Interview with vocalist and bassist Eric Forrest
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: March 1, 2014
E-Force came into existence in Montreal, Canada in 2001 when vocalist/bassist Eric Forrest departed legendary Canadian Cyber-Metallers Voivod. Eric joined Voivod in early 1994, following the departure of vocalist Denis "Snake" Bélanger, and spent 7 years with the band. He appeared on two studio albums, Negatron and Phobos, a live album, Voivod Lives, and the remix/compilation album titled Kronik. Upon his departure from Voivod, Eric decided to use his nickname, E-Force, as the name for his new band. Soon E-Force signed a record deal with France's Season of Mist label and their debut album, Evil Forces, saw the light of day in October 2003. Following the release of Evil Forces, Eric relocated to France, which resulted in a permanent line-up change for obvious reasons. The follow-up album, Modified Poison, followed five years later (released on Thundering Records, which unfortunately went bankrupt not long afterward).
E-Force has invaded several countries, playing at both large and small festivals all over the world (like the Six Pack Weekend Festival in Cleveland, Ohio in June 2004 and Metalfest Open Air in Hungary in 2011). Little by little E-Force was getting into the songwriting mood again but it was not until in the fall of 2013 when E-Force announced a title for their new album, The Curse (of the Cunt), and a new label, legendary Mausoleum Records in Belgium.
The Metal Crypt decided to ask Eric about this new E-Force album as well as other things going on around the band. Enter Eric to tell us more about this new record and E-Force's other plans for 2014.
Luxi: Hey Eric! How's life in Toulouse, France these days? Same as always or even better than it used to be?
Eric: Magnificent!! Life is great in the pink city. I am enjoying it. Life goes on. Can I say for the better? Definitely; onward and upward.
Luxi: It's been a long time since E-Force released the second album, Modified Poison, six years to be precise. Happily, there's new album in the works, which will be a concept album entitled The Curse of the Cunt, which tells about the power women have and how they use it to gain more power for themselves. Would you mind telling us a bit more about this third studio album?
Eric: Thanks so much. The Curse... has been a little modified, ha-ha!! The album title may be different, but everything else is the same.
As for the album concept itself, it's not just about the power of pussy so much. In fact, it's not that at all. The Curse..., originally The Curse of the Cunt, is not to be taken too seriously, THE ACTUAL TITLE, that is. It's a bit of a parody, a "tongue-in-cheek" type phrase. Lyrically, I am talking about what some guys (and even some girls) do to get a piece of the pie; from temptation/provocation/manipulation and all that good stuff, to real life dramas, crimes of passion, etc. I am talking about the power of the pussy and what it can do to some people. Some of the lyrics are influenced by real stories, like "Perverse Media," which is about the DSK scandal and all the CNN news about it (I suppose you could add the Miley Cirus story to this song, as well as France's Nabilla, ha-ha!!). "Awakened" is about the Tiger Woods story; money/sex/greed/whatever you want to call it or what you believe is wrong or right. "Witch Wrk" is about the Phil Hartman story and, in a sense, is lyrically influenced by him. OJ, John Bobitt, Ceasar and Bill Clinton can be added to the list of names also, ha-ha!! Other songs are for the listeners to discover and decide what it is they want it to be about. Perhaps some of their personal situations can be related a particular song. Imagine that.
The album was recorded at my drummer's place, Krof13 Studio in the south/east of France, last summer. Unfortunately, the times have changed and the days of getting advance money from a label to record are over, at least for E-Force anyway. What are you supposed to do? Cry? Stop? Fuck that! Just march forward and do it yourself! Anyway, after the recording (and introducing our new guitarist, Xav), the album was mixed by Patrick Friedrich (who also mixed our second album, Modified Poison), and then it was mastered by J-F Dagenais (Kataklysm/ex-Deo). The album also features Glen Drover, Vincent Agar and Kristian Niemann as guests. Perhaps you have heard of these guys before? ;) It has taken some time to complete the album, not to mention the song compositions but... voila...c'est la vie!
Luxi: Conceptually, this forthcoming E-Force album will be totally different compared to Modified Poison. I was wondering what made you originally choose this concept about the way women use their power of feminism in today's world, sometimes very ruthlessly?
Eric: It was something to write about that everyone living on this planet can associate with, not just fans of Metal music. It's about people who are in search for love and sometimes things don't work out the way it was planned on paper. When it comes to the way women using their power of feminism in today's world, sometimes ruthlessly, well, I suppose it's up to the listener to decide what's wrong or right. I don't make the rules, I just observe. But what I do know is "sex sells and people are buying." You know what I mean by this, don't you?
Luxi: What about your personal experiences being manipulated by the power of pussy? No need to open up about your worst experiences if you still feel a bit tender talking about them...
