Topanga music collective Hello Forever bring euphoria to life in their kaleidoscopic debut album ‘Whatever It Is,’ a dazzling expression of love filled with folk, ’60s pop, psychedelia, and so much more.
Stream: ‘Whatever It Is’ – Hello Forever
One listen to Hello Forever’s debut album confirms a suspicion we’ve long held here at Atwood Magazine: There’s something magical happening out in Topanga, California. Today that special something comes to us through the music collective Hello Forever, whose kaleidoscopic debut album Whatever It Is independently released today, February 21, 2020. A seven-piece group living together in what they describe as a “super magical creative refuge,” Hello Forever craft a mesmerizing strain of ’60s-inspired psychedelic pop music that shines with thoughtful expressions of love, community, existence, and so much more.
Inspired by the likes of The Beatles and The Beach Boys — with hints of everyone from The Zombies, to Fleet Foxes, to Dirty Projectors, and everyone in-between — Hello Forever are the kind of band that will etch a smile on listeners’ faces. Officially consisting of Samuel Joseph, Andy Jimenez, Joey Briggs, Molly Pease, Anand Darsie, Gabe Stout, and Jaron Crespi, the California-based collective introduced themselves late last year through debut single (and album opener) “Some Faith,” a sunkissed track dripping with Pet Sounds and Revolver influence.
The group found a big break with their sophomore single “Anywhere Is Everywhere,” an effervescent burst of color brimming with hope, wide-eyed wonder, and heartfelt joie de vivre sung by charismatic Frontman Samuel Joseph. Singing alongside a series of giddy finger-snaps and barbershop quartet-style harmonies, Joseph delivers an honest, enchanting expression of optimism, self-love, and faith in life.
I will go anywhere just to see it
And I wonʼt question where Iʼm going
I wonʼt question where Iʼm going
Iʼll just go
I would love anyone just to feel it
And I wonʼt question who Iʼm loving
I wonʼt question who Iʼm loving
Iʼll just love, just love, just love
Cause everythingʼs fine
Everything’s fine [x3]
When Iʼm with it, I know who I am
“I was visiting my mother, sitting in my childhood bedroom, and I was thinking about how much I love songs about the peculiar bits of life that fall in-between,” Joseph shared upon the song’s release last year. “And then I thought ‘what about a song about going somewhere’ – and, boop, there it was five minutes later. It’s short and sweet, and in the end it turned out to be about being okay with yourself – which can be really hard. Self-doubt can be crushingly powerful. We’re all working with it all the time. So I kind of like the idea of this song taking that on with a bit of joy and letting it sound easy for a moment.”
Singles “Colors in the Sky” and “I Want to Marry You” have helped to further carve out Hello Forever’s beautifully effusive artistic identity, and as each one has come with its own home-made music video, these successive releases have helped bring the group forever closer to a fast-increasing legion of fans. Their songs are deceptively complex – filled with nuance, yet on the surface simple harmonic and instrumental perfection. This shows in tracks like “I Want to Marry You,” where guitars, percussion, a litany of samples, and a hearty wall of harmonies accompanies Joseph’s impassioned confession of love:
Sipping on the afternoon sun
Apple cider dripping down my tongue
Perfect peaches falling off the ripe tree
Run out through the door into the meadow
I want to marry you today…
Sitting on the grass beside a stranger
Memories of a time when we were ageless
Offer her my hand and then she takes it
Rupturing inside. here I’m awake and warm
I want to marry you today…
“It was a perfect late April afternoon and the sun was ripe and I suddenly felt so much tenderness in the relationship between everything around me,” Joseph shared of this song. “It’s seeing eternity inside someone and seeing their place in eternity at the same time. It’s that wow, yes, magic warm feeling and you gotta celebrate it right now, because after this it might be nothing forever.”
Hello Forever may have turned heads in the lead-up to their debut, but none of these standalone songs compare to experiencing the full album in its breathtaking entirety.
Whatever It Is is nonchalant bliss; pleasure manifest; lightning in a bottle. It’s a buoyant, high-spirited display of living in the moment and existing without abandon. Songs like the soulful “Rise” and charming “Her Everything” resonate with unadulterated energy, each capturing yet another face of this one-of-a-kind creature living together on one property. Fun fact: Hello Forever’s home, which features heavily in their music videos, exists on the abandoned grounds of a late 1960s nudist commune they found on Craigslist!
