Want to know how I became good at making music? I just forgot I sucked at it.
I have a selective memory. Depending on how I feel, things either seem rather gloomy or much more thrilling looking back. However, a feeling I remember experiencing well throughout my upbringing is one of not being good enough. I always tried different things, which made me insightful in many respects but simultaneously mediocre in those very things. I’ve always struggled to do one thing. That always made me feel indecisive and ill-disciplined – two qualities you don’t want as a male where I’m from.
Well, my dad died when I was really young, so most of my life has just been my mother and me. As much as I’d hate to admit it, she significantly influenced my perception of the world and myself in it. Accepting this brought about the meaning behind my latest project: “Stasis,” a collection of songs made at home during points of recovery after wild trips far from home (2021-2022).
Listen to the album while reading the text.
My 20s have been a profound reckoning of self. The reality of my past is clouded by my mental and emotional state at the time, which leaned towards the dark side due to my deep desire to reach higher levels of self-awareness. Stasis, as I meant it, is an introverted period of spiritual, emotional, mental, and sometimes physical suspension where one experiences an internal transformation (much like a cocoon phase of a butterfly). Life loses its luster, colors begin to fade, and time ceases to exist. What always made this phase so existentially compelling was the pattern I noticed whenever it took place – I always felt this way after something really extraordinary happened! Every time I achieved a significant goal or experienced something ideal in my life, I would fall into this abyss I later coined as Stasis. It made me question the meaning of.. well.. everything.
An insane transformation usually follows this. My actions become more meaningful, my priorities shift into godlier realms, and real change begins to happen; only after I make it out, of course, because this doesn’t seem likely when I’m in that state. I think we live in times where society values competence and productivity above being inspired and progressive. Sometimes we overestimate our ability to change our own lives by doing things. Sometimes transformation happens when you stay put. Anyway, I chose to speak on two specific tracks (intro and outro) because I feel they fully encompass the meaning of the project and might also be the most misunderstood tracks due to how unconventional they are.
Tv in the morning / Intro
This is most probably my favorite introduction to a project, probably ever. Most people don’t think much of it and think it’s just there for vibes, and they’re not entirely wrong.
This is an audio representation of the one comfort I knew as a kid, which I carry with me until this day. Breakfast and television in the morning. I usually watch cartoons, but I chose to use this scene from “Bad Company” starring Chris Rock as Jake Hayes and his foster mother. This scene means a lot to me. Jake has so much potential to be the ‘brightest’ out of his foster brothers and sisters, but ultimately is burdened by the pressure of this very fact and ends up being the one to achieve the least stability. His foster mother happily lends him money, offers him food, and ends the scene by saying she believes in him and knows that he is going to make her very proud one day. This is even though Jake is in his 30s and she is an old woman.
My relationship with my own mother is one that triggers a significant transformation in me, and this scene highlights how different my life could’ve been if I was actually an orphan instead of just feeling like one. In this project, I tried to open up more about that part of my life in subtle ways; however, the idea of Stasis and motherly energy are closely linked.
Exit (w/ sage) / Outro
Sage is a host from Radio X (a fictional radio station for alternative rock) who has appeared on several of my songs throughout the years. This was her last appearance, so I had to give her the floor with this closer. She is my spirit animal, if you will because she says things I think and feel but am too cautious to say. I am Sage at heart. I love alternative rock, and I love punk culture. I love the idea of anarchy in the name of freedom of expression, and I love breaking the rules because a lot of the rules we follow aren’t ours or even real!
Sometimes I want to say things that might sound brash, destructive, or plain stupid only because that’s how I feel. However, the more influence I attain, the more responsibility I have to be mindful of. But I’m just a kid at heart, and all I want to do is create raw, unfiltered art and then go out in a ball of raging flames!!! Sage expresses this part of me. I then end the song with one of the most honest verses I’ve ever put out there. The response to this has been amazing. I’m more motivated than ever to be more real in my music. Even though I love being abstract, “Stasis” was a great transformation because I realized I don’t have to box myself – creativity is infinite. So I wouldn’t lose a part of myself by being more direct.
I’m bad at closing things off, so here’s a kinda ironic story about a performance of “exit” I did recently. So I was nicknamed “Where’s Forest?” by a drunk white kid at a club (a story for another day). Still, I was performing at an experimental live show called “Spectrum!” held by Acid Base Lab and decided to do my own little experiment by opening with the song “exit.” The song’s vocals only come in at the last leg of the instrumental, so I asked the DJ to play the song after I was called on stage, planning to only get on stage in time for the verse. The emcee called out for me, and the DJ played the song. Halfway through the song, the emcee got back on stage repeatedly asking, “Where is forest?” to witness then me appear on stage shirtless and barefoot in time for the verse. I found it funny that I didn’t even plan that.”
, home recording