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[Interview] Rising Duo Forester Dives Into Origin and Uncovers The Story Behind Their Music

Indie electronic duo Forester is making headway within the dance music scene, as they continue to take the world by storm with their atmospheric and acoustic sound. Only formed in 2019, band members Xander Carlson and David Parris are already on their way to new heights. In 2020, the group caught the attention of renowned tropical house DJ Kygo, which led them to sign with his Sony co-founded record label, Palm Tree Records. Since then, the duo has released their sophomore album A Range of Light, and has had the incredible opportunity to open for the well-known dj-producer, including a performance that took place at Colorado’s iconic music venue, Red Rocks. 

The dynamic duo recently released their third studio album, Watercolor, a compilation of tracks that includes their latest singles “She Said,” “Heart” with Madeline, and “Falling Water.” The pair are currently touring North America to celebrate the impeccable release, while airing some of their fan-favorite tracks such as “All My Days.

During Miami Music Week, Forester had the incredible opportunity to perform at their very first Ultra Music Festival, a great achievement for a band with their young origin status. EDMTunes had the chance to speak to the boys about their first performance. We also discussed the band’s origin story, their music process behind some of their latest works, and the bright future that is ahead for the talented music group.  

“This is your first ultra. This must be a pretty big accomplishment for you guys, especially since Forester only formed in 2019, which is pretty recent. What was it like performing out there?” 

David: “It was surreal. A lot of musicians that we’ve looked up to throughout the years started here at Ultra and that’s how their projects kind of grew up. It’s cool to be in the same place, similar stages, as many of the artists that we looked up to. It was pretty amazing. But, definitely, a lot of it is learning right now at this stage and we learned a lot today. It was fantastic. I’m so grateful to be here.”

“Is this one of your first major festivals that you guys have performed in?”

Xander: “Yeah, I think this is the first.”

“That’s such an accomplishment. You went right to it.”

David: “Yeah, we really started releasing music when the pandemic started, so we didn’t have the opportunity to tour or play many shows. So it’s pretty amazing that we’re able to come back and have an opportunity like this.”

I know you guys are in the middle of your Watercolor Tour. How’s that been like?

Xander: “It’s been incredible! We started in LA two weeks ago. I think we’ve driven like 4,000 out of the 10,000 miles so far. This was a nice break to be down in Miami. We took a couple days off. We went to the beach yesterday, got sunburnt, which is great. But overall, I mean again, we are learning so much this tour. Meeting people that are actual fans has been incredible because we’ve done a lot of opening for Kygo in the past couple months, which has been incredible. And it’s part of the reason that we have actual fans now. We’re incredibly grateful for that. But to be out at a show where the majority of people are actually singing the lyrics of our songs, it’s so special.”

“Talking about Kygo, that’s a pretty big deal! You two are still pretty fresh in the scene and you’ve somehow caught the attention of one of these major figures in dance music. You’re on his record label and you’ve opened up for him. Can you tell me about what that’s like?”

David: “It’s been pretty crazy. I mean we both listened to a lot of Kygo and looked to him as inspiration when we first started working together when we were like 16 years old, way before Forester was ever a thing. At the end of the day, we’re very grateful for him. We realize that, like him, we’re all people. he’s treated us so well, we’re very grateful for that… You realize at the end of the day, he’s a person as well. He’s such a great role model… We’re looking forward to what we do with him in the future.”

I want to get into the Forester origin story. So I’ve read how you guys came to be, but I want to hear from you what that experience was like. It seems like you guys were friends before the project formed, right? 

Xander: “We basically grew up together. On the west side of Los Angeles, we threw a lot of parties together. We DJ ‘d and messed around, but one day we decided to get in the studio and see what kind of music we could make. We made a progressive house banger one day, and it was not great, but I think we got the bug. From that day forward, we were bouncing ideas off each other. … We would try to finish tracks together…

“But I’d say, at the core of the project, there’s always been this focus on the natural world and having grown up in LA, it was really important for us to get into nature, to reset and gather inspiration to then import it into our music and onto others. We feel that’s one of the most important things that you can do to get out there and listen to yourself, listen to nature, listen to the world instead of having the world tell you what to feel or how to think. To get into a free space. See what’s there, see what’s underneath everything. That’s kind of the core of everything.”

