A polite outfit of child hood friends band together under a fitting musical moniker to embody affectionate musical melodies and earnest storytelling. The Lonely Forest
: a friendly four-some striding down some of the very same paths blazed by earlier peddlers of bright and bold, Pacific Northwest Indie Rock. The Decemberists pop to mind, with an ode to the acoustic turns Elliott Smith's melodies tend to take. But the big touchstone here is Death Cab for Cutie; convenient considering the band can count Chris Walla as their fan, producer, and boss. The band recently signed to Walla's label Trans Records.
Though we couldn't offer a green, lush forest of evergreens, The Creative Little Garden provides an appropriate setting for The Lonely Forest in this, our latest episode of The Guest Apartment. Here singer/guitarist/keyboardist John Van Deusen
and guitarist Tony Ruland
discuss their relationship with Walla, as well as the importance of their hometown of Anacortes Washington. It's a topic that also weaves its' way into the hometown yearning at the heart of "I Don't Want to Live There"; a song the duo perform for our cameras. They also lace in three other tunes, including "Turn Off This Song and Go Outside". Luckily, we're already nestled in the back of our sunny garden hide-away, providing the best of both worlds in this Guest Apartment session with The Lonely Forest. - David Pitz
Set between ancient forest and the forest-green waters of Puget Sound at the very edge of the continental US, Anacortes, Washington, population 17,000 sees a lot come and go. Ferries docked here delivers thousands of itinerant hippies, millionaires, and sightseers to farms and mansions dotting the remote San Juan Islands while Navy bombers and helicopters based nearby perform ear-splitting flyovers. Through all the coming and going, the local DIY community remains remarkably consistent and strong; an expression of defiant, end-of-the-line creativity. From that community come The Lonely Forest, a rock band of four Anacortes natives with no intention of leaving.
From the outset The Lonely Forest -singer/guitarist/keyboardist John Van Deusen, guitarist Tony Ruland, drummer Braydn Krueger, and bassist Eric Sturgeon- has been about inclusion. In 2005, a raucous garage session inspired the guys (Braydn, Tony, and Eric) to join forces with Van Deusen's piano-pop. The newly formed entity, now called The Lonely Forest, played their first show while two band members were still in high school (the other two having recently graduated). Since that show, The Lonely Forest have racked up miles; steadily becoming heroes of the Northwest all-ages scene through relentless gigging around the region. From their first show at the Department of Safety, center of Anacortes' all-ages DIY scene, to their high-profile appearance at Bumbershoot 2009, a sold-out concert at the Showbox in Seattle last fall and a coveted spot on 2010's Sasquatch Festival, the accolades for The Lonely Forest have grown along with their fanbase.
As grows their fanbase, The Lonely Forest 's music is continually expanding and evolving. At it's core, the music features Van Deusen's soaring vocals and keyboard melodies wrapped tightly around Ruland's expansive guitar anchored by a heavy yet nimble rhythm section. The contrast of brilliant pop songs featuring lyrics about spiritual longing wedded to an almost prog-rock sensibility appeals to broad swath of listeners, from wide-eyed teenagers to jaded scenesters. As always, inclusion is important to these guys!
The Lonely Forest will continue their steady climb to prominence from modest Northwest roots with the September 14 release of their five song EP. The EP is a sneak peek at "Arrows", their forthcoming (2011) full-length on Chris Walla's label imprint, Trans Records. Walla, guitarist and producer for Grammy-nominated rock band Death Cab for Cutie, made The Lonely Forest his first signing when he launched Trans with the support of Death Cab for Cutie's major label home, Atlantic Records. Trans and The Lonely Forest will be released through ILG, Warner Music Group's Independent Label Group. In addition to his role as label head, Walla produced, engineered and mixed the album at Sound City studio in Los Angeles, Tiny Telephone in San Francisco and his own, Portland-based studio, Alberta Court.