An Interview with Forester


In the midst of their US tour, Forester is as chill as their music sounds. WRGW’s Claire Lanthier got the chance to call the LA-based duo David And Xander one day ahead of their stop in DC for an inside look at what their production process and concert set up looks like. There’s still a chance to buy a ticket before tomorrow night when the duo takes on DC-9 – this is not a concert you’re going to want to miss. Buy your tickets here, and read on to hear some more details about this duo.

WRGW: We’re so excited to welcome you to DC tomorrow. How’s the tour been so far?

Forester: It’s been so much fun. Getting to see, you know, a lot of places that we’ve never been to before, meeting a lot of cool people, getting to meet, you know, fans of the music. It’s been a first for us in a lot of different ways. It’s been an incredible experience up to this point

WRGW: I’m glad to hear the tour has been great so far. I just saw that you just played at a festival in Miami! Was that your first time doing a festival? Or have you done one before?

Forester: Yeah, that was the first real multi day festival that we’ve played, and it was an incredible experience because we both grew up watching the live streams and videos from “Ultra”. And to play alongside some of our favorite artists there at the live stage was an incredible experience, truly humbling. And, you know, we’re just incredibly grateful to have that experience

WRGW:  Do you think that watching festivals like that shaped your sound at all? Or did it impact it?

Forester: Absolutely. I mean, watching and playing those kinds of concerts definitely informs the music that we make. Throughout this whole tour, I think we’ve been able to see which songs of ours have connected with our fans the most and with the crowd. And I think we’re both really excited to take that information and go back to the studio and write music with more of a live appeal in mind.

WRGW: I know you guys just recently released an album, too. So what was the process behind that?

Forester [David]: Yeah, Xander and I did a trip to Big Sur back in March of last year, you know, kind of in the middle of the pandemic, and we found this coastline that we kind of explored for a good hour, two hours, and spent the whole day walking up and down it. Finding good waves to surf, it was one of my first times really surfing and it took me out. And it was such a beautiful and peaceful experience that we ended up going home afterwards and writing a song about it, which ended up being a song we have called “symphony”. And it just kind of kept building from that. And you know, our first album was based on fires, called kerosene. Next one, a range of light was the mountains – and a “range of light” is what John Muir would call the Sierra mountain range. And so we thought, you know, maybe this next one will be about water. And that was kind of the direction going forward for this record.

WRGW: That’s so cool, I love John Muir. So do you guys think that nature has kind of been, I know your name is Forester, so has nature played a big role in your music?

Forester: Absolutely. I think it’s always been at the center of what we do. It serves as a main inspiration, definitely, for how we write and what we write about. And one of our goals in creating music is to take a piece of that feeling that we get being out in nature, and put it into music for our listeners to experience. We both grew up in LA, and a vital part of our childhood was getting out into nature, whether it was the ocean or up in the mountains. I personally hiked the John Muir Trail when I was about 14 years old, and that was a very formative experience for me. And I just really wanted people to feel those feelings of being on top of a mountain, surfing a wave, hiking in a beautiful valley, whatever it may be. And so we try to encapsulate that in our music. And what confirmed the name Forester for us was the fact that there is a beautiful mountain pass on the John Muir Trail, just outside Yosemite, called Forester Pass. And standing on top of that pass, for me, was one of the most rewarding and beautiful, freeing feelings I’ve ever had. And I think it really aligned with the music.

WRGW: That’s so sick, what a cool story. So did you guys grow up making music together? How did the two of you start the journey of the band?

Forester [David]: Yeah, we grew up together. We first met just out and about in LA, we were in similar friend groups. And we both realized that we made music, so Xander invited me to come over to his house one day, and produce, and we made some songs that, listening back, were not great, but at the time were so much fun. Our friends would hype them up, and, you know, we’d go to parties, and they would play them, not necessarily because they liked them, maybe, but because it was cool that we made them and, you know, we just kept doing it. Ended up doing some parties ourselves, DJing a bit around the city, and one opportunity led to another, it just kind of kept building. And, you know, it kind of became a career, slowly but surely. And yeah, we’ll see where the future takes us.

WRGW: Then this is also kind of about your backstory, but, how did you guys come to the label? And how has being on a label kind of affected your your music since then?

Forester [Xander]: So I guess we initially got connected with palm tree via a cold email from Dave rishtey, who’s president of label currently, he had just reached out to us because he heard our first album kerosene that we released with Lowly, and he gave us the ask for a folder of demos, which we had, and we sent over. Turns out, he really liked them. And he also sent them to Myles Shear, who’s one of the co-founders of the label, and our manager at the moment, and he loved him as well. So I guess there was a unanimous decision to send us an offer. And we’re so glad that we took it and all worked out, because the opportunities that we’ve gotten from Palm Tree have really helped us get our music out there, and it also gives us a little more creative freedom, because we have people working on the back end on the business side of things, and we don’t have to do that anymore. So we get to make a little bit more music and focus on what’s important to us. 

