By: Jeni C. Wilson
Founding member of Amadeus Records, Forrest. has a had a pretty big year. He's had two successful single releases and was featured on Pete Tong’s Essential Mix where he was highlighted as one of the ‘13 Artists To Watch Out For 2013’. Ever humble and always on the path to better, Forrest. took a few moments to share with Magnetic his thoughts on sampling his own vocals, losing his breath, and "when" to stay aware.
What are you up to at the moment?
I am currently based in London, I’ve been here for about a year now. As we speak, I just received the mastered version of an incredibly special collaboration I recently did with Italian wonder-producer Avatism. The final release date is still to be announced but the song “Different Spaces” will be the 2nd track of his highly anticipated debut LP “Adamant” on Berlin imprint Vakant. Speaking of which, the ‘Visionquest’ EP also is ready. It’s actually Eric Volta’s EP and it includes a vicious Lee Curtiss remix. Eric Volta has to be one the best studio artist out there, this guy does pure wonders in his post-rock turned analog empire of a studio he has.
Was Forrest. a nickname prior to your music career?
No, haha not at all. It was actually the name of my solo indie rock band I was working on before moving to Berlin 2 summers ago. As I was living there, the project turned around and became more House/Techno oriented. My voice is what bridged the two projects. I was always into songwriting. I changed the guitar/bass/drums to synths and computers. I was always attracted to classic sounding name plus it matched perfectly the character I had created in my head over the years.
I had read you use your own vocals then I saw at Nouveau Casino that you use them while you DJ and they are high! Which came first, the vocals or the sound? Can you tell us a bit about that process?
The vocals were present in the very first track I sketched down while I was in Berlin. Back then they were more “ghostly dark-house-pitched down” type of vocals and even flirted with some Interpol sounding ones. As I started working with Jonathan D, who actually is my sound engineering teacher from a few years, I grew into something more varied and didn’t hesitate to go for something high pitched. On my last “One Night Stand” version, Jonathan and we really wanted to make a big contrast with the original called “We Found Love”. On that track I went back to something a bit more low and spacey, I don’t want to restrain myself from doing what’s best for a song, it’s what keeps the project evolving and alive.
What was is like to be a part of Pete Tong's Essential Mix and then to be recognized as one of the "13 Artist's to Watch Out For 2013"
Nothing short of breath-taking to be honest. I had sent the track to Richy Ahmed, who was asked to pick his 13 artists to watch for 2013 and afterwards we ended quickly talking on the phone. Basically he told me he really liked both the tracks I had sent him, tested them the weekend before and decided to include on in his selection for Pete Tong’'s show. Needless to say I was blown away when I heard it live as it was the very last song of the night. Huge respect goes out to Richy, I have some more stuff in the bank I was just about to send him actually, funny you just mentioned this.
Did you always know you wanted to make music for a living or was there a pivotal moment that inspired you?
Absolutely. From the very first time I decided to form a band I was always dead serious about making something out this musical passion of mine. I may question myself towards this decision but every time I play a show I know exactly what I am doing there, more-so recently. The struggling is all part of the artistic process; it toughens you up and makes you stand taller when you are given those 2 hours to do your thing. You also see why people are where they are and it has undoubtedly been the most fulfilling life-learning experience for me so far.
What was your inspiration for your "Liberace" re-edit?
The song came about a bit more than a year. It was Jonathan’s idea’s to pitch up to 118 this timeless Rose Royce classic. The bassline made perfect sense and after playing it countless times it seemed that the song should be given out in respect of the prominent use of the sample. The core of the idea of sampling the song came for Dr Dre’s “Chronic 2001” from the song “Big Ego’s”. Weirdly enough someone is bumping S.t.i.l.l. D.R.E in his convertible car just outside my window…
You mentioned on your youtube you were very much looking forward to 2013, what has it been like to have all eyes on you, how are you feeling now and is it what you expected?
Tons of new stuff coming along. The next EP is due in September on 2020Vision. I can now say and am extremely proud to announce this release entitled ‘Shiny Suit Man”. It will be both on wax and digital and will include 3 originals and a remix. I also have a few other collaborations in the pipeline. I recently made 2 tracks with Sunju Hargun and met up with him quickly while he was in London. Musically we are on the exact same page, his precision in creating techno infused minimal house is what led me to hit him up. I highly recommend anyone and everyone to check out his latest “Little Helpers” EP. Finished some tracks with Hector Couto and have some tracks underway with Eats Everything and Santé. Finally, Tom Budden’s and I follow up of our first “Lady Is Trouble” EP that appeared last year on GRUUV is also wrapped, label will be announced when everything will be officially underway.
Having these opportunities to play in so many places and different venues around the world, what has been the biggest surprise be it a crazed fan, sound, or crowd reaction?
Istanbul was definitely a shocker as some people knew the words of Marlon Brando. The promoters did a very good job and said they played it every week so it was unbelievably uplifting to see the crowd chanting a bit. Also Manchester was a big one. The venue was packed at 11:00 as I was playing alongside Robert James & Digitaria for the Under & Vision night. First ever big show at my friend’s festival “La Calypso” was also memorable. I’d say that was the show where my true Forrest ‘DJ identity was born.
You have worked along side some amazing people already, is there anyone specific you are dying to work with?
Honestly, at the moment I’m satisfied with my present collaborators. Avatism was a great influence when I moved to Berlin and without his music I would probably be making indie-rock. Eric Volta also inspires me and leads me to believe that individuality is a key factor to any musician’s mission. Tom Budden keeps the dancefloor where it needs to be and Sunju lays the dark grooves exactly how I like them. If I had to pick one, Guy Gerber would easily be my ultimate choice. I love everything about his music and have been following him for a while now where it only goes to show how timeless his songs are. I particularly admire the way he blends in his 80’s post-punk/new wave influences to create a sound so unique, introverted and yet recognizable.
As founding member of Amadeus Records, a producer, a DJ and a vocalist, is there something influencial you have learned you can tell us, maybe even something you wish would have been told to you?
For me staying aware is the key to it all. Don’t get me wrong, get lost all you want while creating or even in your personal life if that’s what’s inspire you. I think being realistic and taking every step is mandatory. The more you go through the more you’ll eventually learn why your there and I firmly believe that it will also helps you on the long run. Identity is key, don’t be afraid to try things and most of all if you fail don’t take it as an humiliation and turn it into motivation.
Thank you so very much for having me, all the best –F.
THANK YOU FORREST! We look forward to all the new stuff and to the rise of your career!
Jeni C. Wilson is the Editor-In-Chief at CrackPop and appears special to Magnetic.