Posted in Arts, Top Arts

A Dead Forest Index embraces the storytelling nature of song

The New Zealand natives expand on their earlier sound with their first full-length album

They only look like a Swedish electro-pop duo, they are actually experimental.
They only look like a Swedish electro-pop duo, they are actually experimental.
Image Credits: Kentaro Takahashi

A Dead Forest Index is a musical duo formed by brothers Sam and Adam Sherry. The two worked independently as solo artists, collaborating when the opportunity arose, until 2010 when they decided to officially join together.  

“Everything just fell into place when we chose Melbourne as a new base, and our project has been at the forefront ever since,” explained Sam in an interview with The Peak.  

Sam is the percussionist of the two. He fills in the rhythms, as he dances with drums and piano through the undulations of Adam’s voice. Adam, the vocalist and guitarist, weaves a visual melody within the pulsing waves of Sam’s rhythms.

Currently, the duo is on a world tour with labelmate Chelsea Wolfe. Their recent performance at the Imperial was an amazing evening, as the two groups performed back to back. Chelsea Wolfe and her crew were a maelstrom of beats drumming through the body. A Dead Forest Index was an undulating wave of shifting sounds that ring true of their gentle and subtle voices.  

“It has been an amazing and incredible journey so far, and actually our first time travelling around the US and Canada,” said Sam. “It would be hard to pick one place from so many cities, but travelling through a place like Memphis really stands out — so much history. Chelsea and crew are beautiful people, and it’s an honour to share the stage every night.”

A Dead Forest Index revisits the traditional and the simple, merging the techniques of looping and drones, to create a sound that evokes both thought and feeling.  

As Sam explained it, the key elements in the writing process are hard to define; but imagery and words form a collection, or a kind of song cycle, that all comes back to inspiration from travelling, and something ancestral.

The duo released their debut album In All That Drifts from Summit Down in April 2016. Prior to that, they released two EPs: Antique (2012) and Cast of Lines (2014). Antique was an important starting point for them, and the recordings still hold a special place in their history.

According to Sam, Antique carries a denser and heavier atmosphere. Certainly there seems to be a more solemn tone on the EP; however, the tracks of In All that Drifts from Summit Down are equally surreal and memorable.  

When asked what his favourite track from their debut album was, Sam replied with “Homage Old.”

“It’s a very special one for us and was written at the end of our period of living in Melbourne,” he explained. “The cello drone is played by our dear friend Nicholas Jones, and hearing that cello always brings me right back to watching him play in the studio, such an amazing style.”’

For their next steps, the duo is looking forward to working on their next album, while continuing to tour and travel as much as possible.

“We really love being on the road, but also look forward to finding somewhere isolated to start finishing new ideas,” said Sam.

The voices of A Dead Forest Index are clear and beautiful, but also powerful and moving like the drifting waves hinted at by their song titles. Their unique presence is sure to leave a distinctive mark in the evolving stage of contemporary music as they continue on their journey.

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