The band Forthaven is the creative outlet of producer and composer Jay Roberts, an outlet that sees him branching out from his original musical calling as a bass player. Alongside Emma Rose (Vox and composition), Helen Brown (piano) and Alister Ligertwood (cello) they have recently released a video for the new single People of the World. His work with Forthaven has seen him getting plenty of airplay even managing to make the BBC 6 music tracks of 2013. “Everyone’s doing well at the moment in Liverpool” he tells me. It’s a nice scene to be a part of and something that underlies his many plans to take Forthaven forward and work beyond just writing and producing music. “Liverpool has a good scene for recognising it’s own artists, it has a great heritage, it’s like a musical village. I’ve been doing music here for about 10 years mostly as a bass player. I’ve not been doing producing as long but I feel I’ve taken to it, funnily plenty of bass players do.”

Curve – Chinese Burn

“One thing tying all the songs here together is production quality, it’s something I look for. I don’t mind lo-fi stuff every now and then but it’s not what I prefer. Curve were part of the shoegaze movement in the late 90s, I love late 90s music, in fact I think 90s music was just the best. Following Curve I got to speak to their producer [Dean Garcia]. I got to know him via Facebook, at first I was a little ‘I’m not worthy’ only at first though. Now it’s fun, it’s great being able to reach out and chat to other producers like that. I model my producing career on Dean’s. If you told me I’d be talking to the producer of Curve when I was listening to this stuff I’d never believe you.”

“The song though, it’s intense, it’s face paced, Drum and Bass almost. I remember listening to it and thinking ‘why haven’t I heard this already!’.”

“I’m a massive Curve fan, they’ve got a huge great back catalogue. This is on Come clean, a great album, it’s great to listen to as a whole piece of work. Again it left me wondering, why haven’t I heard this before. Why didn’t anyone tell me this existed. I think they were way ahead of their time, as a band they massively influence the direction I go in. I love the way they make music. Just the use of stuff, it’s that combination of live instruments and synth sounds, it really does it for me. You can hear that in my own writing. Sometimes I’ll do a guitar track and layer it to f**k, then someone will come along and say ‘you could use a guitar in that track’ and I’ll be quietly seething. I’d been in to them since the early days so I was listening to them when this came out. Doppelganger is another great one, it’s like me doing stuff the dirty way, remixes and the like. ”

Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Soul to squeeze

“This is actually a B-Side, I got very obsessed with it because it was very bass led and this was back when I was learning bass. I got so obsessed, I had to learn every fill in the song. It’s a really nice song, very mellow. Again they’re a band I’ve been into since their early days. Chilli peppers aren’t as obvious a touchstone for my current music though. The bass is there and I’ll always love a heavy guitar, but the musicianship from the band is amazing.”

Blood Sugar Sex Magic remains one of my favourite albums of all time. I picked up the book and I can play it all but some of Flea’s stuff is just insane on this album.”

“I was lucky enough to catch them on the tour for this album. At the time it just blew everyone away. It was such a different structure, it was a different sound, you could just tell this band were going stratospheric. Before that they were very very successful but they hadn’t really conquered the world. Whereas this album changed it all, Under the Bridge for heaven’s sake. Which no one should cover, it’s perfect, leave it alone. I could listen to the album on repeat all day.”

“As I mentioned this was a B-Side, to the Give it away single in fact, it should have been on the album I reckon, but it’s up to them of course. It makes it more niche that way I guess. You don’t get it as much but I still put out singles with B-sides, it’s a different approach now, I’m still a fan of the album as an entity though.”

U.N.K.L.E. – Bloodstain

“There’s just something about this, it’s just astonishing the sound they got out of stuff. The guitar is really heavily effected, almost like a synth. It’s blurring the lines between live instruments and effects and synths. Again this has been a huge influence on the work I’ve done.”

“This is a later track, that someone else introduced me to. It’s just an epic song that’s more down the experimental road, possibly why I like it. It shows you if you don’t stick to the straight and narrow it can still work, yes you can do other things with the guitar. It was a huge inspiration for a track of mine called Uberunkle, a descriptive title there. That’s a song of mine that was on the Liverpool International Music Festival CD sampler when it was in it’s first year.”

That inaugaural International music festival was two years ago now and has gone from strength to strength. As Jay believes has his work with Forthaven who have not long since debuted their new track and video People of the world.

Interview by : Dave Sparks | First published 29th December 2014.

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