Forebear / by E

Catch an interview with the talented members of Forebear, listen to their entrancing debut EP, and head to all the sites below for more.

Why make the name switch from Wise Cub to Forebear?

Scott: When Wise Cub first started it was just a solo effort and of all the people that managed to help me out over the course of that time, be it production wise or ensemble wise, it was Molly, Nick, and Mike, who, when we finally came together and started working as an ensemble, that the sound was beginning to change pretty dramatically. To just honor that change and the amount of time the four of us had worked together, where Wise Cub evolved from this solo effort into a whole band effort, in that time it was important to me that we honor that evolution and, in union with that, the shorter, more superficial answer is that there's a band called Wild Cub and it was making things. It kind of prompted our interest in changing the name to begin with. And the EP that was released by Wise Cub very early last year to what we put out at the end of this last year, it's so different, so it makes a lot of sense to come out as a brand new entity.

How would you describe the sound now?

Molly: I would say the closest thing that I've just been telling people is cinematic rock.

Scott: I concur.

Nick: I have - it may be the first time the band's hearing me say this - but I have trouble with cinematic rock because I don't fully get it, because it means we play like 'epic rock,' I would say that...

Molly: Not epic rock. Cinematic. As in like soundtrack, movie scores type, cinema. Cinematic rock.

Nick: Yeah, but I see it more as just like a little primitive, more abstract alternative with a spin on it.

Molly: People say that it's like folk but I feel like they only say that because there's a viola in the band.

Scott: Yeah, that's true. They don't know how to take it.

Molly: Yeah, they hear string and they just assume, oh, it's either classical or folk, but it's not utilized in that way at all.

Scott: Yeah, definitely not.

What do you guys keep in mind when you are writing new songs?

Nick: We're never really trying to go for a specific thing. We might write one song that does sound cinematic and like string based and harmony based, but then the next song we write will sound like The Pixies, so I think it's less, like, what are we trying to do when we write and we just pick a nugget of an idea and end up going from there and in that we'll add all our elements. I think it's much less about what are we trying to do and we sort of just let that happen very organically.

Scott: It's just kind of we impress each other, and not with virtuosity, but with creativity and I also think we're not overstepping somebody else's creativity, but yours is coming through theirs. I think that only really comes from having such a close relationship with everyone in the band, you establish this really incredible creative shorthand and I think one thing that we really excel at as a band, more than anything, is our ability to really listen to each other, not just the parts, but really listen to each other in whatever form we decide to make it when being creative; and particularly when we're playing on stage, not just in the creative sound that comes from writing the song from scratch, but the execution of that song when we're on stage and we're super aware of our levels and just playing within the parameters of whichever venue we happen to be at. I think it really boils down to the relationship between the four of us and, like Nick said, we may not be planning to write something cinematic, so to speak, but as a result of the four individuals and our individual influences, we just mellow so well that it just happens to create something alternative. I think truly alternative, not in the way that alternative connotes a genre of music, but seemingly just off-tilt of a lot of conventional forms of rock and roll.

Nick: Alternative tends to pigeonhole you sometimes to kind of that mid-nineties rock, and I definitely mean alternative in the sense that we all love rock, we all have different forms of rock and, when it's brought together, it's a different thing, hopefully, than you've heard before.

Are there any bands you guys would compare yourself to?

Scott: Based off our influences and just what people tell us, as far as what we sound like, I keep saying that like for me, last year, there was a moment where there was a time where within two months of each other I saw Atoms for Peace and John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl. Atoms for Peace is this amazing rhythmic percussions, but it's like a very dancey, tribal, yet modern repertoire that just really, really motivated me and then John Williams, just to witness how he conducts was pretty incredible, I think that was when I really started realizing how much I need to listen to my band mates and how they're moving in a song.

Nick: I think you can almost isolate each individuals part in a way, because I would say, you know, Mike's drumming style is super, weirdly rhythmic and, for me, one of my biggest inspirations is this bass player called Tim Commerford, he played bass in Rage Against the Machine. I don't think we sound anything like Rage Against the Machine, but I'll have a bass line that I'll be like oh, that's really inspired by that, so I don't know if the band would be inspired by that or just like each individual part. I would say we sound like Muse, also; Muse, Radiohead, those are the few bands I've heard us compared to.

