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Forge Is Inspired by Amanda Palmer's Business Model: "Pay Whatever It's Worth to You"

South Florida's Forge is a new band composed of Colin Healy, Chris Aiello, Alex Kozma, and Marcos Pizarro. Healy and Pizarro formerly of the Republik, joined together with an old friend and a new talent to form this progressive-pop band whose inspirations range from Tool to Taking Back Sunday.

The guys have released their first EP, appropriately titled The First EP, which the group is giving away on its website. Soon to follow is a full-length album that the band also plans to give away gratis, although it wouldn't mind a little financial appreciation once it hits iTunes. So if you're feeling generous or just want to show the guys how much you love their music, keep that in mind.

We had a chat with Healy about the band, the new EP, and why the band gives its music away like free candy to anyone who wants it.

New Times: What can you tell me about your new EP

Colin Healy: Well first of all, that it's part of a whole. The whole album's gonna be like 12 songs, so this is three of 12, that's kind of the way we wanted to market it. We're trying to put out three very diverse songs with this EP.

We have a song that's like a power ballad about about the shootings and gun violence in Chicago, there's another one that's kind of a straight ahead rock song about drinking and problems (laughs), and then the other one is just really what we feel like the quintessence of progressive-pop is, which is the kind of genre we're going under for Forge and that's "Optimist Prime." So yeah that's the EP in a nutshell, I guess.

What would you say your style of music is?

What we're trying to do is kind of thread the needle between pop-rock and progressive-pop. All of our inspirations lay all over the place from Tool to Taking Back Sunday there's so many different inspirations within the band. So we're trying to thread that needle between progressive and pop. And that's why we're calling ourselves progressive-pop.

How did you come up with the name Forge?

Well I didn't, our drummer did. We're a YouTube based band and we were gonna make our big announcement on YouTube and it was like the day we had this big announcement and we hadn't picked a name yet (laughs).

Me and the guitarist and our manager (which is my dad) we were throwing out about 150 names over the course of the week, just like texting back and forth and our drummer is a very quiet guy and he doesn't really say much. And on this day we had to decide, we had to film our announcement and so he was like, "Well, what about Forge?" and we were like, "What? Yeah that's really freaking cool!"

It just trumped all of our ideas. It comes from a Tool song called "Right in Two" the word forge is in there and that's how we came up with it.

How did you guys end up meeting and forming the band?

Through a lot of different things. The drummer and I... Marcos, he, and I were in a band called the Republik which had some marginal success around here and we did some national tours and whatnot. But we were in that band for a couple of years and we've known each other since we were kids.

And then Chris our guitarist, his sister, and I are really good friends and I've known him forever and I've always known he was an awesome guitarist. He'd always been in another band so that never happened and then he was available. I mean we wanted him to be part of The Republik back in the day. And the bass player just came by chance through auditions. We were having blind auditions for a bass player and he joined. I'd never met him in my life. And it turned out he was awesome, and he's an awesome guy.

So I hear you guys give away all of your music for free. Why are you doing that?

Well its part of a plan. I'm really personally inspired by Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls. I got the chance to work with her dummer, with The Republik and what she did was, she gave away her music and asked people to give, through a Kickstarter or at the shows. She was like, "Take it, its yours, and just pay whatever it's worth to you" and it turned out that she made I think 400% more doing it that way than she did when she was with Roadrunner Records and they were standardizing the price.

People download music illegally, and I see the music market needing to cater to this because people just don't see music as a commodity anymore. It's more like a service that someone provides out of the goodness of their heart and out of artistic expression. I want you to listen to my music because I want you to feel something from it and I want you to get something from it. I don't feel like that should really be a standardized thing. You take it and you give me what you think its worth. If you can't afford it I still want you to have it. I'd rather you listen to it than not.

In the future though, when the album comes out, we're going to be giving the music away for free on the website, and you know we can't help that its gonna be on iTunes and stuff like that for a set price because that's what iTunes does, but you can always get it on our site for free. And we're going to have a Kickstarter and you can pay for it there if you want. But you can have it first and listen to it for a free trial (laughs).

That's cool I like that.

Amanda Palmer calls it "the art of asking," which I kind of like.

What do you like to do when you're not making music?

Um, I don't really know (laughs). I've been playing music since I was five. There's really not much else I do. I'm really into beer (laughs). I have dreams of starting a brewery one day. I write for the stage, I write music for theatre. I've had a musical produced before and another one workshopped.

That's kind of what I do recreationally. I'm sitting in a Starbucks talking with you right now, about to go in there and get a coffee and work on a score for a musical I've been working on. That's what I do in my spare time. I don't know. I've never really done anything other than music.

What's your favorite CD right now?

I really like Cake Showroom of Compassion. Cake's my favorite band. But yeah Showroom of Compassion is what I've been listening to most.


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Ashley Zimmerman

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