| Band: fornever|
Interviewer: Julie Johnson
What makes this interview with Fornever so special is that Fornever was the first artist I ever interviewed. It was about 5 years ago that I started interviewing artists for Grave Concerns before it actually became Grave Concerns. I have followed Fornever's history and have remanined in contact with Joshua Heinrich over all these years. In fact, we have become great friends and he is currently a staff member now on Grave Concerns. Josh has been very busy over the years with many musical projects and is about release "Ghosthouse". I felt that it was perfect timing to interview Fornever again after 5 years for Grave Concerns 5th Anniversary as an on-line e-zine. Fornever was the first interview but surely not our last. I thank Josh for contacting me that day to start what has become Grave Concerns E-zine.Hey Josh, how are things with you?
Not bad. Glad to have air conditioning...
You have been busy working on the new Fornever album "Ghosthouse" for quite sometime now. This is probably your longest between albums. How have you been perfecting the sound of the new album?
Yes, the last fornever CDs were a few EPs released in 2002 (although I've put out an album or two since under side projects)…and it's been 3 years since fornever's last full-length. Some of last year was spent working on something of a "best of" album (which should be out later this year) and a new premature burial album, but I put those on hold when I began working on new fornever material. I've just been taking my time with this album and sort of letting it take on a life of its own. Instead of starting a song and finishing it within a few days, I recorded the basic instruments and added to it as material presented itself. I sort of listened to the music over and over and spent more time developing vocal melodies and production ideas. If something didn't work, I didn't really force it and settle for the result, but rather came back to it with a clear head and tried again.
Has Fornever been moving toward more of an alternative rock sound for "Ghosthouse"? If so, why this change?
Yes, the album definitely has more of a guitar-oriented alt rock sound. In part, it's because I've grown extremely dissatisfied and bored with overproduced electronic music and wanted to do something more organic and, also, in some ways, sort of more upbeat and energetic. There are electronic elements, but there was definitely a conscious effort to downplay electronics or, at least, incorporate them in a more organic way.
In other ways, though, it's sort of a natural return to the roots of fornever. Fornever basically began as a moody guitar-based alt rock project influenced by bands like The Cure, PJ Harvey, Nirvana, U2, and Depeche Mode. I've sort of been pulled in different stylistic directions over the years by the bands or genres that I was into at any given time and even, at times, limitations of some of the equipment I've used, but I think those rock/pop influences and my own general predisposition towards alternative/indie rock/pop have always been the foundation of fornever. I mean, they've sometimes been buried far beneath the surface, but I think they've always been there in some form or another. I think Ghosthouse sort of peels away a lot of those other layers and influences and returns to the heart of fornever. It's a bit cliché, but it almost feels like I've rediscovered myself or my voice. I truly feel that Ghosthouse is the most "fornever" fornever has sounded since the early days of the project.
What have your done with your programming and guitar that you have not done in the past during the course of the making of "Ghosthouse"?
Well, I'd say programming and keyboards definitely took a backseat this time around. It's more of a guitar/bass/drum/vocal album. There are keyboards and drum loops, but they're used sparingly and usually play a secondary role to the more organic instruments. A lot of the melodies are sort of culled from intertwining layers of guitar (sometimes half a dozen different guitar parts on one track). Even some of the production touches are sort of organic (like the processed whistling in "dirt"). I also tried to make the album flow fairly consistently by recording most of the songs at the same bpm, a technique that also makes the few faster numbers seem more intense. In a way, it's sort of a combination of the alternative rock sound of fornever's formative years with the production techniques and songwriting skills I've developed throughout my recording career
How much longer will it be until the release of "Ghosthouse"?
In all reality, I'm not entirely sure myself. I'm still finishing up some lyrics and vocal recording. I know I've pushed it back a few times already, but I'd rather take my time and be inspired rather than set a date and meet it by hacking the rest together just to get it out there. I suppose I'm sort of taking a "it'll be finished when it's finished" approach with this album. At the moment, I'm shooting for September, but that could change based on a number of factors.