Eric: Well, you said that...not me. Women have more power than just what is between their legs, that's for sure. Some women are more intelligent than people may believe, but hey, I am just stating my own opinion, as everyone is entitled to. As far as my personal experiences are concerned, you will have to buy my biography, which I am going to write some day, after I add many stories to it about sex, drugs and Rock'n'Roll. ;)
Luxi: How personal is The Curse... for you?
Eric: It's the first album on which I have done all the music and lyrics. On the previous E-Force albums, I composed a few songs and co-wrote a few tracks with the other band members to let them provide some creativity of their own. So this album is very personal to me indeed. It took quite some time to finish it but...c'est la vie!
I feel that this album has all the best vibes and energies from the Negatron/Phobos/Evil Forces/Modified Poison albums. It's also a little heavier; a Thrash/Black and Rock'n'Roll/Punk type of a record. But no worries, I am sure you will dig it!
Luxi: What is your standpoint on societies that legally accept relationships in which men can have more than one wife or mistress, allowing them to have a whole legion of girls/women for their carnal needs?
Eric: If people are happy, then people are happy. Isn't life supposed to be about being happy? We all live in this modern day society where certain things are acceptable and certain things are not. I am not going to say what is wrong or right. I visited Morocco with my ex-wife, and we visited some of these casbahs, where they told us that this one king had 200 wives and over 90 mistresses. I was like "oh my god.... what? Aren't 200 wives enough, already?", ha-ha!! It was quite a lesson on cultures, etc. C'est la vie.
Luxi: How about the musical approach for the new E-Force songs? Will there be some experimentation or did you stick to the same musical formula that you used on your two previous albums?
Eric: The same musical formula, to a certain degree, but there are more Punk/Black and Rock'n'Roll vibes on this new E-Force album. The fans of my past work will not be disappointed, I can assure you. The guitars were tuned down to D instead of E-flat on this new album, not to mention the special shredder guests. ;) I started to compose the music on an acoustic guitar and it if it sounds good on an acoustic guitar, well, I think you get it.
Luxi: Did you add more diverse elements to the vocals and adopting a new way to sing a challenge?
Eric: I think it's really just the best of the best, vocal wise, and the energy fits the songs perfectly! There are no multiple vocal harmonies or anything like that, just in-your-face Eric type vocals, so worry not. I am sure the fans will approve of my vocals. ;) As for trying to sing a bit differently, if you mean all this trendy shit that everyone seems to be doing nowadays, no fuckin' way! But like I said, if you like the Voivod/E-Force/Project : Failing Flesh stuff, then you are in for a good ride for sure.
Luxi: What's been the most challenging and time-consuming thing for you so far? Obviously, the songwriting process itself can be a tough process; getting inspired and getting started, right?
Eric: Yes, in fact the songwriting process itself took a lot of work. Some of you people know what I am talking about here and some people have no idea. It takes skill to be focused and motivated and to channel your ideas correctly. It's a HUGE puzzle, especially when you have to compose both the lyrics and the music. But sometimes it's a good thing to spend a lot of time with a record, you know? People should know it's not just touring the world and such. Good songs just don't fall from the sky. It takes a lot of hard work and experience to produce quality stuff, in my opinion.
Luxi: On every E-Force record you have had a different recording line-up. I suppose this has much to do with life's changing situations that occur in people's lives. Is this something that has prevented E-Force from having a stable line-up?
Eric: Yes and no. I have had difficult choices regarding some of the E-Force line-ups. Some of my past band mates joined E-Force for the wrong reasons. Sometimes it can get very complicated, I can tell you. It's very hard to get people fully on the same page, both musically and personally. After the experience that I have in bands, I can honestly say that I have seen and lived the movie Spinal Tap; the good, the bad and the ugly. But I have a vision of what I want to do and I see how it needs to roll in order to achieve that.
Luxi: You now have Krof on drums and Xav on guitar in the E-Force line-up. Have they added their own little spices to the new songs?
Eric: Yes and no. I wrote all the songs, and had some assistance in engineering the pre-production demos. These guys basically copied the drum machine/guitar riffs to a certain degree but yes, they did add some of their personal identities into the songs. If there was something really wrong with their input for a song, I would make the point of correcting them. But, all in all, I have to say they did a great job sharing and following my vision. They are great guys to work with on a personal level, too, very easy going.
Luxi: It's been announced that this forthcoming record will have guest appearances by no less than Glen Drover (Megadeth, King Diamond & Eidolon), Kristian Niemann (Therion) and Vincent Agar (Yotangor). How did your cooperation with those guys work out and what would you say each of them brought to this new album?
