FXRRVST is one of the most exciting bands to hit my ears and heart in 2021.
They have just released Dear Friend; Pt. 2 and a new video for Floorboards.
This mighty forest is comprised of two fascinating trees: Holly Forrest and Matthew Fuentes.
As I introduce Holly Forrest and Matthew Fuentes, they both say in synchronicity: “Thank-you for having us, yeah.”
FXRRVST wasn’t always in sync. There was a rough patch, at the inception of the band, where they would break up every other day.
Two trees stubbornly going in different musical directions: Folk versus Punk.
“We both just wanted it so bad” shares Holly, “our dream was to write music and for that to be a career, in any form of the word. We became best friends on day one, that was never an issue.”
They decided to focus, not on their dissimilarity, but instead searched for the commonalities.
“When you hear the word compromise, most people think that immediately means you are going to lose something, and not what you gain” adds Matthew.
When a young tree is too rigid, a gust of wind will snap it, yet a flexible one will weather the storm and continue its upward trajectory.
“The minute we swallowed our pride, we gained our sound” concludes Matthew.
The origins of their musical heritage was also divergent.
Matthew never thought he would have a band. He remembers always whistling, and “music would make me feel better…specifically sad songs.”
Listening to bands like The Smiths, ironically didn’t make him feel bad. “They are more beautiful than sad.”
Maybe it was the fact that when Morrissey sang “when a double decker bus crashes into us”, he ignored the lyrics and it was the melody and the sonic aspect of the music that would usher calm, focus and make him feel better.
Shyness to play music in front of others almost sucked Matthew into being a lawyer or a Math teacher.
An experience at a coffee house open mic gave him the confidence to pursue music as a career. “Even if I’m not famous, I just want to do something that involves music.”
To balance his lack of lyric writing skills, he would need to find that special someone to complete the equation.
When Holly was younger, she wrote poetry, and started playing the guitar at the tender age of 9.
Something changed when Holly discovered Paramore, at the age of 13. She felt that the “music was different. They made me feel better and the words hit differently.”
That was the hard-hitting moment when guitar and poetry coalesced. “I want to give that feeling to someone else.”
It strikes me that Holly went into this new endeavor with a generous intention. In a world when many are seeking attention, likes and recognition, Holly is a giver, and that bleeds into her lyrics.
Success, to Holly, is “doing something I love, for the rest of my life.” That would include putting music into the world and playing shows.
She is also one of the strongest people I know, top position goes to my wife of course. To be so open about her struggles with mental health is incredibly brave and powerful.
“As a teenager, those years, where I discovered some of these bands, were the darkest moments I was going through.”
For Holly, it was the transparency of bands like Tegan and Sara that made her feel “less alone.”
Songs like Knife Going In may have had a different meaning for the band, but her interpretation helped her with what she was going through at the time.
When writing, Holly would “cover things up, and change the words”, but the bluntness of Tegan and Sara gave her the bravery to speak her truth.
“If my story, my song and my lyrics could help someone, the way these bands helped me, then I’d rather be transparent and have people see what I’m feeling.”
Her lyrics don’t put a veil on the issues but lift the curtain to the real life struggles that millions can relate to.
Matthew elevates her words with rousing and catchy arrangements that soothes the listener in the end, balancing the topic with enough positive energy to tip the scales into making it a feel-good experience.
The expression: You can’t see the forest for the trees denotes that people are missing a piece of the overall puzzle. What is it that people are not seeing?
For Holly, it’s “the constant mental health struggle. It’s easy to put out a song and say: I went through this and I wrote about it…here you go. For many, our mental health has declined because of the pandemic. Sometimes, even posting one thing on Instagram becomes so overwhelming.”
When someone gives a positive comment or shares how a song made them feel, it helps. You can have a hundred positive comments, yet one negative comment will deflate you in a way that the poster may not know.
