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Wednesday, February 28th
The Hot Sweat
A Rocket to the Moon
Forgive Durden

A Hot Seater on Musiqtone.com
It's been quite a year for Forgive Durden. After announcing a break up in January, lead singer Thomas Dutton turned the band into a solo effort. The result was Razia's Shadow: A musical, which was released this October. Finishing up a tour with Steel Train and Dear and The Headlights, Dutton is now on the road promoting the songs off this unique release. We sat down with him during the New York date of the tour to learn more about the concept behind Razia's and the future of Forgive Durden.

Cristina: First of all, introduce yourself.
Thomas: My name is Thomas and I’m in a band called Forgive Durden.

CC: How would you describe Forgive Durden?
TD: umm I would describe it as me *laughs * I guess I like to call my music smart pop.

CC: So Razia’s Shadow: A Musical was just released. Can you talk a little bit about the songwriting process behind it?
TD: I originally started working on it with our old guitar player. I had an idea for doing a musical for years. We were touring together supporting Wonderland. We wrote a song and a half or two, the first one being “The Exit” and half of “Love Song.” Then the other two guys in the band decided to leave and my brother came into the picture. I asked him to come into the studio with me. He was still in school and I didn’t have any of the songs finished, so I basically moved into the studio and worked on stuff all week long. Then my brother would join me on the weekends. That’s  basically how it went. It was a very long process.

CC: You had a great line up of guest-vocalists on this album…
TD: Yeah, about half of them came to Seattle and recorded with me. The other half I sent the song to and they recorded it on their own.

CC: How did you get such a great group of artists on the record?
TD: Most of them I knew from touring. The only person I didn’t know was Chris from Saves The Day. I knew his drummer; so I asked him to tell Chris about it and then suddenly my phone rang and he got into it.

CC: Were people reluctant to it at first?
TD: Not really. They were all people who I am friends with so they were pretty stoked to be about it.

CC: Given the things that have happened to Forgive Durden in the past year, were you worried to release such different solo material?
TD: The thing I was worried about most was the fact that people would be attracted to the record because of the guest vocalists and then that would wear off quickly. But we really focused on the album having good songs at the core, with all this crazy stuff on that. The kids really seemed to like it.

CC: So after seeing the show tonight, the songs sound great live.
TD: Thank you so much.
CC: Did you have to arrange them at all to fit a live performance since the record features such an array of vocalists and instrumentals?
TD: We talked about rearranging them to be rock songs. But I really wanted them to come across the way they are on the record. I got two back up singers – a girl and a guy – to do the other characters. We have a good piano player. Then we have computer that does all the full orchestra parts that we obviously can’t do. It was kind of hard getting everybody together, but it’s been working out great so far.
CC: How has the crowd reaction been to it live?
TD: Oh the kids love it. I have people come up to me every night and say “oh I really loved the album but I was worried about how it was going to sound live.” And they seem to be very pleased with the way it is sounding.
CC: Now on the other side of the story, we you worried about how people were going to react to it?
TD: I was more worried about the Wonderland stuff. Originally we were going to play some Wonderland tracks. But I was worried about that because of the flow going back and forth to those songs. We tried it in the beginning of the tour, but I didn’t like it. But we’ll definitely go back to them when we headline. So yes, I was worried but I got rid of it *laughs*.

CC: So how is this current tour going?
TD: It’s been amazing. I really clicked with the bands here, specially the Steel Train guys. We’re actually going to see a musical tomorrow. I’ve never seen one before. We were trying to see Wicked but it sadly fell through, but we’ll be seeing Spring Awakening. There is one more show in Philly. Then we play for two weeks and we’re home for Christmas. Then we’re trying to figure out what’s going on next year.

CC: So, you’ve never seen a musical live.
TD: Never. I’m from Seattle. I’ve seen Sweeney Todd as a college production. Or like, Peter Pan. But I have never seen a Broadway musical.
CC: That’s interesting considering you now have a musical on your own. You’ll see how different it’ll be when you see the real deal.
TD: Yeah, I can’t wait. I loved movie musicals growing up. They were huge for me – like Oliver Twist and Willie Wonka. And all the Disney movies too. Aladdin, specially. You can play the tape, and I’ll recite you the entire movie. So I was really into movie musicals.
CC: So were those some of your main inspirations behind Razia’s Shadow.
TD: Absolutely. I also had the soundtracks to Wicked and stuff. So yeah I can’t wait to finally see one live. I guess my record was obviously more about just the audio and the music itself. I feel that I benefited from not seeing a show. For musicals like Wicked, I feel that some of the songs can only be appreciated if you see them live. Like they might sound stupid by themselves, but when you see them live they make sense. So mine, I didn’t have any of that in mind.

CC: So cliché last question: Where is Forgive Durden in ten years…
TD: Ten years…
CC: Or five, if you wish…
TD: *laughs* I just hope I’m still able to do music. I really don’t want to work in a Hollister or something. I don’t know where we’ll be.
CC: Do you have any immediate plans like new records or anything
TD: I mean, my brain is kind of in this musical wonderland. Once I finished writing Razia’s it kind of kept going so I already have ideas for a new one.
CC: Oh cool. Because I guess people don’t know what to expect from you, because you have Wonderland  and then Razia’s.
TD: Yeah I know what you mean. I really want a good, raw, rock record – like, way harder than Wonderland. Then, I would love to another musical sometime. I would like it to be more modern, incorporating electronic sounds and stuff. I don’t know where I’ll be. In a year, I’ll probably get more serious about it.
CC: Makes sense. Razia’s is pretty new
TD: Yeah. There’re so many different ways it could go. I know people have talked to us about buying movie rights and making it into a TV thing, or a graphic novel, or even to put it on Broadway. So hopefully it’ll see light of day in some other form.

Rachel DodsonCristina Carrazza is the assistant regional head in the Midwest region at Musiqtone. You can reach her at cristinacarrazza@musiqtone.com.

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