Josh Forner on “Leading to Nowhere”
Having worked tirelessly within Melbourne’s live music scene for many years, the day has arrived for Josh Forner to release his debut album “Leading to Nowhere”. In the lead up to his launch on Sunday night at the Workers Club, Josh caught up with Melting Pot for a chat.
On Sunday Night you’re releasing your debut album “Leading to Nowhere”. Would it be an understatement to say this one has been a long time coming?
It feels like a whole lifetime, to be honest; (laughs) I’ve been through a lot since starting this project three years ago. I was studying Music Business at NMIT, I took the second year off and concentrated on some income, I got diagnosed with a mental illness, I lost 8 of the 13 tracks I’d originally recorded due to a double hard drive failure. I was ready to pack it all in… I’m glad I didn’t; I pushed myself to this. Here it is. By the end of it, I just wanted it done; but I’m still proud of the end result.
Tell us a bit about the process of putting Leading to Nowhere together.
I began with a good friend, Winson Chan, who was a student at RMIT doing sound production. He’d done a fair bit of my live work and I decided we’d start recording some things. Eventually, he had to return home to Hong Kong, so I went out and bought myself the most basic 2-track recording unit with a really simple version of Pro Tools. I’d learnt a lot just from watching Winson do his work in front of me, and I set about finishing everything up, at first in the lounge room and garage of my house in Reservoir, and eventually in the dining room of my house in Rosanna (with carpeted walls!)
There’s been a host of people involved, as I don’t have a permanent band these days. Among them, Melting Pot’s own Danny Finkelstein, my old guitarist from the ‘Filthy Soup’ days, Steve Martin, and I even taught myself bass to finish off a few songs.
What was the inspiration behind the album concept?
Well, this varies. I think, in the end, the overall feel is personal struggle, my own self maturing and coming to terms with the world around me and growing myself a social conscience. There’s a lot about routine and trying to make a change for the better (Leading to Nowhere; Lazy Tomorrow), but there’s also the usual struggle with girls (Troubles; Pulled and Pushed). Some of the other stuff is a lot harder to explain. I prefer to let the listener take what they can out of it. If I can connect with them, then I’ve done my job.
Do you have a favourite track and / or is there one which you would recommend to people who haven’t heard you before?
People tend to always love ‘Pulled and Pushed’, but it’s one of my oldest songs, and as happens with most artists, I’m utterly sick of playing it and hearing it. I think my favourite, or at least the one I am most proud of, is ‘Flowers On Your Grave’.
This song wasn’t originally going on the album, but I wrote it in July last year and it was recorded within 3 weeks, and it was sounding complete enough to be the final track.
It took a lot of courage to write that song. I was grieving, I’d lost the family dog, whom I’d grown up with for 13 years since I was 11. It was exactly a week after my Birthday in 2012 when she passed. My mum had just moved to Rosebud, with the dog. We knew something was wrong, but we didn’t know it was as bad as it was. When I got the call that she was being put down, in Rosebud, knowing that I couldn’t say goodbye, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through.
This song is me saying goodbye to her, as I didn’t have the chance to see her for one last time. It’s hard because the last act I remember is her trying to bite me, as I tried to pick her up because she was struggling to walk. I’d hate to think that’s the last thing she remembered, too.
Many Melting Pot regulars would have seen you play solo before, but I’m told you will be playing with a band on Sunday. Who else is involved and what has it been like preparing for the launch with them?
Yeah I made the decision very early on that when I launch it will be with a band. I didn’t know what the make-up was going to be until very recently. 3 other Melting Pot regulars will be joining me on stage, Danny Finkelstein on drums (Anthony Young Band) and Jayden Williams on bass (formerly of Davy Simony) with Andy Clarke (Hyfrydol, Tulalah) on guitar.
They are such great musicians that they have just picked everything up so easily and really carried my musical will and message through. I have so much respect for what I’m hearing from them in the rehearsal room!
For those out there that haven’t seen you before (and those of us that have), what can we expect on Sunday night at your launch?
Just a lot of passion, emotion and energy. Most people know me for singing straight from the heart; Sunday will be no different. There’ll be a new cover that I’ve not played before, so look out for that, and of course, there’s going to be an amazing cast of support artists. My good friend Joe Forrester is opening the night – he is one of the most unique singer/songwriters in Melbourne – and also Richard Jeffrey’s band, Flying Saucer Terror; mincing up and rockifying some of Richard’s well-known tunes.
I’m gonna have a blast, and so is everyone else. It’s been a long time coming!
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.