Melbourne industrial dance act Forces are one of those bands that have
managed fairly major accomplishments before they even put out a first album. They’re gaining fast growing respect from all corners of the intelligent music-world and have a refreshingly rare go-with-the-flow attitude toward success. They’ve played with the likes Zola Jesus, Light Asylum and Gang Gang Dance and artists such as Nove Mura, Violet Tremors, //TENSE// and Total Accomplishment are showing support. They are about to open Gatekeeper for Melbourne Music Week this coming Saturday. By now you can deduct that there is some serious quality afoot.
Mishka is waaay excited to be premiering the single ‘World In Focus’ from
their brand spanking new Siberia Records release. Have a listen; grab the
I took the opportunity to ask Forces (Alex Akers & Thomas Henderson) a few questions.
TWPS: Light Asylum, Zola Jesus, Gang Gang Dance. These are a few
international acts you have supported. What shift occurred for Forces to
go from a purely local Melbourne act to a band with more international
FORCES: I think that shift is just beginning. Primarily I would say it’s about
what you have online. We’ve managed to come a long way in the last year
without much of that, so hopefully this release will make Forces a bit more
accessible. Also you just grow and get better. Being offered the sort of shows you mention accelerates things. You try and improve every day regardless but having those points set out ahead of you in time is motivating.
TWPS: You are about to play with Gatekeeper at Siberian Nights in Melbourne Music Week. What is Siberian Nights?
FORCES: It started as a label showcase for Siberia Records for Melbourne
Music Week and just kept growing. It’s going to be in the car park at
Melbourne uni where they shot Mad Max. We asked our favorite Melbourne
artists like NUN and Matthew brown to play and very luckily managed to get Gatekeeper to come out. Kirin J Callinan is coming over from Sydney for it. We are very excited.
TWPS: You are also preparing for an overseas tour in 2013. What’s the plan looking like at this stage?
FORCES: Japan in Jan. US and EU later in the year. Starting to plan all that now.
TWPS: Whom would you love to play shows with over the next year?
FORCES: There are two Melbourne techno artists, Kangaroo Skull and Matthew Brown. I would like to organize another big party with them. We played with an amazing band called Audio Tears in New Zealand on Saturday; I hope we can play with them again. Beyond playing with Gatekeeper this weekend it’s hard to say.
TWPS: Whom are you collaborating with now (or upcoming) and what are some essentials for a successful collaboration?
FORCES: I am singing on a track for Kirin J Callinan’s new record. Kim Moyes mixed a track on this record and played with it a bit. I learned a lot just seeing what he did with the arrangement. Matthew brown wrote some synth parts for Altered States. He wrote these secondary bass parts which interplayed with mine in a way I would never have done on my own. Well in the studio I guess it’s important to be flexible and have all your equipment working well. I generally try and sync a lot of gear up so people can gravitate towards whatever they like. I’ll do that initially but then try something more structured, maybe play over something I had previously programmed. Just try and get the most out of a physical meeting.
TWPS: How do you socially navigate the backstage/ music scene/popularity? What’s the key to being yourself and knowing you are doing just that?
FORCES: It’s been a pleasure so far. Because the community is largely nomadic and the events are generally based on a common pursuit, it’s pretty positive. All the pressure for me comes from the development of the actual material and maybe the nerves of performing so the social aspect is not a concern. Tom and I are really good friends regardless of the band too, which makes travelling and playing more fun. I imagine being a solo artist might get lonely and maybe a bigger band would involve more politics. In general we try and keep things simple.
TWPS: Equipment you simply cannot live without?
FORCES: Laptop, spds-x live. In the studio I really like the ESQ-1, jomox airbase, wavestation, akai AX60… I am developing an instrument for myself at the moment too.
TWPS: Explain the paradigm of your creative process?
FORCES: Paradigm hmmm. It changes all the time but in general I generate a lot of elements and then cut them back to a rough structure. At that point I generally get a feeling or vision for the track and that suggests the lyrical theme. I then try and distill that theme into a few syllables for the chorus and then the real work begins, the slower part of the process. Perfecting the sounds, finishing lyrics, mixing…
TWPS: What bands both past and present have truly inspired you?
FORCES: Chris Carter, John Foxx, Depeche, Jamie Principle, Deux, Adrien Sherwood, SPK, Front 242, Baldelli, Coil, Prodigy, Martial Canterel, Lhasa, White Car, Gatekeeper. Pretty much everything I have ever heard.
Post punk witchy electronic music-geek radio show Zen Arcade on PBS chatted to Forces the other night so have a listen to the extended interview stream. I tagged along for shits n giggles so you can hear Press Gang n me having a chat with Forces, who talk in depth about their new direction/concluding album and the film they are doing a soundtrack for!?! Awesome! Plus other interesting stuff of course.
Forces self-titled debut is out for digital download – or stream on bandcamp, (cos what you really want is the vinyl). Midnight Juggernauts’ label Siberia Records drops the limited edition 12″ December 9.