New York City’s Forest Fire, led by vocalist/songwriter Mark Thresher, return this fall with Screens. With their third full-length, Forest Fire – now the quartet of Thresher, Natalie Stormann, Galen Bremer, and Robert Pounding – have found pure lightning.
After some lineup adjustments that left the band leaner and more centered, Forest Fire partnered with engineer Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, Dirty Beaches) possibilities they’d before only touched on, and to enable their new songs to breathe and stretch out.
Ghettoblaster caught up with Thresher recently to discuss the album, which drops via Fat Cat on September 10. This is what he said about it.
When did you begin writing the material for your most recent album?
About a year and a half ago in NYC. 2nd Avenue and 5th street. In a tiny room, with bars on the windows.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
I’d be lying to you if I said there was anything terribly difficult about recording or mixing Screens. It was the most fun I’ve had in a while. It was like a dream.
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
“Cold Kind”. On tour I was opening shows with this song by myself. Just me and a guitar. For a while I thought we would record the song like that too. But when we got to the studio there were just so many options. It’s almost impossible to keep things simple when you have this great band sitting there ready to do anything you want, a collection of vintage synths lining the walls and drums machines and spring reverb units and echo boxes. Temptation!
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
No. Our previous records were plastered with guest musicians. We really wanted to see what we could do on our own this time.
Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?
Jonathan Schenke. I typically look back on songs I’ve written with disgust. But I must say, this record turned out better than I could have possibly imagined and Jonny deserves a lot of credit for that. He has an amazing ear, and is a great interpreter. He calls himself “an enabler” which is pretty interesting!
Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?
Lyrically, no. But there are sonic patterns and similar sounds spread across the entire record. Specific delay effects, repetitive drums, ornate synthesizers.
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
“Annie” for sure. We do that one for about 15 minutes live. There’s a lot of room for improvisation, we never really know what’s going to happen.
(Forest Fire just debuted a new track “Waiting In The Night,” the first single from the band’s forthcoming album Screens.
Here’s a link to the SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/fatcatrecords/forest-fire-waiting-in-the/
And a link to an interview on MTV Hive: http://www.mtvhive.com/2013/07/25/forest-fire-waiting-in-the-night/)