PTSD is often triggered once the trauma is over. Once this pandemic is behind us, people that have been holding it together, will suddenly feel the weight of the trauma in ways we can’t imagine.
They might need to listen to FXRRVST if they want to have that Chapter 15. It’s going to be rough.
Matthew shares an interesting 2021 dilemma. For many of his friends, there is anxiety in “seeing people and making friends.” While not happy about the situation, they are happy with the isolation, yet they are making more and more friends online.
Once this is all over, they will have to deal with the real world, once this introvert paradise is over.
This pandemic is also an opportunity to work on oneself. Holly has been sober now for 7 months.
“I had to hit the bottom…a black-out night of bad decisions” confesses Holly. “This isn’t good for me, for the people around me, for my music or my career.”
For many, alcohol is a dangerous antidote for shyness and social anxiety. “It took away so much more than it gave me.”
Being able to wake up without a hangover or knowing you might have hurt a loved one with thoughtless words made it evident “that it was the right decision for me.”
When asked what quality each admire most about the other, Holly was quick to point out Matt’s “open-mindedness to see both sides.” A contrast to her stubborn stance, Matt will soften it with his balance, sharing the other side of the coin.
“Holly is very dreamy. When she gets an idea, it’s the biggest idea ever, extremely hard to pull off.” She will roll up her sleeves and is “always able to overcome. She will set her mind on something and elevate me.”
Matt is the peacemaker and Holly is the dreamer.
Guinness World Record: 437:54:40 Longest Concert
It all started with the Markham Rib Fest and Kevin Ker’s dream to put on the longest concert.
Surrounded by many of their musician friends, it was a launchpad for many young bands who brushed shoulders with the more established ones.
The record became a competition as another team was trying to break the same record at the same time.
By extending the original timeline, they were able to secure the title, and FXRRVST got their official certificate.
First Instagram Post
The band’s first Instagram post was playing at Holly’s high school.
“It was a bit of a slap in the face” reveals Holly. It wasn’t that dream of going back to high school and being that cool alumni graduate.
Incognito, Holly and Matthew played in a foyer area with a minimal set of ears.
Playing at Matt’s High School was a little better, but it was still in the early days of their career.
They might not have a wing named in their honor yet…but only time will tell.
First Song After Covid
What song will FXRRVST play at their first show after the pandemic?
“It will be a cover of Wonderwall” shares Matthew.
The Story Doesn’t End at Chapter 14 “might be a fun one to start with” chimes in Holly.
They can agree that they will end the set with Tidal Wave.
What Is Chapter 15 For The Band?
“To grow and reach out to as many people who want to hear us” shares Holly.
With this Double EP, they want to reach a wider audience.
“We planned the release of the first EP before the lockdown happened” says Matthew.
People have been reaching out with positives comments. “I can’t wait for the next chapter” divulges Matt.
I confess that their numbers might be skewed because of my repeated listening of their songs on Spotify. To borrow from Depeche Mode: I just can’t get enough.
Charitable Band Goals
The band is generous with the funds they make with their merchandise. Holly’s mom runs the Fiona Unity Foundation in Indonesia, which helps with serious illness, poverty, and hunger for Indonesia’s most vulnerable children.
While many treat pets as object, for FXRRVST, they are family.
Fantasy Rock Band
When asked to create the ultimate band, they chose to include 2 guitarists.
Vocals: Billie Eilish. “She just blows my mind” fangirls Holly. For Matthew, it would be SIA, “the most amazing voice I have ever heard.”
Guitars: Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) & Taylor York (Paramore)
Bass: Nick Harmer (Death Cab for Cutie)
Drums: Dave Grohl
That’s a band I would definitely want to hear.
Writer: Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and MasterMind Facilitator with a passion for live music. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. His Podcast RockStar Today helps musicians quit their days jobs with out of the box advice from Ted Talk Speakers, Best Selling Authors and other interesting Entrepreneurs and Creatives.Share this :