David: “To add onto that a little bit, I mean, going back to that progressive house we made, it wasn’t the best sounding, but we were having so much fun making it and working on music together. When we get asked often from people ‘what advice would you give us?’ … I think number one for us is have fun with what you’re doing. Cause if it wasn’t fun for us, we probably wouldn’t keep going and it’s always been a pleasure to work on music and we’re very grateful to have the opportunity to do it full time.”

“You just released your album Watercolor. I want to pick your brains a little bit. What led you to create this album and what was that process like creating it?”

David: “It started when we went to Big Sur with a friend of ours about a year ago, last March. Xander and I spent the whole day pretty much just surfing and exploring this coast that there was like nobody else except us there. When we went back home, we got in the studio and wanted to just start writing about that experience. It was really freeing and, you know, in the middle of the pandemic, there’s a lot commotion going on, a lot of hysteria. We tried to channel that in a way, to make a song where, you can feel safe in it and bring you to that moment and what we were feeling exploring this coast. It started with Big Sur and then we kept building from there.”

Xander: “And to add onto that, the center of this album is water, right? That’s kind of the theme I should say. Our first album ‘Kerosene’ is fire. Then we had ‘A Range of Light,’ which is a mountain range in California, and that was earth. So we’ve got one more album to go.”

“So air?”

Xander: “Yeah, the next one might be air. But, there was a lot of beach rock influence in this past album. There was a lot of surfing going on while we were writing.”

Do you guys like to surf?

Xander: “I’m definitely into it. Yeah. That’s my go-to pleasure activity.”

David: “Xander’s pretty great. He takes me out…”

Xander: “Yeah, I started kind of late compared to my friends. I learned my senior year of high school. I was probably like 17 and, since then, I’ve been obsessed. When I went to school on the east coast, I would put on a huge hooded wetsuit, go out into the frozen waves of Rhode islands and surf by lighthouses out there while the beaches were covered in snow. It was like, I would do anything to get out in the water.”

“So how about you, David? What’s your thing?” 

David: “I’m not quite the outdoorsman Xander is. My family wasn’t too into it, but I’ve learned a ton through him to be honest. I’ve always found myself trying to get out, going out to hikes in LA and whatnot. My friends after school, I’d always knock on their door and say, ‘I need to go up a mountain or look at the water for a bit. I just enjoy being in these spaces and every opportunity that I get, a lot of them are through Xander over here. I try to get out. It’s a good way to just cleanse yourself. To reflect on who you are as a person… you’re free out in the world and you have time to think about what things mean to you.” 

Xander: “There’s a mountain pass in the Sierras called Forester pass on the John trail. That is what confirmed that name phrase.” 

“For the future of Forester, what are you guys hoping to accomplish? What are some of the goals that you have right now?”

Xander: “Well, we gotta tackle the rest of the tour first, which has been really fun. We are super excited to get back on the road tomorrow. I think more than anything, we’re excited to write more music… I think with every show, we get more of a feel for what we think could go over better in our music, in a live sense. Also, we get inspiration just from the crowd. Like ‘what songs hit,’ and just feeding off that. We’re still crafting our sound still too.

“Being on the road has added to the inspiration. We talk about like being outdoors and traveling. It’s like we’ve already lived a lifetime in this van. We can tell so many stories already that I think we’re definitely excited to synthesize into our sound later. The one thing we don’t have the opportunity to do right now is produce music in the studio or fully write songs. I think that’s  what’s making us even more hungry to do so when we get back home.”

“I know you guys write your own music, but does that include lyrics as well?”

David: ”Yeah, we did have a couple co-writes. I think three of the songs were co-writes, but that was a first for us. This album, actually, was the first album that we decided to write with some other people to see what kind of doors that would open and we are super proud of songs.”

Xander: “Yeah, they’re great. I think we learned a lot about ourselves as songwriters through that. Sharing the stories we wanted to tell. It’s interesting having someone share their thoughts in a song that we feel really close to. We haven’t had that before. It was a great learning experience”

Sophia Medina
Sophia Medina
Hi! I'm Sophia, but my friends call me Sophy. Since 2012, electronic dance music has taken over a big portion of my life. Just like many of you, I travel all over the U.S. to attend some of the best music festivals and events going on in the scene. I am a huge Seven Lions fan and an Ophelia head. I like to stay in the know, so feel free to reach out about any music news, events, or just to have a conversation.
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