Interview – Shadow Forest

I recently delved into the post-rock genre, loving what I found along the way. One of the acts I checked out was Shadow Forest, in particular the song, Window To The Soul. If you’re also interested in checking out more post-rock music, then read the interview below and listen to the track at the end!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a track titled Window To The Soul, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the track and where can it be purchased? What does the title refer to?

Sometimes I get lost in those old timey videos from 100+ years ago. Not long ago, I came across a clip where a camera is trained on a Parisian restaurant in the 1920s. A woman sits down, at first seemingly unaware of the camera. Once she notices, she gives it a gazing stare, not sure what to make of it, before she breaks into a smile.

There’s an old saying that the eyes are the window to the soul, so I decided to name this track for this unnamed woman from a century ago. I wanted the dream pop guitar, choral voices and piano to provide an appropriate soundtrack to this scene.

The song itself is a track from my 5th album Hiraeth, and can be heard on all streaming services. Hireath, meanwhile, is a Welsh term loosely translated to mean a deep sense of yearning or grief for a lost home, place, or person from the past.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

No, in fact having been ‘locked down’ more in the past couple years had provided more time to create music. I’m a one-man-show, programming all elements and instrumentation on a DAW (digital audio workstation). So there was never a need to be in the same room with others!

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

For each album, I try to arrive at a loose theme. An element of time travel has been a fairly consistent backdrop for most of the work I’ve done. For Hiraeth, its theme is delving into the relationships and emotions of a woman living in the early 20th century.

I try to create music that is cinematic, atmospheric and oftentimes melancholy, perhaps borderline gothic. Without the benefit of vocals and lyrics, I rely on creating tones and melodies to convey deep emotion. My main go-to sounds usually include strings, piano and choral arrangements, many times with vintage sounds and samples, with a modern backdrop of beats.

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

My leading track off Hiraeth was Window to the Soul. This summer I’d like to turn my attention to another track called Daydreaming Wallflower, a somewhat more up-tempo track with swirling keyboards and piano melodies.

Have you started writing for another EP or an album?

I tend to release one album per year, typically in late winter/early spring, and then either a one-off single or EP in the fall. For the next album in 2023, I’ll likely start noodling theme ideas and start putting ideas into reality late this summer.

What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

My favorite artists (and therefore influences) include The Cure, Depeche Mode, Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Portishead, and a myriad of shoegaze, dream pop and electro-ambient artists, as well as some of the darker neo-classical acts like Dark Sanctuary, In the Nursery and Artesia. I’m also a rather big Delerium fan, particularly their highly atmospheric earlier works from the 90s.

In the past couple years, I’ve really enjoyed the debut albums of Beachy Head and Topographies, and recently discovered Rein.

Where are you based? What is the music scene like in your part of the world?

I’m based in Michigan USA, near Motown. I haven’t gotten out much in recent years to get to concerts and such, what with being a parent and avoiding COVID and all! Therefore I’m not too much aware of what the local pulse is lately.

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

No, and I probably never will! Like I said, this is just me behind a computer working on things way late at night once the kids go to sleep. It’s a hobby and creative outlet which I enjoy; it’s not my main job, therefore monetary income from this is unimportant, it’s more about personal satisfaction, providing music and hoping people out there can hear a song (or three) of mine!

Any last words for the fans?

Even without lyrics, via music I try to be a sanctuary for those of you who want music to temporarily take them on a journey. Emotional catharsis, if you will. There are plenty of sad things in the news, and they say that listening to sad music when you’re sad actually lifts your mood. And that’s part of what I’m aiming to do here.

If I can provide some joy to you, even for just a few minutes in one song, than I’ve reached a goal.