● Published by Style
Photo by Dante Fontana
With a desire to simply inspire and spread a good message, Forgotten Passage might sound like the kind of band you’d expect to see backing up the church choir on Sunday.
Even though that may not be the group’s target audience today, there’s no denying their passion for music with a positive effect is as strong as their passion for music itself.
“We like people to have a positive and uplifting experience listening to the music,” says Steve Bisel (keyboards). “I want to make music that’ll ‘be there’ for people when times are tough.” Lyrics from Forgotten Passage’s “Long Time Risin’” are a good case in point: “It took me a while to get on the road/ Under the burden of a heavy load/ I keep my eyes fixed out on the light/ That’s burning beyond the borders of my sight...”
Jason Mathis (guitar, vocals, lyrics) says the band strives to compose the songs in a way that allows people to experience them in a way pertinent to their own life. That’s certainly fitting for a band that chose a name simply because it can mean different things to different people.
As for the music itself, it’s hard to pin the group to a specific style. Just three songs call to mind impressions of Brian Setzer, Tom Petty and some of the more thought-provoking sounds of the psychedelic era. Even so, it’s fair to say that the few similarities to other artists are purely coincidental. “I don’t feel like anything we write is meant to sound like ‘us’ or someone else,” Mathis says. “There are so many different aspects to what we’re doing; personally it doesn’t matter if it reminds someone of something else. What matters to me is that it’s honest.”
Looking ahead, the band is focused on one thing: commitment. As a group, they’re still freshly minted. It was only late in 2009 that they filled their roster with Bryan Louton on drums/percussion and Luke Benton on bass; vocalist Kathryn Alvs joined in mid 2010. They’re well aware of the work ahead in order to develop a repertoire, market themselves, record, and continue to stretch their boundaries. But that’s exactly why they came together. “It takes a real commitment of time, effort, sweat and tears to become a touring band that will actually reach people and have the experience we want them to,” Bisel says. “I’ve been in groups before. None were ready to make that journey of sacrifice, but when I spoke about it with Jason back in 2008, he jumped and said he’d have his bags packed in five minutes.”
Freshly minted or not, Forgotten Passage has already started appearing on the nightspot circuit, laid down some tracks, and is gathering a following on Facebook. Their next live gig is in the planning phase, but the curious are always invited to their 24/7 mini concert online.
For more information, visit forgottenpassage.com.