For the past 11 years, Forrest Kline has been writing, singing and playing guitar for Hellogoodbye, the Warped Tour-friendly saccharine emo-pop band who once called Huntington Beach home. But after nearly a decade of keyboard-and-vocoder pogo jams about high-school crushes and innocent, booze-free parties, Kline didn't call it quits, as did many of his contemporaries. Instead, he moved to Long Beach, got married and released 2010's Would It Kill You?—a record of straightforward, grown-up indie pop.
After recovering from his recent trek to Austin, Texas, for this year's South By Southwest music festival, Kline talked to us about his 100-year-old house; Hellogoodbye's next record, due out this year; and all the Long Beach weirdos who make you feel sane.
OC Weekly: You just got back from SXSW. How was it this year?
Forrest Kline: It was awesome. I think it was our second or third time, but this was the best time. We played some new songs off demos I've been doing, but the real difference is that I drink now, so it was more fun.
Was this the first time you got to play these new songs live? What do they sound like?
It was the first time playing them live, and it went really well. Sometimes it's kind of hard to translate the songs. Like, even if you think the recording is awesome, it's really hard to make it happen live, but these songs came out real easy. They sound like the last record, which was much more instrument-based and much more live-sounding than our previous records. There's a lot of that still—but mixed in with more groove-based things. The new stuff is a lot more rhythmic. I used to always write based around rhythms, and the last record I didn't—it was more melodic. Now it's kind of both, but I've definitely brought the emphasis back on the rhythm.
On the SXSW website, Hellogoodbye are listed as being from Long Beach. Do you still have any Huntington Beach pride?
We were talking about this the other day, and I don't know how to qualify where I'm from, really. I wasn't born in Huntington, and I haven't lived in Huntington in six years, so I feel weird saying I'm from Huntington because I don't identify with that. I can say where I'm born and where I live now, but what does that matter? Southern California as a whole influences me, but so does Long Beach, I suppose, in a way.
What drew you to Long Beach?
I came up here from Huntington just because I liked the houses. There are a bunch of cool Craftsman [homes], and that's honestly why we ended up here. But it's not as snooty as LA, for sure. There's definitely an interesting culture here. Walking down the street, no matter what, there is someone weirder and crazier than you in Long Beach.
This column appeared in print as “Hellogoodbye Say Hello Again.”
Sarah Bennett is a freelance journalist who has spent nearly a decade covering food, music, craft beer, arts, culture and all sorts of bizarro things that interest her for local, regional and national publications.