After the release of Dark Forest their new Cd 'Dawn Of Infinity' we had the chance to talk to Christian Horton the bassist of the band. He gives us the opportunity to get to know the band a bit better.
So, who are you guys and how did you get the idea to start a band?
Well first of all I formed the band back in 2002 with our original bassist Dave Batham. We had both grown up listening to classic rock and heavy metal and as time went by I decided I wanted to learn an instrument myself and start writing music. I taught myself guitar and from the very start I would be concentrating more on writing songs than anything else. We picked up a second guitarist, who had also been a friend for many years, and also a local drummer. Over the following years we played as a four piece and were all local lads, there were a couple of lineup changes but it wasn't until 2009 when we became a five piece for the first time and recruited Will on vocals. He's the only member of the band not from the Midlands but I can say that it's definitely the strongest line up we've had so far! We're all on the same level about the style of heavy metal that we play and where we want to go from here.
You just brought out your second full length CD called 'Dawn of infinity'. That's pretty amazing. Did you expect Dark Forest to grow out to be this big?
Thanks! We've always taken things in our stride to be honest. When we first started out, the chances of us actually getting anywhere seemed so slim we just didn't think about. We carried on writing and gigging and took each step at a time. If I could have seen the stage we're at now back when I first formed the band I'd be pretty amazed, not because I didn't have faith in our music, more because of the sheer challenge to get any notice or recognition simply because there's so many bands out there. I think the fact that we didn't really have any expectations means that we can appreciate our situation a lot more.
Are you happy with how ' Dawn of infinity ' turned out to be? Or would you change anything if you could start over again?
Yeah I'd say we were happy with it in general. I mean there are a few things for me personally which I would have changed if I had the chance again, mainly aspects of the production, like some of the guitar tones, but there will always be parts which you think could be improved. The problem for us is trying to listen to it objectively. It takes time to be able to appreciate an album in the same way as a first time listener does. At the moment the recording process is still really fresh in our minds so we're always listening out for bits we don't like. That's not really a bad thing though either because it means we can take note of those aspects and learn from them the next time we go into the studio.
Which of all the songs you have made, is your favorite all time? And which one is your favorite from the ' Dawn of infinity ' CD?
At the moment my favorite song is actually a brand new one which will be on our third album. It's called Sons of England, I was working on it for months on and off but we've only recently started rehearsing it together as a full band. It's always great when you play new material for the first time, the songs really come to life and gain a definite character. My favorite off Dawn of Infinity is Under the Greenwood Tree, just because I love the melodies and lyrical theme. It's probably the most upbeat track on the album. If there was to be an all time favorite though I'd have to say The Wizard Of Alderley Edge.
Which song on 'Dawn of infinity' gets the best feedback from your fans?
Again Under the Greenwood Tree always gets a great reaction. One of the reasons I think is because that track was available to listen to online before the album came out, so the fans are very familiar with it by now. Also Lightyears On seems to go down really well. Both those tracks have real energy to them, no matter where we put them in our set, you'll see the heads start banging!
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
For me, as long as I'm writing music I'd just like to be able to continue releasing albums and playing live. Like I said earlier I don't really have any great expectations or even defined goals. We all just take each step as it comes and see where it takes us. I would love it if we can keep reaching wider audiences and I think any bands dream is to be able to make a living from what they love doing, but at the same time we are aware that our style of music isn't the most accessible in the world so we have to be realistic about that. We really appreciate everyone who supports us and comes to our gigs, whether we're playing to hundreds or just a few people it means a lot to see people singing along to the lyrics and enjoying our music, we can't really ask for anything more!
I heard that you design your CD covers yourself, did you make that decision right away?
Yeah up until Dawn of Infinity I had done all the artwork for our previous releases. It began with our self recorded Eps, Fear Dearg and Phantoms of the Sea. I like to do illustrations in my own time, we didn't know any other artists and we certainly couldn't afford to pay for a professional one so the easiest option for us was for me to handle it. When we came to record our debut album in 2008 we did consider using another artist for a while but when we saw the design it wasn't really what we were looking for. Again the easiest option was for me to paint the cover, which I did and looking back I'm glad we made that decision because I think my picture-book style of illustration goes hand in hand with the lyrical themes on that album of folklore and legends. The next (and last) artwork I did was for our Defender EP which came out mid 2009. I was never happy with that cover, it didn't come out the way I wanted at all and it was at that point we realized that for our next album we'd need to get a more professional artist to do the job. Fortunately we had the backing of our label, Cruz Del Sur this time to help fund the artwork. We contacted a friend we had known for quite a few years who was trying to get his career as an artist off the ground. He did the Dawn of Infinity artwork and we were so pleased with the result! I would say that we'll be using him again for our future albums!
Christian, I heard you have an acoustic/folk side project on the side, called Grene Knyght. Is it difficult to combine with Dark Forest? Does it ever interfere with your plans?
Yeah it's a two piece band which plays instrumental acoustic songs. It's mainly medieval/ folk type stuff. No it doesn't interfere with Dark Forest at all because it's just a little project on the side. The other guy I play with lives down in Somerset so we don't really get to play very often, it's just something we do now and again whenever we meet up. We do plan to do a recording soon though, maybe over Christmas while there's not too much happening with Dark Forest.
What is your biggest dream, involving the band? Is there a place or a festival you'd really like to go to?
I think to go on tour supporting Iron Maiden would be the ultimate! They're the band which really inspired me to start playing and writing. In terms of festivals I don't know, but places, we'd love to go to Japan, that would be great! Also I've always liked the idea of one day doing an outdoor gig somewhere in the wild, using generators or something. Maybe in some woods or some ancient standing stones, bring your own booze, that sort of thing.
If you could work together with any other band, which one would it be and why?
I don't really have much desire to work with other bands although I wouldn't necessarily say no to the idea. It could be interesting to do something one day with Atlantean Kodex, who are a great epic metal band from Germany also on Cruz Del Sur. Most people would say we're complete opposites but I believe there is something similar between us, something in the sense of melody. For now though we're going to keep doing what we do!
I hope you enjoyed this interview and hope to speak to you soon