Forest Of The Soul: Of Magic and Intrigue

Although the two co-conspirators who make up Forest Of The Soul are from extreme metal collectives, Aaron Carey and Andrew Della Cagna have created an acoustic project that will nevertheless thrill the senses.  Serene and intricate with wondrous melodies and thoughtful lyrical content, there is magic and intrigue to found within the compositions on their latest magnum opus entitled Restless In Flight.  Now available from Bindrune Recordings, Restless In Flight presents a picturesque musical journey that will dazzle the senses.  Here is a recent interview we conducted with one of the forest dwellers to find out more about this compelling entity…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Forest Of The Soul and how long the project has been together.
My name is Andrew Della Cagna. Aaron Carey is the only other main contributor to the Forest of the Soul project. We’ve been writing and recording music under this name for about 7 years, off and on.

What bands have you been with in the past and what made you decide to pursue an acoustic project?
We’ve both been in a mess of bands over the years, often simultaneously. Those would be Nechochwen (still active), Angelrust and Harvist. We were both guitarists in Dethroned, only not at the same time. Aaron also used to play for Consortium. I’ve been a member of Moonthrone, Wilderkin, and Dofka, as well as a countless number of bands and projects purely as a session musician. We never set out to “pursue” this as a project, per se. The project kind of pursued us. Aaron invited me to participate in in a Native American sweat lodge not long after we met. I brought along my acoustic guitar for the hell of it. I played him a few original songs I’d written over the years. He told me he too had a handful of original pieces written in the same vein that didn’t quite fit any other musical project. We put them together and the result was the self titled CD we released in ’04. Of all the things we’d done previously, this CD had received the best reception by far, selling out the first run of 500 based on self generated sales alone.

Is there any story or concept behind the Restless In Flight title?
Well, yes and no. Aaron wrote the core skeleton of the title track and presented it to me with that as a working title. No words were written prior. We both thought it was a good song title and decided to keep it and mold the lyrical content to suit. The title’s a bit ambiguous and I think everyone may interpret it differently, which I think is key when trying to get someone to relate to your music. To me, our lives are a metaphoric flight. A rise and fall. And most of the time we are so consumed with the exertion of the flight itself, we never care to look around and enjoy the view. In that respect it IS a recurring theme on the record, as the same message is reinforced on the last track, Daily Bread. The long and short of it is, RELAX.

Tell me about Green Heroes and what inspired the lyrics to that wonderful track!
Once again, Aaron wrote the music for that song and presented it to me. I think at that time the working title was the tuning his guitar was in, DADGAD. Whether it was his intention or not, the feel of the song screamed “Irish folk” to me. We’re both avid fans of Irish folk music, and Irish blood runs through both our veins. Not long ago, Aaron introduced me to the music of Mick Moloney. He’s an Irish musician and folklorist. Just a joy to listen to. A big theme in that genre are what i call “pub anthems”; feel-good, upbeat songs that normally involve chant-like choruses and revering historic people and places of the past. Since Aaron and I could both be considered Irish-American, I decided to research some of the more prominent people in Irish-American history and spotlight them for the lyrical content. It didn’t take long, as there’s a bounty of info on the subject via the web. The words came easy and spilled off the page. We had a lot of help from friends on that one, it was so much fun to record!

Mother Tongue has such compelling lyrics. Please tell me what inspired the lyrical content on this one.
You can thank Aaron for that one! That song was pretty much his baby. I vocally reinforced him on this particular version. The first version of the song appeared on the Faun Song EP we put out in ’08, and originally Aaron did all the vocals. The newer version also features the stellar lead guitar work of our good friend Pandel Collaros, a very accomplished musician in his own right. I feel kinda funny speaking for Aaron on his own lyrics. But I think the inspiration for his words came from his own Native American heritage, and his quest to learn more about it. Unlike most ethnicities, so much of Native American culture was either A. passed down through generations only through oral traditions or B. destroyed by white settlers during the formative years of what we now call America. You’d be surprised how little information there is on certain tribes and areas of the country. The language, the rituals, the traditions, the music, the beliefs…. so much of it has faded into obscurity forever. How sad. Especially when you consider that, pound for pound, that culture seemed to have a MUCH better grasp on spirituality and the important things in life than we as a society do, or ever will for that matter. Hope I came close to hittin’ the nail on the head, Aaron!

Please select two other tracks from Restless In Flight and tell me what inspired the lyrics.
Hmmm, let’s see. Alone/Desert Rose, as the title suggests, is a two part story. And once again, it’s an ambiguous one. The “Alone” section is about being at the end of your rope, hopeless. Everyone’s been there at some point. The world has overwhelmed you, and you’re ready to give up. But just like life has a way of doing, the song does a bit of a 180 in the midsection. Things pick up speed, become a bit more upbeat. Darkness slowly gives way to daybreak, and there is a much needed light at the end of the tunnel. The theme is simple. You gotta take the bad with the good, and although sometimes it seems otherwise the sun will always rise again.

