(Photo by Chrome Plated Photography)
How did Forward Beast form?
Daniel: Me and Michael had been jamming on and off for at least 5 years. Starting off with covers (mostly White Stripes), then started to try and write songs. But we stopped for a while because we were too poor. We started jamming again early last year at Michael’s place at Moorooka when it first dawned on me that we could start something. I was at work driving my bosses car and a question on Dr Karl’s show reminded me of a poem I’d written years ago called “Sadness in the stomach”. I decided to give it a sing and it became my first proper vocal melody and our first song, “Should’ve Known Better”. More songs followed and Loki heard it and liked it, so he booked us a show. And then joined the band. I should also mention Michaels Girlfriend Nyssa, who is a very talented artist and without her there would be no logo or artwork at all. So she’s a huge part of this, too.
Michael: Daniel and I had been jamming together on and off for a few years before we decided to be serious about it. After a few years break on the drums, I finally got back to playing when Daniel started coming round to my house on the weekends. We’d drink and jam all Saturday and it started to become a regular thing. We realised early last year that we’d come up with a few ideas we could turn into proper songs. After a few months of solid practicing on those songs we asked Loki to find us a show.
What does “Forward Beast” mean? What is the origin of the band name?
D: It was really just a drunken brainstorm and we thought it sounded kind of cool. So we went with it. Nothing deep there, haha.
M: It was just a case of trying phrases and words that might sound cool. Forward Beast is part instruction and part description. It’s also a nice, visual name, which I think my Girlfriend Nyssa appreciated when she was designing our logo and album art. She’s my hero.
Your band biography states that you are “intent on spreading our message of Rock to the world.” What is this message?
D: This was entirely one of Michael’s tongue in cheek ramblings, worded well to get us attention, I think. ‘A brand new local band with aspirations of spreading a message to the world… Sounds good to me dude!’ He’s better at that sort of thing. But of course, we are stoked when people tell us they like what we do. I guess “spreading our message of rock to the local music community” doesn’t sound as good.
M: To Rock! We want to keep rock in the hands of the people. It’s also something I wrote without really considering the true meaning. I’ll be honest, I say a lot of things without thinking.
You released a 4-track album, Sick of Tired, this year. Can you tell me a little about the album title, the songs and what was involved in making it?
D: Sick of tired is a quote from one of our favourite shows, Workaholics. It also fits well as a description of our everyday lives. I’m pretty sure it was Loki who first suggested it as a title. As for the songs; “Should’ve Known Better” was brought on by depression mixed with anger and betrayal. Its probably my favourite of our songs. I wrote “Acid Cop” after watching a documentary about a cop who was doing a drug bust on an LSD lab. The vapours seeped into his skin through shaving cuts and he absorbed a horrible overdose. He had to learn EVERYTHING all over again. So that’s full on! “Straight to His Head” is about a dude I was good mates with who kind of (for lack of a better phrase) flipped his lid. And “Hopelessness” is as the title suggest: a reflection of negative thoughts, I guess. We recorded the EP in a 10 hour day with a Producer called Matt Taylor (Black Box Recordings). He was really good to work with, and also looked after us with the price. It was my first time in a recording studio and it was a really good experience. We’ll most likely be working with him again.
M: The title’s part of a quote from an episode of Workaholics that we love. It’s also how I feel about life. As for how we chose the songs; Loki had only just joined the band so we decided to pick the four songs that he knew best. Not that he really needs a lot of practice to get it right. We got extremely lucky with our recording: Whiskey&Speed were recording their album ‘The New Dumb Idea’ and our producer, Matt Taylor (Black Box), was kind enough to let us in for a day in the middle of that. It was a long day but I’m really happy with how it turned out.
What equipment do you guys use on stage?
D: My guitar is an Ibanez ART600, and I put it through a Blackstar valve distortion pedal. I use a Bugera 6260 120W valve head and a Marshall MG 120W quad. Its a simple set up which suits me and our style. I’m not much of a guitar nerd, yet. I’ve only been playing since I was 20 (now 29) and I’m mostly self-taught. I haven’t ventured into the world of microphones at all, yet. I just use what’s there.
M: I have a second hand Pearl Export kit with a mixed bag of cymbals. Personally, as long as it’s not total piece of shit, I’ll play it. And I will also play it if it is a piece of shit. I have a Yamaha DTXtreme 3 electronic kit for jamming at home that I would like to use live some day, but it’s got about a million cables and I’m lazy as balls.
What is it like working/creating with your cousin Loki (of Whiskey & Speed).
D: Collaborating with Loki is great. He’s previously been in heavier bands but I think he’s liking the change in style. Michael and me already know each others style well and we’re learning to improvise with him, which is awesome. It’s all in the family yo… He’s already added his own flavour to almost all of the songs (written before he joined) and of course brought his special kind of stage presence. As far as writing new songs, he’s brought an old head to some newbies, really (even though he’s only 5 months older than me). He’s very good at playing off my ideas and helping with song structures. He is also basically our manager. He books the shows and we show up.
