FORT are an achingly new post rock band from South Wales. They got in touch with us last year with a track and we liked what we heard so when they came back to us just before Christmas with a 3 track EP we were more than pleased to give it a listen.
As it turns out, it’s great. Coming in at the chunkier, mathier end of the post rock spectrum it calls to mind the likes of Dialects and ASIWYFA and it lays down a marker announcing that they are a band to keep an eye on.
Given this impressive introduction, we wanted to know what made them tick so got the band to pick the three records that have most influenced them.
TOOL – 10,000 Days – Martyn (guitar)
I got hold of 10,000 days within a few weeks of it coming out in ‘06. My naive 16 year old self picked it up because it was “new and looked cool”, but it was actually like an awakening to what music could be and do. No longer was a rock band just 4/4, power chords and shouting. This was an amorphous, rhythmic fusion of dynamics, angles, numbers, ascendance, dark humour, art…
…and power chords and shouting.
Case in point, Vicarious. The intro bobs along and you’re like “this is cool and droney” then that riff smacks and you HAVE to move your head to it, just to make sense of it. After a few bars of getting used to what on Earth was happening it all “clicked” and my life was just never the same after that. I sat there with headphones and devoured every time change in Rosetta Stoned, every break in Jambi, every “lift” in Wings For Marie Pt 2… I still to this day count rhythm by how it makes me move, even if it’s just a little head nod, and that all started with this album.
In terms of how that relates to what we’re doing now, there’s some obvious nods to Adam Jones playing style in the chugging riffs of Dangerous and the moody mid-section of Starty Parter. All done with the love that comes from playing along to every song of their back catalogue over and over and over in my late teens. That’s also probably why I’m the more stripped down out of me and Gavin in terms of gear. Stupid really considering all the ambient electronica and noise based nonsense I listen to now, but sitting and thinking about it – Man… I just love Tool.
Sigur Ros – () – Craig (Bass) (& Matt (drums))
I can’t recall the exact moment I stumbled upon Sigur Ros, but likewise I can’t really remember a time in my life where I haven’t been completely besotted by all of what they do. The album ‘Untitled’ or ‘()’ was the first album I went and bought of theirs on CD and holds an insanely special place in my heart, and our drummer Matt’s! The use of Hopelandic is so playful and yet so emotionally driven, whilst also being beautifully subjective, due to its nonsensical nature.
The opening drone and piano motif of Untitled 1 or Vaka, is so cinematic and offers a sense of escapism like nothing else I’ve heard, it truly takes me somewhere. Untitled 3 or Samskeyti has a stunning piano melody that builds and builds to this huge lift of swells and higher octave versions of the melody, it’s euphoric! I finally saw Sigur Ros at Bristol Harbourside 2016 with Gav and Mart from the band and my now wife. My wife and I then honeymooned in Reykjavik where I managed to purchase () on vinyl from Tonar 12, the infamous Icelandic record store. Sigur Ros were not the reason I picked up an instrument, but they are the reason I wanted to explore cinematic soundscapes and how
I have fallen in love with the ever changing genre that is ‘post rock’. It is an admiration and true love that I have for the band and I try to bring that widescreen cinematic sound to FORT!
And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Futures – Gavin (guitar)
I have been a fan of And So I Watch You From Afar since Gangs was released in 2011. Always a must in the car. I would always try and push the band on all my friends and insist on playing them if I had control of the stereo.
When All Hail Bright Futures was released, I played it everyday. I remember playing it to Martyn in the car on the way to see Nine Inch Nails in Manchester and both of us beaming at how uplifting an album it is. My 5 year old daughter is now a fan; she loves singing along to the chants on Ambulance, Like a Mouse and the final lull on album opener Big Thinks Do Remarkable.
The latter now being a set closer for the band, is also the highlight from FORT’s adventures at ArcTanGent 2016. That performance secured them as my favourite live band.
From start to finish, riff after riff, it is an assault on the ears and makes you question just how are they getting some of those sounds out of a guitar. This has lead us to also research different equipment and experiment with alternative effects pedals to try and create a larger wall of sound. Half of the pedal choices on my pedalboard were probably influenced by And So I Watch You From Afar, especially the use of the Boss PS5 Super Shifter on my board.