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Are your playlists feeling lacking lately? Do you need a great new band to raise the vibrations and breathe some fresh life into the mix? We have exactly the artists for you with FORAGER and their brand-new single ‘Fuji or a Trek.’ In fact, we love it so much so that we’re hosting the premiere right here at THP. That’s right, dear readers, you’re the first to hear it!

FORAGER are a Brooklyn-based trio comprised of Shyamala, Jack Broza, and Colum Enrique. They make kaleidoscopic indie-pop, neo-soul music that stands apart from anything else currently in today’s musical landscape. One listen to any FORAGER song, and your day is going to get so much better; it’s uplifting, playful, and a real musical delight. And how better to introduce you to their music than by showcasing ‘Fuji or a Trek,’ which drops today!

Image Source: Evan Carter

Get to know FORAGER by reading on and discovering their musical genius, the stories behind their songs, and how they came together!

Your latest single ‘Fuji or a Trek’ sounds like it has a wild backstory with bike rides, English teachers, and raves. That’s a story we’d love to hear. Can you tell us any more about it?
The inspiration for the lyrics came last summer when Jack spontaneously decided to bike the width of Brooklyn (on a Trek) and ended up in Coney Island. Later that day, he bumped into his high school teacher at the club. It was a pretty weird birthday overall. These were events that are supposed to be energizing, but left him tired and confused. It feels absurd to be 26 and write a song about getting old, but that’s the reality I think a lot of us live in—the bike-rave combo experience left Jack reflecting on how he couldn’t move through the world as fast and carefree as he used to.

The song starts off feeling cozy and intimate in its sound and smoothly transitions into a funkier number. It’s such an interesting choice that feels experimental, but it fits the lyrics perfectly, and the song has a gorgeous flow to it. What was the songwriting and recording process for this song like?
The structure of the instrumental started to take shape before the Coney Island experience – we were all excited about the beat flip halfway through. When Jack started to write lyrics for the song, he couldn’t get away from the phrase “I don’t wanna slow down,” because it fit so naturally in the melody at the start of the chorus (right after the whole song drops 50 bpm). We debated as a band if it was too on the nose/meta to have a line reference the music like that, but ultimately it felt right.

Other aspects of the arrangement also play with the lyrics too–like after the line in the second verse, “throw yourself to 808’s and Amen breaks, in a sweaty room,” we put in a drum break – not exactly ‘The Amen Break,‘ but a little reference for sure.

It feels like we could almost sink into your sound, but your subject matter in songs so far feels pretty introspective and, at times, vulnerable. How do you get into a headspace to share that with the world? Do you have a songwriting process that works for you?
Sharing our draft lyrics and thoughts with each other is a kind of practice for sharing them with the world. That’s the beauty of a collaborative music project—you have a safe container to explore the wacky, confusing, and sometimes wretched contents of your own mind with others first. The fact that we’re close to each other is key.

When we write songs, we involve each member in the way they know best, and the order of operations is different every time. Many of our songs begin as Jack’s instrumental musings on his computer sent to the group text, helped along by Shyamala’s hook idea. Or Colum sends a percussion groove over and we write directly to that. Songwriting is much easier when you have a built-in constraint to work with, like someone else’s idea. The lyrics reference so many themes in our personal lives, but the fact that we have this light, laid-back relationship as a group means that our music takes on that effervescent quality too. It’s deep, but it’s not that deep. Existential angst, but then you’ve arrived at your subway stop, and it’s time to go.

As far as sharing the music with the world, our live show is where everything began, and it’s where our focus has been. It’s less daunting to share your mind and heart with people who are right there with you, who came to see you do that, and who are sweating under the same lights. We often play unreleased music at random shows here and there, and that certainly breaks the seal.

The band has such a wide variety of inspirations and cultural influences, from rock and jazz to Afro-Cuban and Indian classical; how have they all come to play a part in your lives?
Shyam has been performing Indian classical music since the age of 3 or 4. Colum is Cuban-American and has grown up listening to and playing a lot of salsa & Afro-Cuban music. Shyamala and Jack are also both third-generation musicians (both of them actually had family members perform with us in our Tiny Desk video), and so they’ve had a ton of musical influence from before they could talk.

