Thriving on garage rock, bong rips and general enlightenment, Forest Hall are the Sydney trio who have taken on the hard task of eliminating all bullshit from the world, one rockin’ earworm at a time.
With their debut, self-titled EP so close we can almost taste it, we caught up with the mind behind the machine Mislav Belobrajdic for the latest.
How large a part did herbal cigarettes play in recording the debut EP from Forest Hall? Don’t worry about it, says Mislav Belobrajdic.
HAPPY: Hey guys, how are you? What are you up to at the moment?
MISLAV: Great thanks! We’re kind of just taking it easy before the launch right now. Everyone in the band is pretty creative and all have other projects going on, so everyone’s just keeping busy right now. Also, Ollie (our keyboardist/ engineer extraordinaire) and I are currently about to kick off working on the next Forest Hall EP, so yeah! We’re very, very excited about that.
HAPPY: How’s this EP looking? Pleased with the way it turned out?
MISLAV: Yeah, we’re stoked. We recorded the EP over two years ago which is kind of scary to think now, and have been releasing singles off it over that period, cause in my opinion they’re all BANGERS. I feel like the EP is definitely a stamp in time but also a great introduction or point of reference to the early inception of the band, so I always enjoy listening to it. It’s a fun EP; it’s not necessarily supposed to be overly intellectual music.
HAPPY: In Most People’s Lives Are Boring, you took aim at the establishment with a pretty punk attitude. Does this sort of feeling feed into the rest of the EP?
MISLAV: Yeah, I think so, to some degree. I guess that song is just looking at the way so many people can become comfortable with a profoundly boring life. I mean, I’m not immune from it; I’ve definitely fallen into apathy at many points in my life. Whether it’s as a result of the establishment, culture, or wherever the fault may lie, the song revolves more around exploring how frustrating and lame that headspace and subsequent life can be.
HAPPY: What other issues, if any, are you tackling on the EP?
MISLAV: Each song tends to explore a particular, individual issue and a few of the songs do carry on from Most People thematically; Sunday Everyday as well as Easyway both explore that need to escape the everyday, the authority, the status quo and just take control of your life to the best of your ability and enjoy it. Otherwise we’ve got the usual suspects: anxiety, rejection, frustration. There’s also a song about my favourite cooking show Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives.
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HAPPY: Will you be premiering any songs at the EP launch, or have you played them all live before?
MISLAV: We actually have been playing the EP start to finish live ever since we recorded it! Somewhat for convenience, but it does tend to flow very well as a whole piece as well. My two favourite tunes undoubtedly are Unlovable and Efficiency Blues. The latter hasn’t been released yet, but both are our longest and most progressive songs, and we change them considerably from the recorded versions. Unlovable gets really weird; everyone who’s seen it live come up with some interesting descriptions, “metal-y” is the funniest.
HAPPY: Did you self-produce the record? Tell us a little about the recording process of the EP.
MISLAV: I had my good, good friends James Kelly, Max De Cosmi and later Oliver Dibley engineer and produce the EP with me. Initially I actually wrote and recorded the bulk of the material in my crappy home studio in about a week or so and then my good friend Julian Moxon jumped in on drums last second and basically recorded it without ever even hearing the material and smashed it out in a four hour session. He is a freak.
But it was only when the boys jumped in that the EP really began to sound cohesive – they all had invaluable inputs and Ollie ended up singing a bunch on it too. It was easily the funnest recording experience of my life and I really owe the final product to all those fellas. Personally the idea of the debut is far more menacing for me than the sophomore, so I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
HAPPY: How big a part did water pipes and herbal cigarettes play in record’s construction?
MISLAV: Hmmm. I would probably say the moderate, customary amount any self-discerning recording musician would partake in during making a record. I reckon weed always helps in the mixing process, but a professional could very well think that that’s absolute rubbish.
HAPPY: Any advice for the punters coming along to your EP launch at the Marlborough?
MISLAV: We’ve got a few good mates coming so a wild, fun night for sure. Our good mates Bachelor Pad are opening up for us and as anyone who’s seen them before knows, they’re the definition of fair dinkum floozys, bonafide bonzers, ridgy-didge rascals, howling hooligans that dead-set go off like a frog in a sock. They’re basically Australia’s Ramones with a keyboard and I have it on good notice that they’ll be making balloon animals for any birthday boys or girls on the night. Too over the top? Pfft, not over the top enough! The night will basically be a giant happy meal, and the toy will be the Two-Face Batman Forever mug, for real.
Catch Forest Hall launching the EP on May 18 at Marlborough Hotel, Sydney. Shit’s free.