Eric: Well, I have known Kristian for a very long time, since the Voivod/Therion Euro tour several years ago. Vincent lives here in Toulouse, and Glen has been a friend of mine for quite some time. On the last E-Force album I had some special guests who co-wrote some tracks. This time I wanted to get some special guest shredders and some true shredding is exactly what they did! I am very happy with their addition to some of the new songs on The Curse... album, I have to say.
Luxi: Your previous label, Thundering Records, unfortunately went bankrupt quite some time ago but now you have the legendary Belgian Metal label Mausoleum taking care of E-Force. Was it easy to win their attention and get E-Force signed to their roster? Were there other labels that showed interest before you went with Mausoleum?
Eric: We feel very lucky to have hooked up with Mausoleum Records. It's not easy to get a record deal these days. We had some other label show interest but Mausoleum worked out the best for us. Plus, they released the Voivod stuff back when I was in the band, so we did have a bit of history with them. But yeah, so far so good...we shall see what happens.
Luxi: I was just checking some of the announcements that you have made on E-Force's official Facebook page, and noticed you have plenty of gigs coming up this year and even festival appearances, like Metal Camp Sicily III in Italy in August. How excited are you to get E-Force on the road again?
Eric: We are very excited to play the upcoming shows, all of them, plus more TBA dates. We will be adding a second lead/rhythm guitarist for our concert tour to make our live sound big.
Luxi: Are there any particular gigs that you are really looking forward to playing with E-Force, maybe for some special and/or personal reason?
Eric: To be honest with you, I am looking forward to playing all of these shows, not just the biggest festivals.
Luxi: Have you had to make any compromises over which gigs you can do with E-Force and which you can't, due to life's situations?
Eric: Hmmm..., yes and no. Travelling costs and other expenses must be paid, otherwise it can get very complicated. We don't play for free...yet. Some gig organizers offer less so we do other gigs to cover expenses and it all works out in the end.
Luxi: What about your studio project, Project: Failing Flesh? Will there ever be new life breathed into that creature? The last P: F.F. album (titled Count Back from Ten) was released just two years ago, so obviously this studio band is far from being completely dead, correct?
Eric: Honestly, I am not too sure what's going to happen or if there will ever be another Project : Failing Flesh record. But I am ready if it's meant to happen someday. We still speak, so let's see what will happen. I am very proud to work with those guys; they are real professionals. Go and listen some Project : Failing Flesh stuff. It's true world-class quality music.
Luxi: What was your highlight from fronting Voivod from 1994-2001? Was it supporting Iron Maiden on their "Ed Hunter" tour in Canada in 1999, perhaps?
Eric: Yes! That was an amazing experience, supporting and hanging out with those big boys, as was playing with Voivod in general. I really lived and learned a lot, and I apply all this experience to E-Force in so many ways.
Luxi: After fronting Voivod for many years, I think it's impossible to have an E-Force show without any Voivod songs squeezed into the set list. There's always demand for them from the crowd, right?
Eric: You are correct... and I want to give the fans what they want to hear... a little bit of everything to make everyone happy, you know ;)
Luxi: How about your ex-band mates in Voivod? Are you still in touch with each other, and what kind of matters do you discuss with each other, if you'll allow me to be this curious? The power of vagina, eh?
Eric: Yes, of course! We had a dinner with them in Paris a few years ago and I joined them for one song at Hellfest in 2009. It's all been good between us. We all respect and support each other. Uhm, vagina? No, not really... just you know, how's life and blah blah blah. We just talk about enjoying the ride of life and stuff like that, nothing that specific, really.
Luxi: The music world has produced many incredible, classic Heavy Metal/Rock albums since Black Sabbath's self-titled debut hit the streets in 1970. What are the three most significant and important Heavy Metal/Rock albums for you personally; albums that shaped what you are today?
Eric: Friday the 13th February 1970 is my B-day, believe it or not. Didn't Black Sabbath release the 1st album on that very same day? Now that should explain why I am a Metalhead for life, ha-ha!! Well, so many good Heavy Rock/Metal albums wee released back in the day, but I'd say Iron Maiden Killers was a big release for me just like AC/DC's Back in Black was. I still listen to those albums from time to time. And third one? Deep Purple's Machine Head has got some truly classic stuff on it, I think! Then again, it's really damn difficult to list just three of the most significant albums of all times for me.
Luxi: One last question, and then we are finished; is the power of pussy mightier and stronger than the power of the sword, in your opinion?
Eric: It can be if you want it to be, so yes...
Luxi: Thank you so much, Eric, for sharing some of your time with The Metal Crypt. I wish you the best with all your future endeavors, whatever they may be. Any closing comments, perhaps?
Eric: Thank you so much Luxi. I would like to thank all the present and past fans, too. Check out this new E-Force record because I am sure you will not be disappointed. For more info and updates on E-Force, please go to: www.facebook.com/eforceofficial.
Thanks again and see you on tour! Cheers, Eric (E-Force)
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