We enjoy emulating the music we love and grew up with, but we also want to bring our separate influences together in subtle and creative ways. We are less interested in sounding like an obvious musical “fusion” (like putting a rumba groove under some Carnatic vocal run) and are more about letting our influences steer us towards something cohesive and novel. We have as many questions about our musical influences as answers, and we’re learning what comes naturally as we listen to ourselves play.

Speaking of inspirations, are there any artists who have influenced you growing up or your sound as a band?
There are too many to count! While there is definitely some overlap between the three of us, our influences and tastes are really all over the place. Take ‘If It Floats’ as an example off of our upcoming album. There’s this one section where Jack sings part of a verse with Shyamala, and just doubles her vocals from a couple octaves down. We were inspired after hearing the choruses of ‘Garden Song’ by Phoebe Bridgers, and how a deep voice can really complement the higher, lead melody on a slow and simple song. 

But then there’s ‘Edgewise,’ also unreleased, where Colum came up with the song’s groove after being inspired by Marcus Gilmore’s playing on the Taylor McFerrin record ‘Already There.’ There is just so much distance between the music of Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor McFerrin, and that’s exactly what we love about how all of our musical inspirations come together in our work.

Out of all your singles so far, which do you think best represents FORAGER as a unit?
It would have to be ‘Tandem Bike,’ our first single. It’s such a challenging song to play live, but that makes it fun to constantly experiment with. We’re constantly changing the song from its initial shape to make it more enjoyable for us and our audience. But what we really love about the song itself is that each section is different from the section that precedes it. No choruses are the same; no verses are the same. It keeps changing, getting weirder, and getting better.

You were recently featured in Tiny Desk’s Top Shelf Contest 2023 – congratulations, by the way! What was that opportunity like for you as a band?
Thank you!! We like making music that we holistically enjoy ourselves–writing, piecing together, polishing, performing, and ultimately consuming as a listener. But it’s definitely validating to receive some praise from others, especially when that praise can turn into a little bit of buzz! Aside from introducing us to a handful of new listeners, the Top Shelf feature rejuvenated us and motivated us to keep on pushing our creativity. We were grateful for the positive feedback from NPR, especially considering the number of talented artists they encounter daily.

See Also

Your debut album, Pipedream Firewood, is coming out on August 18th. Is there a specific journey you want to take the fans on with the new record?
Not really, actually. We would much rather them figure that out for themselves while they listen along. But we hope that they’ll love the way most of the songs, and the album as a whole, shapeshift from start to finish. We want our listeners to walk away from the record with a strong idea of what FORAGER’s sound is right now.

You’re also heading out on the road; we can’t wait! What are you most looking forward to about touring?
Aside from getting to have new experiences and seeing different parts of the country, a fun part of playing in other places is that we get to have quality time as a band. A lot of our time spent physically together goes towards working on music and handling logistics, but the downside of that is that there’s less time for us to just enjoy each other’s company. We’ve had a handful of shows outside of NYC, and each one of them has always had a good amount of downtime where we just get to hang out as friends.

Are there any goals or milestones that FORAGER wants to hit in 2023?
We’ve already accomplished a lot this year, and we’re really happy with how things have been going recently. We want to take it one step at a time and enjoy our progress for what it is. At this point, we are beyond excited to put our debut album out into the world. The thought that some people out there might like our music as much as we do is special.

Finally, the floor is yours! Is there anything you want to say to your fans and our readers?
We are so eager to share our music with a wider audience this summer. So if you’re just hearing our stuff for the first time: welcome to the FORAGER fam! But we also want to thank our fans and friends that have been coming to our shows since our debut at Mercury Lounge (or even our actual first show in Colum’s backyard)– you guys make this whole experience such a party, and it truly means the world.

Well, there you have it! We’ll be playing through ‘Fuji or a Trek’ and the rest of FORAGER’s incredible singles until Pipedream Firewood drops on the 18th of August! Make sure you subscribe to their LinkTree and follow FORAGER on all their socials to get all the information about their new album and how to get tour tickets by clicking here!

So did we just introduce you to your new favorite band, or have you been riding the FORAGER wave for a while? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP! You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram, and make sure you join our hive on Discord!


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