Ever since releasing his debut album back in December, recent Park City High graduate and Pinebrook resident John Forrest Klein -- known as "Johnny Forrest" to the majority of his listeners -- has experienced a wave of success. With a recently released EP and an album in the works, Klein is fast making a name for himself.
Born from "bedroom recordings" that were mainly gloomy acoustic numbers characterized by low fidelity production (the earliest of which being from late 2012), what initially started as a very modest project has turned into an established name among the Bandcamp crowd. Klein's success can be partly measured by the number of cassettes his debut album sold, a number that hardly managed to fulfill mounting demand as made clear by the speed in which they sold out.
Klein has affiliated himself most strongly with Brooklyn label Orchid Tapes, a primarily online-based conglomeration that describes itself on its website as being formed out of "interest in the creation and curation of music and artwork that breaks free of the established norm, disregards trends, reflects the dedication of it's[sic] creator and provokes a strong emotional resonance within whoever experiences it."
Emotionally resonant indeed, Euphoria Again's self-titled album is the soundtrack to a bleak existence that grows ever bleaker, depression magnified by wailing, reverberated chords and melodies that are magical in the most despondent kind of way.
In accordance with this theory, Klein explained that his own structural method revolves around the idea that "[a]n album is just a picture in time for the artist to look back on."
Continuing, he said, "There really was no inspiration behind [the album] as a whole, but each song was certainly inspired by some good, bad, traumatic, or beautiful moment I really can't relate to a lot of those songs now, but when I wrote them they meant a lot to me, in the way of giving myself some kind of masochistic therapy. If I didn't write the songs, I'd be pent up and holding onto lots of evil things a boring burnout who just watches life go by."
In a strange sense, however, this single "feeling" of melancholy is intricate enough to keep the weight of the LP ambling ever onward -- there's a distinct breed of emotion that echoes within each individual song that's hard to put a name to.
Given this intricacy, it's surprising that Klein's music is typically born of rather simplistic means. He described production as something that ranks second in his mind to the artistic medium of songwriting.
"The process for me is pretty simple when I'm home recording. Basically I write a song and then just track the acoustic guitar to a metronome, then add the vocals I'm in love with melody so the last part of making my songs is always the best part of recording. I'll just noodle around, add the part I hear in my head and usually get a song done in an hour or so. I'm not really into spending too long on production. I'm more focused on the art of writing a song itself," he explained.
Defying expectations, downtown Salt Lake City has a thriving underground scene that has certainly fueled Euphoria Again's fire. Much of Utah's youth participates in a counterculture that has existed for decades, enjoying a subversive side of the state that gave rise to films like 1998's "SLC Punk" and allows venues like Urban Lounge and Kilby Court (the latter of which having recently celebrated its 15th anniversary) to keep drawing crowds.
"Kids around 20 to 30 are ruling SLC's scene and [they] refuse to lose footing in the salty ground," Klein said, citing the vivaciousness of that culture as a major source of inspiration. "There are young bands such as Koala Temple and Super 78 that, solely through energy and originality, get their kicks out of Park City youth. [The scene] surrounds them with a family away from home. Adversity created rock n' roll, adversity exists in Salt Lake and in Park City, but it takes a firepit to start a fire sometimes."
Though his roots are in the local underground, Klein expects to move forward in both his work and location. Come fall, he's headed to Philadelphia in hopes to "keep on keepin' on".
"I'm gonna write songs and make a living, I've always known that," Klein said of his future plans. "What's next is always bigger and better, nothing ever sneaks up on me I will be looking to further myself and my music. There won't be a time when I can [afford to] look back. "
Klein's work under "Euphoria Again" can be purchased online via iTunes and his Bandcamp page (bandcamp.com/euphoriaagain).