There’s nothing like that feeling when the stars align and everything falls into place just perfectly … and you just know it’s right.
Forte, a hard-rocking five piece band from London/Brighton/Hove, is the perfect example of this.
Repeated listenings to their songs bring to mind colorful adjectives to describe the delicious sounds my ears are hearing — gritty, grimy, crunchy, dirty, hard-hitting, high-intensity … and the tunes are a lyrical nirvana ….
“Armada” caught my ear first, with its driving pedal-to-the-metal tempo and lyrics, “If it’s loose lips that sink ships, well I’m taking down a whole Armada.” It doesn’t get better than this … or does it?
“Goosebumps” is equally brilliant. It is very plush — it’s a hard rocker, and yet it’s a love song … “Pick a star and rearrange the sky … one shining brightest is in your eyes … you give me goosebumps …” and yes, it does!
“The Glue” starts with a wall of guitars then quiets to just one before careening back into the full band … it’s pure and simple magic. “I’ve been the glue too many times before … don’t stick together no more.”
Forte is made up of Daniel Coburn on vocals; Harry Patterson on guitar; Jesse James Prince Nelson Watts (per Daniel) on bass; Jake Ghosh, on guitar; and Reece Bradbury on drums.
Daniel was quite happy to make time for the chat, warning me in advance that it had been a while since he’d done an interview and he was ready to let it all out. We covered everything from how Forte came to be to Daniel’s psychic abilities and his feelings on mainstream radio (Spoiler — be forewarned — he holds nothing back).
Now, enjoy our conversation:
Alright, I have to say, I was immediately blown away from the opening notes of “Armada” – you guys had my attention right away! Have you gotten that reaction a lot?
Yeah, pretty much. It does seem it’s a case of to know us is to love us. It’s a good song, but not my best.
What do you consider to be your best song?
The next one I write. You always get excited with new songs and I always consider the next one to be the best. Although I have been known to say I was most proud of “The Glue.”
I have only heard four so far, the ones on YouTube – “Armada,” “This Feeling,” “Goosebumps” and “The Glue” – and all of them are quality! Each seem so personal, to come from the gut … it that why “The Glue” stands out to you as your best?
I dunno really. I guess they are personal, but I like to think they’re personal to everyone. I don’t really say what the songs are about cause it ruins the “mystery.” It’s better for the listener to decide what it’s about. Then it could mean a thousand different things to a thousand different people.
Hmmm … OK, so you are stepping outside and looking in at things from that perspective … have/do you always write that way?
To be honest, most of the songs aren’t usually about anything. Just whatever comes out of my mouth at the time. It always seems as though they come true at a later date. So, you could say I’m more of a clairvoyant than a songwriter.
Psychic songwriting! That’s a new one!
I knew you were going to say that.
Do you do all the songwriting or do you share the duties with the band?
They’re starting to bring more ideas to the table and hopefully I can start concentrating on the lyrics and let them take control of the music, but until that day, it does fall on my shoulders. Which is great when you’re on form, but a nightmare when you’re not.
Are you kind of the leader of the band then, per se?
Well, I dunno about that. When it comes to the music side, I guess what I say goes, but Jesse (bass) basically manages the band so I still have to answer to him occasionally.
That’s good, checks and balances … Now, Forte is only about 7 months old? Tell me how this all came to be … I know your previous band was IC1s …
Well, me and Jesse are the only two remaining from IC1s. For some reason or another it just didn’t happen for us. We had managerial issues so decided to break free and start again and it’s paying off by the looks of things.
But I don’t really concentrate or talk about IC1s really. If Forte is my girlfriend, then she’s not going to be too pleased that I’m sat here talking to you about my ex. My current girlfriend is much hotter.
Haha, true … but because she was a good part of your life, she deserves a little mention … but yes, let’s concentrate on the hottie …
How did you recruit the rest of Forte?
Well, Reece did play one gig as IC1s and he remains our drummer now. Harry is Jesse’s best mate since they were in nappies, and I dunno about Jake – he just turned up one day and hasn’t left yet. Which is a good sign. Jake is an amazing guitarist. Makes me smile when he plays. Reece’s energy and Harry’s enthusiasm has had a massive effect on us. They rub off on you, metaphorically, of course.
I’m sure being surrounded by fun, creative people help spark ideas within the band.
Come see us at a gig and we are these cool bastards who wear sunglasses indoors, but get us in the studio and we are a bunch of fucking children. Nipple pinching, yawn raping and poking each other in the bollocks. Then we play for a bit. You’re basically part of a gang.
