SILENT FORUM (from l-r): Richard Wiggins (vocals), Oli Richards (bass), Dario Ordi (guitar), Elliot Samphier (drums)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
PHOTO & COVER ART by JAYDON MARTIN
Since forming as How I Faked The Moon Landing back in 2012, four-piece Silent Forum have not become known for just sticking to a particular genre.
Having started out playing upbeat indie-rock, the Cardiff outfit changed their name and switched to an overall darker, more brooding tone for 2015 EP, ‘Brief Collapses’, and last year’s release, ‘Sanctuary’.
However, the band are now confidently making a return to their roots, with a single coming out next month that shares the quartet’s original moniker and promises to be a livelier listen.
With the Welsh collective also unveiling a debut album early next year, their frontman, Richard Wiggins, spoke to me about all of the above, and more.
How did the band form?
We are a product of the internet, as none of us had any prior contact before finding each other via online message boards. It’s weird to think that through reading out to randomers online, we have made our best and closest friends.
You were originally known as How I Faked The Moon Landing, which is also the title of your upcoming single release. Why the name change to Silent Forum?
Oli came up with the original band name, which was very appropriate for our original sound – that of a fun indie-pop act, but since then, we have gone through a couple of different phases.
Prior to this latest batch of material, we had written two darker EPs for which the name How I Faked The Moon Landing would have been tonally inappropriate, so Silent Forum seemed more fitting.
When we first started writing album material, we found ourselves returning to a brighter, bubblier sound, so it felt right to name it after our former selves.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
As a band, we have broad tastes. Elliot draws from art-rock bands such as Everything Everything and nu-jazz acts like GoGo Penguin, my vocal heroes are David Gedge of The Wedding Present and Joe Casey of Protomartyr, Oli’s bass influences are from the melodic side of the spectrum, including Jenny Lee Lindberg of Warpaint and Carlos D. of Interpol, and Dario’s guitars are lovingly inspired by Pavement, Talking Heads, and Acid Mothers Temple.
What would you say was your songwriting approach?
We have an unusual approach in that every note any of us ever write is in the presence of the whole group. We write quickly, typically creating a song per practice, and we feel like this approach gives us a cohesive, well-rounded sound.
More recently, we have been looking to write songs which are unlike anything else we have in our set list, and hopefully, this will give our debut album some variety.
What inspires the band lyrically?
I often write about myself, or the band as a whole. I write about people who I know, or about work. More and more, I try to draw from things that I have said in day-to-day life – I try to not draw inspirations from artists I love because I want to say something that is natural and “me“.
How was the recording process for ‘How I Faked The Moon Landing’?
We are working with Charlie Francis on our debut album, which includes this song, and he is a dream to work with, as he doesn’t tell us what to do, but makes sensible suggestions which focuses our sound.
My favourite of the ideas that Charlie has had so far created the huge hand claps you can hear on the track, as he asked Elliot to smack a broom against a wooden kart in an echo-y hall, and somehow, it sounds amazing!
You mentioned that this track will see the band return to their roots. What were the main reasons for this?
I am happier than I was a couple of years ago, so returning to more positive music seemed natural.
Something terrible happened to a few of my friends last year, it had an unmistakable effect on my approach to singing, and this change in mindset is best summed up by a lyric from our song, ‘Credit To Mark Sinker’, “I’d like to apologise for pitching sadness as an aspriation“, and on top of this, the band has had to completely change its sound.
Our former band member and very dear friend, Aaron Wood, had to leave the band last year (he is now a junior doctor), and this necessitated a significant sonic shift as Dario acclimatised to being the sole guitarist.
The single will also be an indication of how your debut album will be. When are you thinking of getting that out by?
We are hoping to have the album out early next year, and another couple of singles will be coming out between now and then.
The band have now firmly established themselves on the Cardiff underground music scene. How is the experience, for you all, of playing live?
It depends on how the gig is. It’s often when we feel most comfortable with ourselves, like we’re doing the most natural thing in the world, but occasionally, it can be the exact opposite of this!
Ultimately, it’s a great deal of fun, and we love sharing these moments. It’s also a privilege to perform to a loyal audience with your very best friends.
What else have you got lined up over the next couple of months?
We are organising a tour to go with the album next year. Also, we plan to unveil a series of music videos, which we will be working on with our friend and collaborator, Jaydon Martin, who made the fantastic and odd video for ‘How I Faked The Moon Landing’.
And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?
We have only ever had the aim to make excellent music that we are proud of. There are a few people who we know hold our songs very dearly – to reach more people and entertain them is all we could ever ask for.
‘HOW I FAKED THE MOON LANDING’, THE NEW SINGLE FROM SILENT FORUM, WILL BE RELEASED VIA LIBERTINO RECORDS ON AUGUST 10.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: