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Forest Claudette: Growing Beyond The Green

The Melbourne artist speaks on his new EP ‘Everything Was Green', working with Earthgang and leaving his comfort zone behind.

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On Forest Claudette’s latest EP Everything Was Green,  the Melbourne-born artist delivers a bold new tracklist that reflects the artist’s inward journey. Seamlessly transcending from sublime heights to sweeping senses of vulnerability, between the textural soundscapes, soul-stirring vocals, and thoughtfully placed autoune, Forest Claudette (he/ they) paints a vivid portrait of heartache, clarity and connection as he embraces his identity.

Forest Claudette’s latest work follows singles ‘Two Years’, ‘Motor in the Sand’ and ‘Mess Around’ featuring US hip-hop duo Earthgang. Everything Was Green lends lush, spine-tingling walls of synths accompanied by melodic falsettos. The R&B up-and-comer showcases his lyrical talent, skillfully intertwining personal experiences and emotions that bleed onto each track. 

Across the release, Claudette showcases a side of himself that oozes confidence. ‘Hi Vis Teeth’ builds a swelling sensation of euphoric energy, as the lyrics open with “not to brag but- I’ve got the best of the best, I say that shit with my chest”. Creating a sense of gratefulness, the track is generous in layers of building synths swirling in-between irresistible baselines. 

With a budding energy that leans into Claudette’s cheeky nature, Everything Was Green is rich in versatility and packed full of infectious grooves that resonate throughout the project. The EP takes a shift in tempo with the final track ‘Violence’, a mosaic of collective thoughts and feelings encapsulated within Forest’s experience as he delicately articulates a feeling that many can relate to in a richly layered track that is dripping with emotions.

We recently caught up with Forest Claudette to hear more about the process of creating his latest EP.

With personal growth at the core of your new EP, Everything Was Green, were there any hurdles to overcome that helped push you creatively?
Yeah of course, there were plenty. Some moments were singular; for instance, with ‘Two Years’, that’s an experience I had never had and hopefully, I won’t again. I’m grateful, of course, for what I learned through that time in my life, but it was really hard. Whereas with something like ‘Pool Boy’ or ‘Violence’, the themes are constant in my day-to-day. So the learning and growth are never-ending. I just hope to be able to articulate and capture what I’ve discovered so far.

By embracing your identity and welcoming a new sense of self, what is the meaning behind the title Everything Was Green?
For me, green is home. Green is everything I have known for the first 22 years of my life. I’d never spent an extended period of time away from my friends and family. So to say everything was green is to leave all of that. To experience a new place without as much of a safety net. Being pushed to meet new people, get out of my comfort zone and learn more about myself.

Which song you were most excited about on this EP and why?
I really am proud of every song on the EP. But the song I get most excited by is ‘Pool Boy’. It holds a lot of the cheekiness and playful energy that I have. There’s a moment at 0:31 that sounds like a kung fu sound effect to me, and it’s just my favourite thing. It was an accident – an artefact in the vocal track because at one point while we were recording, I couldn’t stop playing with the microphone’s little wind sock. It just makes me smile when I hear it.

Your track ‘Violence’ is beautiful and raw; what does the song mean to you?
Violence is something I’ve been trying to articulate for so long. To capture at least some of how the last 3 years have felt. The overwhelming feeling that nothing really changes. The fatigue, the fear, the rage. But also a space to feel the burden of racism, to sit with youth emotions and maybe grieve.

‘Mess Around’ features Earthgang; how did that connection come about? Tell us more about putting that track together.
I really wish this story was cooler. I haven’t actually met the cats from Earthgang in person yet. But the feature came about through my label. Mess Around was pretty much finished when someone suggested that the only thing left to consider was a feature. So I presented a list of people we could reach out to, and I couldn’t really believe it when Earthgang said they were down. We had a chat on the phone about the song and the energy of it; they were both very generous with their time. It was awesome. Definitely a moment I won’t forget.

From your debut EP The Year Of February up to now, how do you think you’ve grown as an artist?
I feel as though I’m really getting more comfortable with who I am and finding ways to be less afraid to share that. I’ve learned a lot since I wrote the songs on TYOF, but there’s always more to unpack and discover. The thing I’d like to hold on to from writing EWG is some of the fun and freedom I felt. It’s easy to get bogged down with my own expectations of how I should be progressing as an artist and what that might look like. But I must remember I make my favourite things when I feel free and open.

What can we expect next from you?
Well, I’ve not really stopped writing, I’ve been writing for about a month or so, and there’s some more to do but hopefully, I’ll have more music to share sooner rather than later. Other than that, I’m so excited to get ready for Splendour in the Grass and the other festivals we have coming up! It should be a wonderful time.

Follow Forest Claudette here for more and check out his EP Everything Was Green out now.

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