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Singapore’s Forests are keeping emo alive and well

Any fan of emo music would come across Singapore outfit Forests and froth over them almost instantly.

It’s not just that their particular brand of pop punk references all of our favourite bands (nods to Blink-182 and Modern Baseball pepper their latest and greatest), it’s that, despite having faithfully honed their craft, they don’t take it too seriously. On new album Get In Losers, We’re Going to Eternal Damnation, they issue a tongue-in-cheek offering on the bleak state of living lives like ours in the year 2022 with smiles on their faces all the way from track one to closer, ‘Yoko Oh No’. Having played their biggest show yet just this month, we caught up with Forests to get the lowdown.

I found out about Forests on a music forum, but I noticed you have a pretty serious following from all over the world. Do you have much interaction with your fans in other countries? I saw a post when you announced the album that was like, “Singapore emo putting in work.” The people love you guys.

First of all, shout out to the people!! Haha yes for sure, the interaction is mostly via social media at this point in time. Hoping to see more people in the flesh soon.

You released your third album, Get in Losers, We’re Going to Eternal Damnation, earlier this year. Did you write it during the pandemic?

Yes, sir. The songs from that album are written during the pandemic between the last quarter of 2020 and about mid-2021. It’s pretty hard because during that time there were some rules and restrictions, but we managed to make it work.

How did it feel to be able to release it? The art was also pretty sick.

Feels good to finally put it out, and share it with the world, it kinda felt like the burden is lifted off from us, woo. The sick artwork is actually done by Niki’s wife, Zan. She goes by @zcxz on Instagram.

A lot of your writing seems to be about love and loss, classic emo anthem stuff. Were you into emo music growing up?

Oh yeah definitely. We listened to a lot of scene music back then, actually even until now. Bands like Funeral For a Friend, From First to Last, Taking Back Sunday, My Chemical Romance (obviously), just to name a few. ~ emo neva die rAwr

Does writing about your experiences help you come to grips with them? Or is it just fun?

Writing about my own experience is fun because in a way I can angle the narrative and the words however I want it and if people can relate to it then that’s extra cool, but mostly my lyrics are just painting a general story or picture that may or may not happen to me personally but I try to make it not so depressing even though it’s sad stuff, mostly (laughs).

There’s a “whatever, forever” line on ‘At The End of the Day, It’s Night’. Is that a Modern Baseball reference?

Shout out to Modern Baseball, yeah. I love the words; it’s a nice combination of words and funny-ish to me, so I figured I want to use that in the lyrics. RIP Modern Baseball.

What’s the music scene like in Singapore?

The music scene in Singapore – it’s cool, we have an audience for any kind of genre. Yes, our country is small and we have limited venues, but people will always come and support us if there are any gigs that are cool. The music community is strong here.

Are there other artists in Singapore that are part of your scene/community?

There is a whole list of bands you should check out! Carpet Golf, Curb, Xingfoo&Roy, Terrible People, Blush. I’m sure you’ve also heard of Sobs and Subsonic Eye! Just to name a few.

Do you have any tips for travellers coming over?

Do not bring chewing gum to Singapore, it’s illegal here (laughs).

Are you keen to tour outside of Singapore?

Most definitely, we had done a bunch of tours to Japan, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, and Malaysia. We have some plans for South East Asia for the next few months, but we are still searching for someone to book us for Australia and USA for sometime early next year.

You did a Metaverse concert as part of Bandwagon Pixel Party. I’d love to know more about that because I have no idea how putting together a Metaverse concert would play out.

Neither do we to be honest (laughs). This was at a time when shows were still not permitted to happen. Bandwagon, a music publication site here in Singapore, offered us a slot and we took it. It was a “different”.

Making music is especially difficult, but you guys have cracked on with it and keep making outstanding albums. What’s been motivating you to keep going?

Music is a curse (laughs). Anyway, our listeners definitely play a part in motivating us to continue making music but within ourselves we also just like creating new stuff and seeing what we can come out with etc. The whole process is not easy and painful at times, but we like suffering.

What’s next for Forests?
Just hoping to do a bunch of tours outside Singapore, maybe Australia?

Get In Losers, We’re Going to Eternal Damnation is out now.