What's been most influential to your music?

Nick: I think that, as far as mentorship is concerned, we could easily throw it over to Scott Gordon. He's been an incredible producer over the time we've worked with him, particularly on this EP we just released and he's been an amazing guy to work with. He really encourages the hands-on approach that also turns us onto some outside the box ideas.

Scott: Yeah, I think influences, as far as the recording process, Scott Gordon, our producer, definitely. I mean, one of my favorite influences of all time, I love John Frusciante, who is famous for playing guitar in Red Hot Chili Peppers but has got a slew of solo material that spans everything from singer/songwriter to electronica and that's really inspiring to me, especially in this band where we don't want to pigeonhole ourselves. We don't want to be afraid to write a song where the first half is just this acoustic guitar and then the second half is going to be this sort of explosive electronic riff thing and I think, for me, to be inspired by such a vast catalogue that is just one artist says to me that you can do whatever you want musically, don't pigeonhole yourself to one style or do one specific thing.

Nick: Yeah, absolutely, I can say, again, we inspire each other so much just by virtue of sharing our sound. The range that encompasses our individual music interests is just so expansive.

Molly: For me, what may make our sound as interesting as it is - hopefully - I mean, I grew up playing classical music, I used to just play classical, so that and movie soundtracks and things like John Williams and Hans Zimmer, you know, I grew up on that and I loved classic rock growing up, like Queen and Led Zeppelin, but just within the band, it's all these guys, really, that have influenced me a lot in terms of opening my mind and heart to different kinds of music. I mean, this is a person who didn't listen to Nirvana until like two years ago so I was like 'oh, this is really cool' like a twelve year old kid listening at the time so I think that's kind of where we are. We're not starting with 'oh, let's start a band and sound like this,' we're coming from such different places and we're not over-thinking it, we just get together and just play.

Nick: Sometimes that definitely causes some tension in the songwriting process,  and not in a bad way, just definitely sometimes we're all trying to go for something different or we've got this one part in a new song that's going to be on our forthcoming EP, a song called "Nosis", where the end is like this big three part harmony thing and, for me, my background is like Led Zeppelin and Red Hot Chili Peppers, I'm that guy, and I just have to like trust fall into my band mates arms and say, like, alright, don't fully get it but I'm going to trust you guys.

Molly: Yeah, but I feel the same way in other songs. There's another song that's coming up where there's this really hard rock part and, to me, it's like that sounds too cliché rock, I don't know what people think rock is. But they're all like this is awesome, so I just trust them.  

Nick: Yeah, there's a lot of trust and we're getting better at it I think too, just letting each other, you know, if somebody really feels passionate about something, letting them take the reins and that's the really cool thing about where Forebear has gone. It's really become a collaborative where, you know, Scott and I could be working on a song for a month and Mike's playing and, all of a sudden, Mike goes, 'you know what guys, we gotta do, I wanna try this' and he'll bring the dynamic down.

Scott: It changes everything.

Nick: It changes everything we've been doing but it works.

Scott: We just roll with it. I think, as individuals, we've really gravitated to so many different types of music and the fact that we just are individuals that gravitated towards each other and there's been that sort of trust fall, that we all are, every time we meet, three/four times a week, as a band or just as individuals, we are so fortunate, and it comes from I think, especially having been in a solo project for as long as I was, it's such a beautiful act to let go. And like Nick and Molly are talking about knowing when to take the talking stick, so to speak, and letting your passion speak through, I think we've gotten really good at this.

Do you have any rough dates when the EP might come out or what it will sound like?

Scott: Late April probably and, I think as far as what it sounds like, I think it sounds most like Forebear than anything we've released prior.

Nick: Yeah, I think sometimes, when bands exist for a long period of time, they're expected to turn something out that sounds expected and we've only released three or four songs so far and so, in that period of time, it was our first effort to produce something. This being our sophomore EP, so to speak - can't believe I termed it that way - but this being our second release, we've definitely really fallen into being able to articulate what we want and our writing process and production process with our producer Scott Gordon and I do think there are so, so, so many cinematic moments in the songs, but also some really cool alternative things; I think the alternative feel of this record is going to really come from taking the time to be experimental.

What do you want people to know about your music?

Nick: I just hope people enjoy it, I'm not trying to force anyone to feel a certain way, but then again I'm not writing the lyrics - that's another side of it. I think that there are certain songs that emote happiness and there's certain songs that emote energy and then there's other songs that emote emotions on maybe more of a darker side, so there's a little something for everything you're feeling on the EP.

Mike: I don't know, that's a tough question.

Scott: It is, but one thing I'd like to say is, particularly with one of our songs, "Eon", that is featured on this forthcoming four song EP, I remember feeling like, alright, just Mike and I have had that conversation about how we really like playing on stage and seeing people move and seeing people dance. I love dancing, one of my favorite things to do is go to concerts with my band mates, festivals especially, and just kind of immerse ourselves in the beauty of just being in an audience and not standing out and just being another dancer, and I really wanted to create music that would get that reaction from people, but I think I may have been struggling from moving out of writing emotive, darker, slower songs and I was talking with one of my students the other day about what it's like, to go from a place of writing sad songs to happy songs, and I said, 'it's not necessarily a matter of writing just to say, all of a sudden, I want to write happy songs, but rather starting with writing about something that feels good'. It makes for bringing out a more emotive theme, but it moves you. We've got this one song called "Eon" that's coming out and that, for me, was an effort to write something that made you want to dance that still happens to express maybe some darker elements, how I felt, how I was dealing with it. Songwriting for me has always been a manifestation of whatever little bits of stuff I've been dealing with inside and to have it manifest into something that feels really good and moves other people is a total win and I think this record has a lot of moments like that. It's got plenty of purely emotive moments, but you don't get lost in it because I think everything is really intentional and there's different styles of songs and I think that stems from us experimenting in the studio; and not just in the nature of self-producing it and having it be a good song before we brought it in to the studio, but really making sure each one stands out from each other. As far as whatever the overall theme is, just getting a taste of all these blogs writing up about our first EP, it's pretty interesting to see what people make of it and I think, as long as we're creating something that affects people enough to spend some time thinking about what they think they should call it, we've won, that's great. More than anything, I just want this EP to affect people.

Mike: I don't think there's an expectation on what we're supposed to sound like in the eye of the audience member, they're just excited to hear something new and we just happen to be that thing. I know I've heard Fiona Apple say that it's not her plan to become a rockstar and create this album and tour and be big and famous, she's just controlled by these emotions and she needs to get them out and the way to do that is by playing and writing songs, so it really, for me, stops at the band level. I want my band members to like the shit and then the audience, whatever. I've noticed from the past half dozen shows, way more often than not, the people that come up to me or other people in Forebear are people that play instruments or are in bands and they seem to have a way of understanding the music, have an easier time getting a grasp of everything that's happening.

Scott: I get that too, that's a good point, is that there's obviously room for it to be affecting a lot of people. It's cool that it lets us do that, not just affecting people in a pop, emotional level, but there's a sort of..

Mike: You can't just put it on under a conversation.

Scott: Totally, speaking for every single one of us.

Mike: I want people to sit and think to themselves, 'ah, I didn't know you could do that'.

Scott: That's really great, I like that a lot. It was funny to me, because we have a colleague band and I saw them do a social media shout out, something to the effect of, when was the last time you just put a record on and just listen to it and I thought to myself, yesterday. I thought everybody really does make the time to listen to music, have it in the foreground, have it be what you're doing, not just as a distraction or in the background and, yeah, I like leaving people with that message.

Molly: I mean, we talk a lot about our music and what makes it good, but we're still such a new band, I mean, we're still figuring it out and, as much as we talk and as much as we admire each other and as much as we care about music and all that, it comes down to we enjoy playing together, we enjoy what we do, and we hope that everybody else does too. 

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