Sounds like great fun. I’d love to spend a day or two with you guys to experience this!
Slight problem with poking you in the bollocks though …
OK, well, maybe not everything … but for the most part …
It would be fun. Bring beer and cigarettes.
Will do! Now, what is your musical background? Do you play instruments or just sing?
I can play a bit of guitar, a bit of bass, a bit of drums and chopsticks on the piano. Never took a lesson or anything. Taught myself guitar out of an Oasis songbook. So I can play G, C and Em. In the band I just sing though.
What interested you in music to start? Who are your influences? Oasis obviously …
I think the first thing I got obsessed with was Michael Jackson. I can still moonwalk, but the first guitar album I got was Nirvana, “Nevermind.” Then it was Oasis and now I’m obsessed with The Beatles. I probably listen to them every day. I’m listening to them now.
Which Beatles songs speak to you?
“A Day in the Life” is probably the best thing they ever did. The lyrics in “Strawberry Fields” are unbelievable and “In My Life can make grown men weep. That’s just off the top of my head. We would need another interview if you want to talk Beatles.
Haha, that’s for another time … We will keep to Forte … How comfortable are you on stage?
I love it. I reckon it’s where I feel most at home. I get withdrawl from not being on stage. It’s like a drug. I find it hard to watch other bands cause I wanna get up there and do it myself.
How often do you get to play live?
Not as often as I’d like. I would rather be doing it every day. We decided with Forte, rather than playing every show going, we would play the right ones. I think we are doing that, but it’s not helping my addiction.
Do you ever do an unplugged deal? Your songs would translate beautifully as acoustic tunes …
Well, they’re all written on acoustic, so that’s how they start life. We actually are playing an unplugged show this Saturday (Aug. 20) for Sofar Sounds. There’ll be stuff on YouTube soon after.
Oh, nice! I’ll be excited to see that … speaking of the ex, for just a second – I watched a video for “Never Say No” – great song! Can it be resurrected?
Is there a video of that? Where from? Well, that’s coming off straight away. And anything is possible. It’s a total pop song. You’re not the first to have said. Me and my brother-in-law wrote that to order – “We need a pop song.” There you go.
It’s only on the IC1s Facebook page. I was looking up your history and saw it.
My brother-in-law Jamie has been writing with me for as long as I’ve been writing. It’s no problem, but if we are to resurrect it, that will have to go.
Yes, you don’t want your new girl jealous …
I hope she’s not the jealous type!
I doubt it, because she’s way better – a different league all together!
She is the best.
Have you played any festivals this summer?
We played Isle of Wight Festival this year. Was one hell of a weekend … so I’m told.
Don’t remember much then?
I get over excited sometimes. By the time we stepped foot on the boat, I was hammered and free Jack Daniels all weekend after that. What’s a man supposed to do?
Haha, live it up and enjoy! Your debut album is “We Don’t Climb Trees Anymore.” Is it out yet or when? How many tracks?
It’s not an album, it’s an EP. Four tracks that will melt your face off. That’s out now, yes, iTunes and all that. We are releasing an album in Japan in October that’s going to melt more faces.
I can’t wait! So the EP is the four aforementioned tracks?
No. “Armada” and “This Feeling” are on there though.
What are the other two?
Well, there’s the title track and another song called “One Last Time.” We are currently working on new songs and it’s all very, very good.
The album being released in Japan, details?
I don’t really know all the details. Like I said, that’s Jesse’s department. I know it’s called “5845.”
What songs will it have?
Well, all the aforementioned songs and a few extras. Won’t be available over here I’m afraid. But the new stuff will make up for that.
Interesting! How soon will we be hearing new songs?
Well, you need to listen to our EP first, but we are hoping the first single will be out in November. We are still deciding what goes first. I said “first” a lot. I have a thirst for first …
It’s a good problem to have – lots to choose from.
Yeah, it’s not an issue, but there’s a few singles in there, so maybe just pick it out of a hat.
First is good too – make everyone else chase you.
Always. I’m a shepherd not a sheep.
Right, don’t be a sheep! Where have you found are the best places to play?
Don’t get me wrong, London is great, but when we play up north, that’s where it really goes off. They know how to enjoy themselves up there. I like to think I’m an honorary northerner. I got the Noel hair, Adidas trainers and an anorak. Don’t need much else.
Don’t you get hot on stage?
Fashion over function, my dear.
No wonder you are so thin. You probably sweat off a stone each time.
