I’m here interviewing Portland’s very own Forrest Power the frontman of “Good I’m Glad” and creator of the record label Propaganda Kid. In this interview we are going to be discussing why they choose to create a record label, what influenced their sound along with many other things.
Q: What are your biggest influences for you and your band’s sound?
A:I think while I’d really like to gloat and offer you an array of interesting and obscure artists I find inspiring, I’ve gotta be honest. I developed a sound fairly young, and based it mostly on the indie and alternative rock of the 2000s that I had grown up on, with some jazz and pop influences mixed in here and there. I’d cite the bands that made me want to start making rock music as the Killers, Weezer, and Green Day, but before I was skillful with my electric guitar I used midi programs to tab out everything from jazz fusion like the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and the Big Phat Band to EDM like Deadmau5. All of these things have accumulated to bring me where I am today, where I combine what I knew growing up with midwest emo, math rock, and hardcore punk like Bad Brains
Q: What do you want people to think or feel when they listen to your band’s music?
A: I feel all of my emotions really loudly. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I think there’s something magical about listening to a loud, energetic, devastatingly sad song. That’s how many of my songs are, and how I intend them to be. Something cynical that you can still dance to. It’s usually my slower songs that get to people’s emotions though, and I guess that’s pretty cool too.
Q:What made you want to make your own record label “Propaganda Kid”?
A:In Portland there’s a pretty strong hierarchy of artists… lots of big names, but the smaller artists are typically overlooked completely, and there’s not much of a middle-class in this mix. I wanted to build a support system of artists that band together and uplift each other. I thought the best way to do that was to get everyone on a central distributor with this idea. Another reason I started Propaganda Kid was to make distribution more affordable for younger artists. Most distributors charge a minimum of $20-$30 a year for a single artist to reliably distribute their music without a label. I wanted to streamline this process by paying the highest rates available and offsetting the cost by charging $5 a year for all of my artists. So far I’m not breaking even, but the label is steadily growing, and I have faith that I will be able to continue sharing the sounds of Portland’s more obscure artists with the scene for many years.
Q: What does you band name “ Good I’m Glad” symbolize?
A: I wish I had a good answer for these! ‘Good I’m Glad’ is just a phrase I hear people say a lot. I guess I liked it because it’s typically used to express happiness about another person’s happiness. That being said, I realized quickly how it can be misinterpreted if said in a passive aggressive tone, and joked about it on a song by sampling Donald Glover saying it like this in his ‘Weirdo’ standup set. ‘Rei Deora’ I’m told is derived from some Greek word pertaining to the future, but I can’t be sure as I joined in 2019, and wasn’t there at the conception of the band in 2018.
Q: What made you want to start a band and join them? A: Something about how my parents raised my brother, my sister and I made us all musicians. Neither of my parents are musicians, but my brother plays bass and my sister is a fantastic singer, and nobody is totally sure how this happened. My story probably begins when I was 8 and my mom let me take guitar lessons. I hated it, but she wouldn’t let me quit because I had asked her to get me them. I picked up a lot of basic knowledge but I was generally more focused on video games and other things when I was that age. When I was in middle school I played in the jazz band and discovered that I wasn’t half-bad for someone my age, and really started to enjoy my craft. About that time I discovered I enjoyed video game music a whole lot more than I liked video games. As I began to write more electronic music I learned to apply my composition skills to my guitar playing, and started writing rock songs with words. I was 13, and I guess ever since then I’d wanted to be in a band.
Q:How do you feel when people compare you and your band to “Weezer”?
A: Well, they’re not wrong. I was a little too into Weezer when I was learning to write songs, and it’s become a huge inside joke with fans and friends that my songs sound like Weezer. Still, I hope someday I forge enough of a sound and identity for people to separate the two!
Q: Who are your favorite bands? A: I always have trouble naming my favorite bands of all time, but my favorite bands right now are The Go! Team, Oso Oso, Glass Animals, Vulfpeck, and Illuminati Hotties. The Go! Team are an incredibly fun UK group that mixes lo-fi indie rock with old school hip hop. Oso Oso is an alternative/emo group that gives the genre a totally new introspective and subtly melancholy vibe. Vulfpeck are an insanely talented funk band with a great sense of humor, and Illuminati Hotties is… hard to describe. I hesitate to call them a punk band. Check out their latest record.
Q: What is your song writing process? A: It tends to vary from song to song, but I usually start with a handful of lyrics. People always told me writers get inspiration doing mundane tasks, and almost all of my songs contain something I wrote in my head at either school or work. “The Moon Wouldn’t Miss Ya!” is a song that I completely conceptualized while working a 12-hour shift at my old retirement home job. Other than that, I tend to write my songs in front of my computer. I like to produce as I go along, using my software to workshop different parts through a trial-and-error process. I lay down a guitar part, I record a vocal. Didn’t like it? Scrap it and start again. It can take weeks sometimes, but other times I can write two songs in a day. After I record a draft I tend to write down my lyrics and comb through them, looking for anything that might be better off changed. When I’m happy with my demo I send it to my band, and we workshop it some more both at our homes and in-person.
Q: What would have to be your favorite gig? A: So much has started to blur together, it’s hard to pinpoint. I will say we had a fantastic last two shows before quarantine began. We had an intimate acoustic show at one of my favorite retro game stores, of all places. Not only did a lot of people show up and enjoy our set, but I was literally surrounded by another passion of mine. After that we had a super energetic set at a youth center. I’ve never seen that many kids dancing to my music before!
You can find Forrest and his band on these instagram accounts Propaganda Kid: https://instagram.com/propagandakid?igshid=19hgqmvukmb8p Good I’m Glad: https://instagram.com/goodimgladpdx?igshid=s94iyehoshs7Plastic Brains: https://instagram.com/plasticbrainspdx?igshid=16294tz1pkf9erei deora: https://instagram.com/reideorapdx?igshid=s44j1fttzvz3r