Without You” and “The Line” are both very personal songs to me. Both revolve around the recent loss of my father, and how I chose to deal with it. Without You is basically me in the denial stage. I naively thought that my father was immortal, indestructible and would live forever. His death was such a spiritual blow that I just didn’t know how to act. When it finally set in that he was really gone, I was left with a huge void. So large that, for a minute I was truly convinced that I could not go on living without him in my life. But eventually I accepted his passing and moved on to a different stage. I started thinking of all the things I wish I would have said to him while he was here, and all the things I said and did over the years that I regretted and wished I could take back. Those are the issues I tackled on The Line.

Has Forest Of The Soul ever played live, or do you plan to do so in the future?
We’ve performed live a few times. We did a CD release party for the self titled CD back in ’04. It was just a small intimate gathering of our close friends and family. Back in ’08 our friend Dave Holden invited us down to Harlingen Texas to play a venue called Mesquite Heat, an outdoor music event sponsored by National Public Radio. We had a blast! And we are trying to arrange a CD release for Restless in Flight sometime before summers end. This one will be more difficult to put together. We need accompaniment by other friends/musicians who don’t live close to each other and have busier schedules than us, and its imperative that Marty from Bindrune come down from Michigan to witness the event. Hopefully it will all fall into place smoothly.

Where is the band based out of, and how much does your area influence the music you create?
We are based, born and raised in the Ohio River Valley. We’re right on the dividing lines of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Its truly beautiful country here. It’s a good quality of life too, a fine place to raise a family. Not sure how much the area influences us. The people and the landscape definitely have undoubtedly seeped into the music. I never really noticed myself until I stood back and looked at it from an outward perspective. From the unmistakable “twang” in my singing voice to the frenetic inflections Aaron produces with “picking” hand, the Appalachian influence within us is irrefutable.

How does Restless In Flight compare to your two previous releases and are they currently available?
Restless in Flight displays much more focus on “rock quartet” style songwriting compared to the other CDs. We dabbled with it a bit on the other two, but on here the ratio is about 60/40 compared to 20/80 before. Like a said earlier, the first CD sold out. We only made 500, and I believe I sold the last copy a little over a year ago. Friends have asked to do another pressing, but I’m on the fence about it. I kinda want to leave it in the past. I mean, we’re doin’ newer better things now, ya know? Also, we DID re-do a few songs off the first record and added them as bonus tracks to “Restless“. Faun Song (the ’08 EP) was very rushed in its inception but, considering the circumstances, actually came out sounding pretty good. I think we only made 50 of those?! Maybe 100. I can’t remember. But there ARE a few copies of those still floating around for sale. I just found a few in my basement before doing this interview!

The guitar work on here is extraordinary. What kind of training has the guitarist had and what are some of his influences.
Well we both play guitar on the record, but I can only assume that you’re referring to Aaron. I have no formal training, therefore I am reduced to relying on good old traditional singer/songwriter chords to convey my emotions. Aaron however is classically trained. I believe he has degrees in classical guitar, jazz guitar and maybe even music theory? Sorry if I’ve not credited you properly, Aaron! At any rate, he is very adept at his craft and definitely WAY over qualified to compose music with the likes of me! He IS extraordinary, and it’s an honor to work alongside of him.

What do you think makes your musically collaboration work so well together?
To be honest, I’m not quite sure! Stylistically speaking, we are such different players that you’d think we couldn’t compliment each other so well. Strangely enough, it seems there are things within our specific styles that pick up where the other left off. When we’re both playing guitar, its all I can do to keep up with Aaron. He’s always teaching me something new, whether he knows it or not. In turn, I think I’ve helped him alot in the vocal department, as well as providing a much needed rhythm section to alot of the material. I have alot of fun with bass and drums, where Aaron is more of the guitar muscle. Its a symbiotic releationship and works well for us.

Any final words of wisdom?
Not sure how wise it is but all I can say is, live for today. Yesterday is unchangable and tomorrow is just out of reach. Don’t obsess or lament, lest you miss out on the vital opportunity that is the now. Thanks so much for the opportunity to speak! Take care.

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

Forest Of The Soul on Myspace

  1. Janice 8 years ago

    I have a Doobie Brothers baseball shirt number 04. Has the initials cc in the zero of the numbers. Also has Brother Cagna and under that is “2 of 4”. How can I find out if this is original? Thanks. Janice Kiefer

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