Foreseeable Futures

The details are a little cloudy, but it was somewhere between renditions of Beyoncé and — like any respectable karaoke session — Toto’s Africa, that Phil Potter and Anna Sachs realized that whatever was going on between them had potential beyond Krazy Karaoke.

The two had met shortly before that through mutual friends, and Sachs knew Potter was into music — she had seen his band, Cynth & the What’s His Faces, perform — so she invited him to her karaoke birthday party.

Wowed by her voice, Potter asked Sachs to stop by his studio. His band is upbeat and influenced by traditional rock, but he wanted to try something different, something a little softer. Playing together, Potter and Sachs discovered they had an uncanny penchant for the exact same type of music, right down to a shared love for individual songs like Ryan Adams’ Oh My Sweet Carolina, and were taken aback by how well the studio session went.

Mixing music with romance, boyfriend-and-girlfriend team Phil Potter and Anna Sachs are indie acoustic duo Foreseeable Futures.

Mixing music with romance, boyfriend-and-girlfriend team Phil Potter and Anna Sachs are indie acoustic duo Foreseeable Futures.

It was, by both of their accounts, a quick connection, musically, as well as romantically.

“It all kind of just happened at once; it all just sort of meshed,” Potter recalls. “The more we played, the more it was like, this is crazy, it just fits.'”

Fast-forward to last month, a little more than two years later, and they’re sitting on the patio at Bevy in Kakaako. Since that time, Potter and Sachs have been making music together — and also have been dating — as indie acoustic duo Foreseeable Futures.

“I have always loved the quieter, really subtle acoustic music, but I never had anyone to really explore that with,” Potter says. “So when I found out she could sing, I thought, well, this is interesting. But then, I found out that she had been practicing harmonies since she was in high school.”

“I don’t practice them, I just do them,” Sachs gently interjects. “It just comes naturally.”

“You just do them!” Potter says in awe. “That’s like a sixth sense, because to sing a harmony is like mental jiu-jitsu.”

Foreseeable Futures combines Sachs’ dreamy vocals with Potter’s guitar skills, occasionally mixing in other instruments such as the melodica or tambourine. Live, they play a mix of covers, from Whitney Houston to The Cure, and have a growing repertoire of original songs — gentle folksy ballads that sometimes dip into alt-country (think early Wilco or Ryan Adams), highlighting those harmonies.

Over the last couple of years, Foreseeable Futures has managed to garner quite a following. Early on, they played open mic nights, nabbed gigs around town, and recorded songs in Potter’s living room.

It’s in recent months, though, that it seems they have really hit a creative stride. Sitting at Bevy, they had just come from a recording session at Lana Lane Studios and were taking a break before a gig at Anna O’Brien’s later that night. They play at Bevy every first Wednesday of the month and regularly appear at Downbeat Diner & Lounge’s Truetone Tuesdays. They’ve also built up a steady flow of private events, from weddings to farm dinners.

Next up, Foreseeable Futures is set to release its first single, Right Back, this summer, followed by a full EP in the fall.

“We have a lot of original content that is not out there yet,” says Sachs, who teaches Spanish at Kapiolani Community College. “We want to let our babies out into the world.”

Also coming up, they’re about to complete a major goal by playing at The Republik June 28 for a Sustainable Coastlines benefit concert.

“We go there all the time to see shows, so the idea that we would actually be up on that stage is … well, that would be a ‘pinch me’ kind of moment,” says Potter, an environmental consultant.

But playing indie acoustic folk in reggae-saturated Hawaii hasn’t always been easy.

“We have gone through some tough times where we were just trying to find our sound,” Potter recalls. “But then we came to this realization where we just need to do exactly what it is we want to do, and if people like it, they like it … You will have your good gigs and bad gigs, but you just stay the course and focus on the people who dig it.”

And they have found their people — including a group of musicians who have become regular collaborators with Foreseeable Futures.

“They are incredibly creative, they are both incredibly talented,” says Andrew Alt, who plays cajon, guitar and sings with them. “It is an honor to play with them, and the foundation under all of this is just that they are really great people.”

“They are very skilled musicians,” cellist Nicholas Coniaris says. “They are super duper nice people — they are, like, the nicest people ever.”

There are, of course, complications of mixing music with relationships.

“We have been playing a lot recently,” Sachs says. “Sometimes, we’ll be running around town and I will realize I haven’t actually sat down and talked to Phil in a while, on the relationship level, not on the musician level. It’s a hard line to draw.”

But it’s also their relationship that provides a lot of fodder for lyrics, and that intertwining of romance and music is a crucial component to Foreseeable Futures.

Individually, Potter and Sachs are accomplished musicians. Potter has been playing bass and guitar since his early teen years, while Sachs had played in band and sang in choir throughout school. But before they met, their individual musical pursuits were met with certain limitations. The closest Sachs had gotten to the stage were those karaoke birthday parties; and while Potter had been playing in bands, he had never written his own song.

“It is something that I had wanted to do for a long time, but it was also a source of dread, because … you have to have something you think is worth saying,” he says.

When he met Sachs, he suddenly had something he wanted to say: The first song he ever wrote, Foreseeable Futures’ By and Bye, is a hauntingly beautiful, softly twangy ballad about grappling with love, which was inspired by their budding romance.

This song, in particular, showcases Foreseeable Futures at its best — Potter and Sachs singing together, anchoring the piece with beautiful, simple harmonies.

Harmonizing is a tricky thing. The person harmonizing has to figure out — in a fraction of a second —what note sounds good with the note in the melody. But Sachs does it seamlessly, perfectly syncing up her voice to the tune of the guitar, or to Potter’s vocals.

“She has to figure out, for every single note, the note that complements it,” Potter explains. “And as I move, we have to move together.”

For more information on Foreseeable Futures, visit And check back soon: They plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign in the next couple of months to fund studio time to record their EP.