Good day to all of you,
Usually I start by inquiring about your person and band, but this time I thought I'd go around the other way. I hope that is fine by you?
TG > That is perfectly acceptable as far as Iím concerned; theyíre your questions, so you can do this exactly how you want and weíd have no cause for complaint!
We just released a review on your latest venture "A Shadowplay For Yesterdays". Can you tell me a bit about the philosophy behind the album?
TG > In the simplest terms, we wished to create a concept album, but not just to throw a few random songs together and stick a story over the top. To that end, we worked hard to make the album flow with a proper beginning, middle and end, while also having certain melodies and themes reoccur at points to signify events or characters and so forth. Itís all terribly pretentious and self-indulgent, Iím afraid to say.
NC > To explore the themes of madness, dread and futility in musical form, whilst never completely making sense, and always leaving more questions than answers...
The music is very versatile to say the least, what ignited the inspiration of all these different parts and styles?
TG > Thatís rather difficult to answer. Itís just the way the music came out, really. There was nothing forced, or a desire to reproduce a certain style, we simply wrote the songs, and thatís how they ended up! More than anything, I suppose between us we do have a wide variety of influences from myriad styles of music across a broad spectrum and perhaps that intrinsic love for such things has rubbed off on our compositions?
On that note, I'm very intrigued to know what kind of formal training the troupe has in music?
TG > Some of us are classically trained, some of us are self taught. Some are a mixture of both and one of us is even a fully-fledged peripatetic music teacher. Iíll leave it up to you to guess which is which.
MC > Apart from a grim stint in a school choir, no real training to speak of! Some days the voice works as I hope, others it sounds like a tone deaf imbecileís attempt at singing the alphabet.
Who do you see as paragons for your musical art?
TG > It really depends on the day of the week and whoís being more vocal at the time; they shift and change like sand. I donít think we really agree on any over-arcing ones, and I suspect that no one of note would wish to be associated with us either, so thatís fine. Iíve often said that the mid-nineties explosion of experimental black metal (Ved Buens Ende, Sigh, Ulver, Arcturus, In The Woods..., etc) were a great influence on us Ė in terms of what they were doing to push the boundaries of the genre, rather than directly copying the music Ė it made us want to do something similar and enjoy the lack of restriction when putting together an album of songs, to follow our own desires and not worry what anyone else would think or approve/disapprove of it. So that, though a wholly inadequate answer, that would be the best way to sum it up, I suppose.
MC > My childhood (and later life also, of course!) was filled with such musical luminaries as Steeleye Span, Paul Simon (and Garfunkel), Jethro Tull, Marillion, Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, etc. etc. etc. In the early 1990s I first heard Darkthrone. I have not been the same since.
Your music is labeled as "psychedelic black metal". What do you think of the label, or genre specifications overall?
TG > One label is as good as another, so Iím fine with it personally, though I see a lot of people are not, which is also fine. Labels are helpful for describing music in words, but nothing else, really, and Iím not particularly fussed by having them or not having them Ė I have more interesting things to explore than whether we are labelled correctly as a band, or indeed if any other bandís label is correct. Good music is good music; it doesnít matter about the genre or whatever, it will cross the required boundaries.
MC > I completely agree, to me there is only good music and bad music; though the occasional label (if well placed) helps to point one in the correct direction. If pushed I would have no idea what to call us Ė 'Necro Prog'?
How would you describe the bands image and output?
TG > A total, sloppy, self-interested mess that masquerades as a degree of respectable professionalism. Somehow, we keep getting away with it, though we have absolutely no idea how. Answers on a postcard, please!
MC > That which should not be, manifested by those who should not be manifest. Eh?
What has been the public reaction to "A Shadowplay For Yesterdays"?
TG > Largely positive I think. At least that seems to be the case. Iím sure there are plenty of people who think itís awful (perfectly fine by me!), but to be honest, weíve been genuinely taken aback by how complimentary both the fans and critics have been, from the limited exposure Iíve allowed myself to experience. I think itís impossible to say from my perspective, ultimately, as Iím going to be naturally biased in one way or another, unintentionally or otherwise!
MC > I said somewhere else that no one has yet tried to burn our club house down, so I assume that we must be doing something right?
In what way would you describe the evolutionary arch of A Forest of Stars? Is there any or has it been more of a determined path towards where you stand now?
TG > There is a certain mixture of calculation and free-flow. That we could not have made the current album when we first started is absolutely certain. We had to build to that point, and grow as writers and musicians. We really donít have any grand plan musically, we go wherever our current thoughts and impulse take us and do as we wish from that. Who knows where we will go next? I certainly donít. It could just as easily be back rather than forwards, though there is a strong collective desire to always stride forwards and explore new things, so I suspect that will win out in the end!
MC > Personally, I must be honest and say that I take things as they come. Wherever my mind is during a writing process is generally where the lyrics end up. Not that this little fact has a great deal to do with the song-writing as a whole...
Now when we close in on the end... can you in your own words tell me, what is A Forest of Stars and who are the figures behinde it?
TG > I donít really know, and itís probably best for everyone if it stays that way. We play what we call music, but others are rather more insistent itís just a noisy mess of indulgent complacency. There are currently seven of us (though if we keep expanding at the same, consistent rate, itíll be close to thirty in less than a year, I swear) and in truth, our names are not important nor of interest to anyone (not least to save offending anyone of a delicate sensibility). That probably goes for the music too! All we ask is people ignore us and listen to the music Ė we rarely have anything of interest to say except inane babbling and dribbling!
MC > A band of not-so-merry shysters? Without trying to sound like an arsehole, we are the sum of our parts Ė no more, no less!
... and any last words?
TG > Thank you for taking the time to interview us!
MC > All the best, Kenneth Ė thank you for your questions.
Thank you for your time and I wish you all the best.