Provlépseis: Tori Forsyth discusses the making of her genre-bending new LP

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Provlépseis: Tori Forsyth discusses the making of her genre-bending new LP

Words by Benjamin Lamb

The singer chats about getting out of your comfort zone, songwriting and the record making process.

Tori Forsyth’s new record Provlépseis follows 2018’s breakthrough album, Dawn Of The Dark: a country-tinged reflection on the rural upbringing of the singer-songwriter, where country music has always been an important facet of the sonic landscape.

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Tori and many of her fellow musicians have built their sound and style from the foundations of country music, this genre being at the heart of Forsyth’s musical origins.

But as time goes on, she notes that her tastes have broadened and developed into areas from heavy metal through to blues, which is reflective in the rockier sounds of Provlépseis.

“I love country music, that’s where I started, but I wanted to incorporate more of what I was listening to, and where I’m at in my life. Without it sounding confusing, I wanted to be able to cram as much as possible into my record that I’m inspired by, and I think that shapes the individual sound.”

“When you listen to your favourite artist and they have so many different genres in their sound, it’s inspiring” she adds.

Tori notes that a rich abundance of musical tastes should be the norm among all musicians.

“I think that every artist should be drawing from different genres that are outside of their comfort zone,” she says

“Music has so many facets to it, I find it interesting that people don’t explore outside of what they have been originally taught or originally know, and they stick to their one train of thought.

“I think that for me personally, it’s therapy that I listen to a bunch of different music.”

During the recording process, Tori was immersed in the listening of a vast array of artists outside of the country sphere, name-dropping acts like Nirvana, Hole, PJ Harvey and Soundgarden as being central to the sound of Provlépseis.

“While I was writing this record, I was teaching myself full records of Nirvana and Hole, so of course that’s going to be an influence,” says Forsyth.

The harder resonance of Provlépseis lets Forsyth incorporate a fuller band sound on the live stage, allowing for a more memorable and impactful live performance in the wake of the pandemic.

“It’s a different energy when you’re playing rock music as opposed to country. You always read about rock bands and performing they go to a different place, it’s like an out of body experience, it’s something you can’t articulate,” she says, noting that her newer hard-edged material has allowed her to experience the joys of live performance in a whole new manner now.

“I love my ballads; that’s my forte. I love writing them and singing them. But when everybody on stage has this particular same energy, and people in the audience are vibing it, it really is something you can’t explain, it’s incredible” she assures.

The broader and fuller sound of Provlépseis also comes courtesy of its production. Provlépseis marks the return of long-time Forsyth producer and ARIA-award winner Shane Nicholson, with whom Forsyth shares a professional friendship that’s clicked well and helped her shine over the years.

“I’ve known Shane for nearly six years now, he’s been one of the biggest champions of my career,” she says.

“I feel really lucky to have met him early on, he’s one of my greatest mentors. His music knowledge is so broad which is good for me, because I listen to so much music too, a lot of different music. So for him to understand that and not be so narrow-minded is great.”

However, it’s clear to note that Nicholson and other musical compatriots only provide Forsyth with a helping hand much later in the song-making and production process, with Tori noting that she’s not much of a fan of the co-writing route.

“I would ask for advice maybe structurally or with guitar ideas, because that’s just out my area, and I enjoy other people’s creative minds around that,” she reasons.

“I’ve definitely been told to do the co-write thing, that’s something that’s been drilled in to me since I began, that co-writing is a really important aspect of being an artist, and everyone needs to do it, and you need to do it in order to be successful. I’m not good at it, and I don’t like it.

“It’s not on the other person either,  I just find it really difficult to be honest while somebody’s sitting there.”

Although Forsyth isn’t perturbed at the idea of co-writing on the horizon, she’s happy with the way things are right now.

“I’m not putting it off the table, but for now, I still love writing, and inspired by the act of writing therapeutically,” she explains. “There’s definitely people who try to persuade you to do different things, but sticking to my guns is definitely proven to be the best thing.” 

One of Tori’s main goals with songwriting is to create pieces that are true to herself, and much alike her favourite music, songs that have the ability to evoke an emotion and truly connect with an audience.

“I think I want people to be able to resonate with lyrics, whilst being able to go through every phase of what music can do for you emotionally. I think that this record has things to make you feel really great, and it has things to make you probably a bit sad, and I love that about a record.

“Evoking emotion is one of music’s biggest powers, and I really hope that listeners of this record feel that emotional rollercoaster that I love to feel during the listening of a record.”

Provlépseis is out today via Island Records Australia.