Interview with Forest Grove, a San Diego based Heavy Punk band.

After reaching out to a bunch of Californian bands, Forest Grove was one of the awesome bands that ended up doing an interview here on Heavy Vibe. They describe themselves as having a Metal Sludge Punk with a little bit of a Deathrock vibe mixed into their noise. Below are the interview and one of their music official videos for the song "Skull Drive"

Let's start out with you giving your name and socials. Plug them below.

Forest Grove



Instagram: @forestgroveband

Twitter: @dearforestgrove

Where are you from/Where are you based out of?

San Diego, CA.

Name at least one weird habit that you have that you regularly do, and has anyone ever noticed you doing it?

Ryot: I used to pronounce “both” as “bolth.” I don’t know where that came from. I grew up in Utah, so maybe it’s a Utah thing. I was called out on it once, and now I just never say the word if I can help it.

Rocket: Sometimes I make to-do lists for things that I’ve already done just so I can cross them off a list. Zeno has seen me do this, but I don’t think he thinks it’s weird at this point.

Zeno: I arrange things spatially, and make many circles with my right forefinger. This helps.

What do you think about Heavy Vibe? Or media in general, if you could say something to let all people working in media know, what would it be?

Ryot: It’s always cool to see more independent media sites popping up. It seemed that for a while sites like Pitchfork had a stranglehold on music coverage, but now that they’re owned by Conde Nast the field seems wide open for niche voices (like Heavy Vibe) to make more of an impact.

Zeno: I want them to know the Ze in my name is pronounced like Zee, not Zen.

Rocket: I want them to know they shouldn’t make assumptions. From pronunciation to pronouns, it’s better to ask than assume.

What do you like most about working in the music industry and what do you like least about it?

Rocket: Performing live is the best part for me. The most difficult part, or what I like the least, would be not seeing many female musicians on local bills. There have been more shows where we’ve played with all-male bands than the opposite. That’s something we have some control over though, as far as trying to get on bills and plan shows with more female musicians. It’s something I’d like to work on more proactively.

Zeno: I care only for the creation of noise and its masks. I dislike all aspects of this industry that could be mirrored in a competitive reality TV show.

Ryot: My favorite thing about being a musician is the millions of dollars we make. My least favorite thing is emailing strangers to tell them to check out our band.

Do you have a mentor?

Zeno: Yes. But he has been trapped in my mind for some time. He will remain there.

Ryot: I believe in Zeno’s mentor.

Rocket: I was wondering where he went.

If you could meet one celebrity, who would you meet? (dead or alive)

Rocket: Wendy O. Williams! She was so badass. Confident, brave, and kind of insane (in a rad way). Also she was a vegetarian and super into fitness, which I find personally inspiring. I’d love to hear about what formed her whole persona . . . and talk to her about everything, really.

Zeno: Pete Burns.

Ryot: Probably the skeleton from House on Haunted Hill.

What was your dream job when you were you were younger?

Rocket: To be the next Tara Lapinski . . . until I got a mild concussion in the rink and the whole Tonya Harding thing happened.

Zeno: I dreamed of making comic books. I still dream of making comic books.

Ryot: I wanted to be a pro snowboarder.

Name something that makes you uncomfortable, pet peeve, phobia, etc. and explain why.

Rocket: Holes, like a lot of them on surfaces. It’s called trypophobia (don’t Google-Image it, because if you have it, you’re in for a total nightmare). I’m also terrified of wind turbines, which is why you will likely not see us play near Palm Springs unless someone else drives the van.

Zeno: The sound produced by markers rubbing against paper, or any other fibrous substance.

Ryot: Potlucks with strangers. Don’t judge me on this store-bought cheese tray, strangers.

Who is the best cook in the band?

Rocket: Without a question, Zeno. Seriously the best vegan pizza and mac & cheese I’ve ever had.

Ryot: I microwave a mean Hot Pocket.

Zeno: I enjoy cooking, but do not enjoy eating.

Where was or would be your favorite place to perform?

Zeno: The Casbah or the Whistlestop. These are good venues.

