Flawlessly weaving together cinematic indie rock with spectacular harmonies and a truly unique voice, the music of Forebear takes listeners on a surreal journey through ideas of inner conflict, interpersonal crisis and the perils of living in an age of global tension. Comprised of some of Los Angeles’ most prolific musicians — Scott Goldbaum (vocals, guitar), Molly Rogers (viola), Nick Chadian (bass) and Mike Musselman (drums) — the band was formed in 2014 and, after only a few months, caught the attention of famed producer Scott Gordon, previously known for his work with Alanis Morissette and Ringo Starr.
The band’s self-titled debut EP, which established them as an act to watch in 2015, features songs such as “North Korea and the Five Stages of Grief,” which was written by Goldbaum in his car and explores interpersonal drama in a manner than is both grandiose and beautiful, and “Cusp,” which highlights Goldbaum’s stream-of-consciousness lyrics and Molly’s haunting viola solos atop a driving rhythm section. The album explores the notion of finding catharis in sharing experiences — both good and bad — while finding inner peace and learning from those experiences.
To learn more about the band, visit www.forebear.la.
What was your childhood like? When and how did you initially become interested in music?
Nick: I remember being about 10 years old and pulling my dad’s old drum kit out of the garage and just making noise. It was at the same time I discovered classic rock and music as a whole. I had a friend whose dad would take us to jazz clubs around LA. At age 12 or 13, I couldn’t really grasp what was happening musically, but I knew it was something special. Those times spawned the desire to write songs and perform music.
Who are your biggest creative influences?
Nick: Like I said earlier, classic rock will always have a special place in my heart. I mean I’m that weird guy with a Led Zeppelin tattoo. It’s part of me. But there is so much good stuff around today and from the past that I can take a little something from anything I listen to. Anything from the Funk Brothers, who played on countless Motown hits, guys around today like Jim James and Eddie Vedder, or more obscure people like Ruben Nielson from the killer group Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Anyone with soul and who is giving their all to their craft influences me to want to write unique and cool songs. Also John Frusiciante. I seriously fucking love John Frusiciante.
How did you meet the other members of Forebear?
Nick: I knew Scott from the days of playing in my first band. It was a loud and rowdy punk band. Scott was good buds with the drummer and, when we weren’t practicing, Scott would come hang out and jam RATM tunes. As time moved on, Scott and I ended up being a band together. Mike was the drummer of that band. Even though that project didn’t last, we ended up working together in this new configuration. Molly had been working with Scott prior to Forebear being a full band. I came into the first rehearsal blown away by her talent. And I’ve never been in a band with a viola, so I was all down for that goodness.
How did you settle on Forebear as a band name?
Nick: We thought it made sense considering a few of us had played together in the past. Forbear means an ancestor or forefather. We had all worked together in some capacity in the past and the band now is a representation of us as one unit.
What is your songwriting process?
Nick: Generally Scott will come in with a nugget of an idea. We will take that and build the song together. The beauty of Forebear is that the band is such a pure representation of the people who play the songs. When we are jamming or writing, there is not one particular person in charge. This allows us to try all ideas and write something that we hope is a unique expression of each individual coalescing into some “real cool shit,” if you will.
How did you meet Scott Gordon, and what role has he played in shaping your band’s sound?
Nick: A while back, Scott Gordon helped Scott G. with recording and producing some solo material a while back before the band was in the form it is now. As the band grew, Scott Gordon just seemed to stick. He’s such a cool guy with amazing sensibilities and a great ear. He can be the voice of reason and sometimes notice that thing that nobody else did. He also makes me play on temp better, which is very important ( I like to rush, it’s in my nature).
What goes through your mind in the moments before you walk out on stage, and how do you unwind after a show?
Nick: Before I walk out on stage, my main goal is to make sure that the four of us are feeling connected. Making sure that all our heads are clear and focused on the task at hand is all I care about. I want to be sure to leave whatever else might be going on in our lives at the door and focus on playing these songs as tight and pure as possible. Unwinding after a show is usually just taking a few minutes to reflect on what worked and what could have been better. But no matter what, the vibes after playing are always positive.
Which contemporary musicians do you think will be most fondly remembered in fifty years?
Nick: I love the bands that play epic live shows. Pearl Jam, My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, Radiohead. Bands that put on great shows are the musicians — and more importantly, the experiences — I will remember.
In your opinion, what are the top three Led Zeppelin songs?
Nick: Top three… that’s hard! But if I’m not thinking, I’m going to say “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “Achilles Last Stand” and “Fool in the Rain.” Yes, for today, those are my top three.
What was your favorite childhood cartoon?
Nick: As far as childhood cartoons go, anything that was on Nickelodeon in the early ’90s. You can’t go wrong with any of that stuff!
What are you guys working on next?
Nick: Look for a new EP and music video coming in the next few months. We’re also looking to get out on the road and come to all the lovely people across this country. In the meantime, our self-titled EP is out now!