Forever Still is a Danish band I discovered two years ago. At that time they had just released their first album, « Tied Down », and they were touring with Children Of Bodom. This album is one of my all-time favorite, so I was really happy and curious to discover their brand new effort named « Breathe In Colours ». A few days before this new release, I had the chance to discuss with the sweet singer of the band, Maja Shining, to learn a bit more about it…

When we met for the first time, it was in 2017 and you were touring with Children Of Bodom. Which memories do you keep from this experience?

Oh it was a really wonderful tour! It was really amazing to be able to tour with the « Tied Down » album all over Europe and especially with Children Of Bodom. This part of the tour allowed us to travel in smaller cities where so many people said that they were really excited to see bands they love because a lot of them don’t often have the opportunity to have such bands passing by. It was great and I can’t wait to experience more tours like that one. Hopefully, it will happen again in 2020 !

Did this tour change something for the band?

Of course… I mean, every tour brings you closer to a lot of new people. Nothing in a significant way particularly happened, but I feel like in every tour we get to meet some new people that we were talking with online for several years sometimes and that’s a really cool experience. Also, in general, it just helped bring the awareness on the band and our album.

Then, what happened to you during these two years before this new release ?

When we finished touring with « Tied Down », we slowly got into the writing mood again, then we had the festivals season. After that, we decided to sit down and focus one hundred percent on writing and finishing the new album. That’s how we spent quite some time on it and I think we finished everything in the summer of 2018, but it took a little time to get it through a big system like Nuclear Blast Records. And of course, they wanted to ensure that we put it out at the best promotional time. So yeah, we had to wait until this spring to have it out, but we are now really excited that people can hear it !

Something I really loved about Forever Still when we discussed at that time was all the DIY aspect behind the project. Did you still work with the same spirit for this new album ?

In a lot of senses, definitely ! We still write, record, mix and master everything ourselves and we made our cover artwork. I feel that « Tied Down » was much more an introspective album so we really wanted to do everything by ourselves. Now, « Breathe In Colours » is more an extrospective album, looking out of the world and in that sense it was the occasion to start working with other people. So, we definitely find some nice people to work with for some of the music videos, but we were still at the top of everything, knowing what we really wanted. It was really nice to share that creative nerve with someone else who has some expertise. That’s how we got to meet Tim Tronckoe and we had a lot of ideas, themes and vibes for the images and he told us he really liked it when a band comes to him with a concept that he can work on and make his own thing. And we loved the results of that. It was really nice for us, especially for the pictures because it’s a real pain in the bottom to be in front and also behind the camera !

By the way, Tim Tronckoe is a Belgian photographer. How did you meet him ?

He was somebody we already knew from online. He took so many great pictures and we just really liked his style. And so we decided to work with him. We shared our ideas with him and he really liked it and he had an idea of how to obtain this whole vibe we wanted. We brought him to Denmark to a location we had found and a lot of cool pictures came from that.

About the new album now, what do you mean by « Breathe In Colours » ? This title sounds poetical and also conceptual…

Well, I feel like to explain that we probably have to go a little bit back to the whole concept of this album, which was for us being just inspired by the world as it is today when we’re looking at the news and everything. It just seems dark and grey and dreary with the climate going absolutely terrible. There’s also a lot of corruption in big places like the government and stuff like that. And you know, it’s just being preached so much fear in the media and everything can seem a little terrifying and dark. And « Breathe In Colours » is just that reminder to actually look out on the world and find all those colours that are actually there, even when it’s looking a little dark and a little grey. And when you breathe them and you find them and keep them on the inside. And that’s how you change your outlook on life, that first you have to find that within yourself.

So, you have a sort of message to spread with this album…

Yeah for sure ! The big message is that when all seems most grey it’s usually not only grey, there’s usually so much much colours to be found. But sometimes, we just really have to work to actually find them. We know a lot of people who just need to work ever more together and actually to go out and experience the world instead of only seeing it through the medias which paint everything that’s different from ourselves as something dangerous and terrifying. And instead of that, you should just go out and live in the real world and not just live in a digital world.

More about the music, now… I really fell in love with your first release, « Tied Down », mostly because of your voice and the lyrics… I was really excited and curious to hear this new record and what a surprise ! I feel like there’s an evolution in your music, like it’s more powerful and also more experimental in some ways. What do you think ?

I agree and I’m glad you feel that way. It’s so hard because we’ve had so many people who said they really love our first album and I don’t really know what’s going to happen now and if I’m going to live up to that. But so far everybody has been like beyond positive about this album. I think you’re right, it has definitely been more experimental and I think that for us it was about finding ourselves with our first album. I mean you have to start somewhere… I feel like on this one we’ve just experienced a little bit more and we got to discover and search our sound. We got to be a bit more curious too and I think a lot of our outside inspirations have come here to play a little more, because we listen to so much different music and on this album I feel like I’m hearing a little more like there are some very post rock influences. There are also some very electronic moments. And there are also some djent inspired riffs. So there are all these different things collected into one thing.