Rocket: In my mind. I always do such a great job there.

Ryot: I want to play a haunted, abandoned amusement park one day.

Name one time you have broken the rules.

Rocket: It really depends on whose rules we’re talking about here. My cat probably thinks I break a lot of rules. Like what time I’m supposed to feed him (he thinks it’s 5:30am).

Zeno: I am subject to my own rules. When I break them, I punish myself.

Ryot: I used Q-Tips in my ears for a long time. Doctors hate it when you tell them that. I’ve since given them up, but I still get the junkie itch every so often to shove one of those babies in my canal. It’s an addiction, I tell you.

Who is your biggest musical influence?

Ryot: Misfits/Glenn Danzig is a big one for all of us. He has a wide range of styles that still fit into the horror/punk/metal category, and so many of those songs are bulletproof.

Zeno: Mr. Danzig has also produced neoclassical instrumental music. And comic books.

Rocket: The entire aesthetic of the Danzig/Shakira “Hips Don’t Lie” mashup music video.

If you could go on tour with any band or artist, who would you go with? 

Zeno: High on Fire are a good band. I would like to spend time speaking with Mr. Pike, not drinking alcohol together.

Rocket: Getting back to Shakira and Danzig . . .

Ryot: I would love to tour with Idle Hands. They put out an album this year that I love and I think our bands would sound very good together. I would also be stoked to tour with Big Business. I could watch them play every night, and maybe I could weasel some drum lessons out of Coady Willis, who’s been my drum inspiration for a long time. They also seem like very nice guys and delightful tour mates.

Do you like spicy food? Why?

Rocket: Nope, I always say a 1 or zero for spicy. Why? I don’t like my mouth feeling like it’s on fire or my guts feeling ragey.

Zeno: No. It makes me feel unwell.

Ryot: See above.

Are you usually late, early, or on time?

Rocket: It depends on who’s waiting and what the plans are. For work, I’m on time. For social events, I’m fashionably late.

Zeno: I am always early, if possible.

Ryot: I’m perpetually late. I come from a long line of late people My mom was late, my dad was late. Lateness is in my slow-moving blood.

How often do you use the internet?

Rocket: Oh god, too much.

Zeno: Inter-what?

Ryot: I’m always on the internet. I live there. I’m like Jobe from The Lawnmower Man.

What scares you the most, and why does it scare you so much?

Rocket: I’m too superstitious to answer.

Zeno: Theocracy.

Ryot: Climate change.

What is your favorite kind of animal and why?

Ryot: Cats.

Rocket: Cats.

Zeno: The opossum is my spirit animal. But I am at war with a dark opossum.

What is the nastiest thing a fan has ever done to you, and what is the best thing a fan has ever done?

Rocket: Left cash on a merch table in exchange for an album they took, that cost more than the cash they left amounted to.

Ryot: We have a friend who made custom Forest Grove cookies and cupcakes for our album-release show. That was really sweet.

Zeno: My Forest Grove cookie is stored in a freezer. It is a good cookie.

What is your favorite song by your band, and what is your favorite song to perform at shows?

Rocket: “History of Fuck You,” which we made a music video for. Definitely, my favorite overall to perform because of the pace and the energy.

Zeno: “Melter” or “Pretty Ugly.” My favorite songs, we have not performed yet.

Ryot: I like “Lose Your Own Adventure.” I cut my teeth on that kind of fast Epitaph/Fat drum beat, so playing it is a little like revisiting my past.

What is one song or band that whenever you listen to it/them you can’t stand to listen to it?


Zeno: There are many songs I do not like to hear, when I have no control over what I am listening to. Rocket has told me that the person responsible for most of these songs is called Adam Levine.

Ryot: RHCP, Sublime, 311 . . . basically, all the bands that are quintessential Southern Californian bands.

Make me a playlist, put some songs that you have been listening to lately here.

Rocket: In my car it’s mostly Vale of Pnath, Black Cobra, Beekeeper, Abbath, and lots of Richard H. Kirk at home.