Speaking of "Ghosthouse", why did you decide on that name for this album?
Honestly, it's the name of one of my favorite b-horror films and was originally chosen as the album title for a mellower rock side project that never came to fruition. The name sort of perfectly carried over to this album (along with a few reworked songs), though, and is the title of one of the new songs. In the context of the album and song, it sort of fits into the idea of not fitting in or belonging. The "ghosthouse" in the album is sort of a limbo outside of the real world…a place between extremes and outside convention where I'm hiding from the world yet also feel trapped.
Lyrically, what were some of your inspirations for the songs on "Ghosthouse"?
There are a lot of themes explored here. Granted, there are a few of the typical love songs found on just about every album by every band that ever existed, ranging from idealistic romance to sex…but the album is a lot deeper than that. "Bright blue eyes" sort of goes to the heart of the idea that actually led to the name "fornever", making it the perfect choice for a single. It's about longing for the idealism and innocence of youth…sort of about the realization that comes with age that nothing is forever, but also about clinging to the glimmer of hope that still remains and holding onto your inner child. Other songs are sort of more introspective commentaries on society, religion, politics, etc. "Pieces" is probably the least "politically correct" song I've ever written…or at least released…sort of touching on all 3 of those topics. "I am" is sort of a satirical take on the superstar mentality and America's fascination with celebrity, while "the body" is sort of a commentary on the music industry…basically about the frustration of trying to balance all of the business crap with the musical side of things. There's really sort of a blend of material that looks inwardly and outwardly…a mix of songs dealing with inner thoughts and emotions and songs that serve more as commentaries about the world.
In general, the album is about feeling sort of claustrophobic and lost…specifically in America, but also the modern world as a whole. I guess it's sort of the cynical view of an idealistic artist in a cold, complex, intimidating, superficial, business-driven world. It's something of a blend of romantic idealism and disillusioned agoraphobia.
How have you pushed your vocals or approached your vocals for this album?
It's sort of funny, but I think this is the first fornever album where I'm really writing for my own vocal range and taking the time to develop the vocal melodies. On a lot of the other albums, I've thrown together the music, written the lyrics, and then slapped the vocals on later as sort of an afterthought. On Ghosthouse, however, the vocals actually work melodically and contain some of the album's best pop hooks. They're sort of more intricate but also, in some ways, more straightforward and natural.
You have released the first single from the album on soundclick called "Bright Blue Eyes". Has anybody started to notice this single yet?
It's charted fairly well on soundclick and has been getting a fair number of plays. I guess it's sort of bouncing around the charts in typical mp3 site fashion, meaning one day it'll get 50 plays and climb the charts, but the next it'll get none and drop a hundred spots. Overall, though, the feedback has been pretty much universally positive so far, and I think people are generally excited about the new CD and sound.
The new album has a very catchy pop rock sound. Are you hoping this new style will bring out new fans?
While it wasn't really calculated for commercial success, I think it's a very accessible album with a more modern sound that probably has a lot more potential for mainstream success than what I've done in the past. I think it will appeal to current fornever fans but, perhaps, hit new demographics that have ignored fornever in the past.
With this new sound your music I feel this should be very marketable, have you had any label interest for this album?
Yes, but nothing I can really comment on at this time seeing as how I'm still in talks and nothing has been inked. At this point, I'm not sure if Ghosthouse will be coming out on my own label (Autumnal Release) or another label (or both)…which is another factor that could contribute to release delays.
Fornever has a long album release history. Does this album mark a new beginning for Fornever?
I guess it's sort of a new beginning. As I said before, though, it's sort of a return to form in many ways rather than a beginning. Either way, I really feel comfortable with what I'm doing and where fornever is on this album…more than I have in years…and it does sort of feel like a fresh start.
How do you hope your fans that have been with you since the beginning react to this new album?
A lot of the other material on recent albums/EPs or recently made available for download has been fairly pop/rock-oriented, perhaps increasingly so over recent years. So, despite the more organic guitar rock/pop sound, I don't think it's a huge leap. I mean, it's definitely a change, but it's certainly where things have been headed as well as sort of an updated version of fornever's original sound. I consider it the best material I've written and the best album I've recorded to date, and I think fans will agree.
