Forever Autumn Interview
Into some darker acoustic stuff? You should take a gander at what Forever Autumn is turning out. Their 3rd album out now on Bandcamp “Howls In The Forest At Dusk” is filled with it…. doomy apocalyptic folk that is. Vocalist and guitarist Autumn Ni Dubhghaill answered some out questions regarding the new album, the sound, the influences and a few other things of note. She also sent us some great accompanying pics by Bella Vendetta for the interview…. check it out
Howls In The Forest At Dusk
Congrats on your latest release “Howls In The Forest At Dusk”… what has been the response to it so far?
“Thank you. We are excited for this release. The response so far has been quite good. I have been doing many interviews and we’ve had some good reviews (including folk-metal.nl, thank you). The live response has been successful too. People seem to really enjoy the new work, and we are happy to share it.”
Could you give us a brief history of the project and the name Forever Autumn?
“Forever Autumn began in late 2000 when I began writing my own songs. By early 2001, the underground saw the first, self-titled Forever Autumn release. For the next few years, many demos and unofficial albums were recorded all by myself on a small analog four-track. By 2005 I booked proper studio time and recorded the first edition of Waiting for October with guitarist Brian Kulas on electric, which saw a limited but proper release closer to 2008. Punk-Cellist Jon McGrath joined around this time as Brian departed. 2014 Saw Patience of the Fire-Keeper. 2016 Waiting for October MMXVI (a re-issue) and now 2019’s Howls in the Forest at Dusk.The name Forever Autumn is a bit of a mystery. the Autumn of course is my favorite season. It is the magical season of beautiful dying and transmutation. Yes, my name is also Autumn, but I assure you that that was not considered when coming to the name of the band/project. Sometime when I meet people and introduce myself and my band, I get a little nod and an “of course,” but as stated above, that was non-intentional.”
Folk, Doom, Both or Neither
How would you describe a category you might put your music into? Is it folk, doom, both or neither?
“This had been a problem for a number of years. It usually seems that we may be to folk for the metal crowd, but too metal for the folk crowd. I love Doom and feel a part of the community, but it’s not quite doom metal, at least not in it’s traditional form. So, I created a new genre which I felt incorporated us nicely; Acoustic Doom. We take that essence and feel of doom but strip it down to it’s essentials and express it through acoustic instruments and tortured screams. There is a lot of folk influence too, but not a modern happy sing-song folk, moreover the folk of ancient times and the Old Ways. For a while I thought that we would be able to fit in with the Goth crowd too, but that is all electric and dancy these days. So we are Doom. We are Folk. We are both, and we are none. We are Forever Autumn. We are Acoustic Doom.”
Has there ever been a thought of going electric with this or another project? Pros and cons?
“The first few years of Forever Autumn involved the electric. In fact, Waiting for October has a backing electric guitar. I, at times entertain the idea of reintroducing the electric, but then I move away from it again. I think a lot on making some separate albums of proper Doom and perhaps a Black Metal album. However, I feel that the main works of Forever Autumn should remain largely acoustic. The sound has evolved over the years so I am not quite discounting where this may go. Some of our songs especially lend themselves to an electric rendition. They may be entertained on a separate work too.”
What other musicians are your biggest inspirations and influence your sound?
“That is a good question. Often people will ask of influences without being specific to musicians. I will cite some bands that I enjoy that I feel have had an influence on at least some of Forever Autumn. My Dying Bride of course, is greatly enjoyed and could claim influence on some of my work. Skepticism too can especially be heard on tracks like ‘Emaciated’ and “Fire in the Head’. Death in June and Current 93 have also inspired some of my sound. I would be remiss if I did not mention David Bowie. It’s not as much his music, but his influence that taught me that you can do whatever you want. I also have a whole collection of Russian Gypsy records and other traditional Slavic music. These have influenced my work as well, especially in the use of my balalaika.”
What things outside of music are your biggest influences (books, nature, movies, etc)?
“The natural and preternatural worlds claim great influence. I am inspired by the experience of wake and of dream, and of walking between worlds. My connection to the Other World too drives creative influence.”
