seemingly fur-based broadcast as a Google search might suggest? Nope, it’s just an interesting word that the band threw together when they needed something to call themselves.
"The name Furcast is a made-up name, so no one's tied to anything," Carbajal says. "If we picked a word that already existed, we might be influenced to write the way that the word should sound. No one really knew what Furcast meant when we picked it, so it became a place that you could bring your music and timeline into it however you want."