Backstage: Forest Falls
“Forest Falls is an indie-folk-pop band that is apparently consuming genres at an alarming rate.” Ask lead-vocalist Jon O’Neill what Forest Falls is all about and that’s what you’ll find out. Which, quite frankly, makes me want to go and re-listen to the entire album. Who doesn’t love a band that figuratively eats genres? This six-piece offering are the soothing tones and musical mastery that you really should add to your world. Hailing from Melbourne, the group have just finished an east-coast Australian tour (minus a drummer) and are preparing more for 2015. The band’s latest single Heavy Hearted Girl, is lifted from the stunning EP Julia and was penned by O’Neill. It’s just one of those songs that you can’t help but listen to on replay. Sad but sweet is really the only way I can describe it.
You guys are unreal! How did Forest Falls become a thing?
[Laughs] Cheers, it was all Chinese whispers between friends of friends in the beginning. I found our drummer Jamie without knowing of his legion of musical mates. One by one they filed in until there were six of us. Everyone already knew at least one person so there was a really friendly relaxed vibe from the start.
How long has Heavy Hearted Girl been in the works for? What’s it been like making this song?
Heavy Hearted Girl was the quiet achiever on our last EP, Julia. It was a really cathartic experience writing it. I was dealing with the loss of a friend and was keeping it bottled up. It was one of the few songs where I didn’t really involve the rest of the band, probably because of the personal nature of the subject. When the song did gain some traction and we decided to tour for it more questions were asked and the band really got behind me. The live performance of the Heavy Hearted Girl we do now incorporates all five voices into the chorus. In a way it reflects how I dealt with that solitude initially and then was supported by my friends and band-mates, so it’s a really special song for me.
How do the dynamics of such a large group of musicians work for Forest Falls?
Surprisingly well. We’re pretty tight-knit and tend to share the workload as much as possible. We all have different strengths and everyone is really honest with each other. Jamie is super clued into the scene and industry, Lucy always has bright ideas for arrangements and vocals, everyone plays their part. I guess if someone is grinding your gears there are four other people to hang out with too.
What do you guys get up to in your down time? Do you spend a lot of time together outside of your music?
We get together for band related activities all the time but don’t get to hang as much as I’d like. We’re all fairly dispersed geographically: Currently Jamie is in …Bolivia, I think? Jeremy and Gabe live down in Torquay, and the rest of us are scattered around Melbourne. That’s another reason touring is so good, because in between shows we get to just goof off, binge on horrible food and throw Frisbees. We all have different hobbies outside music though: Gabe loves to surf, Jez can be found stewing in the spa at his hotel most nights, Shaun fronts a garage rock band, Lucy teaches violin, Jamie is the globetrotter (he travels flat-out and just happens to be our tallest baller)… Myself, I like audio engineering, keeping fit and I love hanging out with my fiancé.
So what’s next for the band? What’s coming up?
We’re in the process of locking in shows for next year. Jamie will be back in December and we’ll be honing the set over the holidays. After reaching our goal of $10,000 through the crowdfunding site Pozible we get to fulfil our rewards too which will be sweet! One of the rewards has us playing a private show at a wedding and composing a song for the couple to-be. For another reward we’ll be playing a game of three-on-three basketball that was auctioned off. Our team name is the Forest Fallstars and we’re quite the tour de force.