Like we mentioned yesterday, we’re co-sponsoring the Dog Daze 2015 party Saturday night at Kombucha Dog. The night’ll feature products for sale from MooShoes Los Angeles + the Made in America Project, beer, wine, and kombucha, food from Sun Cafe, and live music from three bands—acoustic duo Aaron + Jane, indie-pop artist Autumn in June, and the band Forebear.
We spoke with Forebear drummer, Mike Musselman (above, far left), leading up to Saturday’s show to find out more about the young Los Angeles band. Listen to their cinematic pop and read on below.
raven + crow studio: First off, thanks in advance for playing the party this Saturday. We’re excited to see you all live. Are you all particularly big fans or kombucha or dogs…or vegan food or just into the gig?
Mike Musselman: You are quite welcome. We are excited to play for you. I would say our bass player Nick is a fan of kombucha. The band is a fan of dogs…I mean who the hell ain’t? I think we all have our days of being a vegan unintentionally. I was a vegetarian for 5 years. I think Nick was a vegan for about a month. There’s a great vegetarian restaurant we all like to eat at before rehearsal in Canoga Park called Follow Your Heart.
Ah! Awesome. We love their products—especially the new cheese they’re doing—but we still have yet to make it up there. Anyway, out of the gate, as is often the case for us, we’ve gotta ask about the name. Where does it come from? You all used to perform under a different name, right?
Our singer, Scott, was under the name Wise Cub for some time. He had a revolving door of musicians that backed him. Then came Molly, Nick, and I. We started playing Wise Cub’s catalog. Then collaborating in the writing process more and more. It became an entirely different beast (pun intended). After gaining momentum and arriving at the conclusion we want to take this seriously, we began to question if this was Wise Cub anymore. We saw a band with a similar name to ours getting some popularity. That led us to think we should change our name. In the process, we considered a lot. Where we all tie in together and where we are going. The name Forebear pays homage to the ancestry of our past musical efforts together as Wise Cub and otherwise (pun definitely intended).
Ah, yeah, I think you’re referring to Keegan Dewitt’s Wild Cub—they’ve graced these pages a number of times before. We’re fans. But yeah, I saw a poster you all did with your February shows and it was, like, the four of you…and a bear. I wasn’t sure if there was a pun there.
We knew a creative fellow with a lot of time on his hands. He took photos of us individually in his living room during the day and what he sent back is what you saw. We think it’s pretty sweet. But to answer the question, hell yea it’s pun!
How did you all get your start? Are you all longtime friends? Or maybe everyone just answered an ad on craislist? Something in between?
Scott, Nick, and I started a band almost 10 years ago called The Harm. The Harm split and Scott started the solo project, Wise Cub. Nick, Scott, and I stayed in touch. Then an opportunity arose for Nick and I to be with Scott again. I honestly forget how in the world we stole the immeasurably talented Molly from the world of classically trained professional musicians—she got in there somehow. Friends of friends basically.
Always the best way, I think. I’ve seen ya’ll described as ‘cinematic indie rock’, so I’ll bite—what is cinematic indie rock?
Cinematic indie rock is a title you get when you throw a viola player in a band whose songs are longer than three minutes. We might have used that term to differentiate ourselves from other indie rock bands in Los Angeles at the beginning of our media encounters. Also, our tunes provide emotional landscapes. I think film score has an acute sense of capturing tone and feel quite well. We aim to do the same…and to please.
Do you all have any desire to transition into actual movie soundtracks or scoring at all? It’s the town for it….
Why not! We have the intestinal fortitude to handle Hollywood douche-baggery. Anything to get closer to Charlize Theron. Oh la-la.
Hah. I heard your cover of Portishead‘s “Wandering Star”—that was certainly cinematically dramatic. Do you all do other covers or was that a one-time thing?
The Portishead cover is a great release at shows to be dramatic and let some energy out. We love Portishead—we know you do as well…. So let’s all rock out. We are working on a Radiohead cover and a Monsters of Folk cover.
Ah, looking forward to both. And yeah, I love that you all incorporate viola into some of your songs. There used to be this amazing solo viola artist, Anni Rossi, who we loved. Do you find having a less conventional rock instrument in the mix changes how you write or present songs?
I have no idea what’s going on outside of my drums. Whatever Molly does is usually epic. There is a heck of a lot of respect and trust amongst the members in this band.
I listen to bands that aren’t ordinary rock bands. At the moment, Death Grips, Animal Collective, Aphex Twin, and the album Penny Sparkle from Blonde Redhead are spinning on my turntables. I know from the amount of .GIF’s I get from Molly she is definitely down with South Africa’s Die Antwoord.
They cray! In a very cool way. So what did bring everyone out to Los Angeles…assuming you’re not the legendary four native Angelenos I’ve heard exist somewhere?
We are so close! Scott, Nick, and I are native Angelenos. Molly hails from Kentucky. She has lived in LA as a working musician for four or five years playing violin and viola.
That is close! What do you all like about LA? Any favorite local spot—coffee joints, bars, restaurants?
LA, for me, is peculiar in the sense of how many enclaves there are. The Valley, DTLA, West Hollywood, Venice, and everything in between. They are all independent limbs on a mythical angel. You could be ensconced in one of these areas and not need to visit others for the better part of your life.
I dig Guisados on Sunset Blvd on the east side. Anywhere there is cold brew coffee, you can find a Forebear. The Baked Potato has some legends roll through every once in a while. Scott and I saw Terry Bozzio and Alex Acuna improvise two 1-hour sets there. I bootlegged it with a concealed recorder.
That’s a whole lotta drum, man. I know the LA music scene’s always been pretty active, but I feel like it’s gotten pretty rich in terms of creative independent artists, especially in the past few years. Are there any other local artists you’re particularly into these days?
That’s a great question. I won’t get to esoteric with LA bands, so I will think local to all things Forebear. We went on a mini-tour with 2 great bands during February—(in no particular order) Figs Vision and The End of Summer. They both kick butt.
Cool. Then, I know you have an EP that you’ve got download cards for at shows—any plans for a full-length any time soon?
No plans for a full-length, which I would thoroghly enjoy making. In the meantime, Forebear will be releasing another “cinematic alternative progressive folk indie rock” EP in mid-June. A music video is also going to appear come early May directed by Tommy Wooldridge. As well as, some pretty snazzy t-shirts available today designed by our pal Augusto Piccio IV.
Awesome, man. Thanks for talking with us and see you Saturday!
You can listen to more of Forebear’s music and sign up for the band’s mailing list on their site; catch them live at the Dog Daze party we’re throwing Saturday night at Kombucha Dog—details + RSVP links on the Eventbrite page.