Ryot: Lana del Rey, Brutus, IDLES, Danzig, ‘70s horror movie soundtracks.

Zeno: I enjoy listening to albums in their entirety. Cirith Ungol’s King of the Dead, Portal’s Outre', Trust’s self-titled album, Warlock’s Burning the Witches, Poison Idea’s War All the Time, Intensely Radioactive by Sandoz, Slaegt’s The Wheel, Uncertain Future by Forced Entry, Steve Roach’s Midnight Moon, Vorunah by Sarke, Acid King’s Busse Woods, Spirited Migration by Dark Castle, and Judas Priest’s Stained Class are albums I have enjoyed lately. Claudio Arrau’s interpretations of Chopin’s Nocturnes are also good, as well as Martha Argerich’s 1965 recordings of Chopin. Incantation, Accept, Savage Grace, Bolt Thrower, Front Line Assembly. I enjoy these.

Back to the Nasty. What’s the nastiest thing that’s happened to you before a show, recording, traveling, anything related to your work.

Ryot: We were scheduled to play a music fest, and the night before I’d eaten Del Taco. Hours later, I was experiencing some of the worst food poisoning I’ve ever had. Like, I was married to the toilet for a good 12 hours. The next morning, we had to load our gear in, so I was running on about 3 hours of sleep and a stomach bug that was eating me from the inside out. I spent the entire day making sure I had the porta-potties in my sight at all times.

Zeno: Once when we drove to a show at the Casbah, it began raining. We realized our van’s windshield wipers did not function while merging onto the freeway. We drove tracking lights through sheets of streaking mud.

Rocket: Yup, that was absolutely terrifying . . . and reminds me that I’ve got to get that fixed. We’re not used to rain in San Diego, so the wipers always dry up into little non-working twigs.

Tell me about your recent Album.

Zeno: It is slightly over a year old now, and serves as an introduction to the Forest Grove.

Rocket: We put together each CD jacket by hand and numbered them. And by “we” I mean “Zeno.”

Ryot: Our debut is dark, big and evil, but also with a touch of teenage dirtbag-ness to it, which keeps it grounded, I think. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’ll still mess you up.

Where do you think your music direction is heading? Have you felt you have changed a lot? Elaborate.

Zeno: Harder and darker.

Rocket: I want to add more grit to my vocals. That’s my focus.

Ryot: Yeah, we’re always trying to go bigger, darker, nastier and meaner, while also retaining our spooky fun.

What are you future plans? This isn’t just music related.

Rocket: I’m putting a lot of work into my epoxy resin brand Glitter Pile. I make glittery, gothy goods like mini coffins and black metal kitty heads. I’m getting my own studio soon, so I’m definitely planning on expanding the size and amount of resin projects.

Zeno: I require another bass amp for the low end signal from my guitar. The others have been damaged or destroyed.

Ryot: One day I hope to try this “1,000 Island Dressing” that everyone keeps talking about.

Say some advice to anyone trying to go into music.

Zeno: Do not accept any kind of show if the promoter suggests you sell a portion of provided physical tickets to “family and friends.” These sorts of promoters are less than filth, and I have never accepted those kinds of shows. You should always be like Zeno in this regard.

Ryot: Ambition and creativity is more interesting than technical talent. Don’t wait until you’re good enough to start a band, just go for it.

Rocket: Be the lead singer so you only have to load-in and set up your mic and hand out set lists. Hah!

Who is the most exciting person you have worked with music wise?

Rocket: When we recorded our album with Ben Moore last year, I was kind of floored by how incredibly efficient, professional, and easy he was to work with. It was great because I’m a triple Virgo, so high-quality/productive use of time/resources is important to me. We tracked the entire album in 17 hours over 2 days, and it was a wild, delirium-inducing ride. And there were a lot of snacks. Super fun.

Ryot: Yeah, Ben Moore is great. He’s produced some of my favorite artists like Hot Snakes. He’s very confident and no-nonsense. He made me play the drums so hard I had to take muscle relaxers after the first day of recording with him, because my arms were so sore.

Zeno: Ben Moore is a great man.


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