First And Forever In Loving Memory 2020
[Photo by: Megan Thompson]

Arizona three-piece First And Forever have joined the ranks of the emo revivalists. After releasing their debut single “Chicago” in 2018, the trio gained a strong following, which led them to releasing three more singles.

Now, the group have teamed up with AltPress to premiere their latest single, “In Loving Memory.” You can hear the new track and read an interview with lead vocalist Alex Ryan below.

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Despite artists such as Creeper and Point North, First And Forever recognized that there was a void of current emo music. Taking inspiration from icons such as My Chemical Romance and the Used, the group have set out to bring a modern twist to the genre.

First And Forever worked with producer Courtney Ballard, who has also worked with Waterparks and Emarosa. What drew you to working with Courtney?

It all started when I heard this little song called “Not Warriors” by Waterparks. I heard that spacey intro riff, and I was like, “Who is this man Courtney Ballard, and where do I find him?”

Seriously though, I needed him to do our record. I knew his style of production was perfect for our sound. His ability to seamlessly intertwine his pop sensibilities into rock music was exactly what we were looking for. And not to mention, those Waterparks and Emarosa records did pretty well. 

In a statement, you mentioned that First And Forever are a modern take on classic emo. What enticed you to create modern emo, and who are your biggest inspirations in the genre?

This scene has been lacking emo for far too long. I found myself listening to my favorite emo bands [such as] My Chemical Romance, the Used, Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World, [and] Senses Fail over and over again because there was nothing in the scene at the time that captured my attention like those bands did. I knew that if I wanted to hear that sound, I had to create it. So, I did what any emo boy would do and went on Craigslist to meet two random strangers and create my emo band. [Laughs.]

Which modern emo bands do you listen to and think are reviving the genre?

There are definitely bands in the scene that are doing a great job at reviving the genre, and we would be lucky enough to share the stage with them. Some of my favorites right now are Creeper, Stand Atlantic and Point North. All three of those bands are absolutely crushing it right now, and I love their sound.

You said: “If you long for the days of screaming My Chemical Romance lyrics in your bedroom with your friends, this song is for you.” What about this track embodies My Chemical Romance? How did you use MCR’s music to channel your inner emo?

What I love most about MCR was the drama and theatricality of their sound and image. I can feel their songs when I listen to them. When we sat down to write “In Loving Memory,” we wanted to write a chorus that you could see. We wanted you to feel the raw energy of it. “My chest, your knife/I know what’s on your mind/Cut me open look inside/Tell me what you find.” I hope this song paints a picture for the listener as emo as it does for me.  

How has the pandemic allowed you to blossom creatively? How are you remaining creative being stuck at home?

Honestly, what is more emo than being locked inside your room all day unable to venture out into the world? I didn’t know I could be more emo than I already was, but I’ve been proven wrong, and I have a lot more emo left to give. [Laughs.]

Jokes aside, being stuck inside sleeping on a couch for the last two months has given the band a lot of time to think about our next steps and who we want to be as a band. Marcus [Leopard, guitar] has been spending his time working on the new record. David [Pratt, drums] practices drumming for a couple hours a day. And I scream emo songs into my friend’s walk-in closet until their neighbors bang on the wall and tell me to shut the fuck up.

Despite the uncertainty we’re currently all experiencing, what can fans look forward to from First And Forever in the near future?

We just signed with Adventure Cat Records and will be releasing our brand-new EP with them. We have a couple more singles coming out before we release the EP and maybe, just maybe, we will shoot a video for one of them.