Rising to indie fame around the turn of the twenty-first century, the American progressive-punk band The Fall of Troy defied expectations; achieving mainstream radio and TV airplay worldwide, as well garnering placements in video games such as Saints Row, MLB 2K6 and Guitar Hero III. As happens with many meteoric rises to prominence, however, they broke up a few years later. Following a three-year hiatus, The Fall of Troy broke new ground once more, with a brand new album – in four different formats – and their first-ever Japanese tour. Weekender journalist Laurier Tiernan reached out to drummer Andrew Forsman, in order to get their backstory before their upcoming Tokyo shows.
Growing up in Mukilteo, Washington, you recorded your first album when you were still in high school. How do you think the music you made was affected by your youth?
I guess it’s cliché but, when we were young we didn’t know what we couldn’t do, so there was very little self-doubt. Starting out young, without any experience of failure, just let us be as open as we wanted to be.
You rose to mainstream success, with your songs even being featured in video games like Guitar Hero, when you were all still around 20 years of age. How did it feel to have those accomplishments come rushing in, knowing that you were completely responsible for your music, as composers and players?
I think at the time we didn’t have a lot of perspective of the reach that that kind of stuff had. We were a pretty insular group. At the time we pretty much just hung out with each other and we had a pretty small group of friends. Unless you hit the top, I’m not sure if it ever feels really big.
After originally breaking up in 2010, The Fall of Troy played its first reunion shows in 2013, while you were all still in your late twenties. Did it feel odd to be part of a highly-anticipated reunion while you were still so young?
Not really, because we started when we were sixteen, so the reunion was just twelve years after the formation; it wasn’t a huge amount of time. More than anything, I think we were just surprised that life had conspired to put us on stage together again.
Your Wikipedia page says that you are a post-hardcore band, but whenever I listen to you, I can’t get past thinking that you are progressive. What are your main influences, and how do you yourselves categorize the Fall of Troy?
A lot of our influences were the things that we were into when we started the band: Botch, These Arms are Snakes, Pretty Girls Make Graves, etc. As far as how we categorize ourselves, it depends on who we’re talking to. I’ll tell my mom’s friends that we’re very heavy rock, kind of heavy metal, but more punk. I think maybe the best definition might be something like “Prog Punk.”
Just as many artists strive to improve their craft over time, the overall sound of The Fall of Troy has evolved over the course of your career. How do you see the progression of your musical evolution, as a band?
I made a joke on our Facebook page that it feels like we are unlearning to play our instruments as we go on. I think the common theme for all of us is that we are constantly writing things that we can’t play, and that’s all it is when you start playing an instrument: your reach exceeds your grasp. And, for me, that’s the most interesting part of music. At this point, I think we’re always trying to get back to that.
Which is your favorite piece of work that you’ve done with The Fall of Troy, and why?
Our most recent album was really satisfying because we did it all on our own, from start to finish. In terms of pure songs though, it’s probably Doppelgänger. I can listen to that album front to back and there are no duds; that’s always nice.
What are some of the goals that you haven’t reached yet, that you’d like to accomplish in the coming years?
There are a lot of places that we’ve never been that we’d love to play. Over the last few years (since our reunion) we’ve been to Russia twice. People were terrified for us to go there, but it was actually one of the most welcoming and fun places that we’ve ever played. If I could go to more places, that would be really cool, and just maintain our current pace of releasing music and touring.
What are some of your favorite things about Japan?
Thomas loves sushi and teriyaki, but maybe the latter was invented in Hawaii. I took Japanese language studies for three years in high school. We’ve also heard pretty good things about the interaction between artists and Japanese fans. I want to eat some weird stuff, and see some weird stuff. Hopefully I can drink some ramune, and Calpis, and treats like that.
Do you have any parting words for your fans, or prospective fans in Japan?
Just come to the show, and I promise that we won’t disappoint you. We work really hard when we’re on stage because we realize that people have not only paid money, but they’re also giving us their time, and that is something that is so sacred. Especially in today’s world, everyone has a ton of things going on at any given time. So, if someone shares some time out of their life with us, we want to give them the best thing that we can. Every show is different with us, and we try to tailor each performance to the individual place. Please come and have a unique experience with us.
Fall of Troy is playing a number of shows around Tokyo. For more details, visit their event page.