Break It Down: The Forms
Wed, 21 Nov 2007 11:30:05
Bursting through the "band from Brooklyn" stereotype, The Forms have created a self-titled album that is sure to be a sleeper hit well into 2008. With sleek and saucy indie-pop tunes electrocuted by sophisticated loops and synths, they've cohesively sewn together "traditional" indie rock and dancefloor fun.
While on a quick tour out to the West Coast, we caught up with lead singer and guitarist Alex Tween to chat about their saturated 'hood, looking out for the underdog musician and unusual soft drink choices.
What have you been listening to lately?
Dirty Projectors, Pattern is Movement, Animal Collective, St. Vincent, Battles, The National.
Where are you currently living, and what's the best place to hang out in your neighborhood?
The rest of the band lives in Brooklyn and Ridgewood. Though, personally, I live just outside the city limits in a place called Yonkers, near Sarah Lawrence college. I don't know of a good place to hang out in Yonkers, which is why I spend most nights in the city. Lately that's often been at a place called The Gutter, a bar and bowling alley on the Greenpoint/Williamsburg border.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My parents had a very laissez-faire attitude towards parenting, so when I was a kid I stayed up until 2am all the time watching lots of R-rated horror movies. I remember my kindergarten teacher asked me the "what do you want to be?" question in front of the class, and I said something like, "a slasher." She must have thought I was rather disturbed. Nowadays I probably would have been suspended and/or put in therapy. Anyway, I guess my aspirations and goals have changed somewhat since that time.
What's the most dramatic thing you ever did to save money as a starving musician?
Not wanting to pay for a hotel. We stayed at a halfway house via someone we met at the show. Upon entering the premises we were told: "No hard drugs. No soft drugs either, but I know where you can get some."
Tell us one of your favorite song lyrics in the whole wide world?
I like the line "You want me to teach thee" from that song "Milkshake" [watch the video here] by Kelis. She goes on and on, in the song, about how great she is, and what better way to underscore that than to start speaking like a 16th century Elizabethan dutchess?
What's your most cherished musical instrument, paraphernalia, or accessory?
I inherited a baby grand piano; black, made of wood, sounds fantastic. But, while storing it at a friend's house (given that I don't have room for it), someone felt the need to carve the words "big ass" into it. Which sucks.
If you could change one thing about the music industry today what would it be?
I think there are people making genius albums in their bedrooms and basements, like an Arthur Russell for example, but the music industry is so cluttered with lawyers/agents/etc, whose primary concern is money—not to mention that there are a million bands out there, so it's tough for those records to ever get heard. Even with Arthur Russell, people probably wouldn't even have heard of him to the extent that they have if there wasn't an interesting angle beyond his music (i.e. he played in a band with David Byrne, wrote music that reflected his impending death from AIDS, etc.). It would be great if the music industry were structured in such a way that the best music gets heard, as opposed to who knows who or who thinks what will sell.
What's the craziest thing you've seen a fan do at one of your shows?
During one show, a fan threw a beer glass that narrowly missed our drummer Matt's head, shattering right behind him. I'm not totally one hundred percent sure he was a fan however.
What never goes out of style?
Do you have secret skills we should know about?
Ever since we got WiFi in the van, I've become pretty adept at driving while chatting.
What's your favorite drink?
Watermelon Jolly Rancher soda. They totally nailed it; tastes exactly like the candy, but in liquid form. It's very hard to find though.
What was the first song you would (or have) played for your newborn child?
Probably something really weird just to get the kid off on the right foot. Maybe Shudder to Think's "Hit Liquor" [watch the video here], which will probably cause him/her to cry, but then follow that with "To Here Knows When" by My Bloody Valentine for a lullaby.
What has been your sweetest victory to date?
Our first album, Icarus, was certified quadruple-aluminum. So, the honorary record, carved from the finest tin alloy, glistens proudly on our practice space wall.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff