Introducing… Michael Forrest
London-born Michael Forrest has already mastered several trades; he's a classically trained musician, a multi-instrumentalist, a producer and a dab hand with app development. Having worked solo now for over ten years he already has an impressive collection of tracks to his name and he recently added to this by creating a track exclusively for us here at Ransom Note Towers (isn't he nice?) which you can listen to at the bottom of this page. We thought it would be nice to find out a bit more about our generous benefactor, so we sat him down and grilled him about his musical heritage…
Please introduce yourself; who are you, where are you from and what do you do?
Hi, I am Michael Forrest: musician, app smith, control freak. Ive lived in London more than anywhere else. I make music and other things with computers.
What was the first instrument you picked up and started learning?
Theres a picture of me sitting at the piano as a baby. Both my grandfathers owned grand pianos which shaped my aspirations from a young age.
Who/what has had the greatest influence on your music?
I dont know if I could name a single influence. I am what my dad calls a synthesist. While many artists are specialists working for years to perfect a very particular style, I combine elements from many different worlds, trying to create work that is surprising yet coherent from things that shouldnt really go together. I like the sound of sample-based music but I dont sample other peoples music – thats why I have picked up so many different instruments over the years and why I work out of a traditional recording studio where I can make my own samples. Id cite directors / screen writers as much as other artists – David Lynch or Joss Whedon – I love the tonal contrasts you can do on screen with a narrative – going from silly and funny to dark and terrifying. Thinking about musical influences, I keep coming back to The Beastie Boys with their variety of musical styles, tonal variation, instrumentalism and studio technique and general hard-working attitude.
Michael also very kindly put together a track especially for us… have a listen.
What animal would your sound be? Why?
Something wild and curious that comes into your house and then unpacks and dismantles all your stuff – a raccoon maybe.
What made you decide to do a POV video for Anyone But You? How was it recorded?
Its difficult to explain how I play live so I wanted to show what it looks like from my perspective. I strapped a GoPro camera to my head, turned down the lights in the studio and pressed record.
Tell us about the track you've recorded especially for us?
Its called Just a dream. Its supposed to have a similar feel to Anyone But You, with more of a lyrical emphasis, a pop song attempt. I made it in a day so it was completed under pressure. I heard something about how you can pull yourself into the present moment (as opposed to living in the past and future of memories, embarrassments, hopes and worries) by looking around and asking yourself how do I know this isnt a dream?. The track is an optimistic take on the nature of fear and death asking – what do you have to lose if you could wake up at any minute – an anthem for overcoming fear and inertia, sung to myself as much as anybody else.
Where did you have the best night of your life?
Why do the worst nights of my life spring so much more easily to mind?
Who are the people you get most excited about sharing a bill with?
People I can learn from. Which is pretty much everyone really. Every time I play I draw inspiration from the other artists, whether its musical and creative or just seeing a new way to keep my cables tidy.
What's the best record you've ever heard?
Cliff Dweller Society by Tortoise springs to mind. The brass swells, the loose timing, such a rich sound. Or possibly Zaireeka by The Flaming Lips – I heard it at a party in the nineties – it requires four CD players so Ive only really heard it properly once. I was impressed to hear something that pushed technical boundaries while also being great music.
What's your greatest non-musical achievement?
Turning myself, through years of effort, from a glass half-empty person to being glass half-full.
Who can you not stop listening to?
Whenever I dont know what to listen to I tend to listen to Stereolab. Or The Velvet Underground. What Mouse On Mars do has stayed magical to me for years.
What's your answer to everything?
Apps. I use apps for abs-o-lute-ly everything.
What can we expect to hear from you in 2014?
Infinite music. Im just getting started.
Michael Forrest's 'Infinite Music Machine' app will be available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch from March 10th.