Truly one of the most eclectic sounding artists out there today, Hellogoodbye is the brainchild of Forrest Kline, the project's lead vocalist. The band just recently released their fourth album "(Everything Is) Debatable" on October 29. I sat down with Forrest and spoke with him about his approach to writing the band's music,the experience of playing these songs live on the Paramore tour, and the concept behind the album's title track.
Would you call Hellogoodbye a solo project right now, or would you call it a band project?
You know, it’s never changed. It’s always been the way that it is now. But I think people have always been kind of confused about it. I’ve always sat alone and written music by myself. Each record has one, maybe two, songs that I’ve collaborated with someone on, and that’s always been kind of different people. It’s kind of been a solo project, for sure.
What was the process like writing and recording for “(Everything Is) Debatable” as opposed to any other album you’ve worked on before?
When I started making music [for Hellogoodbye], it was a full-on laptop project, drawing dots, dragging lines, using MIDI, that sort of stuff because that was all I had access to. When I did Would It Kill You?, I used a studio and tracked everything out in a really fleshed out thing. Instead of sequencing strings or horns (you could sit there for 187 working on string sequencers) we just had someone come in and play it. That was a big turning point for how everything worked. I threw everything that I knew out the window, except for my sense of music. For this record, I didn’t do that because I had already done it, so it was more of that “being able to have that comfort and then experiment with that” perspective.
You have created a LOT of different types of music since the inception of Hellogoodbye. What’s your mindset when coming up with the ideas for the next record or the next “Hellogoodbye” song?
Just see what comes out of you. No guide or anything, just see what comes out of you on whatever instrument. You get a handful of that sort of stuff. My mindset is that there is no rule about the songs; just try to give it whatever it asks for. It will then end up being eclectic. Then you have a thing that inspires you in that direction.
Would you say then that you guys have ever cared about fitting in with a certain genre, and you’ve more approached it with the mindset of “Let’s just make music”?
For sure! I want to make things that I hear and get me going, personally. It always comes out that way, all over the spectrum, and then we never fit into any one particular genre. We’re all over the map.
After being around in this music scene for awhile, having a few records under this belt, what would you say (in your opinion) are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
You’ve just gotta cross your fingers, and do what you do. I see so many people who try very hard to do a particular thing. I mean, unless it’s like a “Beyonce” or “Britney Spears” kind of thing, you can’t really orchestrate it like that. I think it’s much better to follow your heart and then stumble across success.
For touring, it’s just going with the flow. I’m not a very flow-y guy, so to travel and share a bus with eight people or a hotel room or whatever it may be, you just have to take it easy and let people do what they do. In terms of making music, I think I’ve learned that so much of music today is very modular and the way that I learned. The way that I learned to make music was on a grid, drawing dots. I’ve just learned every day that when you play things, there’s a human beauty to it. Try to capture that as much as you can.
Can you talk a little bit more about the concept behind the “(Everything Is) Debatable” music video?
The song is about a time when I was twelve. I woke up at five in the morning, in the mountains, in a cabin. I was experiencing sleep paralysis. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt that, but nothing’s happening. You wake up, you’re like half awake, and your brain thinks you’re floating, but you’re not. That was sort of the center point of the song: perception. How things can be pretty different than what is actually happening. We just kind of ran with that in the video.
You are currently opening up for Paramore on a nationwide arena tour. What has it been like performing these songs in an arena setting as opposed to a theater or club tour setting?
It’s exciting for us; this is the first time we’ve ever done something like this, really. It’s definitely exciting. It’s nice when you can get a little more face to face, and I think that we always try to get a sort of personal connection. When you get up there, there’s lights, people are 30 feet away, and you can’t really see anything. But so far, the shows have been really fun and everyone has been really cool.
What kind of message would you fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
Generally, I think this record captures this indescribable weirdness that it is to be alive, so I would love for fans to walk away feeling this sensation, because it’s a very good sensation to feel.
What does music mean to you?
It means so many different things. There’s so many facets to it that it seems like I discover a different avenue of interesting things every year. In high school, I did a couple of other things like skateboarding and graphic design. But with both of those things, I kind of hit a point where I was like “There’s nothing new.” With music, I’ve always found a new, exciting place to turn. There’s a music for everything. You can put it on to calm down, to reflect, to go fucking crazy (laughs). A lot of philosophy comes from the music you listen to as well.
After the Paramore tour, what are the future plans for Hellogoodbye?
The new record “(Everything Is) Debatable” is going to come out in one week. That’s like the first day of school for us, so we’ll see how everything goes with it. After the Paramore tour, we’ll be heading out on a headlining tour probably early next year, and then maybe one later in the year. We’ll do a lot of touring, and then basically see what opportunities come up!
Hellogoodbye's new record, (Everything Is) Debatable) is available everywhere now.
Check out more on Hellogoodbye at www.facebook.com/hellogoodbye
This has been another shameless promotion.