Yeah, speaking about the variations in your music : in the video you released for « Rewind », we can see you using a theremin, which is quite particular and surprising. Why did you choose this instrument instead of a keyboard for example ? And also how did you discover it ?

Yeah it’s such a weird weird weird instrument and I feel like that’s what really intrigued us. Well, we had established this sort of dystopian theme for the album and it was just this very grounded great view of the future, not especially very shiny and idealized thing and to try to represent that in sound, we thought about the theremin. It was Mikkel’s suggestion and actually I was looking videos on YouTube about theremin for several years, because I was just so fascinated by this weird instrument. For us, it was just like finding this instrument that didn’t sound as pretty and stable as a regular keyboard or a synthesizer. You know, it’s just very patchy and very hard to control. It sounds a little broken and that’s what I really liked about it. We ran it through some very glitchy effects paddle that make these randomised glitchy electronic sounds. And all of this just helped us to obtain a sound we wanted for the album and just stay in the vibe of this dystopian theme we had set for the album.

Will you use it in live too or not ?

Oh we would really love to ! I think it could be so much fun to bring it on stage. The problem with it is that it’ so sensitive to the surrounding sounds… If somebody gets too close to it, it will start like screeching. But we are trying to figure out if we can actually bring it with us on stage, it could be so much fun !

By the way, how would you qualify your music today ?

That’s always hard. I feel like we’ve always had a hard time with that ! You know, we’ve never ever been a « one note band », so… I had someone who asked me which song represents us the most on this album. And I don’t know! Because it’s such much different songs and I guess I feel like if people listen to the three singles we’ve put out, you’re going to have a pretty good idea of the variation that is going to be on this album. I feel, for us, we still just go as a modern rock band but people call it alternative metal or melodic hardrock or something completely different… I welcome it all. I think it’s all fitting because there’s so much different variety on the album.

On another hand, I was also really impressed by your voice because you also use a lot of variations and types of singing. I especially loved the screams, that I found particularly original and also full of emotions. How do you explain this ?

A lot of these raspy sounds I do on the vocals were something I already started experimenting live on the previous album songs, when we started touring with Lacuna Coil in 2016. It just brings so much energy to play the songs live that these sounds just started popping during the songs. Hearing that, I thought we should have these on the « Tied Down » album, so it was kind of natural to bring this on the new album.

Now, here’s a question that artists usually hate, but do you have a favorite song on « Breathe In Colours » ?

No ! Especially when you have a brand new album it’s quite impossible ! But honestly, I think maybe at a later point I will have a favorite. But at this point each and every song we picked for the album was really something we picked because we thought it was the best possible song. And you know, the songs that didn’t make it on the album had something that didn’t fit on the album or something we didn’t complete because it wasn’t strong enough. And I feel like these are all songs that can definitely stand on their own, it’s not just three singles and a lot of filler songs. I was pretty excited to release the title track « Breathe In Colours » just because it has so much variation and you get to hear a few different vibes in that song. For me, it’s definitely one of the exciting songs to check out !

Now, and maybe I should have started with this question, but how do you feel today, like ten days before the release of the album ?

I don’t think about it so much. You know, we keep on being busy, we’re working on so many things, we’re still working on some more videos and more album trailers and we’re doing a lot of interviews. So, we just really have our noses in the album. You know, I’m a lot more excited to release it than nervous, because we put a lot of heart and energy into the album and we didn’t make any compromises or we didn’t try to please anyone else but ourselves. So, I feel like what we’re putting out, we’re one hundred and ten percent behind. So, I know it’s never going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but I can deal with that. It doesn’t hurt me that not everybody is going to love our music.

Do you have plans after the release ?

Oh absolutely. We’re currently planning tours for 2019 and some for 2020 as well. And I think it’s safe to already say that we’ll be hitting a lot of European cities with this new album. So, we’ll be putting everything out on as soon as it’s official. So far it’s still like on the work, but it’s definitely coming !

And do we have a chance to see you in Belgium this year ?

Yes, there’s definitely a chance ! So far a lot of it is still on the planning, so I can’t say exactly which cities and countries yet, but we’re going to try to work quite a lot of dates and we don’t want to miss out on Belgium.

I don’t know if you already came here actually…

Yeah we did ! I’m not sure exactly, because sometimes I mix the different tours, but yeah, we did come in Belgium, at Biebob. I think it was with Lacuna Coil.

I’m now done with my questions, so do you have a few words for our readers to finish this interview ?

Just that I truly hope we are going to see a lot of you guys on tour because this album was very much written to be performed and experienced live. It just brings a whole new energy to the songs into the album so we’re beyond excited to come out and share with you in concert !

Do you want to know more about Forever Still ?