in Holland the band known as Forest Field are changing the
face of rock with their 2015 CD entitled Angels? Well
actually, the band is the brainchild of Peter Cox, supported
here by U.S. based singer Phil Vincent. Based in the south
of Holland, Forest Field borrows from stadium rock and a heavy, 21st
century, New Age instrumental mix. Speaking about working with lead
vocalist Phil Vincent, Cox tells mwe3.com , "We both liked working
together so much that Phil agreed to become the dedicated singer for
Forest Field. Angels? is our third album together. I think
it is a shared love for The Beatles, Winger etc that makes us sound
good together. We are both from a hard rock / prog-rock musical background.
Phil does not need much guidance to work his magic." Apparently,
Cox has a thing for big sounding rock arrangement ala Styx or YES
and an equal and even more impressive penchant for instrumental music
that sounds like Tull or Genesis on their melodic wordless tracks.
Receiving the vocal mixes from singer Phil Vincent in the U.S., through
the art of internet magic, Peter Cox manages to get a large well recorded
rock sound down on the CD that is quite impressive. Whats even
more impressive are Peter's guitar chops which he filters in liberally
on the vocal tracks and even more on the instrumentals. International
rock fans take note: Forest Field has a steadily increasing number
of albums out and more on the way. With the 2015 CD release of Angels?,
its prime time to check out this fine Dutch prog-rock treat.
mwe3.com presents an interview
Peter Cox of FOREST FIELD
Can you tell us where youre from originally and where in Holland
do you live now and what do you like best about it? What can you say
about Holland, especially for those who havent been there yet
and how would you say Holland is different from other Euro countries,
like Sweden or Finland for example?
Peter Cox: Well I live in the South of the Netherlands, a province
called Limburg. We Dutch consider Holland as the North West of the
country and in my humble opinion we Southerners are different people.
More relaxed and more into enjoying good food and good company.
The name of the surrounding region where I live translates loosely
to Forest Field, hence the name. My house is outside the village near
the forest, so it is quiet and peaceful and I like that very much.
Non-Dutch people will mostly think of windmills and wooden shoes,
and maybe Amsterdam and the red light district when they think of
my country, but that is not how I see it. Many different regions and
many different local languages and so on.
And in all honesty, in general I don't think we differ that much from
Belgium, Germany or Denmark. Just language and local typical things
maybe. Alas I do not know much about Finland. Except for the lakes
and the heavy drinking, but that is common knowledge I guess. I have
been in Sweden once, nice country and people.
mwe3: When did you form Forest Field, how many albums has the
band released who else was involved in the formation and what was
the original intention of the band?
Cox: Forest Field was created in 2012, because I was writing so
much music and my band Chinawhite was so slow in putting things together.
I have a studio at home and wanted to get the music out there and
have more control over the speed of things.
Since then we have released 4 titles:
Floating on Air, 2013, a 32 minute ambient track
Pioneers Of The Future, 2013, 13 tracks of ambient progressive
Onwards And Upwards, 2014, 11 tracks of ambient progressive
rock. Billy Sherwood (Yes, Circa:) mixed that one and mastering was
also done in the USA, by Maor Appelbaum.
Angels?, 2015, 11 tracks of ambient / melodic and progressive
Guests so far: Joris Peeters and Aukje Peeters, vocals in Pioneers
Of The Future. Sue Straw, vocals on Pioneers Of The Future
and Native American flutes on Onwards And Upwards. Phil Vincent
sang on all 3 full length albums. And I sang on Pioneers Of The
Future and play drums, keyboards, bass and guitars on all releases.
I write the songs, mix and master, do the artwork, etc.
mwe3: How did the new Forest Field CD, Angels? come
together so to speak? And how would you compare Angels? to
your earlier albums and also how did you come up with the title and
the album cover art?
Peter Cox: I like working with a theme. Once I find a theme
I like, I sit down and write down phrases that link to that theme.
