FORQ Four: an espresso with Chris McQueen

December 24, 2019

Duck people and other stories

The American band FORQ recently released their fourth album and we asked guitarist Chris McQueen to tell us about it and much more.

> Ivano Rossato


How do you think the FORQ sound is evolving, compared to previous albums?

I like the word “evolving”, I think that’s very much something we are interested in as a band and as individual musicians. The specific way that it’s evolving is a little hard to put it into words, but I would say that every album we make has more and more personality. On “Four” we found ourselves drawn to some of the sounds and aesthetics of 80’s new wave/pop music and video games. In general we are becoming more experimental with our sound choices, but I think it’s also getting tighter because we’ve been touring a lot.
 

On “Four” we found ourselves drawn to some of the sounds and aesthetics of 80’s new wave/pop music and video games.

How Kevin Scott contributed to the band's sound and creative process?
Kevin is the perfect addition to the band. He has a deep understanding of the history of groove-oriented bass playing, which is exactly what Forq is about. We of course are somewhat in the jazz fusion tradition, but to be honest we are more interested in playing groove-oriented music and playing with different genres. Kevin has a big sound and really knows how to use effects pedals in a rhythm section context, so he fits right in with the goals of the band. He has started writing for the band and he brings that same attention to groove in his writing. One of his songs (“EAV”) is on the album and it has already become one of our favorites to play live. 
 
Chris McQueen Forq Jazzespresso interview Ivano Rossato
 
 
Your style is characterized by an attention to a very original timbre choice; Is it a desired artistic choice or is it a natural process?
To us those are the same thing. We do aim to have original timbre choices and it’s something we talk about and work on. But it is a natural outgrowth from our personal tastes. We are all audiophiles. When we listen to a recording of even something common like, say, a Fender Rhodes we are also listening for what kind of reverb is being used, how it’s EQ’d, how it’s placed in the mix, etc. Listening specifically for sound becomes similar to practicing your instrument and you start to really think about the best ways to express yourself through your timbre choices. And the other thing is we are interested in expressing something new, so if we can find a combination of melody/harmony/rhythm/sound that hasn’t been done before and evokes an emotional response in the listener we feel that’s the highest achievement.
 
Listening to the album you can almost feel something like a movie atmosphere. Do you agree with this description?
I do agree. Instrumental music of course doesn’t have words, but we feel it should still tell a story. That “story” maybe can’t be put into words, but when it’s done right the listener should be able to imagine scenes in their mind. Maybe a song has a tone that goes well with setting off for an adventure, or maybe it’s a somber late-night musing. Whatever it is it should give you an emotional feeling, even if it’s something different for every listener. Our songs tend to take that “story” idea pretty far and take you on a journey that has ups and downs, kind of a "story arc”. As a listener I find that keeps me interested to find out what happens next and lends the entire track a very gratifying feeling of completeness. In that way it is very much like a movie.
 
 
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