New York “cosmic Americana” crew Forest Fire would rather float in space than frolic in the woods; their music is a churning, twang-gazer swirl of moody hums, guitar divebombs and black angel dub dance. They’ve recently teamed up with vaunted avant-indie label FatCat for their second album, the dark-hued blowout of murder ballads for the moon Staring At The X (out October 8). It’s at once dusty and huge, organic and alien, “Sister Ray” and Sun Ra, the dirty-fingernailed offspring of Mark Lanegan’s Soulsavers project. “Future Shadows” sounds like Nick Cave covering Lee Perry, its sprightly white-reggae rhythm playing off frontman Mark Thresher’s unyielding glare.
Download: Forest Fire, “Future Shadows”
What is “Future Shadows” about?
It’s about someone whose obsession with death interferes with their daily living. Eventually they become more & more inclined to say, “Fuck everything, forever.”
What inspired it musically?
Combat Rock by The Clash. It hardly translates, but we were trying to borrow directly from “Straight To Hell.” It’s difficult to rip off the Clash when you only have five dollars to make a record.
What inspired it lyrically?
I was working at a mental institution in Seattle while we were recording this song. For better or worse the people there got under my skin in a major way. I wrote “Future Shadows” and a lot of the other songs on Staring At The X during that time.
Do you remember anything about recording this song in particular?
We recorded half of it in Portland, Oregon, during the worst snowstorm they’ve had in the last 50 years, and the other half in NYC in late August in a really awkward stuffy apartment littered with whiny roommates. So I would be recording vocals and people would be walking back and forth through the apartment hating my guts.
What’s the most memorable show you’ve played in New York?
We played this one show at Monkeytown a few years back. The venue doesn’t exist anymore, but bands would play in the middle of a white room and people would sit around them in a circle and eat dinner. It’s very creepy to play while people are eating salads and cutting steak into tiny pieces with napkins across their laps. We were almost done with our set when Nathan, our guitar player, grabbed a fork out of someone’s hand while they were trying to eat and ripped all the strings off of his guitar with it.
What’s your favorite place to eat in New York?
We stopped enjoying food a long time ago.
Forest Fire play at Glasslands on Saturday.