(If, dear reader, you are unfamiliar with Adzes, the illustrious Mr. Payne reviewed No One Wants To Speak About here. Once you're done drinking deep of this interview, give it a read! - Ed.)
Written by: Alex, Bringer of Payne
It may seem irresponsible to have so many visitors (read: victims) here at the Sleeping Village this month, but we’re on a roll! Next up for interrogation is Forest Bohrer, the sole creative mind behind Adzes, an atmospheric sludge metal project with a penchant for raging against the capitalism and imperialism that fuels America today; heavy music for a heavy topic, essentially. Fans of Godflesh and ISIS, bands that Bohrer credits as strong influences for the project, will instantly appreciate the dichotomy created between ambient elements and oppressively heavy instrumentation.
As always, a big thanks is in order to Forest for taking the time to sit down with us and to subject himself to our nosey interrogation!
Sleeping Village: Greetings! Why don’t you introduce yourself? Who are you, and what do you do?
Forest Bohrer: I’m Forest, and I’m the musician behind Adzes. Everything from writing the music and playing the guitars, bass and synths to recording everything and shipping the merch, that’s me.
SV: What’s the creative process like as a solo project? Does the genre make it harder to plan and record each instrument isolated?
FB: My creative process is pretty flexible. Sometimes I get inspired while listening to music, sometimes I have a riff idea or thematic idea, sometimes I just pick up the guitar or bass and try to capture what's coming through my fingers. I generally build tracks layer by layer around those thematic ideas, and iterate and rearrange things until I'm satisfied. It's a lot of work, but it's also freeing to be able to have complete creative control of a project. I think the main challenge of working this way in the sludge genre is capturing that looseness and fury that a lot of great sludge and noise rock have. Demos can only get you so far, and recording the actual main takes requires a lot of volume, distortion, feedback, and a bit of sloppiness to really get the energy the songs need.
SV: I can believe you when you say it’s hard work - it sounds like it! Speaking of getting inspired from music, what albums have been the soundtrack of your lockdown?
FB: I've been listening to a mix of music. In terms of heavy stuff, the new Vile Creature is tremendous, and Fange put out a monster LP of crusty sludge called Punir. I've also been listening to the Thou comp of Nirvana covers. On the weirder side, someone recommended to me an early EP by Teledubgnosis (dub side-project of Jesu/Godflesh/Prong drummer Ted Parsons) and that one has been on heavy rotation. The new Hum record is incredible. Oh, and I've been revisiting Songs From The Big Chair, because Tears for Fears is the GOAT.
SV: For sure. I saw that you’ve been raising money for the Northwest Community Bail Fund and Rainier Valley Food Bank over the past few months, which is commendable. With politics so ingrained into this project, how important has it been for you to put your money where your mouth is?
FB: I think it's critical, particularly because community resources like bail funds and food banks really provide direct aid to the people that need it. There are a few bands that use leftism and antifascism as marketing tools without really doing any of the work, which is unfortunate. I think it's imperative to really practice what you preach, whether that's direct action or supporting those doing the direct action.
SV: How did you get into creating sludge metal?
FB: The catalyst was probably picking up Neurosis' Times of Grace back when it came out in 1999. What a monster of a record. I'd always enjoyed the heavier side of grunge and doom, but Neurosis and early Isis blew me away. I started slowly writing the songs that would become the Climate // Capital EP as I became more radicalized in the later Obama years. I'd been listening to Kowloon Walled City and Gang of Four, and those records really inspired me to try creating my own take on anticapitalist sludge. When my last band (a synthwave/dream pop act) wound down, I decided I wanted to make this project happen.
SV: What are your predictions for the November election, and will the outcome change your attitude towards the future?
FB: I expect that we'll see extreme levels of ratfucking and voter suppression. States like Wisconsin, Georgia, and Kentucky will have extreme levels of closure of polling places in low-income and POC neighborhoods. As far as who wins the Presidency, I have no idea what to expect. We have a choice between two reactionary, racist white men with histories of sexual assault. Neither of them seems interested in campaigning against one another, for which I'm honestly grateful. I don't have a lot of hope for electoralism, but whichever one wins, I think we'll continue to see inspiring levels of grassroots leftist activism against brutal local and national government. I'm hopeful that continued pressure will move things in the right direction.
SV: What’s been your experience of Seattle during the protests?
FB: I haven't been able to be out much, as I've been home with the kids for most of the time. There's a ton of activity and support for Black Lives Matter across the city, and we have a lot of inspiring local activists doing great work. There's also a fair amount of internal strife which seems to have done a fair amount to undermine the success of CHOP/CHAZ, unfortunately. The City Council has already passed a ban on most teargas and non-lethal weapons, and I'm hopeful we can pressure the Mayor and city council to make deep meaningful cuts to the SPD budget.
SV: COVID permitting, what have you got planned for the Adzes project?
FB: I've been blown away by the response to No One Wants To Speak About It, and that's been really inspiring. I've been writing some new stuff for a couple of split releases in the works that I'm really excited for. Those are probably happening in 2021. I've also got a couple of left-field covers in the works for digital release late this year, and I'm collaborating with a couple of close friends on those.
Read our review of No One Wants To Talk About It, Adzes’ debut full length album here!
Check out Forest’s retrospective review of Neurosis here!
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
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