Forgotten's latest album “Of Past and Passion” tells a grievous story with its sorrowful melodies, variations from death grunts to whispers and glamorous heart beats.
Once these melodies diffuse into your vein, the circle is meant to be started, then you find yourself endlessly replaying the "Of Past and Passion".
Here, FORGOTTEN is hailing from this gloomy Anatolian city called Ankara (Turkey) where you can find out various legendary sounds of heavy metal by years.
Forgotten has been in the scene since 1997 but various breaks by time. The latest full-length “Of Past and Passion” is released in April 2019 from Sleaszy Rider Records. What do you want to say about the band’s evolution? Can we say that Forgotten has set up the final line-up nowadays?
Tolga: First of all, I want to mention that Forgotten in the scene since 1995. In my opinion in life we can never say “this if final”, we can only hope, I think. I hope this is final line up of Forgotten. We changed line up several times and our music turned into a darker direction. We were always keeping doom metal touches within our music and mixing with them with some folk and epic melodies but now we put an end to use folk melodies and left only doom side of Forgotten.
With the latest full-length “Of Past and Passion”, the music genre has changed to doom/death metal and the band fully delved into a heavy atmosphere where listener can even touch melancholia conveying via notes. What was the reason of this diversion? Is it a new era under the same name?
Tolga: As I mentioned in my first answer, we were always a band with doom metal touches, you can hear them in our demos, especially in our second demo Retreat. But as every creature in the world we also progress and change. So, I can’t explain the reason of this change, may be because of the environment around us or may be because of the age but somehow we changed. May be the best answer is that we began to feel in this way.
This album distinguished with its production quality and be can be counted as one of the good works in 2019. Could you please tell about the mastering, mixing steps and production details of the album?
Tolga: Thank you for your words about the album. We recorded it at Studio Deep in Ankara. Our friend Deniz Durdağ mixed and mastered the album. I must mention that this album could not be good if our producer Ali Öztürk and Deniz Durdağ were not with us. Ali forced us to play as good as we can, we recorded our parts several times, sometimes we deleted some of the recorded parts and again we recorded. Drums are recorded twice to get the best performance and sound etc. Deniz is one of the best sound engineers in Turkey. Mixing and mastering sessions took some months. We talked to Deniz several times about the sound and at the end we understood each other very well, we understood what he can do and he understood what we want. Here, the magical word is “communication”, we are old friends and we know each other very well and we know what we want. We felt very comfortable when we work together. This is the reason behind the good production quality.
Album includes two instrumental songs. “Remnants of a Faint Memory” is a piano track while the last song “Lethargic” focuses on guitar. Why did you decide to put two instrumental songs? May be the album can be a lit bit longer, what do you think?
Tolga: First of all, I want to say that “music is music”, we do not think that there is a difference between instrumental songs and songs with lyrics. So they are all same for us, there is no difference. There will be two instrumental songs in the new album too.
Harun: About the length, we can say that it is the only negative criticism we heard about the album. That’s because we didn’t want to wait for the writing process of the new tracks, and started to record with what we have in hand. But the next album will be much longer than this one.
“'The Serpent Once You Were' indicates the desperate crawling of human kind against the inevitable end."
“Of Past and Passion” reminds me the early Katatonia and early Lacrimas Profundere. This genre is quite unique with its style, themes, and audiences. What does doom/death music mean to you? What is the main lyrical content of the album?
Harun: Doom/death is one of the genres I used to listen since my early teenage years. I mostly prefer music that awakes some emotions in me. I see it as a tool to give yourself and the listener goose bumps. The lyrical content is mainly about what time does to the living things. It is about how life generates, evolves and ends. The phases a human being or a plant experience during its journey in this planet.
“The Serpent Once You Were” takes attention with is birth-death theme by starting with first beats and ends with fading heart rate signals. What is the metaphor of serpent; Lucifer, inner self or subconscious which might be interbedded in the end?
Harun: It indicates the desperate crawling of human kind against the inevitable end. A helpless human being, resembling a reptile heading towards death, since birth.
Do you think if the music is a catharsis for you or a contrast/balance in life by accepting the heavy emotions as well? What do you think about creating sort of art in sadness and melancholia? What does melancholia mean for Forgotten?
Harun: Sadness and melancholia are the undeniable facts of life. There have been no adult in history, who have left this place without experiencing these feelings. So using these aspects in art or music is so normal. Of course we can say that music is a catharsis since you try to act out your feelings and your heaviest emotions as well.
Cover art resemblances a web coming from a mind binding all memories who is crushed under the bitter burden of the past. Who did the cover art and what does it depict according to you?
Tolga: The cover art is a photo that was taken by our guitarist Reha Kuldaşlı in Istanbul/Moda. Every autumn you can see that tree in the same way. I also think in the same way, a forgotten person who is crushed under the burden of the past and awaiting for the inevitable extinction.
"People who come to your shows are mostly expecting to hear that emotional sound and they are sensitive about it."
