Dynamic Melbourne six-piece, Forest Falls have announced the release of their newest single, Heavy Hearted Girl.
With the perfect amount of space, beauty, and breathtaking sophistication, Forest Falls dance elegantly about indie, folk, and pop lines and treat us with an alluring host of warm-blooded songs. Their sound is captivating and hypnotising, laden with inviting chants, vibrant arrangements, soaring vocals and sweet, summer's day harmonies.
The single, Heavy Hearted Girl, is lifted from the recently released EP, Julia and was penned by lead vocalist, Jon O'Neill. Heavy Hearted Girl was initially written as a personal and cathartic experience to help grieve after losing a close friend to depression. 'It was only after it was written that we realised the song could act as a catalyst for more discussion and support for those who need it," explains O'Neill. 'This song is a reminder that if you have a friend that you're worried about, or if you're suffering yourself, you shouldn't do it alone. Although the quintessential Australian is supposed to be all about mateship and community, I think the truth is that being vulnerable, or in need of help in any form, can be really scary and conversation is often avoided - especially for young people."
'If I had to summarise Heavy Hearted Girl in one word it would be solitude," says O'Neill. And it is this solitude that binds the single with its accompanying video clip, resulting in a simple yet incredibly refined and sensitive work of art. Produced by Brett Tinning and Matt Wilson from Quiet Giant, the video highlights an innate feeling of isolation but restores hope with a beautifully triumphant ending.
Excited to be on the road touring the new single, O'Neill enthuses 'Feeding off audience interaction gives us the opportunity to breathe new life into songs which means every live performance is unique in itself. We throw heaps of love, thought, and energy into our shows and really aim to create a different world for both us and the audience to inhabit for the length of our set."
Having just finished up in the studio with legendary folk producer, Wayne Connolly (The Paper Kites, Josh Pyke, Paul Dempsey) at the helm, Forest Falls are armed with an exciting new EP set for release in 2015.
Check out the video on YouTube
Question: How has the tour been going?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: Tour is amazing, we are loving it. We have met some great bands.
Question: How would you describe your music?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: Warm, rich, dynamic alt/folk
Question: Do you write your own songs? What was the main inspiration behind Heavy Hearted Girl?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: Great question! We are a fully original band, that is, we write write our own songs. Lyrically, there's a focus on solitude and loss. This song was initially a personal and cathartic experience for me, I think it really allowed me to feeling everything in *that* particular moment, so that I would come to terms with my own grief. I think the truth is that being vulnerable, or in need of help in any form, can be scary and is generally avoided at all costs. It was only after writing this song that we realised that the song could act as a catalyst for more discussion and support for those who need it. This song is a reminder that if you have a friend that you're worried about, or if you're suffering yourself, you shouldn't do it alone.
Question: What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: Elbow, Arcade Fire, Paul Simon, Crosby Stills and Nash, Grizzly Bear, The Middle East, Local Natives
Question: What's next? Can you tell us about the EP?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: We are currently on the road to tour our latest single Heavy Hearted Girl, which has been taken from our Julia EP. When we wrote these four tracks we wanted to try and keep the elements of the recording process as realistic and as raw as possible. We wanted to try and steer clear of using virtual instruments and sounds that we couldn't pul off in the live setting. So it was a conscious effect to not rely on having "backing tracks". We want to create a "real" experience for those that come to see us and allow the opportunity for the songs to take its course. We took this approach right through to the end of the recording process and ran all of the tracks through analog tape. We did this to try and achieve the warmness of a Miles Davis record. But this is not to say that we would never embrace the likes of a synth or virtual gear. Our newer projects have included more synth sounds but we are cognisant of being able to perform live at the same level as our recordings.
Whats next, you say? Besides touring our acoustic set, we have been working hard on our follow up EP. We have been working alongside Wayne Connolly with this next release and we are really excited to drop the new release early 2015. Aside from the new release we will be in the studio working on new material to follow up the new EP and working on a live set - we'll be transitioning back to a full band so people can expect a big(ger) sound. You will be able to catch us play alongside the Paper Lions (Canada) and there is a good chance that you'll spot us at various summer festivals around Melbourne too.
Question: Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: The only towel I'll be throwing is the one after my next shower. We are in a creative industry and you are putting your emotions on the line for everyone to see. Sometimes we all have doubts that we are not good enough, but that is something that motivates me and gives me the drive to keep going. I can only speak for myself, but making poems and melodies helps me to deal with my own internal struggles. I can't be the only one that feels this way, so if it helps me, I'd like to think that I can help others too.
I have definitely thought about throwing in the towel. But at the same time I need music, and I need that outlet. It helps me.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: personally think they go hand in hand. I love them both as they are completely different worlds, but both have the power to connect to someone on a personal level.
Question: What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: There is an inexplicable quality in music that has the ability to change the way people feel. I really aspire to give people hope and I believe music can heal in certain cases. There have been albums or songs that have empowered me that I attribute to my own personal growth. I have finished my bachelor degree in Nursing and worked as a nurse for a number of years. I know it sounds cliche but I want to help people, I have seen people in their lowest of lows and seen the joy that something like music can do. I hope that one day people might say the same for Forest Falls songs.
Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: My own self doubts.
Question: What's a typical day like?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: I like to think that batman and myself have a lot in common. Have you seen Batman and myself in the same room together? Just saying. We both lead a double life - cafe by day, song writing by night.
I like to think that I have a pretty strict schedule for each day but all of them incorporate a 6am Wake up, have breakfast - I'm a toast man myself. 630am Heading to work at one of Melbourne's finest cafes, Oscar Mike. I own my own recording studio in St Kilda (Winter Studios) I like to drop by there and get a few song ideas out, or at least practice our own songs before heading home having dinner and hitting the sack. Depending on which day it is we will have band practice, movie night, scotch appreciation night, etc.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: I'd have to say connecting with people. I think it's a given that musicians couldn't do what they do in isolation, so my feelings for people inspire me to write and share - whether it's out of anger or love, or anything in between.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: Without a doubt Elbow
Question: Do you have a website fans can visit?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: At the moment it's social media bandcamp: forestfalls.bandcamp.com, facebook: facebook.com/forestfallsband, twitter: @forestfallsband, instagram: @forestfalls Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/forestfalls
Question: What is the story behind the band's name?
Jonathan Peter O'Neill: 2-3 times a year the band will head down to the Otways in Victoria. I will usually bring most of my recording gear and we will have a preproduction session to get all of our recording ideas out the place in the Otways is called Forrest. There was a time when we were feeling particularly uninspired, so we went for a bush walk and were met by this most beautiful waterfall. We embraced the moment and before we knew it everyone was ready to get back into recording. I think this was a pivotal moment for us, so we decided that this would be a perfect name for our band.
Full Name: Jonathan Peter O'Neill
Nickname(s): Lil Jon, Yonny, Jonah, J-Unit, Choni (This is what some of Vietnamese friends call me, as I can speak Vietnamese)
Favourite Food: Bun Bo Hue Chay
Favourite Film: The Shawshank Redemption
Favourite Actor: Morgan Freeman
Pet: I don't have a pet at the moment, but if I was to get one, it would be a ginger Maine Coone (Cat)
Person You Would Most Like to Meet: Guy Garvey
First Job: a Kitchen-hand at Red Rooster
Are you a Pub, Bar or Club kind: None of the above, I'm more of a cafe kid
What Can You Never Leave Home Without: What is the first thing you think of when yo
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning: Coffee
Interview by Brooke Hunter