It all started in the basements of local venues at shows hosted by Montclair’s Serendipity Café.
That’s where several band members of Montclair’s homegrown Forth Wanderers first got their start in music.
Now, just five years since their formation, the band’s five members and Montclair High School alumni, of vocalist Ava Trilling, guitarists Ben Guterl and Duke Greene, drummer Zach Lorelli, and bassist Noah Schifrin are making it big.
Forth Wanderers recently signed to major label Sub Pop – the same label that signed Nirvana. The band released its self-titled, first full-length album as part of its Sub Pop debut on Friday, April 27.
“Personally, I think it’s the best album we’ve put out,” said Greene. “I think we really came into our own as far as the songwriting, the performances and also the sound of the album.”
For Greene, being signed to Sub Pop, a label that he’s looked up to since middle school, can only be described as surreal.
Still, Greene credits Serendipity Café and one of its founders, Ed Carine, for providing an outlet for local students to express themselves through music and develop their skills, which eventually led the childhood friends to come together as Forth Wanderers.
“It was a very safe space created by the kids, but it was a really cool opportunity for some of the younger kids to see that you could just kind of make a band and play a show, you didn’t have to have these grand expectations,” Greene said.
Pen Pal Playlists
For the band’s songwriters, Guterl and Trilling, the two have formed a tradition of passing the songs back and forth like pen pals – Guterl develops an instrumental skeleton and Trilling pens the lyrics off the melody.
With the band forming during their final years of high school, Forth Wanderers released its first EP Mahogany in the summer of 2013, before they all went off to separate colleges.
While timing wasn’t in their favor, the distance seems to have only made them stronger. They released their LP Tough Love in 2014 and put out Slop, their second EP in 2016.
Now, as the members are finishing up college, they have released their best work yet, and self-titling the album is a testament to just that.
“I think the themes (of the album) have also matured too,” Greene said. “I think Ava has grown up just like we have. We started this band right when we were going away to college and we’re all (just about finishing) so it’s interesting how this band has grown up with us through a considerably formative four years, so I feel like there’s more nuanced emotions, just thorough contemplation about oneself. I can’t speak too much for Ava, but that’s what I think of her lyrics.”
Once finals are over, Forth Wanderers will return home and shift its focus on pushing the band forward, starting with their new album release tour next weekend, which includes shows in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and concludes with a local performance at Market Hotel in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Saturday, May 5 at 8 p.m.
“I can’t wait (to come home). I don’t laugh the same way as I laugh when I’m with Ava, Ben, Zach and Noah.” Greene said. They’re my closest friends so it’s really nice to come home and the fact that it’s coinciding with our album release and these shows we’re about to play, we’re going to have a fun week ahead of us.”
To purchase Forth Wanderers and receive updates on concert and tour dates, visit the band’s website at https://forthwanderers.bandcamp.com/.