Meet Forebear, a brand new force in the alternative music scene that has quite a lot to offer. In just their debut EP, they introduce themselves with unique instrumentation and ingenious sounds. It takes them only four tracks to establish themselves in the music scene with an incredible and memorable style. How does a beginning band like Forebear impress this well so early on in the game? MEB editor Emma finds the answer to this questions, among many more, in her interview with lead guitarist and vocalist Scott Goldbaum. Read ahead to learn all about the shocking potential of Forebear, and be sure to give their self-titled debut EP a listen below!
MEB: How would you describe Forebear’s music to someone who has never heard of you?
Scott Goldbaum: The best way to describe our sound is cinematic progressive alt rock.
How did you come up with the title of your band?
Forebear means ancestor and preceding Forebear I toured under the moniker Wise Cub. When Nick Chamian (bassist), Mike Mussleman (drums), and Molly Rogers (vocals/viola) surrounded my musical effort with their talent, it was only a matter of time before we all realized the sound was in the process of growing dramatically into something that came from our collaborative effort. Mike, Nick, and I previously knew each other from another band years ago, and to pay tribute to that forefather band in our lineage of garage bands growing up, as well as the recognition of the evolution of Wise Cub into a brand new and matured collective, Forebear struck me as the perfect fit: “Before the Bear.” It honors everything it took to get this perfect place between the four of us.
Before the band got together, how did your individual experiences with music influence Forebear’s sound today?
I’ve always loved finding alternative ways to cover a song, or bring character to an otherwise basic chord progression. Mike, Nick, and I grew up making “noise” together since we were about 12. Performing all over, being our own roadie, and playing incessant amounts of open mic as soon as I could write my first song (age 13) all adds to the chest-full of bodges marking hard earned experience. Molly, uniquely, has been playing and studying classical music since she was four and played with such an incredible range of musicians and genres over the course of her professional career. It all makes for an interesting culmination of edge and intention with pop sensibilities. We play, rehearse, and write our hearts out, but most importantly we have established this very rare, efficient shorthand and work ethic in our communal artistic endeavors.
When starting your debut EP, how did you want to portray your first impression in the music scene?
We didn’t look at it as a first impression and weren’t really sure if anyone would listen to the EP. I often look at our pre-production and the resulting recordings like I do during our live performances: a love letter to my band-mates and team manifested in a very involved result. Be it a great show or an effective sound recording; effective at affecting.
What was it like producing with Scott Gordon?
Scott Gordon is the absolute greatest. We love him. He is miraculous at encouraging a hands-on approach from each and every one of us, all the while introducing sounds, tones, and ideas that stimulate our minds that may have been outside of our own inventive instincts. He is first and foremost a fan of Forebear, and gets what we are going for so specifically and instinctually. It truly feels like we have a master in our corner.
Where did you agree on ideas with him and how did your ideas differ? How did you come together to make a final product?
I think our balance of passion toward certain decisions in the studio coupled with the intermittent willingness to follow someone else’s lead (someone within the band) is indicative of our recording experience, and a belief we all share that there is a certain magic to the recording process. It’s often taking unforeseen chances, letting go of the familiar, and committing to an idea that could likely fail and take up an entire day of recording that brings about something that is enchanting. Lead by Scott Gordon, we are all excited by those efforts.
Every song has really beautiful and complicated components to it, but which song did you find yourself working on the most?
Thank you! We undoubtedly spent the most amount of time on our song “Who Writes Off Who,” at least as far as my role was concerned in the guitar effect department.
Which song were you most satisfied with when it was done?
Personally, on this EP I was most satisfied with “Cusp.” It harkens back to my love for percussive vocals and features me singing the highest and lowest notes I’ve ever sung into a condenser mic in my life.
There are a lot of unique elements included in the instrumentals, like the viola. Have you always intertwined these sounds in your music or did the idea come when you were experimenting while making the EP?
I think Damien Rice’s first record O really impressed itself on me during a very formative time for my growth as an artist and I never let that go. Coupling the integration of strings into a rock trio, with my love for artists like Jeff Buckley, Cursive, and Radiohead, not to mention my ever present intrigue with scores written for film, I’m finally at a place with our ensemble that fulfills what I love hearing from music. Mike and Nick create a very detailed and methodical rhythm section out of every song with heightened attention towards the dynamics. The end of our group fits delightfully well with the tone and emotion of Molly’s viola, particularly Molly’s way of playing her instrument. She’s such an outside the box virtuoso who still manages to approach everything from an instrumental songwriters perspective.
Who are some of your greatest musical influences?
As a kid, being taxied around by my Mom everywhere, I was fortunate to inherit a lot of her tastes, of which includes Pearl Jam, Oasis, and Soundgarden. From there it pivoted into Jeff Buckley, Neil Young, Damien Rice, Refused, and Mars Volta. In terms of superlatives, my favorite band is Radiohead, but I’m constantly freaking out and getting excited over new artists. This past year, Tune-Yards were the frontrunner in new music finds, I can’t get enough of them. We’ll see how that impacts the next record. Throughout the years I’ve been very fortunate to have extremely gifted friends and colleagues who perform professionally and are constantly turning me on to new styles of playing and ways of listening to music. I’d say I am most often inspired and influenced by their proficiency in something I’m not yet accustomed to as a player but enticed by as a listener.
Did you listen to a lot to music while making your own? If so, who and do you think they affected the outcome of your EP in any way?
Yes, a lot. I would credit having seen Atoms For Peace and then John Williams at The Hollywood Bowl within a month or so of each other. Following that, there were a couple trips made to hear The LA Philharmonic at The Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Now with your debut EP release, what are your plans for 2015, and what are you most excited for?
We are back again with our producer Scott Gordon and are in the mixing stages of our sophomore EP with a tentative Spring release date. Throughout February, we are extremely excited to be taking our music across the state of California which can find all the dates on our website, and we look forward to taking our music across the nation and tour as frequently as we can once the EP comes out. Regardless, we have some very exciting plans ahead in 2015 and you can always stay up to date with our endeavors on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Listen to the band’s first EP here!