Texas native Austin North is the man behind this solo project, and his sound has been inspired by artists such as James Blake, Radiohead, Board of Canada, and Frank Ocean to name a few. Forester’s emotional lyrics and captivating instrumentation make him stand out from the crowd. Having released a whopping five records in 2021 alone, he has also embarked on four solo tours, released multiple singles, and naturally, has developed an enthusiastic and growing fanbase.
Honey, I’m Home embodies elements of indie rock, jazz, and ambient sounds that keep listeners engaged and in full focus for what comes next. From the very first track, “Company,” Forester immediately captivates with his distinct melodies. With songs instilled with inventive pedalboard techniques, synthesizer effects, and natural singer-songwriter vibes, the album consists of intense and deep sentiments creating a safe space for both feelings of anxiety and love.
The album was recorded for the most part on a Yamaha CP20 keyboard, improvising guitar accompaniments wherever needed, and taking risks with such raw lyrics. Wanting to focus on the small moments of life, that’s exactly what Forester represents throughout each song. With these songs meaning more to him than most he’s written, this album represents the alluring feeling of coming home to ones you love and the relief it provides.
We had the opportunity to discuss the new album, dream gigs, creative process, and more with him.
Surprisingly, 2021 is almost in the books. How would you sum up your 2021 in one word?
If I had to sum up 2021 in one word, that word would definitely be “nonstop.” It’s been a crazy year full of unexpected journeys, trials and surprises. I think it’s pretty clear when you take into account that Honey I’m Home is my sixth full record I’ve put out this year… lots of content to write about ultimately, haha.
I see you are a Texas native/based out of Texas. What was the music scene like around where you grew up, and who or what inspired you to pursue songwriting and music making?
Growing up in El Paso has definitely shaped the ways in which I’ve been inspired musically.
There are so many great local artists here that I’ve been lucky enough to develop close friendships with, and I was around music pretty much all the time when growing up. Albeit, largely folk and Texas country music, which isn’t what I particularly like to write, but still the influence is there just in the passion I was able to see in all the local musicians growing up. I was a guitarist from a young age, but my desire to pursue songwriting actually developed through the combination of seeing the musicians who were around me doing what they loved and through the music I had discovered throughout high school that made me realize how important songwriting is to me.
What does a day in the life of Forester’s songwriting process look like?
My songwriting process is rarely consistent honestly, but for this record there was a common thread in the process at least. I bought a 70’s Yamaha CP20 electric keyboard back in August, and it essentially spawned the record. I was and still am loving sitting down at it for hours at a time coming up with and recording instrumental compositions, sometimes with a guitar accompaniment, to then write lyrics afterwards. This was the most simple way that I’ve ever written and made a record, and I think it resulted in strong and very emotionally direct songs.
So I was hoping you could talk about your new album, Honey, I’m Home. Are there any overarching themes or motifs throughout it?
There’s a really obvious overarching theme that flows through each track, and the record as a whole, and that’s the concept of falling in love. The record is dedicated to my fiancé (he proposed just days after this release!) and the feelings of comfort, safety and security that he provides me after all of my previous bad experiences with love. The sound of the record is soft, slow, calming and very pretty in my opinion, to try and enhance and incorporate those feelings into the songs beyond just the words. The Yamaha CP20 keyboard and the pedalboard I built for it really got the job done to be honest.
Pandemic reasons aside, what was the most challenging part of making this album come to life?
Honestly, the most challenging part was finding the time to finish all of the songs once I had gotten the idea in my head about putting them all together for a record. I find myself with so little time lately between my day job and my social life, hence the “nonstop” answer previously, but I’m glad I made the time to finish it all up.
How do you know when a song is finished? Do you find yourself wanting to keep tinkering and re-recording tracks etc.?
I find that I’m probably in the minority among my peers regarding this because I am the opposite of a perfectionist in a way. Once a song takes form, even still with demo takes and scratch tracks when recording, I find it hard to let go of its first form. A lot of what you hear on the record is improvised when it comes to the instrumental, and a lot of the vocal takes were the first take that I recorded. It feels really honest and raw this way to me, like the most direct way for a take to convey the intended emotions. I don’t generally tinker much once a song has taken a strong form.
Do you find determining the order of songs on the album to be a challenge, and how important is that to you?
I don’t find it to be much of a challenge, though I think it’s an extremely important detail. I personally find that a lot of a tracklist usually comes fairly naturally to me, and that’s been the case with all of my releases this year. There just seems to be a most obvious way of taking the listener on the journey I’m trying to take them on when I go about figuring out the order of songs.
What messages or feelings do you hope listeners take away from this album?
That love is real, and can be beautiful, wholesome and almost even movie-esque if you find the right person. That it’s important to take in all the details of a situation, look at the bright side and find the benefits in letting your guard down or being vulnerable for the right person.
What does a dream gig look like for you?
Hopping on a tour with one of my favorite indie bands, for sure. Big Thief, King Krule, Crumb, something like that would be crazy.
What might fans expect from Forester in 2022?
Not sure yet if I’m being honest! I’m sure I’ll release some more music at some point, but my real focus will be on my other project Sleepspent, which is my full band that I consider an equally as important project. Thanks!