I know, right? Think most girls are jealous of me. Thing is, I eat all the time. I love food. I’m most happy with mashed potatoes. Only ever walk past gyms. Might bring out a fitness video of just me eating curry and drinking milkshakes.
Some people are born with the best metabolism. I’d like to see that video!
I’d enjoy making it … and I know where this is going … the answer is banana …
Add fitness guru to your list of jobs … What’s your ultimate goal for the band? Tricked you!
My ultimate goal for the band is … banana. I just want to do it for a living, if that’s possible, and then become the biggest band in the world. I’m a man of simple pleasures.
Well, I would love to see you come to the U.S.
Trust me, that would be a dream of all of ours. I’ve been once and loved it.
To play or see the country?
I went to Los Angeles at the end of my time with my ex-girlfriend last year. Me and my brother-in-law got a chance to go because of our writing. We went. We wrote. We recorded. That’s where “Armada” came from. Great experience. New York next time.
Funny you say that, because the way the song rolls, it makes me think of driving a fast car with the gas pedal to the floor … like a California freeway …
You play in New York and I’ve got a better chance to see you.
That’s a better story than when I woke up one morning hung over and wrote it. I’d love to go there. So many things I want to see.
Any places in particular you want to play?
Madison Square Garden. If the opportunity ever arises to get a band over to the states, we are your band. #getfortetothestates
We will make it happen! What’s your prediction? A year or less?
Well, it all feels like it’s snowballing at the minute so who knows. Think we are going to Japan next year too. So it’s all happening and we want to be everywhere.
Excellent! Japan would be cool to visit.
Yeah, I want to try the sushi.
I love sushi! They would have the best.
That’s my guess. I love the stuff too.
.. and Saki …
Might introduce some to my fitness video. I don’t really drink when I’m eating.
Just watch out for the Sumos …
They will be hard to miss. We will stick out like sore thumbs! Could be fun.
You would be in a million photos.
Not a bad thing for a bunch of posers.
Who just happen to be seriously talented musicians …
Well, thank you for that. If we was shit we wouldn’t have anything to pose about …
… and we wouldn’t be talking. I don’t interview and promote just anyone. I’ve got to see loads of potential there and I see it!
Well, that’s also appreciated. Glad we aren’t just another band to you.
Nope, absolutely not. I genuinely love and appreciate the music of every single band I’ve interviewed this past year and hope eventually to see ever one play live. My wish list of interviews yet to do rivals Santa’s list – so much talent out there!
Shame it’s not being spotted, or it’s just being ignored. Frustration.
People are sheeple – they eat up that mainstream crap … that’s why I’m doing this … I’m hoping to open eyes to quality music and it’s slowly working.
If you had asked me about the radio, I’d probably gone on a huge rant …
Up to you … What are your feelings on radio and how it works?
That’s the point, it’s not working. What is all this Rihanna shit all about? I don’t fucking get the whole Rihanna thing. It baffles me. She’s pretty much every other song on the radio. Why? And if it’s not her it’s some poncy lightweight indie band. Nobody wants their Rock and Roll written at public school. They’ve probably still got the taste of soggy biscuit in their mouths. Fucking awful on the radio. So we are here to save the radio, cause I can’t stand much more of this. Ellie Goulding? What the fuck? It’s like someone’s mum is now in charge of the radio. Thank fuck for vinyl! Rant over.
I 1 million percent agree with you! I can’t say the last time I listened to the radio and when I did. It was satellite and the 80s channel!
Gun at my head or a lifetime of fucking Ellie Goulding? I’ll take the bullet, thanks! Oh, and feel free to put all this in – needs to be said.
I certainly will. You are not alone in this opinion, most everyone I’ve talked to feels this way.
Fucking Rihanna, who the fuck is she?
Exactly. The industry hasn’t proven itself of late.
If the labels had played safe from the start, we’d never had The Beatles, Oasis and that sort of thing.
At least they had some balls at one time.
Even rap music is shit now. They’ve diluted everything. Where’s all the mad rappers at? Drake wouldn’t be anywhere in the days of Tupac. “Here’s another shit rap but who can we get to sing the chorus?”
“Hello, is that Rihanna?”
You can find Forte on Twitter at @fortetheband, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/theforteband/, on the web at http://www.keepitforte.com/ and on Google Play, iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/we-dont-climb-trees-anymore-ep/id1120202775 and Amazon at https://www.amazon.co.uk/We-Dont-Climb-Trees-Anymore/dp/B01GM43O0K.