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To understand HELLO FOREVER, one must make a pilgrimage to the very top of Topanga, CA, an isolated piece of land once used by the infamous Sandstone Retreat and free-love nudist commune, frequented by the likes of Sammy Davis Jr. There, in a pastoral setting high above the Pacific Ocean –not far from where Neil Young recorded After the Gold Rushor Captain Beefheart laid down the tracks for Trout Mask Replica–singer/songwriter Samuel Joseph has gathered what he calls an art-pop collective that harks back to the ‘60s with a DIY approach to music and creativity which spawned their remarkable debut album, the aptly titled Whatever It Is. Joseph and company have created a contemporary throwback to a vibrant era with a set of songs that establish the collective’s exquisite harmonies and colorful instrumentation.
Combining pop, rock, R&B, soul, doo-wop, skiffle, jazz, gospel, and psychedelic tropes, Whatever It Iscaptures the freshness of ‘60s icons like the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and Frank Zappa into a series of Kodachrome snapshots on songs like “Colors in the Sky,” “Anywhere Is Everywhere,” “Some Faith,” and “I Want to Marry You.” HELLO FOREVER’s colorful, homemade “Magical Mystery Tour”-like videos show the collective cavorting in and around their mountaintop sanctuary (immortalized in the idyllic “Farm on the Mountaintop,” where “every day could be paradise”).
On the writing process behind Whatever It Is, Joseph shares, “it was a journey in learning to let go, learning to get out of the way, learning to listen to music and let it be what it wants to be. The album is a time capsule of our process and teleports you into our world, or whatever world you’re meant to visit through it. We hope listeners love it and find joy or peace or truth or some kind of meaningful experience through hearing the album.”
HELLO FOREVER’s music is inextricable with the lifestyle and spiritual goals of its participants, a revolving membership that also includes, at various times, collaborators drummer/co-founder Andy Jimenez, Molly Pease, Jaron Crespi, Joey Briggs, and Anand Darsie.Walk into their communal compound and one of the first things one sees is a copy of the late Baba Ram Dass’ counter-culture classic, Be Here Now, perhaps the best description of the collective’s philosophy of life, creativity, art and music.
The collective has helped spread the word through playing live around Los Angeles as well as putting on free shows in their Topanga home base. Watching a HELLO FOREVER performance is to participate in an all-inclusive ecstatic, quasi-religious celebration unlike your average pop concert. How HELLO FOREVER lives is an integral part of how they make music and helps them stick to a disciplined schedule of five-days-a-week rehearsals.
with THE MOONDROPS
2367 Shattuck Ave
For music venue only enter on Durant (2110 Durant)
Berkeley, CA, 94704