The Forum


By Gabrielle Yost

The Forum is a  four piece band from Gainesville, Florida who are taking the Florida music scene by storm. The band consists of Jacob Farrell (bass), Alex Klausner (drums), Nick Wheeler (guitar and synth), and Michael Higgins (vocals and guitar). They met on a craigslist advertisement and have been working together ever since! We interviewed The Forum and talked to them about their New Single “Dive, inspirations, and music they can’t get enough of.

HEM: How did you guys form? What inspired you guys to start the band and where did the name “The Forum” come from?

Jacob: A very circumstantial and fortuitous venture into the world of Craigslist. 

Alex: For me, personally, it started by browsing Craigslist. I saw that there was an indie rock band looking for a drummer. I had experience playing in a ton of Gainesville-area bands, but it had been something like eight years since I’d been in an indie band.

Nick: Michael and Jacob met first, and then reached out in need of other members to form a band. I then met with Michael on campus at University of Florida and eventually all three of us got together to write and we played together for a while. The name The Forum comes from our origin as a band and an interesting start to a project that we all really love.

Michael: We actually formed through a series of responses to ads posted on the Gainesville Craigslist musicians page. Our very first crop of songs was written and demo recorded with this lineup before adding Alex from an ad we posted in the spring of 2016, and our reliance on an unconventional way of meeting each other resulted in our band name. We were all inspired just by a desire to create the same types of sounds that we so love listening to.

HEM: What are each of you listening to lately?

Jacob: Alternative music, specifically R&B and indie. There’s such an awesome variety of artists out there, but check out Ravyn Lenae’s “Sticky” for some groovy throwback vibes, or Whitney’s “Golden Days” for a folksy, indie track. 

Alex:  I suffice ew releases from Soccer Mommy, The James Hunter Six, Jukebox The Ghost, Betty Who, Oso Oso, The Home Team and Turnstile have been getting some pretty heavy play from me. If I had to recommend ONE track from any of them it’s probably “Jumpstarted” by Jukebox The Ghost, which is one of the most advanced pieces of pop music I’ve heard in some time.

Nick: I’m just gonna give you a list!

  • Panic! At the Disco – Pray For The Wicked
  • Black Thought – Streams of Thought, Vol. 1 – EP
  • Troye Sivan – Blue Neighborhood
  • Leon Bridges – Good Thing
  • Bleachers – Gone Now
  • Kid Astray – Home Before The Dark

As for songs:

  • Kid Astray – Diver
  • Leon Bridges – Shy
  • The 1975 – Fallingforyou
  • The Shins – Sleeping Lessons
  • Frank Ocean – Bad Religion

Michael: I’ve been listening to a lot of Bad Suns , HUNNY, and eagerly awaiting this new Death Cab for Cutie record.

HEM: You guys are currently on tour! What can the fans expect from this? What location are you most excited to play?

Jacob: Woo tour! I can’t wait to see fans in different cities and meet with people who have only interacted with us online. Playing in Atlanta is a bit of a dream come true for me, I can’t wait.

Alex:  Fans of our music can expect weird drum faces from me, for sure. We haven’t started rehearsing for the tour yet, so I imagine a lot of what you’re going to get is just going to be off-the-cuff and will develop in the moment.

Nick: They can expect a cohesive, fully formed, colorful articulation of who we always wanted to be as a band. I am incredibly excited to play in Nashville. It’s easily one of my favorite cities to spend time in and now we get to come out and spend an evening playing our songs for a few new faces.

Michael:I am so excited for tour! I think I am most excited to play in Nashville, because the music culture there is phenomenal.

HEM: When it comes to writing, where do you draw inspiration from?

Jacob: I know as a band, we have a couple of groups who we look up to and try to model our sound after. Bands like Death Cab for Cutie, The Strokes and Two Door Cinema Club have all influenced our writing processes at some point. 

Alex: When writing the drum parts, I tend to draw a lot of inspiration from emo groups like The Hotelier and post-rock groups like This Will Destroy You. 

Nick: Personally I draw from a lot of different places for inspiration. Some of my favorites include: Death Cab For Cutie, Damien Rice, Frank Ocean, The 1975, The Dangerous Summer, John Mayer, Julien Baker, Matt Nathanson, and Jimmy Eat World.  

Michael: I draw my writing inspiration from elements of my real life and the lives of those close to me. I often create stories within the song that are based on a combination of something I have gone through and something a friend or family member has experienced. That way it becomes a new story, but is very based on true feelings.

HEM: As a band, what are some long-term goals you hope to achieve?

Alex: It’s hard to say what the long-term goal is. For me the goal has always been to serve the band and its songwriting as best as I can on my instrument. I don’t really make it my business to look much further beyond that. That’s Michael’s job. 

Nick: lay a lot more shows in towns we’ve never been to.

Michael:. I’d love to continue traveling the region to reach new listeners at shows. I can’t wait to continue what we’ve started, this is going to be a very active year for us and I am thrilled to get started with new music and new travels.

HEM: In the recording process, how did it go? Did you find it difficult in any aspect?

Jacob: We had an interesting time in the studio for this one, but that’s usually the case. From individual parts to instrumentation, a lot of what you’re going to hear was actually improvised on the spot in the studio. It’s very much a case of “Hey that’s a cool idea, you think we could work it into the song?”

Alex: Recording is always difficult because it’s such a different environment. You have to get it right. In rehearsal, on stage: If you make a mistake, you can just laugh it off and say “Oops.” In recording, not only do you have to be dead on, but your tone has to be dead on. We have to make every second count.

Nick: The recording process was only difficult because we weren’t in the same town. We’re always typically on the same page about writing and coming up with new ideas, but recording and finalizing was difficult getting four people in the same room at the same time.

Michael: This recording process was unlike any we have undertaken. Because we were scattered throughout the state this summer, a lot of it relied on email and texting communication. Writing a song when you can only be in the same room for a few days in the entire process was extremely difficult. Our producer Tommy Villarroel was an incredible facilitator of this project and made all the stress much easier to manage. His vision for the song never wavered and I’m so glad we had such a calming and driven artist at the wheel.

HEM: You guys are debuting a new single soon! Can you tell us about that? Can we expect an album or EP anytime soon?

Jacob: “Dive” is our newest single, and probably our most ambitious. It represents a slight departure from our usual straightforward guitar-driven songs, but the addition of synth, vocal modulations, and other production techniques allowed us to create something a bit more up-beat and danceable. It’s definitely something that I love, and I hope our fans love it too.

Alex:  I think we’re starting to move into an era of music where singles or EPs are becoming the new best method for making music. When you think about the economics of creating an album, it’s a huge cost for a band. With a single, you’re putting out a release and exciting your fanbase with new music at literally a fraction of the cost.

Michael: Our new single is a very new direction of our sound, but hopefully listeners will embrace the growth in our sound. I am so excited to get it out there. It’s a very upbeat, energetic track, but it also carries an atmospheric vibe throughout, making it pretty versatile in my opinion. I was definitely inspired by sounds perfected by The Neighbourhood and HUNNY, to name a few.