At the tail end of last year Dublin duo Forrests released Polydrug, a densely layered EP that offered a widescreen progression on the psychedelic electronics of their previous release Organs. Specialising in the sort of distorted yet uplifting drones that Fuck Buttons were once famed for, Polydrug is a gorgeous collection of music that glistens with all the colours of its petrol-stained cover.
We sent Forrests a few questions to find out how they crafted it, what inspires their music, and why they decided to release a record in a concrete sleeve…
Hi Forrests. We’ve been enjoying your Polydrug EP a lot of late – what did you set out to achieve when making it and did it turn out how you intended?
Thanks for taking the time to listen to it. We had some tracks that were recorded as part of the Organs sessions but couldn’t get them into a place we were happy with in time for that release. We do everything relating to the production so sometimes it’s hard to get perspective on things. During production we can be very self critical so a lot of material gets completed but abandoned. When we eventually started listening back to the Organs sessions it turned out that many of the issues were kind of imagined. The tracks had their own confidence & identity which is something we always look for. Polydrug is the last chapter.
The cover art is beautiful too, who created it and what was the concept behind both that and the EP’s title?
Thank you, we created the artwork. We felt it needed to relate to Organs but in a way that moved the story on.
The music we make is heavily influenced by our environment. Most of the sessions were recorded in various makeshift studios around Dublin’s North Inner City so the end result is a kind of sonic map of that space. For Polydrug we wanted to create something true to that concept but more hopeful & less brutal than what we had done for Organs.
You released your previous EP in a concrete sleeve – were you tempted to do something similar this time or have you been barred from the post office since then?
For this release we wanted to cast a copper sleeve from salvaged CRT televisions but when we decide to go digital that plan no longer made sense. In 2015 for Organs we sold the concrete sleeves as ‘pay what you want’, including shipping. It was a quiet commentary on the futility of trying to achieve any monetary balance as musicians, we also have an expensive sense of humour.
What are your individual roles within the band?
When writing the material we set up as we perform live, but after that we don’t really have individual roles as such. Each of us take tracks from the writing sessions and set about working on the arrangements and production.
When did you first start making music together, and how has your set-up changed over time?
We started making music as Forrests in about 2011, but have been involved in other projects together for many years before that. When writing it’s important for us to get the idea down with as little resistance as possible so we naturally gravitate towards the old equipment we know best. Although, over the years we have gone through various obsessions collecting gear so we do have more but the basic set-up has remained the same.
We’ve also heard you have a ‘robot drummer’ (!) – can you tell us more about that?
Yes, we felt that we needed to try move away from those various obsessive cycles so we built it about 5 years ago. It’s effectively a midi triggered kick drum made from car door actuators. It probably looks better than it sounds but there is something nice about it’s binary interpretation. It also serves as a nice reminder for us to try look forward.
Despite the electronic elements your music has quite a ‘natural’ feel – is nature an influence on your work, and are you inspired by your local surroundings generally?
Nature isn’t really an influence for us as such but our surroundings certainly are. We have always tried to make our electronic elements sound natural or that there’s less distance between the various elements. The result is a bigger sound that can be confusing to some people who expect more people to be involved in the project. Things tend to make more sense after they see us live.
Where do you feel would be the perfect place to listen to your music?
Abbey Street, Dublin 1
Photo by Sarah Doyle