Interview with Andy La Morte of Rainforce
Rainforce a hard rock band from Switzerland, is founded by guitarist and songwriter Andy La Morte (Pylon, Disobedience, Thankful Heart) with Matt Brand (Pylon) on bass and co-producer, Benjamin Mann (Power of God) on drums, and Jordan Cutajar (Nomad Son) on vocals. Rainforce took the time to answer some questions about the band and the new album “Lions’s Den”
For those who do not know your band, who are the members of the band?
Yeah, my so-called „basic band“ consists of Matt Brand (bass player and producer), Benjamin Mann (drums and keyboards), Jordan Cutajar (lead vocals) and myself on guitar. I have known Matt for many years. He produced an album for my former band Disobedience. I also was a part of his own band Pÿlon (check them out!!) and played guitar on their „The Harrowing Of Hell“ album. Matt is a dear friend of mine. We spent many hours together to create Lion’s Den, not only the musical stuff; he also helped with the artwork, the promotion and much more. I think, the best way to explain it is, that he truly is my „partner in crime“ for Lion’s Den, haha! He also was the first person to hear my song ideas. I knew he would give me an honest feedback.
Our drummer Benjamin Mann is a multi-instrumentalist and also a songwriter, hailing from the southern part of Germany. He actually works on the debut album for his own project „Power Of God“ – a real prog monster! Keep this name in mind! I remember the first time we jammed the songs together at his house. It was a blast! Jordan, our Maltese singer, is known as vocalist of bands like Nomad Son and Frenzy Mono. He also did some vocals for Pÿlon. I hardly knew Jordan and Beni. But when I asked them whether they could help with this project, there was immediately a good base and much enthusiasm. To date, we have never managed to meet as a whole band. Nevertheless, I would say that today I feel friendly with them all.
On our youtube channel you can find some videos from an acoustic session Jordan and I did a couple of weeks ago as I spent some days in his home country of Malta.
What is the meaning behind the band’s name RainForce?
Today it is very, very hard to find a catchy band name which isn’t already used. Or you have to call your band something like „I Was Born Under A Tree On A Wednesday“, or something like that. So, after a few different ideas had been tossed around, we ended up with the word „to reinforce“ or „Reinforce“. The meaning of this word was very appropriate for my situation at the time. But there was another band by that name. Somehow we came to Rainforce, which sounds quite similar. This word looks and sounds really good and rockin’, in my opinion, haha. And the word combination “Rain” and “Force” has something untameable, uncontrollable in itself. You can’t tame the elements. The band name aptly expresses that there are things which are outside the control of us humans.
How would you describe the music of RainForce and do you use your music to share your faith?
It is simple, true, handmade and bone-shaking hard rock, rooted in the depths of the 70s and 80s.
Yes, these songs are a way to share with the listeners what I consider to be worth listening to and important. And the lyrics are based on my Christian faith, on my point of view. And I wanted to write some different lyrics than the bulk of the bands out there. There are things more important than finding the best rhyme with the previous line. Packing the strongest message in simple verses/ song lines, that was and is my personal challenge. I would like to motivate the listener to think about the important things of life.
In my texts no theological truths are sung. Instead, with my own words and my personal experience, I would like to point out that everyone should deal with the faith in Jesus and the Bible.
Or freely quoted after Ecclesiastes: „For everything there is a fixed time, and a time for every business under the sun. A time for banging your head, and a time to think about your life…”
And from my own experience, I know that good music is an apt help for both.
What bands influenced you in your youth?
I’ve started with bands like Petra, Whitecross and Swiss rockers Gotthard. Through my parents I came into contact with bands like Jerusalem, Nazareth, The Sweet, … I still love all those bands. It would be wrong to say that these bands have not continued to influence me to this day.
Tell us about the making of the new album Lion’s Den
We started recording the album in February 2016. First off, we recorded the ballad “Shine A Light” because it did not require any drums. Philipp Rölli, whom you’ll hear as a guest singer on a total of four songs, recorded some guide vocals for this song on which I play all of the instruments (except the bass line, which was added later by Matt Brand). In April 2016, we began working on the remaining songs. First, Beni recorded the drums, then we added guitar and bass at Matt’s Shadowland Studios. At the same time, Jordan recorded his lead vocals at his home studio. Because all of us are holding down regular jobs, recording on and off lasted until December 2016. All guest contributions, which were either recorded with us at Shadowland Studios or in our guests’ own studios, had to be punched in as we received them. Matt was responsible for principal mixing, but we got support from Raphael Angst, a musician and a friend of ours, for the mix of the drums, and the talented musician Oliver Schneider mastered the album at his Sound Pressure studio.
There are many musical guests on this album. Can you tell us who some of them are?
We still feel really happy and blessed that we could work with such different and great guests from near and far. I think that Rex Carroll (Whitecross), Jim La Verde (Barren Cross) or Rex D. Scott (X-Sinner, GX) don’t need to be introduced to the audience. If these names are not familiar to you, … well, there’s nothing more to say, haha.
Kevin Wright is an America-based Canadian singer. I’ve met him in 2016 at the Elements of Rock festival in Switzerland. He was the singer of Jacob’s Dream back then. I was really stunned by his voice, and it was my wish to have him as a guest on the album.
The other guests are from my personal musical environment. Oliver Schneider is the current Pÿlon guitarist and also a talented producer. Rainforce moves in the circles of Pÿlonanyway, haha.
I also wanted to have the two Philipps (Philipp Rölli, lead vocals and backing vocals on several songs) and Philippe Kreis (growling and backing vocals on one song) on the album. I became aware of Philipp Rölli when I organized a show for his band. And Philippe Kreis is a longtime friend of mine. We have a common musical past in Disobedience. Last but not least, Hämu Plüss: I’ve got in touch with him a few years ago at work. I knew that he plays guitar in a blues band and realized that I had a CD of theirs ever since I was a young boy, haha. Having him in the Shadowland studios at Matt’s and watching him record his bluesy skills was one of the numerous highlights of making “Lion’s Den”.
What are the future plans for RainForce?
Writing an interview in English is always a challenge for me, haha … so the next thing I’ll do is probably drinking a cup of tea or eating some chocolate… Joking aside, actually we are investing a lot of time in promoting Rainforce and our album. Because the four members of our basic band are living in three different countries, it is not easy to make further plans. Each of us has also priorities outside of Rainforce. We will discuss our further plans later this year. There are many different ideas in my mind. Also we’ve got some really interesting live requests across Europe. That fact makes me really thankful and it is a reward for our hard work. But we must see what we can handle when the time is right. I will definitely not do things in halves with Rainforce.
Check out the band’s facebook page at:
Pick up a copy of the new album Lion’s Den at:
Tune in the Hammer of God Show the whole month of September on Mondays at 9pm EST to hear tracks from the new album and Andy will have some things to say about the songs.
01. Lion’s Den (with Philipp Rölli)
02. My Rock (with Rex D. Scott)
03. Feed Me (I’m Hungry)
04. I Am Yours (with Rex Carroll)
05. Speechless (with Philipp Rölli)
06. New Jerusalem (with Hämu Plüss)
07. Desert Sand (with Jim LaVerde)
08. The Gods Have Failed (with Philippe “The Greis” Kreis)
09. He Came To Set The Captives Free (with Oliver Schneider & Philipp Rölli)
10. Shine A Light (with Kevin Wright & Philipp Rölli)