Those become the base for the instrumental songs. Next I look in my
archive for songs that could fit in and the rest I start writing based
on the phrases I have. I challenge myself with thinking of certain
moods I want to create and then start working on a song that does
just that. Maybe unconventional, but for me it works. I always have
enough music I can use. And sometimes I push a track to a future release.
Or even another band or project.
is a more rockier album than before. As a whole that is. All albums
have at least a portion of rock in them. I am in essence a guitar
player after all. Although I also have had piano lessons!
Since the theme this time is relationships and my belief that those
need work to last and even then you get no guarantees. It is something
you have to take serious, but I am also all for having a bit of fun
with it. So I talked with artist Juan Manzanares about the idea of
a pretty lady, that also had a touch of evil in her. I think what
he came up with is pretty funny. Police tape, hand cuffs and the wings
on the wall...
So those wings made me change most of the titles for the instrumental
songs, and in the end I feel the whole works like a charm.
mwe3: Angels? features a stellar mix of rock vocals
and a number of great spacy rock instrumentals. I read you like to
focus on the instrumentals. Do you feature both instrumentals and
vocals for variety? I guess in rock, variety is the spice of life,
although some clearly favor the instrumentals, which are quite unique.
Peter Cox: You know, originally I never imagined having someone
like Phil on board. So the idea was to find some guests for the vocals
because a lot of people prefer that. I always wanted to do the instrumentals.
Those are just things I come up with all the time. And they go all
around the place. Spacey, solemn, groovy, intimate, you name it. I
feel the true purpose of progressive music is to explore and experiment
and not be afraid to boldly go where no one has gone before. There
are just no limits to imagination and that is how it is supposed to
Since Phil has joined I have added the Earthshine project (www.earthshine-music.com)
and that is one hundred percent instrumental music. Here I put the
songs that have no or very little guitar. Except for occasional acoustic
guitar work. Very relaxing music...
But there will always be instrumental songs on a Forest Field album
too. They are part of this band's sound!
mwe3: How did you meet Forest Field vocalist Phil Vincent?
I hear Phil lives quite a ways from you. I guess his vocals on Angels?
comes to us care of the internet? Tell us something about Phil
and his unique singing style. He sounds made for Forest Field! Be
great if you guys could do some shows in the US, but I guess Im
Cox: Phil and I go back a number of years now. I wrote him a mail
once saying I liked his albums so much and he was very kind and asked
which ones I had and which not. So he sent me the missing ones and
in return I offered to build him a website...
That is how it started. I don't think at the time Phil knew I played
music, but someday I accidentally sent him a YouTube link of me playing
guitar and he liked it very much and said we should work together
some time. So when I started Forest Field I reminded him and he was
able to do 3 songs for the first full length album Pioneers Of
We both liked working together so much that Phil agreed to become
to dedicated singer for Forest Field. Angels? is our third
album together. I think it is a shared love for The Beatles, Winger
etc that makes us sound good together. We are both from a hard rock
/ prog-rock musical background. Phil does not need much guidance to
work his magic. I only provide a single vocal guide and it never seizes
to amaze me what he comes up with. His multilayered vocals are so
rich of ideas, I get Goosebumps every time I hear a new track coming
And you are right, it is an internet created recording. Phil lives
in Rhode Island in the States, so we are literally oceans apart. I
record the song in my studio, send it to him with the guide vocal,
and in return he records his parts in his studio and returns his tracks
to me. I put it all together and voilá, song ready!
We would need a big fan base to ever consider playing live, that is
our harsh reality. Obviously I cannot reproduce the music on my own,
so I would need to hire a band to get that working... But you never
know, big dreamers never sleep.
mwe3: Holland has such a rich history of rock and rock instrumental
music. Would you say Dutch music affected your music on different
levels? The interesting thing is that Holland excels in both rock
(Kayak and Earth & Fire) and instrumental music (Focus, Trace,
Supersister). Tell us and the readers something about the wonders
of Dutch rock and why Dutch Rock is so underrated.
