New Music! The country is in a reflective state and as an artist it is impossible not to react. I stay away from commentary and react with sounds. Hope you enjoy.
"The internet is crazy: location, language, and time don’t matter, but what to do with that...
Some years ago when I was first engaging with the site SoundCloud I started meeting people from across the globe through their music and messages. I was blown away by how amazing the community was and how our music was collectively touching every corner of the globe. The thought of having band members in a garage as the only way to make music was being replaced by new forms like dj mixes, remixes, and lots of bedroom musicians like myself producing original music in every way possible – generally making music like we always have but now with a global audience at our fingertips.
One day I received a message from a guy in Sweden asking if I may be interested in doing a remix of one of his songs. He mentioned being a fan of my music so I went to his page to check him out. It was a peaceful fall day at home in the sleepy seaside-town of Salem, Massachusetts where I remember putting on the Pocketful track “She Won't Steal My Thoughts Tonight” and hearing Jerker Rellmark’s voice for the first time. To say I was excited is an understatement – my girlfriend and I listened to this track on repeat endlessly while discussing the purity of his voice. There was something so different, so pure about it – a flavor completely foreign but so familiar at the same time. This is the moment I realized the power and opportunity of what was being presented to me.
"I was blown away by Jim’s remix. One thing that spoke to me was his approach to the voice, how he sees it as an instrument and is not afraid of doing what is needed to suit the purpose of the song. Starting with this remix, Jim also showed me that in order to develop your music you really need to be brave enough to take things a few steps further than you initially intended."
To fast-forward, Jerker and I released the remix, I designed the album cover, and we went on with our daily lives. Me in Salem, Massachusetts and him in Gothenberg, Sweden – 3,568 miles apart.
The fire was far from out for us though... I released my debut album, “Under The Chrome Sea” in 2012, and Jerker contacted me saying how he really wanted to cover the track “Floating” – a deep ambient track with me singing about ghosts through a vocoder. A year went by and we kept chatting about the possibility, me sending him the instrumental and patiently waiting. Finally he sent me vocals and we produced our first track – a wild vocal departure from the original that in many ways fully realized the original. We were so inspired by the result that I started sharing other instrumental tracks I had been working on and Herkka was born.
"Floating became the logical starting-point of the Herkka collaboration - it was as if our two vastly different musical backgrounds found a common ground in this song. I immediately fell in love with the emotional power of the piece and the arrangement was spot-on - the simple yet very effective riff, the ambient sounds, the sparse electric bass notes and those gorgeous vocoder voices. I realized that Jim had shown me a direction I wanted to explore further."
For the last year we marched through our busy lives on separate continents and different time zones producing music and endlessly chatting through a software called Trello where we kept our thoughts and files organized. The process wasn’t without challenges but was immensely rewarding. The majority of the time we worked at different hours so I would wake up and be rewarded by a few messages of what he had accomplished while I slept and vice-versa – modern life!
As perfectionists do, we labored over these recordings – probably far longer than we should have, but we are really proud of the result. When Jerker and I finally meet we will undoubtedly joke about this, and toast to friendship.
Enjoy and thanks for the continued support!
As much as I wish I did music full-time as a profession I don't – I'm a Designer/Creative Director during the day. In this interview I talk about the balance of both and how each discipline affects each other.Read More
The full Forrest James interview from the CHROMA 2 sessions with Andy HouleRead More
It was such a blast presenting at the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival this year. Had a great discussion on all the intricacies of making music with your computer. The audience had great questions and I was amazed at the depth we could get into. Definitely some talented cats in the audience so I was honored to say the least. See below for an example from the workshop.Read More
Excited to have my music and thoughts featured in CHROMA 2 , an amazing 8x8 full color art annual featuring art and interviews with New England's hardest working artists! Not to mention a limited edition CD of Forrest James originals, old and new, featuring guest appearances by Callie Lipton (The Dejas),Yozmit, and Olga Kouznetsova. 50 very special copies of CHROMA 2 will come with the cd and a small number of these will be available at Boston Comic Con Friday, August 8, 2014.
This winter I collaborated with filmmaker Elayne McCabe and editor Perry Hallinan to score their feature-length documentary about war torn Kashmir. It was a great experience that opened my eyes to creativity in the midst of chaos and taught me immense empathy for the people of Kashmir.
About the film:
KASHEER: Art, Culture and the Struggle for Azadi explores the complexities of life in a disputed territory from the point of view of three local artists living in the Kashmir Valley — a conflict zone in the Indian Himalayas on the contested border with Pakistan.
Malik Sajad is a political cartoonist offering biting satiric commentary on regional politics. A middle-aged artist reflects on his childhood and the tragic changes the local insurgency brought to his neighborhood in abstract ink drawings. Gayoor Hassan’s vibrant spiritual paintings reveal his quest for inner peace in the midst of perpetual social turmoil. Lushly photographed, this observational documentary provides a human perspective, creating space for thoughtful debate amid deeply polarizing politics.
Baked and designed by Juliette Fritsch with help from the fabulous Meegan Williams. March, 2014