The Lonely Forest

by Jared Curtis

If a tree falls in the forest but no one is around, does it make a sound? Well, if you’ve entered The Lonely Forest it does, and more people will soon find out just what kind of sound these four fellas from Anacortes are making as they’re currently on a headlining tour across the U.S. in support of their new album Adding Up the Wasted Hours.
“So far, everyone has been very encouraging about the record,” said front man John Van Deusen. “Almost everyone I’ve talked with says they like it more with every listen, which is a always a good critique of a record.”
The band — which features Van Deusen (vocals/keys/guitar), Tony Ruland (guitar), Eric Sturgeon (bass) and Braydn Krueger (drums) —worked on the new album with Chris Walla, guitarist for Death Cab for Cutie, who signed them to his label, Trans Records, in 2010. After producing the band’s self-titled EP in 2010, he helped mold the band’s sound for their most successful album to date, Arrows, which placed the band on various Top Ten lists, launched a single on a hit TV show and created a buzz surrounding the band.
“At first, we were very intimidated working with Chris, which is one of the reasons Arrows is kind of an awkward record,” Van Deusen said. “This time around we all knew each other really well and the overall mood of the recording session was relaxed and peaceful. You can totally hear the good vibes all over this record.”
The band recorded the basic tracks (guitar, drums, bass) for Adding Up the Wasted Hours at the Hall of Justice in Seattle with Walla, but they brought it back to Anacortes for the finishing touches.
“We laid down the basic tracks and everything else was recorded in my kitchen in Anacortes,” Van Deusen said. “I think the record has an unusual sound because of the two locations.”
Compared to other albums, Van Deusen believes this record is a little more grown up then past releases.
“It’s more focused and lyrically, it’s a little less literal and a bit more ambiguous,” he said.
But don’t fret fans; The Lonely Forest hasn’t morphed into a group of senile and bitter old men. Fans are sure to find the sounds that drew them to the band in the first place spread all over Adding up the Wasted Hours.
“Everything you hear on the new album came very naturally to us. We didn’t force anything and we went with our gut when making decisions,” Van Deusen said. “Personally, I think it sounds like you squished our other three records into one, bringing the best parts from each together.”
Creating a follow-up to a “hit” album can be tough, especially when your producer is the guitarist for one of the most popular bands in not only the region, but the U.S. But the band is totally at ease with their rock star producer and cites him as one of the reasons they’re still making music.
“Chris is like a big brother to us. We get along most of the time and every once in a while we get pissed off and throw things,” Van Deusen laughed. “He’s a very inspiring individual and one of the biggest reasons we are still a band releasing records.”
Sometimes when a rock star runs a label it ends up being a vanity project, but not with Walla, they said.
“Chris is definitely a hands on producer. He’s very creative and talented, so it’s hard for him to sit still and watch everything happen,” Van Deusen said. “However, he was really great at letting the bands experiment and try things. He seemed to trust us more in the studio for this new record and I think fans can hear that.”
With such a hectic touring schedule, you’d think the band would relax a little bit, but that’s not the case.
“I basically already have our next record written. I’m always on to the next thing. Thanks ADD,” laughed Van Deusen.
The band was currently signed to a new label — Chop Shop Records, which is an imprint of Universal/Republic — and are headlining a tour across the U.S., introducing the new album to loyal fans and converting new fans to the band’s hypnotic sound.
“This tour is going well. It’s the first of many in support of this new record. You got to take it one day at a time or else you get a little overwhelmed,” Van Deusen said. “Everyone seems very excited about our new music which is great! I don’t have to hold my breath any longer anticipating the response from fans.”
Although the band is enjoying playing all over the country, they always know where they are going to play the best shows and receive the best response.
“Certain markets on the east coast are amazing, but then you’ll catch other regions during the week and some of those shows can be real downers. But playing say Chicago on a Friday night is always phenomenal. So it always depends on when and where you’re playing,” Van Deusen said. “But nothing will ever beat playing in Seattle or Anacortes though. Northwest shows feel like playing a show to family now. And I’ve always enjoyed playing in Bellingham because lots of kids from campus come out and they are always pumped to see a show. The fans there are always ready to have a good time.”

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