I spoke to Graeme 'Squirrel' Macdonald a few days after it all ended. Here's what he had to say for himself...
Kowalskiy: Who are This Silent Forest?Graeme: We are a collection of two main writers who change their set depending on the line up, going from classical to post rock and covering acoustic and folk in between.
Kowalskiy: Let's cut to the chase, you've just finished a 30 day, Song A Day Challenge. Fancy filling us in on the ins and outs of it?Graeme: We were put to the challenger by a friend who runs a marketing agency called Boyd Digital with the guise of "heres a great promo tool" and "think of the crap you could create". At first the idea was to play a gig in front of every BBC building (which i might still do). Then we changed it to write 30 songs one a day for 30 days invited loads of collaborators and random locations. The songs and the locations worked, the collaborators did to an extent however I have discovered that Jamie and I write our best stuff on the cuff in little flashes, planning tracks doesn't work the same.
Kowalskiy: What's been the reaction so far? Any feel yet for which songs will feature on the EP?Graeme: The reaction so far has been mixed, Glasgow hasn't really taken to it but the video views are all over the place, once again Indonesia seem to be watching and so do the states. I know people come up to me stating that they have watched a few but not many reposts on it. Oh well I have 30 odd songs, ha plus the one we wrote yesterday as though it was habit. Also the people who have messaged and chatted about the tracks have picked ones I thought were not my most accurate musically pieces, just shows.
Kowalskiy: I know it's like asking a parent which child is their favourite, but which of the 30 songs are your own personal favourites? We all know 'I love all my children the same' is a cop-out!Graeme: My favourite "Fire At The End Of The Road" the song came to me in a dream where my sister was chatting to me and then burst into the chorus and its sat in my head until that day, I couldn't think of what to do with it. Also I love our WW1 song "Lovers Come Home"
Kowalskiy: Any funny stories from the 30 days? I seem to recall one video of you recording on the side of 'Scotland's Deadliest Road', the A9. Not many bands would put their lives on the line like that in the pursuit of great music.Graeme: The song on the A9 was amazing, it was a perfect clear night. The police followed us for about 20 mins after that wee pitstop. I think the most fun I had was filming our wee Noir short film. Creeping about well lit places in Glasgow late at night, people thinking we were perverts. Also everyone outside the BBC building chatting to us during takes, I think I left one of them in.
Kowalskiy: Mind if I share with you my Top 5?? What's the chances of this being your EP tracklisting?
Graeme: Wow! I think that's mad, I would never have though my piano ones would be in there. Keep your tongue in your mouth was writen on the spot. No idea what I was going to sing or what key it was in. I hit record and then played. Number 5 is a whole new beast now, much heavier and you can hear it on the 23rd at the single launch "Entrophy". Cant really say whats going to be in. We need to have a listen through after the single launch and decide what we can use.
- Day #13. Scrub You Out
- Day #5. Untitled #2
- Day #22. Piano Untitled
- Day #8. Keep Your Tongue In Your Mouth
- Day #16. Untitled #4
Kowalskiy: What happens to the 20-odd tracks that don't get selected? Any plans to contribute ones to other good causes, say, one of a long-running series of monthly Scottish EPs of the free variety...Graeme: You know that could be a great idea. We should probably record them all live and see what happens.
Kowalskiy: Watch this space them folks! So, how did these songs come about? Were they mostly ones that you'd penned prior to the Song A Day Challenge, or ones that you made up on the spot?Graeme: Well a few days before i started trying to write (not whole songs just ideas for tracks) I think i did about nine and used about three. Most of them were written that evening or day and some where forced out of me. Those forced tracks were not enjoyable at all, but I was happy with the result. Because of this writing method we couldnt collaborate as much as we wanted.
Kowalskiy: Were there any days that you were at a loss for what to record?Graeme: Yeah tracks 21, 23 and 24. I was exhausted and had no idea what to do. track 23 was finished at 4am and was started around 12:30 it was a long night and I couldn't focus or stay awake.
Kowalskiy: Last one... how do you feel now its done? Would you ever do it again??Graeme: I'm so happy its over, it was getting sore to write. Also I missed out on sleep as I worked the equivalent of two full time jobs. Yeah we would do it again.
Kowalskiy: What else can we expect from This Silent Forest in the future?Graeme: Well there is a few things happening, firstly our second single is being launched on Friday 23rd September in Nice & Sleazy, Glasgow doors 8pm. Then we are doing a few solo shows around Scotland with Matt Norris and the Moon and James Mackenzie. Then October we will be doing the EP for song a day. We also are working on about 12 acoustic tracks and are currently recording them. We are recording our third single. Recording our live Album. Finishing our Remix (Oh You Dancer EP). And we were in a film called Diamonds in the Rough which we soundtracked and are acting in which will be release at the end of the year. Hopefully we can play loads of shows too.
So not much then?!! Once again, get yourselves over to This Silent Forest's YouTube site and have a listen, and if you're free this Friday in Glasgow, pop along to Nice 'N' Sleazy to grab a copy of their new single The Fight, and hear some of the new tracks live too.