You have a split single with the band White Lodge being released through Gary Records in Chicago. How did that come about? Tell us more!
Jon: Our good friend Robyn Chang started up Gary Records after the failed Beat Happening cover band “Bad Seeds” broke up, and injured, though undeterred, she still asked us to be the first release on their label (They do international splits, so they don’t actually have to see us, which helps). It was all ZL’s fault.
國： 那時候聽說是Robyn問Jon，Jon問我說Robyn想找我們跟White Lodge一起發小合輯，我說好，過了兩天就在Jon的房間把bass錄完，再過了兩天，東西就完成了。
Forests is a powerful live band, and the two albums you’ve released aren’t lacking very far behind. How did you manage to capture that energy in your recordings? What’s your secret?
Jon: Going on overnight benders the night before you go record and walking in with a pounding hangover is a good one. Also, you can’t beat being able to stare longingly into each others eyes. There’s no upper like eyes that twinkle at you, saying, “Hey, there. I love you. But seriously though, don’t fuck up.”
You play a lot of gigs and it never feels stale for us in the crowd. How do you keep it fresh for yourselves? You always seem loose - is there much improvisation going on?
Jon: A steady supply of Xanax-like roofies. I think it comes from a cursory knowledge of really not knowing what the fuck we’re doing. Loose-ness comes from knowing that there’s such a thing called improvisation and then doing not that, but then sometimes inadvertently doing it.
With your first album, Forests went through the conventional PR route - SXSW application, Eslite tour, etc - and now you seem quite intent on a more independent / DIY attack. What did you learn that first time around, and why this current approach? How can bands better control their own destiny?
Jon: I think that the independent/DIY aesthetic is too often misconstrued for unpreparedness (although that was what we were this time). There was no decision as to how anything was meant to be done, just the knowledge of the past and then applying it to the future. Every band should know that there isn’t one way to do things that promises everything. It’s chaos. Accept it. Love it.
There is a variety of opinion from musicians on the state of the music industry and how to deal with it, from Metallica suing Napster about illegal downloads and file-sharing to Wu Bai decrying the KTV-ization of popular music. What’s your take on it all?
Jon: Just do it.
Questions now for each of you. First, Zun Long: How the hell do you maintain all that energy?
Jon, please fill us in on the awesome “Vacation” single. Why isn’t that a Forests song? Do you plan more solo work that or how do you perceive it?
Jon: Everything that I happen to accidentally write is always for Forests. Sometimes things spill out (by accident) of that dimension and into another. It’s all by accident. There is always going to be “solo work”, but that’s an accident too. I perceive it as an accident. They’re always happy or surprising, like those times you find that you have the exact change for exactly what you want to buy, but accidents. Being unaware I have the exact change is something that rarely happens to me though. I’m on top of that shit. That part’s not an accident.
Guo Guo, how do define success as a musician, and what kind of success do you envision for Forests? How does this band compare to your other projects, like Sunset Rollercoaster?
From your Beach Boys shows with Roxymoron to the Ventures tribute at Halloween, you’re a band that isn’t afraid to try new things. What’s next?
Jon: Discovering the passageways to the Multiverse, then causing its implosion while laughing maniacally with all the other Forests’s’s’s.