How would you describe your style?
Ha! There’s an opening question for us! Guess it gets easier after this one?
The answer is: no one knows. Scholars will debate this one until the world ends.
People, we included, are arguing over what we sound like all the time. We unabashedly vary all over the place in terms of style.
“Want to write a country song?”
“Yeah, sure, let’s try it! Man, I wish I had a banjo….”
“What about like a rock ballad?”
“Yeah, all right! But only if we can have one of those epic guitar solos in the middle.”
“Guys, I think we should add xylophone to–”
“SHUT UP, DAN! NO MORE XYLOPHONE!”
And that’s basically it–we definitely have songs that are hard rock, like “I Know Where You’ve Been,” “Suburban Outlaw,” or “Another Trick Up My Sleeve,” some smoother, jazzier blues-influenced music, like “10 Days,” and a new song we’ll release soon called “Ghost,” and tunes that would be considered pop-rock, like “Carry Your Own Weight,” or “The Little Robot.” We try hard not to let genre get in the way of our writing, and rather than keep a consistent sound, we want a listener to have a great experience listening to our albums or watching the live show. Attention spans are shrinking everywhere, so rather than listening to the same song ten times, you get a little world in each track.
Why do you do what you do?
To make tons of money…..
….ha ha ha….remember a time when that wasn’t a joke?
No, there’s a lot of reasons: it’s a great release and a fantastic form of expression. We like spreading positivity–as you’ll notice, most of our music is optimistic and happy, or slightly ironic, and we love to tell stories to which people can relate. Who hasn’t felt like they didn’t fit in sometimes, like in “The Little Robot,” where the narrator feels like an automaton learning to be human. Or the way love can sometimes smack you in the face, like the witch in “Hex” who is totally aghast to be the one under the spell for once. And most of all, we’re thrilled to be part of the local music scene in Jersey City, New Jersey, where we are just another group of artists collaborating in a pool of really talented musicians. Being in a rock band still carries a little mystique, and you get to dress the way you want, which is definitely a perk a few of us in the band take advantage of!
Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?
Well, I’m not sure if we have much of either, but if it comes down to one or the other…
Ambition all the way. People are so inhibited by the fear of looking foolish or not ‘doing it right,’ whatever that might mean. Instead, the very name of our band, Forget the Whale, underscores the idea of forgetting the obsessions that plague you (like, say, the White Whale, Moby Dick, for a certain Captain Ahab) and living in the moment. If a song speaks to you, write it, perform it. If you like it, you might not be the only one out there who does.
What inspires you to create music?
Honestly, sometimes you don’t have a choice–sometimes a song comes at you like a secret being whispered to you, or a juicy piece of office gossip, and it’s really hard not to want to share it with the world.
More than that, we like when fans from all over the world react to our tunes, use them in their videos, play them on their radio stations, tell us that our songs are stuck in their heads–all that is constant inspiration.
Rehegoo Music: What is the greatest achievement of your career so far?
Well, the time we played “Halfway Home” at the Superbowl halftime show and the New Orleans Preservation Hall jazz band played the horn parts was definitely pretty cool.
…oh wait, you said so far….
Well, there’s been a couple of notable moments– we’ve been able to share the stage with Eddie Brigati, from the popular band The Young Rascals. We have thousands of listeners a day on some of our streaming platforms. We’ve had our music used in independent films. We have a lot to be proud of, and we’re still getting along and all great friends!
What has been the biggest obstacle for your band?
Dan, the bass player. He’s a real dictator, gets grumpy at practice, makes people come up with stuff on the spot… very difficult to work with. But if you were to ask him, he’d tell you it was something boring like having people with full-time careers and families.
Juggling our busy work schedules is the obvious one–we’ve got two teachers (Pete the guitarist and Dan the bassist), a chemist (AJ, our drummer) and a loan officer and mother of two (Alishia, the singer) in the band.
Another frustration is that, because of the varied genres we play, we get fans and colleagues who think they know where we might be going with a song or an album, and then totally miss the mark. The problem there is keeping our own vision of a particular song paramount, while trying to be honest and open to new ideas and criticism.
What is the best and worst gig you have ever played?
The worst gig–we’re on stage in what looks like a high school gym, and it’s our drummer AJ’s brother’s birthday, and when he walks in…he’s, well….surprised…. We’re a loud rock band with a lot of attitude, and it was just too much for Grandma and Aunt Patty. That was pretty clear, but what were we supposed to do?
The best gig— we haven’t played it yet! They just keep getting better and better!
What is your worst and best fan moment?
Oh, man, I think this one is unanimous: when people started singing “You can’t leave me like this,” on their own, unprompted, during “Giants,” once at the Park Tavern in Jersey City, we were just blown away. That had to have been the best.
The worst was when a creepy stalker who came to every gig showed up to our practice space dressed like our guitarist, Pete, and was watching us through the window and….. we’re just kidding, that never happened.
One of our peeves, though, is when there’s a real emotional moment in a song, like in “Giants,” or “Sails,” and people are just talking over us. It feels like they’re not on the same page as us, or the moment isn’t as special to them as it is to us, and that hurts.
What yours song is your favorite?
“Giants” has a special place for us, and it’s stayed in our setlist from the beginning. We often close the show with it, and there’s a lot of emotion, epic highs and lows, and some really rocking moments. It’s the song that moves the most people, and it really came out of thin air–like one of those little music spirits poured it into one of our ears and it just needed to be realized.
Thanks so much for your time !