Monday, April 03, 2006

EXCLUSIVE: The Content stalk ¡Forward, Russia!

"Hey Nick, check out this band I just found."
"Cool. Play a song." (secretly having little hope for anything great)
Forward Russia's # 14 starts blasting through the speakers.
"Holy Hell, who is this."
"Forward Russia. I know."
Within that twenty second exchange, Forward Russia had a new diehard fan named Nick Ferrall. The only problem with this situation was that I had only four songs with which to feed my hunger. This lasted for several months, until I was able to slowly acquire the entire catalogue.
Now I needed to see them live, which posed a large problem since they were a small band from Leeds; however, last month they remedied this by coming for two shows in LA (Spaceland and Cinespace). We were able to catch their show at Spaceland, and interview the band at Cinespace. The show at Spaceland was unreal. I spent the entire night about two inches from Tom, trying to keep up with his frantic dancing. We later found out that the show almost never happened due to a flight delay.

Here is a perfect time to transition into our exclusive interview with Tom and Whiskas on the streets of Hollywood:

How was SXSW?

T: It was fun. Lots of stuff broke.

What was breaking?

W: The pedals were broken; the connections seem to keep breaking.

Everything sounded great last night.

T: Yeah, last night went pretty smoothly compared to some of the shows at SXSW . It was kind of weird having so little time to prepare. Our flight was delayed five hours, and we barely made the show. We literally went straight from the plane and onto the stage.

Was this your first show in LA?

T: Yeah, this is actually my first time in the United States.

Did it live up to your expectations? Laughs

T: It’s cool, yeah. I’ve enjoyed myself at both places. They’re obviously quite different, Austin and LA. It’s kind of like Wakefield.

Did you see any good shows at SXSW?

T: Katie got to see The Flaming Lips, and I went and saw the Editors who are friends of ours. There isn’t a lot of time since you are setting up and taking down equipment for so long in between sets.

What’s going on with the new album? Will we be hearing some of the singles or is it all new material?

T: There are some new recordings of the old singles, like 13. A new recording of 9 will be coming out in April. 12 will be on there obviously.

You guys have been self-releasing everything so far. How has that experience been?

T: Yeah, Dance to the Radio is run by this man (points to Whiskas).

W: The releases have gone quite well. We’ve been around for about a year, and have had ten releases -only two have been Forward Russia.

What is the concept behind the band name?

W: There isn’t really any concept.

T: We took a lot of work combinations that seemed interesting or had a strong visual element to them. That was just the one that we decided on in the end.

Are the numbers just a document of when you recorded the songs?

T: Yeah, when we started doing practices we only had like four songs, and instead of referring to them as the one with the thing that goes like this we used numbers. Sometimes when you don’t have words it’s just easier to make them numbers. Once you have an idea in your head about what a song is called, then it is very hard to change it. We just thought we might as well just leave it.

What kind of music are you listening to?

T: We listen to loads of different stuff.

W: I always say bands on my label, but I listen to just about everything. There’s some new band from New York isn’t there?

T: Some new band from New York. Laughs You sound sooo interested. Stroke something. I really like Stroke.

W: New band from Leeds. Gang of something - Gang of Five. Laughs

How is the music scene in Leeds?

T: It’s great. There are loads of bands playing right now. Everyone helps each other out. We’re starting to collaborate, with other musicians. I sang on a track for this hip hop band called Yes Boss. Their single on Dance to the Radio is coming out in a couple of weeks.

How is it releasing only singles?

W: It’s cool. Everyone is seems to fuckin love it. They are all selling out really quickly. The compilation is selling for like 60-70 quid on ebay (100 plus dollars). We did 2000 of our compilations. We are working on a European and a Japanese deal for the label, but I’m not sure what will happen in the US really. It seems like quite a separate thing; because it takes a lot to do stuff over here. I get the idea that you can’t do word of mouth stuff in the US. It will be so hard to tackle this country without any support backing us.

Is your writing process full band or do people bring separate things to the table?

T: It is very much a full band thing. Someone will start with one idea, and that gets worked around and added to another idea. And usually when it starts to form we will swap bits of the song around to make it sound less conventional – put the verse where the chorus should be or bring in some new instrument. Have bass parts and vocal lines that go in and out a bit, and may not be used on that song but…

Kind of like a stepping stone, you find some place to start…

T: Yeah this one song which hasn’t got the original bit that started the writing process. I think 1 hasn’t. The drums that started 15 aren’t there anymore. We take it all off ideas and play off each other.

Here are some photos from the Spaceland show, and yes, the last one has us with the band. We are dorks.

Thank you to Forward Russia for kicking ass and taking the time to talk with us. Also thank you to Braedon for snapping such insane photos!


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