Hello Forever have clearly tapped into an alluring alternative to what most of us would call the “doldrums”: Theirs appears to be a life filled to the brim with positivity, kinship, support, and most of all, love. Nowhere is this better felt than on the communal revelry of “Farm on the Mountaintop,” an infectious celebration of the collective’s home whose music video is premiering exclusively on Atwood Magazine. Driven by the lyric, “Every day could be paradise,” Hello Forever inspire us to live life to the fullest extent possible, and then a little more. They inject an inimitable optimism into our worlds — one that seems to praise the wondrous beauty of our own individual existence, opening our eyes to every day miracles like the sun that rises, the clean air we breathe, and the water we depend on.
“I actually wrote that song before we moved here, envisioning what it would be like to live outside of the city,” Joseph remarks. “Maybe it was intuition, maybe it was motivation, but here we are a year later. Living up here keeps us clear and is very healing. Living together also keeps us all connected and immersed in our work.”
Hello Forever are a truly unique, special bunch, and we are blessed to have them in our lives.
Just like the group’s name suggests, once you meet this collective, there is no un-meeting them: Their music makes an indelible impact, shining bright light on all who listen. With its positivity and inclusive spirit, Whatever It Is is an uplifting reminder of how much good there is to get out of life. Get to know a little more about Hello Forever below, and bask in the magic of Whatever It Is out now!
For Topanga’s Hello Forever, it’s always the summer of love.
We are proud to serve existence by fulfilling our purpose in this moment by creating this music and sharing it.
Watch: “Farm on the Mountaintop” – Hello Forever
MEET HELLO FOREVER
Atwood Magazine: For those who are just getting to know Hello Forever, how would you describe yourselves as a collective?
Hello Forever: We all live together in Topanga and it’s a super magical creative refuge. Everyone is working on different kinds of music and art and we come together for Hello Forever. <3
Why do you prefer to be called a collective instead of a band? Why do you feel so strongly about it / why do you see it as an important piece of your identity?
Hello Forever: Everyone in the group brings a unique perspective and has their own projects and journeys. The word collective honors our individuality, and also represents all the people who come together with us behind the scenes who you wouldn’t necessarily see on stage at our show. There are many collaborators who work with us on everything.
What are the overarching stories and concepts of this album for you?
Hello Forever: Love, nature, the universe, inner struggles, acceptance, rock and roll, transcendence, joy, introspection, expression.
What are you most proud of about your debut album?
Hello Forever: We are proud to serve existence by fulfilling our purpose in this moment by creating this music and sharing it. It was a delight to discover our creative voice — in melody, and arrangements — that we had practiced without clarity for so long. We are also proud of how many individual voices came together in collaboration to create “Whatever It Is.”
What did you learn throughout the recording process? How do you feel you've grown as a group?
Hello Forever: We had to overcome the challenges of living in community — we’ve become more connected to each other — spiraling together.
How long ago did Hello Forever form, and how old are these songs?
Hello Forever: Hello Forever formed 1.5 years ago — this is our first album so it’s a bit of a compilation of stuff we worked on in practice on our own before the group formed — most of the songs are a year or 2 old but there’s some oldies in there sprinkled around.
What are your favorite songs on the album and why?
Sam: You can’t pick a favorite child (laughs), but there’s a bunch of these I’ve already outgrown after writing so much new material. “Farm On The Mountaintop,” “Created for Your Love,” and “Get It Right” all still feel current with who we are now.
Anand: “Rise” — it’s the danciest.
Anand: “Her Everything” because of the harmonies.
Jaron: “Farm On The Mountaintop”
Musically, who are your inspirations?
Hello Forever: TOO MANY TO LIST <3 Beatles, Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, Cece Winans, Beyonce, Sacred Choral Music, Fleet Foxes, Stevie Wonder, Zombies, Brockhampton, Jonie Mitchell, Palm, Judee Sill, Thomas Mapfumo, The Four Freshmen, Pharoah Sanders, Dirty Projectors, Steve Lacy, Chet Baker, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou
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? © Hello Forever art © Cassidy Rae Marietta
Whatever It Is
an album by Hello Forever