INTERVIEW

Sludge Rock Inspired By Two Dudes with a Basement Cable Show.

oldforest

“Party on!” That’s the parting shot as Tom, Matt and Luke wind their way alongside Wimbledon Common, and having spent a pleasant hour discussing the virtues of loud guitars, Dinosaur Junior and band practice, we’re feeling inclined to do so.

Despite the dialogue these guys aren’t Thatcher-baiting, Pop-Tart-munching children of the 80’s. At just sixteen years old the Blair babies should be lusting after Stifler’s Mum not Cassandra Wong, but Old Forest seem to have struck gold with Waynes World.

“I first saw it on BBC3. You don’t really know what the fuck is going on but you watch these guys being idiots and it pretty much reflects what we’re like,” explains Tom in a drawl reminiscent of Garth at his most stoned. Old beyond their years, the three met at school and instantly bonded over their dislike of music class – “Honestly, GCSE Music was the hardest fucking thing I’ve done in my life,” claims Tom as the rest let out an impish classroom chuckle. “I used to remember our teacher saying there is no intelligence in punk, it’s just two chords.”

Now in sixth form, Old Forest write sludge rock, steep and steady with a sound you’d expect from three thirty somethings. That’s not to say the band aren’t fresh – they’re lush and dripping with all the vibrancy you’d expect from three youngsters still learning their instruments – but the surprising maturity can be traced to the root of their influences: more 90’s iconography and culture.

“We’ve all really liked the big bands from that era like Nivarna for a long time,” explains Luke “and we just like loud riffs and stuff, and then you dig deeper and you find bands like Built to Spill and Hum. I only got into Built to Spill when they supported Dinosaur Junior at Shepherds Bush Empire but since then we are all really into it.” Weezer get plenty of mentions this afternoon too, even if they are “getting shitter and shitter”.

“Although we saw them play at Reading and their cover of ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ was like whoooooah,” defends Tom. Somewhere out there Bill and Ted are gushing.

These three would cope just fine on their own but a welcome sway comes in the form of Joe from Dignan Porch, Luke’s older brother and laid back mentor. “He got us into some cool bands and obviously being sixteen it’s kind of hard to get gigs,” says Luke. “Joe’s friendly with promoters and stuff so he can get us help. If he listened to rubbish music I probably would have done too so yeah I owe him a bit.”

And he also had a hand in Old Forest’s debut recording – a heavyweight boxer of a tune called ‘Moe’, which features a beefed up beast of a distorted riff.

“Yeah, he recorded it in my attic on his 8 track,” says Luke. “We tried to do another one but we couldn’t get the timings right, it’s pretty cool to have him around.

“We made up ‘Moe’ about 5 minutes before playing the Old Blue Last in London – everything just came together. All our songs are pretty similar; just turn it up really loud and put loads of distortion on it.”

And I’m guessing you had to come up with a name pretty quickly then?

“Yeah, and we just like The Simpsons,” Tom dryly notes.

“We have another song called ‘Millhouse’ too,” continues Luke. “It’s not been recorded yet but we always play it at our gigs. If we were to put out a release it would be ‘Moe and Millhouse’.”

For a band named after foliage these boys seem partial to a spot of indoor activity, particularly if the telly’s involved. It’s a wonder they ever get out to gigs, and being sixteen (with or without help from a big brother) it must be hard to convince promoters and venue owners to take a punt on them too?

“Yeah some places are really cool but when we played at the Stags Head we were sound-checking and the landlord came out and started pointing at Matt going awwww he’s so cute and Matt was just blowing out his bass really loud! It can be a bit annoying if we aren’t going to drink and we’re just there for the music,” Luke stresses before Matt – until now silent and shy – sums up their predicament simply enough. “It doesn’t really bother us,” he says. “If beautiful women want to call us cute then that’s fine with us.” Schwing!

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