Now twice-consecutive winners of the annual Spring Fling Battle of the Bands (2008 & 2009) at Plymouth State University, and opening locally for national heavyweights like Gym Class Heroes and Eve 6, Forging Reverie are finally beginning to see their passion and persistence pay off. It was there at PSU, in Autumn of 2005, that founding members, vocalist Tye Newton, guitarist Derek Heidemann, and bassist Ryan Kinghorn met as students. Now joined by drummer Sean Gregoire (the second of two such lineup changes), after one explorative debut album "Skipping Stones" (2008) and laying the foundation for a stronger sophomore effort, Forging Reverie are armed and ready to infiltrate the greater New England regions, expanding their collective frontier.
Since February of 2006, FR have been exploring song-craft through a diverse array of influences, but generally falling within that vast ambiguous genre known as 'rock.' In apathetic attempt to categorize the resulting music, frontman Tye Newton humorously resorts to terms like "accessible art-rock" and 'sonic neo-expressionism."
"I'm being facetious, of course," Newton explains. "I've always said that we have no mission to embrace or break molds within the modern music world. We write songs drawing from disparate influences, and in special cases we're lucky if the resulting collection is cohesive enough to sound like one band . . . It's too accessible overall to simply brand 'art-rock,' but it's surely too eclectic to summarize under any other particular breed of rock'n'roll."
"Still, people want to categorize us," Newton continues, "We get 'Incubus' a lot, which I don't really mind. They are one major influence among many . . ." Asked to produce other essential influences, Newton cites As Tall As Lions, Radiohead, Dredg, Jimmy Eat World, A Perfect Circle, and Thrice.
As a college band, FR saw their share of calamities, between struggling to find the right lineup, scrounging for half-decent gear and a functioning rehearsal space, and the typical slough of lackluster shows at dive venues. Still the worst kind of strife for a musician is surely the tragic disappointment from narrowly missed career-breakthroughs.
As winners of PSU's annual Battle of the Bands in 2008, Forging Reverie were contracted to open for industry veterans The Starting Line and Reel Big Fish at the main Spring Fling concert the following night; an exciting opportunity that was quickly shattered by key vocalist Tye Newton's over-strained instrument. "I had barely recovered from an illness in time for the Battle," says Newton, "but apparently wasn't 100%, because my voice was shot half-way through our set . . . I was amazed to have sung well enough to win the competition!"
Fortunately, after the breadth of a Summer-long hiatus from band activity, allowing him to convalesce and recover lost strength in his voice, Newton was ready to rock by Fall.
The following Spring, as winners of the 2009 Battle, FR would earn their redemption opening the Spring Fling concert this time for Gym Class Heroes, alongside Re-Up and Ill Scarlett. These shows were made unique by the live addition of Matt Prindiville on keyboard and saxophone; a lineup experiment that has since been suspended but not dismissed by the band.
This time their performance on the main Spring Fling stage went as scheduled, though not unhindered. Guitarist Derek Heidemann's high 'e' string snapped just two songs in, and with his other guitar in the shop, he was forced to transpose on the fly for the rest of the 30 minute set. "I was pretty nervous to be sharing the stage with Gym Class," says Heidemann. "We had nearly triple checked that everything go according to plan . . . then out of nowhere this stupid guitar string breaks. We had pushed so hard . . . I needed to keep pushing."
In Summer of 2009, the band parted amicably with drummer Benjamin Biery, and Ricky Reilly, an old friend of Newton, filled in on drums for one performance at a first-annual Arts & Music Festival benefiting the Dover Children's Home, in Dover, NH. The festival was also the release event for the compilation album "A New Day," featuring tracks by local musicians, including FR's then unreleased "One Idea" (recorded that February); proceeds also going to the DCH.
With two out of three remaining members now college graduates, the months following the festival were spent regrouping and finding a permanent replacement on drums. Current drummer Sean Gregoire made his first live appearance with the band opening for Eve 6 at PSU's Homecoming Concert, where FR played to a sold out courtroom of nearly 600. ". . . I had about a month and half to get the songs down, and I was concerned we wouldn't have enough time," says Gregoire. "But thankfully things worked out . . . we even finished a new song in time for the show. I had only played small venues prior, so being part of a pro production with a nationally known band was pretty incredible . . ."
Forging Reverie have been writing steadily since recording their debut album "Skipping Stones" in Spring of 2007. If nothing else, 'SS' is a snapshot of a band in adolescence, and speaks of their range and potential. Glimmers of that potential are already evinced in the new material they now perform live, and with the majority of the album's content now over three years old, a new release would seem grossly overdue. FR are taking their time, however, having felt rushed into their first studio album a bit prematurely.
"It's a bittersweet dilemma we're confronting," says Kinghorn. "Looking back to when this all started (2005), we have all grown. Musically, emotionally, physically, mentally - both individually and as a band - I find this being pivotal for all of us. This all began when we started college, and now this new record, 5 years later upon graduating, is being introduced, in tandem with ourselves, to the real world. To say that we have grown up is an understatement . . . I can guarantee though, those who haven't heard us since our last album will be in for a pleasant and resounding surprise."
FR aim to re-enter the studio sometime this year, continuing work with producer Justin Newton, to record their sophomore album comprising music written since 2007. The band plan to gig regionally, possibly releasing live recordings of new and old material, leading up to these anticipated studio sessions, to which there is yet no working title or estimated date of release.
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