Hand in Hand
How does your writing process work (if there is one)? Do music and lyrics go hand in hand or are parts put together separately after they are written?
“My writing process has no discernible pattern. Sometimes the words will come before the music. Sometimes the music comes first, and in others they form together. The songs may not need too much work as they write themselves whilst others I may struggle to find the right expression.”
I have asked many acoustic related artists this same question…..why do you think you have so many metal fans for an acoustic based act?
“I feel that we have many metal fans for two main reasons. The first is that metal, especially Doom, drive the basic instincts of Forever Autumn. I’ve been a metal fan for aeons, it is only proper that it also appears in my work. The second reason is that there seem more people now that are willing to bridge that gap between what is metal and what is not, at least when it is done honestly and creatively. Granted, there are still many people that would claim that Forever Autumn is not Doom, nor metal at all, but there are many yet who are looking for something more, something ancient and atavistic. They may find these qualities and more in Forever Autumn.”
The acoustic guitar and cello together create an amazing listening experience…..how did you decide to meld Jon’s (McGrath) cello into your music?
“Thank you for the compliment. I have always been enthralled by the cello. About ten years ago, Jon had told me, “you do too much for one person” as during my early performances I would be constantly switching instruments. He told me that he had a cello; a 1940’s cello, and he offered his services. We had been friends for a while so I trusted his talent and having been a long time fan of the cello, it didn’t take much for me to draft him into the band. We’ve been working together since. I have my own cello now too, so I played some of it on “Howls…” during the song “the Forest i Know So Well.””
How do you approach your vocal lines when you are ready to record? Do you try different ideas until one works or do you have a style/melody already in mind?
“More often than not, I have already created and rehearsed the vocal lines whilst creating the songs. I sing, scream, howl and chant along, long before I am ready to record. Sometimes during the recording process I may alter things if I find something that worked in concept but that I couldn’t quite seem to reach in reality.”
How do you feel about performing live? Do you have to use a backing track at all, or do you rearrange tracks to work for the live show?
“I thoroughly enjoy performing. It is a great form of catharsis and expression, among many things. We never use a backing track, though I have considered it. I don’t want to rely on the magic of technology too heavily as we do not tend to agree with each other. When I use acoustic instruments, there is less to go wrong. However, these are some setbacks to this. Some sounds from the album are not properly expressed when we perform live, which can be disappointing, but we do pretty well for just two people. I am hoping to find someone to fill in on percussion for live gigs at some point, as that backing drum really fills out the sound, which is especially apparent on the recordings. As mentioned above, I switched instruments constantly in the early days of performance. I try not to do that so much now, to keep a better flow to the performance.”
As many artists do nowadays, you release music via Bandcamp…..how has this experience been for you? Is it possible to actually make a living releasing music in this way?
“Yes, we release on Bandcamp as well as CDbaby and numerous download sites. The experience is alright. It gives more immediate access to a wider audience, which is a good thing. Though I do, and I know that many others too, enjoy having the physical copy. This can be difficult as the cost of shipping CD’s has gone up to a ridiculous level over the years. This deters my own sending of physical albums. I view the release of albums online as a necessary thing in our new modernity. I do my best to keep us with it. To make a living doing such? I suppose that one could in theory, but it seems highly unlikely unless you are quite the famous band.”
Do you have any sort of tour plans or shows coming up to let us in on?
“We are currently trying to organize a few tour dates over the summer with Deep Dark River, though there is no real information to give at this time than maybe sometime in July. We had a series of shows in February and March, but we are still booking for the rest of the year.”
Any new music or shows you are looking forward to in 2019?
“I haven’t been keeping up to date with the new music of 2019. I have been so inundated with the release of “Howls…” that I have largely ignored what else is happening. I hope something good comes my way. I hear that Sleep may be playing semi-locally soon. I may try to go to that. Otherwise, I am not quite in the know.”
“Yes. Thank you for this interview and the previous review of the new album. Hail Woodland Sorcery!!”