How will you be promoting this new CD?
I'm doing an interview with Grave Concerns (right now, as a matter of fact). Seriously, though, I'm not sure at this point. The possible record deal on the table may factor into that side of things.
Will we hear any remixes from "Ghosthouse" in the future?
I really don't know. I kind of doubt it at this point, especially considering the fact that I'm not planning on releasing any CD singles this time around, but I suppose it's possible. If there are any remixes, they may appear either on compilations or on the planned b-sides/rarities album, something left behind, which should be out sometime in the first quarter of 2005. I think at this point, though, I'm far less interested in remixing my material than I was…say…two or three years ago (with the exception of the upcoming "best of" album, which contains many tracks that are remixed, reworked, and/or partially re-recorded).
You are involved in so many projects, how do you find the time?
Well, I sort of multi-task. At the moment, most of my musical energy is taken up with the new fornever album, but I'm also working on additional material for the fornever hits and rarities/b-sides packages plus material for premature burial, She Cries Alone, and an as-yet-unnamed new project related to Orangabelle 5. It can be a bit vexing, especially since I'm handling everything from songwriting to performance/recording to production to engineering to mastering to artwork to PR to promotion to band website design, but it also lets me add a little variety and mix things up a bit. If I don't feel like recording, I can always work on artwork, web design, or another facet of what I do. I'm also currently slated to do an indie horror film soundtrack in the fall, am (barely) working on a book compiling poetry and short stories, and, of course, writing and doing web/graphic design for Grave Concerns. Overall, it's really just a matter of doing what I'm inspired to work on at any given time…and then trying to motivate myself to do the stuff I've been putting off…heh
Does The Cure still remain one of your biggest influences?
The Cure are still a big influence, but there are plenty of others there too and have been since the beginning. The new album is also heavily influenced by bands like PJ Harvey, The Chameleons, U2, The Pixies, Depeche Mode, and Nirvana…which have, to a large extent, been influences since I formed fornever back in the mid 90s. So, yes, The Cure are still a big influence…and I think there are definite hints of Wish-era Cure on the new album…but they're not really a singular influence.
Is it still hard living in Buffalo, NY and being a musician?
I actually live about half an hour south of Buffalo in the middle of nowhere at the moment, which is, perhaps, more difficult…heh I suppose I'm comfortable with it, though. The music scene here is fairly diverse but kind of generic/bland and not exactly friendly toward moody Cure-esque rock/pop, electronic rock, or experimental rock. I've actually never really been part of the "local scene". I've historically been widely ignored locally, and I don't really care for the local scene at all anyway. It's sort of a mutual disinterest.
Will the release of this album prompt any live gigs?
Probably not. I don't really have a live band at the moment and have some other recording projects around the corner among other things. If anything, there may be a few performances in the future by one of my new bands, She Cries Alone, or a few one-off gigs later this year or next in support of the "best of" album…but I'm not planning on doing any shows in support of Ghosthouse.
How many hours a day do you spend on music, as I know you are always working on something?
It really depends. Like all musicians, I have my quirks and almost manic depressive tendencies. I'm also sort of one of those "jack of all trade" types and get bored easily doing the same thing over and over. So I find myself burned out occasionally (perhaps even frequently these days), especially with the hectic release/recording schedule I've had for much of the last 5 years (sometimes releasing half a dozen CDs in one year). I'll sometimes go for a month without really doing much musically (working on the artwork/promo side of things or other projects altogether). Other times, I can be found obsessively working 10+ hours a day 6 or 7 days a week for a month straight on a recording project.
Anything you would like to add for Grave Concerns readers?
I'm working on finishing up the newly revamped Grave Concerns site design, so stay tuned for that…heh Oh, and [begin shameless self promotion] be sure to check out Ghosthouse when it's released [end shameless self promotion]…
fornever website: http://go.to/fornever
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