This time around I am very excited to get a chance to speak with forest. They are a progressive rock band that has just released their debut EP. I will post a link to that at the end of the interview. I had the honour of Mastering this EP for them as well as getting the chance to work with some of them over the years as well. Lead vocalist and pianist Paolo Pace sat down with me to answer some of my questions about the live world of performance versus the studio and more!
Jordan - "Often in the Music industry there seems to be a difficult balancing act for artists between their art and business. We struggle to represent our own artistic ideas and beliefs. At the same time, we struggle to be commercial and earn ourselves a place on radio and in the eyes of the masses. How does your band perceive this balance? What do you strive for when it comes to art versus business? As an artist and Musician myself, I know it is easy to become enveloped in our own art. We forget sometimes about the audience and we play for ourselves. Do you think this is a good habit? How much of your writing is for yourselves? How much of your writing is for your fans? Is the answer different when it comes to performance?"
forest. - "Like most things, there’s a good and bad side. To envelop yourself in your art is to enter a zone of limitless creativity. Here’s a blank sheet of paper, now draw something that comes to mind. Draw something that you love, something that’s meaningful. But the reality is that the end result may not be loved by the masses to the extent that we do. But, this is a recurring theme, right? We could never create something that won’t be judged, negatively or positively. Knowing this, we make Music mainly for ourselves and we simply hope that people can take away something positive from our Music. When writing lyrics, I’m writing for myself. They’re stories and experiences that mean something profound to me, but I know that our Musical directions will appeal to some others as well. We want people to enjoy our Music, but honestly speaking, we write Music for ourselves because it is our passion. Within creation, there will always be boundaries. Obvious boundaries for the band are to not use excessive profanity and building a career about “cash money” and “ass ass ass ass…ass”. Astonishingly, degrading and meaningless Music is quite popular now of days… we digress."
Jordan- "Your debut album has just been released and I am sure your fans are very excited. The world of live performance compared to recorded material is a fairly drastic one in many cases. How do your performances differ from live to studio? What makes you play or create differently in either scenario?"
forest. - "When we were in the recording process, we took many, many, many takes, making sure that there’s at least one “perfect” take out of the bunch. In the live world, there’s no command Z or retakes. What you see is what you get, so we give it our all and hope for the best.
Prior to entering the recording stage, we were stressing about completing pre-production. We knew that once we recorded our EP, our songs would have entered their finalized stage. The downfall about this was that we realized our approach to creation is a lengthy process, in that we constantly think of ways to improve our parts, whether they be subtle or big changes. What ended up on the record are versions frozen in time, never to be changed. Luckily, this differs from our live shows.
In our live shows, we have a few different variations of a few songs. For example, we have both a heavy and soft ending of “Morning Dread”. There’s also differences in how we perform. Sometimes our intensity of performance overtakes our ability to play every note properly, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
We want to make each of our live shows different from each other. This is for two reasons. The first reason is to keep things interesting. We realized that there are a few fans who come to almost every show, and the last thing we want to do is hit play and repeat the process of a common formula. The second reason is because we realize our songs have potential to change. Some changes are big, while others are subtle or useless, but it’s these changes that allow the performance to stay interesting for us, and hopefully for our fans as well."
Jordan - "A true band is definitely a combination of all of the band members as a whole entity together, not an individual or two with a few other Musicians around. Does forest. have any routines or practices put into place to build unity and cohesion in the band? What would you recommend to new or established bands exploring this idea?"
forest. - "Practice a lot. Creating a glue to the band is jamming with each other enough that you can almost feel the next notes they’re going to hit, or when the rhythms will change. Band chemistry is extremely important. Another notable aspect that helps us evolve is our level of openness and honesty with each other. For example, if you’re playing through some rehearsed originals, and something doesn’t sound or feel right at one of the sections, review that section and see what the members are playing. Use your ears to the best of your abilities. Offer suggestions. Be open minded. In a band, it’s good to set aside your ego and realize that each note you hit will affect the effectiveness of the band’s sound. No one is a flawless Musician, so never take it personally when a member asks you constructively to rewrite a part or when they offer ideas. You can always say no to suggestions and settle for “good enough”, but be aware that being closed-minded in a band is sacrificing progress.
Thanks so much to forest. again and check out some of these links to their content.
F L O W EP: