Forrest are an indie-rock band from Martinez, CA, USA.
How would you describe your music?
Our music is a little hard to describe, but I would say we’re very emotionally driven. Our music is the kind of music you feel in your gut when you listen to it. We’re an indie-rock band at heart but we like to play around with aspects of classic rock, ambient music, singer-songwriter, and even the post-punk and emo movements. All four of us have a very broad taste in music and we like to pull from every genre we listen to for inspiration.
Tell us about how the history of the project?
At first it was just our front-woman, Hailie Hay, playing sad songs on an acoustic by herself. She went on a tour on the East Coast with some other singer-songwriters and then returned to California with plenty of energy. A friend of hers asked if she would play a little basement show in Berkeley because a band dropped out and she saw the occasion as an opportunity to get guitarist, Michael Kirk, and percussionist, Levi Matthews, involved with her music. Kirk and Matthews had been working with bassist, Manu Sawnhey just for fun and decided to pull him into the project as well. In one week the quartet took Hailie’s songs and turned them into full band indie-rock anthems and from there on Forrest was formed.
What are your influences/ musical heroes?
We all have really unique taste in music. Hailie loves her sad girl acoustic music like Julian Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and the Now Now. Michael has always been a fan of dramatic music like The Dear Hunter, Explosions in the Sky, and I the Mighty. Levi like’s quirky music that makes unique stylistic choices like The Strokes and also is a bit of a metal head at heart, he loves The Devil Wears Prada. Manu is a huge fan of technical music like Jason Richardson and emo powerhouses like AFI.
What inspires you?
We’re all inspired just by the process of writing music and all of the freedom it gives. We love to try new and strange things in our writing process and are always pushing one another to become better musicians. All four of us work on our own music outside of the project as well so we share ideas and feed off each other’s creativity, so in a way each member helps to inspire the others!
Do you write on the road? Or do you prefer to write in the studio?
We like to get as much written as we can before we get into the studio. We’re pretty particular about our music and we know once we get into the studio the ideas will only keep flowing, so we try to lay as much of a foundation as we can before we start getting really creative.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
I feel like everytime someone asks this my answer changes, which I guess is a good thing! Colorado is a lot of fun to play. It’s our highest energy song, has some classic rock roots, and a really fun solo to play, so I’d have to say Colorado takes it this time!
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
Being on board with some powerful acts like From Indian Lakes, Julian Baker, Manchester Orchestra would be absolutely amazing. They all have similar vibes to our music but are just different enough for each act to really shine on their own.
What are your current thoughts on the music industry?
The music industry today is really a double-edged sword. On one hand it’s easier than ever to produce, create, and distribute your work to so many people but on the other hand there are so many options and so many other talented people doing it that it can be tough to get an audience’s attention and keep their attention.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
Oh man, we’re all goofballs so at some point we had to just stop keeping track… However, we played a small festival call di Rosa Days at the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art in Napa, CA and the staff were all so cool and nice and just kept giving us drink tickets. By the time they stopped we had like six tickets each and then some of the audience members came up to us and wanted to give us their drink tickets too. Hailie and Manu even somehow convinced the staff to let them into the “Members Only” lounge at the museum where they had a full bar, not just beer and wine, and we hung out with the bartenders. It was honestly so fun and the art exhibits were all so weird, we couldn’t have asked for more (especially not more beer…).
What are your future plans?
We just released our first EP actually, so as soon as we can we’re going to get back on stage and promote that album! Besides that we’ve been doing a lot of writing, promoting, and have been trying to refine our live set so that it’s more eye-catching, so you can expect some really exciting shows and maybe even some new music in the near future!