When a few high school friends get together and form a band, the best-case scenario is usually to have a few friends hear your music. For Montclair’s The Forth Wanderers, they caught the attention of Grammy-winning pop star Lorde.
But we’re already getting ahead of ourselves. The Forth Wanderers are Ben Guterl on guitar, Duke Greene also on guitar, Ava Trilling on vocals, Noah Schifrin on bass, and Zach Lorelli on drums. In the summer of 2012, Guterl was writing songs and sent one to Trilling—they’d never met, but he’d heard her sing and liked the sound—and within a year had the full lineup practicing and playing Ben’s songs.
“We wanted to do a Montclair kind of indie/pop style,” says Guterl, who creates basic tracks on his laptop and sends them to the other musicians to work up their parts (Trilling writes the band’s lyrics). Before long The Forth Wanderers had a solid set of tunes and recorded a debut EP, Mahogany, that they posted to Bandcamp.
Which is where “Royals” singer Lorde comes into the story. “The drummer of the other band Duke’s in (Toasted Plastic) really likes us, so he showed it to one of his friends who showed it to one of his friends who just so happens to be good friends with Lorde,” says Guterl “I guess she liked us enough to tweet about us. We were and still are all very excited, and it has gotten us a good amount of exposure, as you can imagine.”
Lorde has a good ear, because the band is working hard and charging forward. In addition to playing around NJ, they recently did a mini-tour in Pennsylvania and are mapping out a longer summer tour. And there’s a more recording on the way, which the Montclair teens are planning to make a big part of their senior year school work: “Senior Option is a program run out of the high school in which a senior can pursue certain opportunities relating to an interest of theirs or a possible career choice,” Guterl explains. “For the band’s collective Senior Option, we’ve chosen to record our full-length album.”
No doubt, a certain New Zealand singer will want to hear the results.