By A.J. Wachtel
The Liverpool Sound invasion of the early ’60s happened more than 50 years ago but you can still hear the resulting reverberations whenever The Forz get onstage and shake the roof of the club. Sorta like Herman’s Hermits meets Weezer meets Gerry & the Pacemakers meets The Hollies meets Fountains of Wayne. Cole Tyler is on vocals and lead guitar, Anthony Graziano sings and plays rhythm guitar, Dave Gambon on vocals and bass, and Ryan Hottenrott croons and pounds. Great harmonies with a current yet retro pop feel, their high energy gigs with catchy original songs mixed with a vintage/ contemporary sound make them one of the best bands around.
Noise: Your music has been described as mid-’60s Brit rock, Beatlesque and Mersey beat. Is this an accurate description?
Cole Tyler: It is to an extent. When we started out, we especially tried to be authentic and capture that particular sound. We didn’t even use distortion at all! But at the same time, we’ve been working really hard over the past four years to find our own sound and stray away from the Mersey beat image. We feel as though that label almost holds us back in a way because we’re so much more than that. I feel like garage rock or power pop is a more accurate term.
Noise: What are the similarities and differences between The Forz and Muck & the Mires?
Ryan Hottenrott: I’d say the similarities are we both have a lot of power and energy on stage and give great live shows but we play a different style of vintage rock ‘n’ roll where they have more punk rock in their music. We are more power pop.
Cole: Those guys have been really good to us in the past. We really appreciate them a lot.
Noise: All four band members sing lead and the lush harmonies are the first thing you notice. How do the arrangements work out when you rehearse a new song?
Cole: One huge thing that’s effected our harmonies in a good way is that originally I would sing the lower harmony and Anthony the higher part. We’ve since become more aware of our own abilities and switched it up so I sing the higher parts and Anthony the low.
Noise: You have a very authentic sound. How does your young ages make it contemporary?
Cole: I think our ages make us a bit more aware of the modern music scene in a way that we know what other modern garage rock type bands are doing. Through finding bands like Cool Ghouls and Foxygen, we realized that not only are there many bands out there that are doing the same sort of thing we do but that we could really make it our own and modernize that sound a bit in our own way. It was certainly liberating in that sense.
Noise: There’s a nice mix of power pop, rock ’n’ roll, garage rock and surf in your music. Who bring what influences to the table in The Forz?
Cole: The cool thing about this band is that we all have really similar tastes and music collections, but we also each have our own preferences as well so maybe I might bring more of the power pop feel or Anthony might bring more of a punk edge and so on.
Anthony Graziano: Yeah, I like that we can write a base idea for a song and that everyone is able to throw their own styles into it so it really makes our original compositions grow into the songs they are regardless of how they were originally written.
Ryan: I tend to listen to more ’70s rock ‘n’ roll and a lot of prog rock which inspire more varied and different beats and style of playing.
Noise: Cole, you and Anthony write most of the music. Do you write together or separately and what do you two like best about each other’s abilities and compositions?
Cole: We wrote a lot of what’s on the first album together. Running From The Past sees us writing a bit more on our own and now its becoming 50 – 50 together and apart. I like that Anthony can be really objective when it comes to “cutting the fat” from a song, as we put it. A lot of his most recent songs have been a little spooky too which I definitely enjoy!
Noise: In your live set you cover “Psychotic Reaction” by The Count Five, “Here Comes Your Man” by The Pixies, “Inside Looking Out” by The Animals and “Open My Eyes” by The Nazz. How do you pick these songs and why are they part of your catalog?
Cole: If we can really make a song our own, then it’ll work out great and the songs that you mention are the best of that formula. I can say for “Inside Looking Out,” the moment that song came on the first time we all heard it, I immediately said “I need to sing this song.” It blew me away. “Open My Eyes” was one that I always wanted to cover as well. I used to think the original recording was such a mess [laughs] but I think as I’ve grown and broadened my tastes I appreciate it a lot more.
Noise: You guys formed in 2012. How and where did you connect?
Cole: I had randomly decided to check the Craigslist musician ads, something I had pretty much given up on at that point, and just happened upon an ad Anthony had posted looking to start this exact type of band. I obviously jumped at the chance as it was like an ad sent from above in my perspective. The perfect band, you know? Anyway, from there we got together and started writing the first couple Forz songs and rehearsing with my brother Ryan who I obviously already knew was a great drummer.
Dave Gambon: Like Cole says, I had pretty much given up on looking for bands at that point too because it was always such a waste of time but Cole messaged me and asked if I wanted to play in a band he was in. I went down to their rehearsal room, which was basically the size of a large closet, and they played “Something New” for me. I immediately knew this was a band I needed to be a part of. It was something special.
Noise: You’ve recently been nominated and placed on The 59th Grammy Award’s ballots for “Best New Artist,” and “Best Performance” for your two original compositions “Separate Ways” and “Words For Me.” How did this happen?
Dave: When we were in the process of working on the second album, we were looking for new ways to promote it’s release when we received an email back from Al Gomes of Big Noise. We had been in contact with him a few years before and he came through on his promise that he would get back to us once he could really take us on.
Cole: I was impressed with the fact that he actually got back to us, even after a few years had passed. But he called me and gave me the news that we were officially on the ballot and I went from zero to 100 in that moment. I started calling Anthony, Dave and Ryan, as well as anyone else I could to tell them the great news! Don’t really know how it happened but it’s pretty great either way!
Noise: What’s in the future for The Forz?
Cole: Big things. Big changes. The only thing we can really promise right now is an upcoming EP release of what I personally consider the most focused and, really, the best material we’ve written so far. We plan to release that on vinyl too. We’ve gotten a lot of requests for a vinyl release so stay tuned for that!