Cox: I am sure many people know at least a couple of songs that
are originally Dutch, Radar Love or Venus
anyone? But for me my major influences are American - The Tubes, Blue
Oyster Cult, Canadian - Rush, Saga or English - Uriah Heep, Deep Purple,
YES. Just a few examples!
I agree there are many great Dutch bands
music is not meant
to be a competition and certainly Kayak and Supersister are among
them. Sylvia from Focus is a stunning track, and Jan Akkerman
is a excellent guitar player. There is a lively neo prog scene with
a band like Knight Area doing well. A band that probably no one outside
The Netherlands has heard of is Het Goede Doel (The Good Cause). Very
melodic almost pop like music, but with some serious prog undertones.
Over the years we also had several outstanding rock bands. Golden
Earring, Sleeze Beez, Vandenberg, Terra Nova, Zinatra come to mind.
I don't know if Dutch music is underrated; the biggest problem I see
is distance. For a Dutch band it is pretty hard to tour the States
for instance. So without heavy support from a big record company and
thus sales to match that is a no go for many.
mwe3: Whats your background as a musician? When did you
start studying music and is guitar your main instrument? Tell us something
about your favorite guitars that you record with and the keyboards
too that are featured on Angels? Are you something of a gear
head or do you consider yourself first, mostly a composer?
Peter Cox: I started making music when I was 9 I think. I started
with bugle, a brass instrument. I played with the local fanfare brass
band for 15 years and played numerous gigs in- and outside the Netherlands.
I convinced my father to buy me a guitar when I was 14. My first band
gig was as a bass player however. I also had some organ and piano
lessons and played both keyboards and guitar in my first proper band.
But I think with over 30 years of guitar playing, that is the instrument
I am most comfortable with.
Well, if you own over 15 guitars, 4 amps, a couple of 4*12 cabinets
and also some bass guitars, it is hard to deny that I am somewhat
of a gear head. But I can also say that my live set is about 15 years
old now and still does everything I need it to do. For the studio
I like to work with various setups to color the sounds. My fave guitars
are from Paul Reed Smith, beautiful instruments with sound to match.
But I also have Ibanez, Yamaha, Fender, and some other things like
a dobro from Gretch.
Keyboards is much simpler, just 1 master keyboard and a ton of plug
ins in my Pro Tools studio set up. All the classic sounds (hammond,
wurlitzer, piano, rhodes) and a whole bunch of synthesizer sounds!
As you will have understood I am no stranger to playing live, hundreds
of gigs in fact. But now I am happy to be in my studio and write songs,
record and release them.
Do you follow new bands these days or are you mostly interested in
the classic rock bands, like YES and Focus etc? Who are some of your
favorite guitar players, keyboardists and composers? Seems like rock
music is hardly 50 years old yet!
Peter Cox: It is fair to say I am heavily into music. When
I am not writing and recording, I think I am listening to a CD. Anything
from the 1960s to yesterday! Metal, rock, prog, but also some pop
and classical music. It just never gets old. And I am old fashioned,
I still like to buy my music!
Personal favorites are many. To name a few: Rush and all its individual
members, Ian Crighton, Steve Vai, Steve Lukather from Toto, Steve
Morse, John Lord, Jorn Lande, Ronnie James Dio, Ken Hensley, Mick
Box, Jeff Porcaro, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Adrian VandenBerg, Francis
Dunnery and It Bites, Threshold or more modern bands like Godsticks,
Red or Biffy Clyro.
I like songs that manage to convey emotion. I am not so keen on musicians
who like to keep showing off their technical capabilities, no matter
how impressive they are. John Sykes once played a guitar solo with
Blue Murder that consisted of about one tone. And it was magical!
mwe3: Tell us more about your love of instrumental music. You
seem to be expert at combining rock and new age music with a kind
of Euro-centric Dutch sound. How many instrumentals are on the Angels?
