Forth Wanderers Interview: “We’ll Make It When We Play In Forth, Scotland”

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New EP Slop Is Out November 11 Via Father/Daughter (US) and House Anxiety / Marathon Artists (UK).

There are some songs that have this uncanny ability to burrow their way under your skin and nestle deep inside your heart. Taking up residence as if they have always existed in your consciousness. ‘Slop’ by New Jersey’s Forth Wanderers is one such song. Built on a simple guitar progression and singer Ava Trilling’s mournful and endearing vocals, the track builds to a climax with Trilling asserting, “I love too much / To hurt this bad / I love too much / To be this sad” at which point I am immediately pulled back to the unrequited loves and failed romances of secondary school. Basically, the track makes me sad, but in a nice way.

Ben Guterl (guitar) and Ava Trilling (vocals) took some time recently to talk to us about the track, their upcoming EP of the same name, and the football team they stole their name from.

Overblown: It seems like everyone loves ‘Slop’. Are you surprised by the enthusiasm of the response to the track?

Ben Guterl: This is always a funny one to answer because if I say no we just come off as those shitty kids who expect to get famous. We’ve never released something on a label so we figured it would reach a larger audience than Tough Love did. We were confident in these songs but we just didn’t know for sure how well it would be received. We’ve also been sitting on them for such a long time so we start to question whether we actually like them or not. All of the reviews I’ve seen so far have been positive which is really cool.

O: For me ‘Slop’ is generally about transition and not knowing one’s place. Is that a fair description?

Ava Trilling: I’d say so. To be honest I never truly go into a song having a clear idea what it’s going to be about. Lyrics usually portray how I’m feeling in that moment, and from there people can interpret what it means to them. I’d say “Slop” toys with topics such as falling out of love, not knowing one’s place, and just general ambiguity.

O: What did you learn from recording your first EP and LP that informed the writing and recording of this EP?

BG: Recording Tough Love was a nightmare. To be fair, we didn’t really know much about how the recording and release process worked, so may have been a little too naive going into it. We spent way too much money and time for what we have to show. I think it sounds fine, but we didn’t have nearly as much creative control as we wanted. We actually ended up developing some serious beef with the original producer and had to get the tracks from him so we could get someone we trusted to mix and master them.

Slop was a lot easier. The process was still too disjointed and took longer than we wanted because of our college schedules, but we decided to record it with our good friends Cameron Konner and Sam Skinner instead. It’s a lot easier to get the sound you want by trial and error when you’re working with people you’ve known for a while. You don’t feel as self-conscious that you’re wasting their time.

O: Why the decision to record an EP? Why not go for a second LP?

BG: We recorded it so damn long ago it’s hard to even remember. I think the plan was to be able to record tracks during our winter break 2015 so that we could get some songs out that year to remind people that we were still a band. We didn’t finish tracking in the winter and it rolled over into the summer. Mixing, mastering, and figuring out label stuff ended up taking us to summer 2016. By then we had a full length’s worth of material that we were ready to record. So it definitely didn’t go as planned but I think it’ll still work well to build hype for the LP we’re working on.

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O: The EP will come out on Father/Daughter Records, Marathon Artists and House Anxiety. Those labels have been responsible for releases by Courtney Barnett, Diet Cig, King Krule, and Mutual Benefit among many others. How does it feel to be in such company?

BG: I fanboyed pretty hard over King Krule specifically. I saw him at Terminal 5 in like 2011 when I was a sophomore in high school so he earned his spot on the pedestal for me. When you see a band that you like so much play it in front of so many people you start to sort of idolize them as this surreal musical entity. It’s kind of amazing to be in the company of my stereotypical “got-me-thru-high school” band.

O: Did you know that there is a Scottish football/soccer club called Forth Wanderers? Did you steal their name?!?

BG: Yea we 100% stole their name. We spent way too long arguing over what we should be called so I started doing the random Wikipedia article thing and came across the team’s page. It was never a secret or anything, but I didn’t think we’d actually get big enough for them to ever find out about it. It took a surprisingly short amount of time — I think we were only a band for a couple months — before someone on the team emailed me asking if there was a correlation. I tried to get them to send me a jersey but they never did.

O: What is success for Forth Wanderers?

BG: Obviously as long as we’re releasing music that we’re proud of we’ll be happy because that is really what we love to do. But I think we’ll know we’ve made it when we’re playing in Forth, Scotland for the soccer team. That would be a pretty poetic moment. If we end up booking a Europe tour I will do everything I can to make that happen.

If you like this Forth Wanderers interview, you might enjoy our interview with Diet Cig

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