Senior Avery Davis challenging expectations for teen artists

Forget Basement releases first full length LP 'The Human Race is an Invention of the West'

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Senior Avery Davis challenging expectations for teen artists

Nolan Baker

Nolan Baker

Nolan Baker

Nolan Baker, Staff Reporter

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He points towards his closet. Jackets take up half the closet and the other half is devoted to what looks like an ice chest on its side, packed with foam and wires. Avery concedes, saying “yeah, that’s pretty much it, it’s all done right here.”

Every square inch of his room is covered with equipment. A Telecaster on one side of his bed. A Yamaha bass in front of the door. Vinyl records on all the countertops. A few notebooks of lyrics strewn around randomly. The only open spots are taken by his cats Napoleon, Lucy and Mason.

Whenever a high school musician puts out music, their audience always secretly expects a bit of mediocrity. Whether it be in the lyricism, the production value, or (most commonly) originality. A listener always knows when someone recorded in their bedroom surrounded by shag carpeting and tangled audio cables versus when someone records in a professional studio.

Senior Avery Davis’ new album is a 22-minute contradiction to that idea. Davis goes under the moniker Forget Basement, and this past August he released his first full-length LP, “The Human Race is an Invention of the West,” his third installment in the Forget Basement discography, after he put out two EPs, “Sun House” in January, and “What Foul Dust Wakes in Our Dreams” in May.

The production quality is high enough quality to make a listener wonder if Davis shelled out hundreds or thousands of dollars for a few days rent in a professional studio, but he says otherwise. “I just go into my closet–I take out all the jackets. I close the door and I record.”

He also uses his whole house as a recording studio. “I usually start upstairs, I have a piano up there. I’ll just kinda write down some chords–I have a little red journal that I keep in my backpack.” He shows me the red journal, packed with scribbled chord progressions, but strangely little lyrics.

“I always have a hard time writing lyrics, I’m never sure what to write about,” he admits. “I always write my lyrics last.” The lyrics in The Human Race are sparse, but telling. A great example is the third track, “Ugly,” with introspective gems like “They can call us what they will never be / we’ll find a place where we can be ugly.”

The LP sets a somber mood, with both the lyrics and the instrumentation. Davis uses a lot of motifs from famous murders, like the accidental murder of Candace Newmaker, which inspired his track “Sun Baby.” “It was super disturbing and it stuck with me.”

He also sampled recordings of Jim Jones’s speech during the Jonestown Massacre in his longest track, the four minute odyssey “Bog.” The chilling sound of Jones’s voice, coupled with echoing drums and dynamic synths create a sort of duality within the song.

The words of Jim Jones are haunting, but the music itself shows some sort of hopefulness.

“I promise I’m not a psychopath.”

A psychopath, he is not. Meticulous and driven, he is. “[The Human Race] took me about a couple weeks,” he states nonchalantly.

That breakneck pace is routine for Davis, only a month after the August release of his LP, he already has more content on the way. “I’m trying [to keep the pace up], I have a new tape that’s almost done. It’s gonna be one long extensive track that’s like 15 minutes long. It’s actually a B-Side to this tape I’m putting out at some point,” he exclaims in a tone that seems like he’s been doing this for years, and that he’ll be doing this for years to come.

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