Westmont-based Forest Home channels DIY spirit with new album ‘Wastement’
Suburban music fans may know them as As Is, but the Westmont-based musicians in Forest Home are now presenting themselves as a band to see with the recently released album, “Wastement.” The album, a solid collection of songs, toys with varied influences: The first song, “Oh Wisconsin,” starts off with echoes of blink-182 and head-bobbing Weezer, but it quickly evolves into kinetically charged, dance floor-moving indie rock.
The album takes listeners on a newly explored path, a meandering and artsy trek where each track builds excitement for what lies over the next hill or around the next bend.
Here’s a look at Forest Home before the band plays Evolution Music in Downers Grove this weekend:
Band members: Andy Krull of Westmont, Alayne May of Westmont, Eric Hahn of Homer Glen, Kevin Krull of Westmont
How do you guys know each other?
Andy and Kevin are brothers, and have played music together since they first picked up guitars as kids. Andy and Alayne met in school in Westmont and have played music together outside of Forest Home. Eric met Andy and Kevin while they worked at Dominick’s a handful of years ago. We first started playing music as a group as a cover band, but quickly graduated to writing and playing original tunes in 2015.
Why the name Forest Home? What’s the meaning/significance?
Previously, we played under the name As Is — this proved to be “unGoogle-able” (people couldn’t even find our Facebook if we told them the name of the page!). So, last year we decided to change our name to Forest Home. We went with that name because it not only seemed to fit our music more, but has historical significance for Andy and Kevin; their great grandfather was born at a logging camp in rural Michigan at the turn of the 20th century, and the birthplace listed on his birth certificate is “A Forest Home.” We all liked how evocative that phrase was and rolled with it.
What started you along the musical path? What inspired you or what do you get out of it?
We all have been playing some instrument or singing from a very young age, so Forest Home is the current expression of that endeavor. We started playing music together just as a fun, collaborative music experience (which of course it still is), but I think it has grown for all of us into something greater. Since we all contribute songwriting to the group, it has become more and more about that creative catharsis of having an idea and putting it out into the world as an expression of yourself.
Speaking of self-expression, what’s one song off your most recent album “Wastement” that really speaks to you?
Hard to say! Because we all play more than one instrument on the album and contributed songwriting both as individuals and collaboratively, it’s hard to pick. I think probably both of the songs we released as singles ahead of the album, “Fixed” and “Above Me,” clearly speak to us as a group. I think that may be because for different reasons, they address general songwriting impulses we have as a band: “Fixed” is a catchy indie rock song with a huge shout-along chorus at the end, and “Above Me” is much more complex and technical, with a winding and less-conventional song structure. By listening to those two songs, you can sort of understand what we’re about as a band.
How did recording “Wastement” differ from other recording experiences?
We recorded it all at home in Westmont, where we practice. Kevin did the engineering, producing and mixing. He’d only had marginal experience recording music before — mostly just bedroom demos and rough ideas — so a not-insignificant amount of the labor surrounding this album went into learning more refined recording and mixing techniques. It was a lot of work (and it took a LOT of feedback on rough mixes from friends and family), but also allowed us a lot of freedom; freedom to redo takes, freedom to chase weird ideas, freedom to pick our schedule, et cetera. Now that we have those skills in the bank, it’s definitely something we’d do again.
What has been one of your most memorable shows to play?
We played a house show in Madison a while ago that was an absolute blast. Packed house, great friends, great vibe, excellent bands playing with us, it was all you could ask for. Definitely one of our most responsive crowds, too — it was fun to see people mosh to songs in odd time signatures.
Aside from shows you see when performing together, do you guys go to concerts together?
We definitely have gone to shows together! We’ve all been friends for a long time now, and music is one of the main threads tying us together. We’re lucky enough to share quite a bit in terms of taste in music, so it means that every now and again you can catch all of us at the same show — historically, every time the band Why? rolls through town.
Coming up: Catch Forest Home when the band plays with Charmer, Twin Falls, The Hazy Seas and Fragile Soul at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Evolution Music, 923 Curtiss St., Downers Grove. Tickets are $10.
• Forest Home is the featured band on this month’s local music playlist, “2018 Chicago Sound Check vol. 3,” now streaming on Spotify. Give it a listen and check out some of the other Chicago and suburban musicians we’ve included recently in the Daily Herald.