It began three years ago, in a corner of the internet filled with odd requests and sketchy characters - in the Craigslist ads.

The Forum is the indie-alternative band opening for The Hails and Flipturn Friday night at The Wooly.

The band began recording demos in 2015, with the enthralling combination of 23-year-old Michael Higgins’ husky vocals, Jacob “Jake” Farrell, 22, on bass and Nick Wheeler, 26, on guitar. Ethan Klohr, 21, joined the trio in 2018, adding killer drums to their new music.

Friday’s crowd can look forward to being the first to hear The Forum’s unreleased music.

Last weekend, I talked to Higgins and Farrell about the band’s inception, process and inspirations.  

Jackie DeFreitas: Was there anything that inspired you to start a band? Did you have some sort of childhood dream to do so or did this whole thing happen sort of willy nilly?

Jake Farrell: I think we were all kind of in the same head space. For me, when I reached out to other people on Craigslist, it was one part boredom, one part always wanting to form a group and write music and be able to play for other people and another part just missing playing music in general.

Michael Higgins: I was just looking for other people to play with. I didn’t really realize that I would meet people who wrote the same way and liked the same style. So, I didn’t really go into it with a goal.

JD: Who writes the songs?

MH: Well, I write all the lyrics. We pretty much piece-by-piece write songs together instrumentally. Someone will come in with one riff or musical line and then we’ll kind of all get together and build based on that and once we know … the flow of the song that’s when I’ll just start adding melodies and then later I’ll add lyrics.

JD: What do you like to write about?

JF, faintly and in the background: Sadness….

MH: Lyrically, I’ve always liked small, minute moments. My biggest inspiration is Death Cab for Cutie, and they’re all about writing about these really small, interpersonal moments. I like to see a larger story in something really small, whether it's something emotional, whether it’s a realization — things like that. And I'll kind of craft it from half real life and half making up a story alongside that. If I have a small, scary thought or idea, it's like ‘Oh, I should expound on that.’

JD: Was there any song in particular that was hardest to write?

MF: Maybe this is just recency bias, but I think our single “Dive.” The lyrics to that are very reflective. I was kind of just reflecting on what I had experienced in the last year. “Dive” is just about not embracing failure, but embracing putting effort into something, even if it doesn’t work out. And I had realized that had happened a couple times in the previous year, and I was trying to put a positive spin on that.

JD: And going off of talking about songs, “Father Hunger,” the first song on your recent EP, is it based off something personal or like you said before where it’s half made-up, half you just expounding on a thought?

MH: Actually, that one is very real. I was in a psychology class around the time I wrote that and learned about the term ‘father hunger.’ Basically, it’s centered around an adolescent girl growing up without a male figure in her life and seeking that kind of approval from a father figure or something like that.  And I work at a summer camp (Orange County in Orlando) and I work with kids. There’s these two kids in this family, these two girls that I found out at one point that their dad is in prison for a really long time. I’ve seen how it ends up affecting them and that was always an emotional thing for me because those kids became a really big part of my life, so I wrote it based on that.

JD: How would you describe your musical style?

JF: I think we have always said our genre is alternative indie, which is really broad.

MH: We kind of changed our sound a little bit. It's always morphing. Lately it has been, indie with a lean towards pop. There’s like pop rock undertones.

JF: When you don't go into it saying ‘Oh I’m gonna make a rock band,’ or ‘Oh I’m gonna make a pop band.’ It's hard to limit yourself by describing your songs in that way. And we go into writing music without that kind of categorical idea of ‘Is this an indie song?’ ‘Is this a rock song?’ ‘What genre is this?’ Just because I feel like it is more creatively freeing for us writing music.

JD: Are you guys working on any new music now?

MH: Yeah we have a ton of new music. We just welcomed a new drummer to the band, and we have been working with a ton of new ideas….On the show on Friday, we are actually only playing two old songs and the rest of the set is entirely new.

Rapid Fire section:

JD: Cats or dogs?

MH: Cats.

JF: Dogs.

JD: Drink of choice?

MH: Don’t judge me… Long Island. It's the most efficient.

JF: Vodka tonic

JD: If you could jam with any band who would it be?

MH: Bad Suns

JF: Young the Giant

JD: Favorite venue?

MH: 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville for me. I feel like a real musician there.

JF: Will’s Pub in Orlando just because of the history of it. It's like a dive bar, but it has such a historic reputation of a ton of great bands going through and playing there.


Thanks to Craigslist, Gainesville’s legendary music scene welcomes a new band.