Night Spots: Future 86 brings night of club music to Eclipse
by Sarah D'Esti Miller
Press & Sun-Bulletin, September 1, 2001

Jungle. Trance. Techno. House. If you know how these words are connected, it's time you got acquainted with Future 86.

Future 86 is dragging the Southern Tier music scene out of the pop top 40 music vortex and up to speed -- high speed -- with the times. That's right. Real club music. Here.

Future 86 is the brainchild of Michael J. Duke, also known as M.J. Duke, a Southern Tier DJ who has been booked all over New York and Canada since 1988. What exactly is Future 86? It is sort of a theme night, if you will, where the nightclub serves as host. Duke and/or other DJs take care of the ambience and the music. Bringing the latest to Binghamton is not easy.

"I knew it wouldn't be strong enough to endure at one place," Duke said. "I knew it would be an ongoing thing. It's like a concept night. We try to take the atmosphere to another level. We bring in some other intelligent lighting that the club doesn't have there, we darken it up a little bit, we use a lot of candles all over the place. We kind of try to be the promoter."

Future 86 is named for the soon-to-be Interstate that will connect Binghamton to New York City. The promotion has seen some success, but the Southern Tier's resistance to new things borders on the legendary (as a fourth-generation Binghamton resident, I can say that with some conviction). Much credit is due to the clubs that shook the top 40 mantle and took a chance.

"We just came up with the name and we had the opportunity to get Eclipse on Thursdays so we did it. And we did it there for close to half a year. We did a few at (Club) 607, I think eight or nine," Duke said.

"We offer something that's not the middle-of-the-road mainstream thing. It either works or it doesn't, but it's always a good time," he said.

The irony, of course, is that Future 86 music actually IS pretty middle of the road -- in the rest of the free world.

"We just kind of cut out the commercial radio music completely," Duke said. "You still might hear some stuff that you know, but you're going to hear mostly stuff that you don't or that's new to you."

So what exactly is trance, or techno or house? It's difficult to pin down the genres, but Duke takes a stab at it.

"House is basically new disco. It's not really as fast as most forms of techno. It's like 120 to 130 beats per minute. Every time you hear a remix from Whitney Houston or Britney Spears, it tends to be housey," he said. "Trance is a little more floaty. Jungle is a lot faster, almost like double time hip-hop. It's funky, bass oriented."

And it's all stuff that is rarely heard around here.



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