CD and which came first? Theres so many great instrumental
tracks on Angels? Im thinking about track 10 In
Excelsis which is just stellar! I can hear something of a Mike
Oldfield influence on some of your tracks. I guess Oldfield is still
the bench mark for the self-producing instro guitarist!
Peter Cox: This may come as a shock but I hardly know anything
from Oldfield except for some of his vocal tracks and albums. Still
someone I have to discover more deeply.
I am sure the oldest instrumental song is "Message For A Messenger.
The base for that track was demoed in the early 90s! I re-recorded
it completely and changed a lot in the arrangement, but the guitar
melody is that old for the largest part.
And I cannot say I have listened to a lot of instrumental music either.
The exception being classical music and Messers Satriani and Vai,
Who are in a whole other field I think.
music for me is easy in a way that I am completely self reliant. I
write and record everything and when I am happy, it is finished. No
one to discuss things with, just me. And I love to sit down, choose
a tempo and a certain feel, often based on a title, and then try to
match that with a song. Sometimes I go a bit crazy. Like with Left
At Cloud Nine. I open with a 4 part vocal harmony I did myself,
and then the synths and acoustic guitar take over. That is a left
turn ha ha, where the opening choir sounds a bit angelic don't you
Am I an expert? Not in my opinion. But I am free of certain concepts
and I just create what feels right to me! For me it is also hard to
tell what style something is, I was never good at pinpointing specific
mwe3: Are the other Forest Field albums mainly instrumental
or vocal based? Where do you get your instrumental ideas from and
can you tell us something about the Rock Company record label you
and Forest Field record on? Do they have other artists and instrumental
rock artists too? What are your favorite instrumentals that you wrote
and recorded? I hope youll be doing more instrumentals moving
Peter Cox: Floating On Air is all instrumental but only
available in digital formats. Pioneers Of The Future has 7
instrumental songs, each representing a day of the week, and 6 vocal
tracks. Onwards And Upwards has 11 tracks and like on Pioneers
Of The Future the odd numbered tracks are instrumental and the even
numbered are vocal tracks.
With Angels? I changed that. Tracks 1, 3, 6, 8 and 10 are instrumental
although my voice can be heard on 3 and 6. That leaves 2, 4, 5, 7,
9 and 11 as the vocal tracks.
Rock Company I founded around 1987 with my band mates at the time.
It ended up in my hands so now all my music is released on Rock Company.
My progressive hard rock band Chinawhite has 4 releases now and we
are working on album 5. Earthshine, like I said is my all instrumental
project and there are 2 albums available now. And we already discussed
Forest Field earlier.
the label's website www.rockcompany.nl you not only find all available
CD releases but also over 40 non label CDs for a special price. Have
a look. And there is a very friendly flat shipping fee. Our releases
can also be found at CDBaby and on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etcetera.
I am proud of all the music I wrote. You cannot choose between your
children! There is a time and a place for every one of them as moods
vary a lot. Since I love writing them, you can be certain there will
be more in the future. In fact, the third Earthshine album is currently
being mixed and the songs for the next Forest Field album are also
written and even recorded for a big part! Rest assured, there will
be more instrumentals...
mwe3: So what do you and Forest Field have planned for later
this year and into 2016 already? Have you any concerts coming up?
The clock keeps moving! What new dreams and future aspirations do
you have for Forest Field moving forward and looking ahead?
Peter Cox: For now we hope we can get as much people as possible
to listen to our music and hopefully buy it as well. We need the support
to be able to continue. It keeps growing with every release and the
reactions have often been very rewarding. That is such a stimulus
to keep going. I hope next year will see the release of our next album.
I know I want to and am already preparing for it. Like I said earlier,
concerts are a no go at the moment.
has asked me to record guitar solos for 6 of the songs on his freshly
released Tragik Come And Get It CD. Melodic hard rock, and
some really good songs there! Check it out on CD
I am also looking into expanding the Rock Company label. There are
some things brewing, but it is too soon to tell. Just keep an eye
out for news via our social media...