Opening track “Of Past and Passion” with a raven voice brought me to Edgar Alan Poe. So, in literary or musical sense, how do Forgotten members feed themselves in their creativity? Music genres/eras you would like to mention or books/authors you would like to read?
Tolga: I read too much on international relations and policy because of my work and education. And they made me sick after a while; I think my creativity comes from the reality, real world and its disgusting nature. In literary sense; I love to read especially Poe, Orhan Kemal, as musical sense; I love all kind of music I do not separate genres, I listen what I love. But they do not feed me on their own, they all together feed me. I mean for example, Orhan Kemal does not feed me, the spirit of him and the real world combines together and they all together feed me.
Harun: Speaking for myself, I also do not distinguish between genres. Apart from metal, I listen to every type of music that evokes something in me. Besides music, almost everything we come across in daily life is feeding me in creativity. About literature, I can say that Charles Baudelaire is the most inspiring author for me.
This music style carries too many emotions which are heavy in nature, so should be the most difficult one while performing, among others. What is the utmost importance for you to convey your music in live shows?
Harun: Yes, it is difficult indeed because you don’t usually found huge crowds in front of you when we are talking about doom metal. People who come to your shows are mostly expecting to hear that emotional sound and they are sensitive about it. You have to pick the right tunes and give the requested dark ambience to make them satisfied. For this, choosing a suitable intro to prepare the atmosphere is important I think.
You are planning to release a cassette for collectors which includes your last gig in Ankara last year. At these tough days while we are missing concerts, festivals, let’s refresh these great memories. How was the gig, the atmosphere, audience? Was it a special gig for the band as you have recorded?
T&H: Yes, it was a special gig for us. It was the first gig after the release of the album. The audience and atmosphere was very good, we were at home, I mean in Ankara. To play at home is always special for the bands.
You announced that you have already started working on the new album. So far at which stage are you in? Have you planned any releasing time? What will be the concept? Will it be on the same direction with “Of Past and Passion” album?
T&H: Yes, as you mentioned we began to work for the new album. We still have not planned a releasing time but it will be in 2021, may be at the end of 2021, it is up to us. If we finish recording the album early then it will be released earlier. It will be almost on the same direction with “Of Past And Passion” but we have some death metal touches too. There will be very heavy and aggressive songs also we have in the second album. Bu general feeling, direction etc. are same with “Of Past And Passion”. There will be nine songs and it will be a longer album, approximately 55 minutes more or less.
As a musician, how do you affect from the pandemic in terms of creativity, motivation? Have you done any changes on your rehearsal routines, composition processes as Forgotten?
Tolga: Pandemic did not affect our songwriting process, because the songs were almost done but it affected our arrangement process and rehearsal routines. Because of the pandemic we cannot come together and work on the songs and lyrics and play together. Because of this, generally I wrote the riffs on the new album and with Ali Öztürk from Studio Deep we are arranging. Ali is also writing some riffs for the album when we work together. Now we are recording the demos of the songs and we will send them to other members to write their own parts and lyrics. Because of the pandemic we preferred to work in this way.
Trenchwar / Criminal Organizations
Tolga and Harun, your thrash metal project Trenchwar is ready to release the debut album entitled “Criminal Organizations” via Sleaszy Rider Records, right? But you came across some delay due to the pandemic. What is the last situation? Could you please tell about the motivation and the main desires of Trenchwar?
Tolga: Everything is ready for the album. We will send it for manufacturing to our label nowadays. Trenchwar was a one man project of me, I am a huge fan of thrash metal, especially Bay Area thrash metal. Since my childhood, I wanted to make thrash metal, Forgotten was also founded as a thrash metal band, after a while I changed the style. But the thrash metal flame was burning within me, when I decided to stop the activity of Forgotten in 2010s, I began to write thrash metal songs but not for an album, it was just for myself to express my feelings by guitar. And after a while I realized that I can make thrash metal songs and decided to record them. While recording the album other members joined the band. We are criticizing politicians, policy, religion, social decay etc.
Turkey has a powerful metal scene and many extreme acts in the underground. However, as I see that Ankara has a different vibe, scene is stronger, passion is higher, and many great bands are form Ankara in the Turkish metal history. What do you want to say about the city and scene?
Tolga: Ankara as you mentioned is different when it is compared to other cities. I think this is because of the social life, geography just like in Great Britain. In Izmir you can go somewhere to drink beer and watch the bay, and you can spend your time there, the weather is warm, the sky is blue etc., in Istanbul you can spend your time everywhere, the weather is good, you can join in tons of activities, there is Bosporus and sea etc., but in Ankara we do not have opportunities like you, we buy a case of beer and play in the practice room, and the sky is grey may be 6 months, it is very dark, dark grey. It changes our mood personally in bad way but in good way for the creativity and in winter very cold here, nobody goes out, and we stay at home and play and play and play. This is the difference of us and Ankara. Because of this, the metal bands of Ankara are great and always will be.
Please share your last words. Thank you for the interview.
T&H: Thank you very much for this interview and take care!