[David]: Absolutely. And to answer your question about, you know, how has it affected making music and sound? They give us pretty much full creative freedom. It’s a beautiful partnership, they don’t push us in one direction or another. So I think if anything, they just empower us to, like what Xander was saying, to create. You know, the only thing I think maybe the management side has helped with the music is that they’ve put us in some writing sessions that have been cool and, you know, helped us kind of see the process of some other writers. But other than that, a lot of creative freedom is given to us.

WRGW: Speaking of other writers, who are some of your guys’ biggest inspirations?

Forester [David]: I think one is, from a songwriting perspective, I think we would both say Bon Iver. I think he has one of the coolest centers of melody…

[Xander]: Yeah, it’s interesting for me, because there’ve been so many people along the way, and so many different artists, I think, that have inspired me throughout my life, you know, just listening to music from a young age. And maybe starting with more rock music, and then getting more electronic. I think Avicii was a really big one for me. From a production standpoint, yeah. 

[David]: I strictly listen to folk music basically outside of producing our own music. And my inspirations in that space include Gregory Alan Isakov, Valley Maker, love Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, tons of individuals like Joe Purdy. Yeah, all those indie folk guys.

WRGW: I love indie folk music, that’s like my favorite genre. I know you guys mentioned a lot of folk and indie music, but you guys are characterized more as electronic. So what made you kind of make that go into that genre?

Forester: Yeah, I mean, I think that we both fell in love with electronic music at a young age. And the energy from electronic music, I think, is unmatched. It’s different, it’s hard to compare it. But I think that the goal for us is to blend, kind of, that euphoric feeling from electronic music and the driving energy from it with, you know, more of an indie folk sound where there’s a lot of organic instruments in it, and writing full songs as opposed to club bangers. So we try to get the best of both worlds. But I think, you know, we love organic music, as well as electronic music. So the goal is always trying to find the middle ground.

WRGW: That’s super cool. Yeah, I mean, that’s a really great strategy to combine those two things, and it’s a cool mix. Obviously, to kind of switch gears, y’all are coming to DC tomorrow, so we’re really excited. I’m kind of curious what your favorite part of the tour has been so far, and then kind of what you’re looking forward to for the rest of it?

Xander: I think one of my favorite parts of the tour so far has been meeting listeners and fans. We’ve spent a lot of time and played a lot of shows opening for Kygo, who’s been incredible to us, and has really helped us spread the music around. But we don’t usually get to meet too many fans at those kinds of shows. So having our own headline shows has been incredibly rewarding. And to see people singing our lyrics out there with us, I don’t think there’s much of a better feeling than that. 

David: I’d have to agree with Xander. I think, you know, watching people sing our music and be there for us, and you know, the music holds a special place in each one of their lives, is a pretty crazy feeling, something that we hadn’t experienced before with this project. Yeah, I have to agree on this. 

Xander: Another great part of the tour has been food. We’ve been hitting a lot of cities from Austin, to New Orleans, to Charleston last night, all of which had incredible food. And so we’re kind of taking a little food tour.

David: That’s true – seeing the culture in each different city and getting to experience most of the states is an insane experience.

WRGW: That’s so true. I’m jealous, I would love to eat all around the country. Kind of about the show itself, what’s your favorite thing about your shows and the stuff you do during the concert?

Forester: I think our show is super dynamic, in that some of the songs are really upbeat EDM tracks, and then some of them we take down tempo and they’re almost like acoustic. And so creating that range where you feel that intimate kind of vibe with the crowd, when it’s just a guitar and a voice, and then also that energetic, big moment of like, a drop of an electronic dance music song, I think really creates a cool environment. And I think that, you know, this set, for the most part, keeps building energy throughout. It’s a pretty cool journey, I think, you know, to take the listeners on, people were there to experience it. We tried to curate it in a way where it’s been interesting to kind of give you a little bit more and more as we go on.

WRGW: And then my last question is that we’ve talked a lot about the things you’ve done up until now, but what can we expect from you guys in the rest of 2022 and in the future?

Forester: Well, first, we have to finish this tour, which is definitely a feat. But we’re just so excited to get back in the studio and write again. I think we’re really looking forward to collaborating with a little bit more people. Up til now we’ve done a lot on our own, and we’ve done a couple of collaborations, which has been really positive experiences for us. So I think, kind of, exploring that world more is exciting. And yeah, we’ll probably start rolling out singles again a couple months after we get back.

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