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Forest Spirits

Forest Spirits

Tuesday 5th April, 2011 10:15AM

Forest Spirits is the solo electronic project from Liam Richardson. A biology student by day, Liam has been recording ambient electronic music with a focus on cinema for the past two years and is releasing his debut self-titled EP this month via Sonorous Circle. We caught up with him to find out a bit more about Forest Spirits and his upcoming release.

How do you write and record your music?

I write and record everything in Ableton Live on my laptop using an Akai MPD32 midi controller and a microKorg.

And how do you reproduce it live?

I reproduce it live mainly by triggering loops, samples and drum patterns in Live on the MPD whilst playing the microKorg.

Do you usually feature other musicians onstage or do you do it all yourself?

I mostly do it myself but some of the time I play with Eammon Logan (Ghost Wave, Basketball Nightmare and Lightening) with him playing a sampler, synth and/or Live on his laptop. Together we make tunes as ‘Team Cat Food.’ It’s always nice to perform with someone else and it also gives us the ability to collaborate and perform T.C.F. tracks which is cool.

How do you think you’ve changed since you first started Forest Spirits?

I think I have developed in the way that I make songs. I place a lot more emphasis on the structure and rhythm in a song now than I did at first and I am becoming more and more pedantic with the song writing process. As such I struggle to feel a song is finished.

What first inspired you to make this kind of music?

An appreciation for electronic music and the fact that my delay pedal just broke one day and I had no money to buy a new one so I couldn’t make ambient guitar music anymore. It kind of just manifested itself from this and the shift from guitar to using Live and later buying a synthetiser.

Where do you see yourself now you’re releasing an EP?

In the same place really, it’s nice to have it finished as it somewhat engulfed my summer but I’m a student and as such have a shuffle my music with school most of the time. I just want to play more shows and try to release more music this year; maybe another EP, an album or a collaborative release would be rad.

Was this intended to be a long-term project?

I guess so, but I don’t really see it so much as a timed project, more just something I really enjoy doing and want to continue doing in some capacity indefinitely.

Any hitches along the way?

I’ve had a few bad gigs where gear hasn’t worked as it should etc but that just helps to better prepare yourself for next time.

When you describe the sound of Forest Spirits to others, what do you say?

I would describe it as ambient, electronic and cinematic. Cinematic as I get a lot of samples of from old film scores. I still really appreciate ambient music so I like to incorporate elements of that into my music.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Camp Lo - Uptown Saturday Night and the new Burial EP. I can’t take them off repeat.

Which other musicians do you hang out with usually? And who would you recommend?

Ghost wave, they spend a lot of time at my house as I live with the guitarist, Rikki and they are good friends of mine. They make really good tunes and I would recommend them highly. And I would also highly recommend Seth Frightening, the new Lightening EP (free to download on Bandcamp) and the releases Sonorous Circle have put out.

Most memorable gig you’ve played?

My most memorable gig was back in 2007 at these old gun emplacements by the wind turbine in Brooklyn, Wellington. It was such a great location and with minimal lighting the atmosphere was rad. Eammon and I played a set as ‘The Story of Iceland’ which was an ambient/drone type project.

How do crowds usually respond to your music?

I don’t really know, I just hope they like it in some way.

Who do you think is the most underrated band at the moment?

A band called Evenings; they put out an EP midway through last year which is incredible. I think more people should listen to their music. Also Arkitype, his album ‘Meats the Beatles’ (released on Sonorous Circle) is awesome.

How do you feel about the current state of music in New Zealand?

I have no complaints.

Michael McClelland



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