1.For those that have never heard of you before can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Kage: ForestMuse is a black metal band from Santa Cruz, California, started by Taserof and myself in 2012. At the time of formation we had been playing music together already for about 6 years on and off, and now ForestMuse is around 2 years old. We play black metal inspired by bands such as Bathory, Emperor, Immortal, Moonsorrow, as well as history, particularly of Europe/Scandinavia and the Americas.
Our first release, “The Land of Tall Trees,” was self-recorded and self-produced and released through Bandcamp. Our new album, “Moonlit Shadows,” is complete and awaiting artwork before becoming available. It was recorded at Parade Outrageous Studios by Max Zigman.
2.A few year you released your first demo, can you tell us a little bit more about your musical sound?
Kage: Our style falls into the classic black metal tradition, but we also use ambient and folk elements in our music. Our first album had several keyboard pieces, and our latest album features a Finnish instrument called the Kantele.
Taserof: As well as the Lithuanian Kankles.
3.Your lyrics cover Nature, Atavism and Ancestors, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?
Taserof: My interest is in all things that made us humans the way we are. It is more than something so narrow as a “topic” they are the very reasons we are alive today. Anyone who does not appreciate nature, their ancestors, or the past is completely lost in the artificial world it’s became.
The lyrics of ForestMuse are imaginary. I personally am a very visual person, I see a story or landscape unfold from music. So when I write lyrics I try to make them match what I see from the music. ForestMuse lyrics are generally literal and take the listener to a place and describe the setting. It’s sometimes hard for me to write lyrics that don’t delve into my hate for greed and the many things that still continue to utterly destroy our already shattered cultures and dwindling nature. I let the music be the hate while the lyrics focus on the epicness of what was (and can still be).
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name ForestMuse?
Taserof: The name is self-explanatory. I have been asked if the word muse has anything to do with the old Greek religion and no it does not. However, I think anything that reminds people of the past and of a forgotten religion fits ForestMuse.
5.Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you choose to remain a duo?
Kage: We added our bass player, Senun, last year. He is an accomplished musician who also plays in Fiends at Feast. Senun definitely adds a missing element to the band, as is evident both live and on our second album, and we are lucky to have him.
6.Has the band done any live shows or is this strictly a studio project?
Kage: We have played half a dozen live shows so far, mostly in Santa Cruz, but we have begun to play neighboring cities. In June we will perform at Festum Carnis, a forest metal festival in Soda Springs, CA.
Taserof: We are looking to play as many live shows as possible. We will hopefully organize and play a show somewhere in the forest in Santa Cruz sometime in the spring.
7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
Kage: We are not currently seeking a label; however, if there is enough interest in our second album, we will consider finding a distributor.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
Kage: We have gotten positive feedback on our first album by fans worldwide, from France to Italy to Chile, Russia, and so on. It has been very humbling to have good response to a record that was recorded and produced entirely for free, and we are looking forward to hearing what people have to think of the second album. It is all-around a much stronger record and we expect more people to hear it and enjoy it!
9.When can we expect new material and also what musical direction do you see the band heading into during the future?
Taserof is currently writing new material and we will hopefully record again this year.
Taserof: Yes, new material is constantly developing. Future releases will have more Kantele and Kankles.
10.What are some bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Kage: As I mentioned earlier, the bands that have influenced us the most stylistically are classic black metal bands such as Bathory, Emperor, Enslaved, and Immortal. In addition to black metal, I listen to a lot of death metal like At the Gates, Morbid Angel, and Death, although I don’t know how much that style influences ForestMuse’s music.
Taserof: As Kage already mentioned most of the second wave Norwegian black metal bands from the early 90’s as well as various underground Slavic black metal bands from the mid 90’s. The keyboard songs on “The Land Of Tall Trees” were inspired by Burzum’s “Hliðskjálf” and “Daudi Baldrs”, Mortiis’s “Keiser Av En Dimension Ukjent” and “Ånden Som Gjorde Opprør”, and various ambient artists especially Klaus Schulze. There are too many bands to name but Slayer must be mentioned. Non- metal (but still metal) Martti Pokela and various other kantele and zither music.
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
Kage: All of the band members love spending time in nature, whether it be hiking, camping, mountain biking, etc. I am a graduate student, so when I am not playing or listening to music I am almost always reading or writing. Senun is also a student finishing up his degree in music.
Taserof: Nature admiring. All the education I need comes from the forest and deep recollecting.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Kage: Thank you for the kind words and for helping us put our music out there. We are excited to continue performing and writing original black metal, and we hope that people give us a listen and enjoy it!
Taserof: Never forget who you are. Feel your blood. Smell the Night-Air!