M: He’s great to work with. He’s been doing the music thing for so long and he has a massive amount of knowledge on everything from song structure to event planning and how to practice efficiently. I think it’s fair to say we wouldn’t have come this far if it weren’t for him. I started playing when I was 20ish; Loki needed a drummer for a band that became a bit of a controversy. So I’d only ever really played live and so had little to no ability. But he planted the seeds of music in me. After those shows, I had a need to be playing live. Now he’s been in the band 6 months or so he’s also bringing us ideas. I love working with my brother and my cousin. It’s really fun. We have a go at each other and that’s fine. We can be totally honest with each other about the sound because we’ve been friends since… forever, I guess.
Now that EarCandy #5 is on the horizon, you’ll be sharing the bill with some great local acts. Have you been to an EarCandy event before?
D: I’ve only been to one which was last years. I hadn’t been getting to local gigs that much until last year when all this became a thing. From what I remember it was an awesome night, and from what I have seen and heard David runs a solid show.
M: I’ve been to a few of the shows but this’ll be our first time playing. David scored the New Globe Theatre and that’s truly awesome. We played there a few months ago and it’ll be great to play the Cinema room for our return. The double stage set-up will be cool to check out.
What is “earcandy”?
D: From what I understand Earcandy is sweet, sweet sound nourishment. For auditory consumption only. Which will be in abundance on the 18th of July at The New Globe from 6:30. Also, David is doing a great job organising and promoting it, so it promises to be a great night.
M: That is a question too existential for my mind. I guess, maybe, things that make your ears straight ejac. Like, totally sploosh.
What does this gig mean to you and who are you looking forward to seeing?
D: We are so keen to play this show. It’s another chance to play at the New Globe, which is an awesome venue. An opportunity to play our first Earcandy and of course get ourselves out there and see some bands we haven’t seen yet. To be honest, I haven’t seen most of the bands on the bill so I’ll be keen to catch as many as possible. I have seen Dead Wolves and Anti-Thesis and they are sick live so i’ll be catching them for sure. Baron Samedi are playing, too, so I’m pumped to see them.
M: Like all gigs this early in a career, this means another chance to play and another chance to try and impress. They’re all as important and exciting to me. There’s a heap of bands on this line-up that I’ve never seen before which is cool and Baron Samedi are always good. And it’s been too long since I’ve seen David play, so I’m looking forward to watching Anti-Thesis. I’m ashamed to admit that most of the times I’ve watched them rock out, I’ve been too wasted to have actual memories. Luckily, he has a tendency to record shows.
What are your favourite Brisbane bands? Who have you played with and who would you like to share the bill with in the future?
D: Well Whiskey and Speed are probably my fave (no bias) and are always great live. A few others are Junkyard Diamonds, Buttermilk, The Seal Club, The Green Whistle, DMS, Flangipanis, Anti-Thesis and Baron Samedi. And a few that I only caught a couple weeks ago are Dead Wolves, Phantom Lighter Thieves, Minus Nine and Jade Haven. All of these bands we’ve shared bills with and hope to again in the future.
M: Every time I’ve seen El Monstro they’ve rocked it and their EP ‘Parthenia’ is great. We got to play with Minus Nine and Monkey Island at our last show and I thought they were both great. Buttermilk are always fun to play with, as well. Plus, I really like being on a bill with W&S because I get to let loose after our set. As for more established band, I love Regurgitator and Spiderbait. They are my musical role models where attitude is concerned. They respect the place they came from and they’re always happy to be playing. If I could Space Jam a Brisbane drummer, I’d Space Jam the hell out of Cram. I haven’t seen my friend Allen Ellis’ band Archetypes in a really long time, but I’d really love to see them again. They’re SO good!
What’s your take on the current “scene” in Brisbane? Do you think it needs improvement?
D: With not much experience, I think the scene is awesome! It’s been so much fun for these last 6 months or so. It’s become just about my favourite thing playing in this band. And being my first band I can’t see any improvements needed like the more experienced guys and gals might be able to. So I’m happy the way it is, really.
M: As far as I can tell, it’s pretty vibrant. Sure, it’s hard to get people to come out and pay to watch new bands. But, I think the scene’s growing for all genres. It keeps us on our toes. We have to play well because people want validation for paying to see us. As for improvement, I don’t really think I’ve got the credentials to say anything about that. All the shows I’ve played and been to over the last year have been pretty great for the most part. Things go wrong but you play through it and people still enjoy the vibe. We’ve played a with a handful of bands more than once and it’s getting to be like hanging out with your mates on the weekend. I’m really enjoying it.
What’s on the horizon for Forward Beast?
D: We just want to keep playing gigs and writing songs as a 3 piece. We’ve got Loki’s Birthday gig coming up on the 12th July. Its called “Old Enough to Know Better” and we’re really looking forward to that. Its a super rad lineup but also Spitfireliar are headlinin, and, for Michael and me, its a great opportunity to share the bill with such a well known band. Of course, Earcandy’s also coming up on the 18th July and is another big one on the horizon which we’re pumped for. We were hoping for 12 gigs (1/month) this year and we’re looking like blitzing that. So we’re taking it as it comes basically.
M: We’ve got Loki’s birthday show on the 12th of July at The Underdog. $10 entry with a killer line-up. I’m kind of intimidated to be playing with Spitfireliar. We’re also writing new material, almost weekly, in the hopes of getting enough songs for a full album. I said I wanted to play at least 12 shows this year and we’ve been really lucky to play way more than I’d expected, which is awesome. I’m just enjoying the ride.