Friday, June 17, 2011

Forest Of The Soul Interview

1. Can you update us on what is going on with the band these days?

It's definitely more of a project than a band, but after years of virtual inactivity we have just finished recording our 2nd full length release. It is entitled " - r e s t l e s s i n f l i g h t - " and has just been released in CD digipack format under Bindrune Recordings. This CD has been in the process of being recorded for the better part of 6 years (off and on) so we are excited to finally see it surface.

2. How would you describe the musical style of the new album and how it differs from previous releases?

The thing is, the music is really hard to pigeonhole like that. I truly feel that every song is very different, making it next to impossible to classify. But if I had to summarize it, I'd call it acoustic progressive folk rock? I don't know, even that kinda sounds oxymoronic to me. You just have to hear it I suppose. The biggest difference between this CD and previous efforts is song structure. The first two releases were a little loose in that department, whereas the new one focuses much more on the "rock quartet" approach, ie; two guitars, bass, drums and vocals. There were hardly any other instruments on the first two CDs apart from vocals, acoustic and classical guitars.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the new release explores?

The main theme that seems to thread its way through the record lyrically would be life in general. Its sort of a observation on the twists and turns that everyone encounters on their own respective paths. This was never our intention, but merely the way things turned out. Just like life, nothing ever really goes as you plan it. Stress, love, lonliness, joy, memories, death, regret, devotion, peace, reverence, and introspection are but a few subjects we chose to touch upon lyrically. I try and make it a point to write things in a very ambiguous manner, allowing the listener to take their own liberty in deriving what the song is about. I believe that is the key to getting other people to relate to your music.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?

That's a good question! Gotta knock the dust off of some old memories to pull that answer up. I want to say that Forest of the Soul was originally a CD title I came up with for Moonthrone, a black metal project I used to be involved in. The project dissolved before I ever got to use the name, but I really liked it and it never left my memory. When Aaron I first got together on this project and needed a name, Forest of the Soul was a perfect fit. If there is a meaning at all to the name, it is this. We all have a place deep inside of ourselves we often sojourn to, a place to escape to, a place to think clearly and ultimately better oneself through inner enlightenment. Each and every one of us resides in our own forest of the soul, a perpetual autumn of the human experience and all that dwells within.

5. You guys also have a history in the underground metal scene but play a style that is more rellated to folk with this project, what made you decide to go in this direction and how would you compare this style to the more underground metal that you go for with the other project?

Yes, Aaron and I have both been involved in the more extreme genres of metal for most if not all of our adult lives. Its what we mostly listen to as music lovers, too. But you know as well as I do that very few musicians are limited to playing one certain style of music only. Music IS an art afterall, and therefore employs total freedom. This project is merely a result of both Aaron and I creating and compliling material that simply did not fall into the categories of our more extreme counterparts. While this project addresses more personal and spiritual issues, the heavier stuff relied mostly on aggression and creating a more chaotic, mayhemic atmosphere.

6. What is going on with the other band these days?

Currently, Nechochwen is in the studio recording what will be our second release on Bindrune. No titles or anything yet. I believe this one will be released strictly on vinyl, which we're really excited about. Not sure how long its going to end up either, but I'm pretty sure we are past the half hour mark just with the 5 songs we're currently in the midst of. To be honest, we are stil receiving a good deal of acclaim for last years release, "Azimuths to the Otherworld". We are really proud of how that turned out so its going to be hard to top.

7. Currently you are singed to Bindrune Recordings, how did you get in contact with this label and how would you describe the support that they have given you so far?

Actually the label kind of found us. Well, Aaron really. He performed solo acoustic/classical guitar under the name Nechochwen at the Heathen Crusade festival in Minnesota a few years back. Marty (Bindrune) was there to attend the show and introduced himself to Aaron. The two hit it off and Nechochwen was singed to the label not long after. After hearing the Forest of the Soul project, Marty decided to release it as well. Bindrune has been a tremendous support thus far. Keeping things on a personal level and being as closely involved with a band as possible is crucial to a healthy releationship between a label and a band. I feel very comfortable talking to Marty, like an old friend. He's got a stellar PR department, as well as an outstanding reputation for putting out quality, ecclectic music that is a welcome change of pace from todays mainstream and underground markets. I hope we stay with Bindrune for a long time.

8. On a worldwide level how has your music been recieved by music fans?

Thats actually a difficult question to answer, since our music has not transcended the confines of the Ohio Valley until recently. The few reviews we've received thus far have been very good, which I can only hope will be an inclination of things to come. Its very easy music to like and appreciate in my opinion. I think the only people who may not take a shine to it would be those who only listen to extreme music exclusively and could be considered "elitists". You can't please eveyone, and we understand that. Bindrune took a big chance by releasing this record and we are extremely thankful to have someone who has enough faith in it to want to support it.

9. What direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?

Oh I am sure if we write anything for this project in the future it will be approached in the same fashion as everything else Aaron and I do musicially together. We never put labels or expectations on things. Hell, half the time we go into the studio with nothing more that a riff or two. Its kind of like a ouija board, we just turn our brains off and let our hands and voices be the vessels for the sounds. It feels right and natural to work this way. I can't imagine doing otherwise.

10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

As stated before, Aaron and I both were born and raised on thrash and early to mid era death and black metal. But we listen to differnt styles of music also. To go from Suffocation to Jose Gonzalez is not that far a stretch for us, as well as the old masters of classical and folk. We are influenced by everything and I think thats good. That way we never stagnate or emulate too much.

11. Does Occultism or Paganism play a role in your music and if so, how would you describe your views on this subject?

I dont' like to speak for both of us on this subject, but I will try to do so without generalising. Neither the occult nor paganism as a belief system play much of a role in either of our lives. We both have jobs and loved ones, and for the most part have to stay rooted pretty firmly in our day-to-day worlds. We both have our own respective spirituality which, like most people I'm sure, is a bit of a mish-mosh derived from our own personal experiences that we can relate to ourselves as individuals. If we have a true religious practice, I'd have to say that its music itself. We make time for it, we are devoted to it, and it serves us as we in turn serve it. It helps us through the tough times and is always there, never judging us. Isn't that what religion is supposed to do?

12. Outisde of music, what are some of your interests?

I myself am an avid tattoo collector, as well as an audio engineer with over a decade of experience in the field. Aaron is an excellent guitar instructor. He also teaches banjo. We both like spending time with our families and being acitve outdoors as much as possible.

13.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

No, I'd say you have thoroughly picked my brain! Thanks so much for the opportunity to speak. Take care.

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