Jason has dedicated the majority of his life to music.
Guitar lessons from aged 10, played in bands from aged 13, started writing songs aged 14, left home at 17 to move into central Manchester to try to make it in music, taught himself other instruments (piano, bass, drums, vocals), and then spent every waking second trying to achieve that dream!
After a few near misses (a couple of bands had record label interest), aged 28 he moved South to try to further this dream - doing a Music Production course in Guildford before moving into London to try the music scene there.
The birth of his daughter meant his music career had to be put on hold, but after a few years of thinking being a father and being a musician can't go hand in hand, his daughter's love of music made him realise it was time to try this thing again - if nothing else to make his daughter proud.
So here we go again - wish him luck - and all support will be gratefully received!
Mid 2000 to October 2004
Band-wise, Forena will always be my 1st love.
I got this band together initially when I was 18, from the ashes of the band Aurora (which only ever played 1 proper gig, but many acoustic nights).
Lee was the drummer in that band, but only at the end, he'd been injured for most of it!
And with Effan on bass I had a 3-piece band worth gigging and writing with.
Unfortunately after a couple of gigs Lee decided he was moving to Scotland to be with his girlfriend, so we auditioned Fee on drums, it went well, and we had a 3-piece again.
We played quite a lot of gigs over the 5 years we were together, played MOST of the venues in Manchester, plus a couple in London and one in Sheffield.
At one point we decided we needed an extra guitarist.
First we got in Alex, and though he was a v cool guy and v good guitarist, he wanted to be lead guitarist despite being taken on as rhythm guitarist, so that didn't work out.
Next we got in Laura, and that worked very well. A very bubbly character, we had some of our best success with her in the band, including interest from a couple of local record labels. But arguments within the band put paid to that, and it was back to being a 3-piece again...
After 5 years of playing together in Manchester, we decided we'd move to London and try our luck down there. We went down to look for flats, found a really nice flat, put the deposit down. And then 1 week before we were moving Effan told us his doctor had told him the bass-frequency was frying the frontal lobe of his brain and he was going blind. And so he left the band, leaving myself and Fee only 1 week to try to sort everything out. We lost the flat and ended up staying in Manc.
Fee's parents were doctors and they told us that what Effan had said was bollocks. And then his "friends" told us a lot about him, all the lies etc (and there were many of them) so to be honest we were glad to be rid! But unfortunately it was the beginning of the end.
We got my friend Dan on bass, Dan and Fee constantly argued, she went seriously loopy, fell out with me, and the band was over...
Review of "Lay This Hate To Rest..." Demo
"Come on people, another band who simply want to give you their music. There are loads of them out there if you look hard enough and you'd be suprised how often little gems like this pop through the letterbox. Forena specialise in a tasty blend of dark brooding alt rock, taking say the tunes of Muse but adding the grit of The Wildhearts and dirtying it up a bit. All four tracks are slow burners that draw you in rather than going straight for the jugular, building atmosphere and then hitting you with some serious guitar action. Forena are unafraid to take the quiet route, allowing the songs to breathe, as on "Flames", in a way that is positively fragile at times. "Smother" on the other hand is more upfront, but never in your face screaming for attention, it's far more devious than that like a demon befriending you before ripping your heart out. A little rough around the edges as one would expect from a demo, but one can only wonder what they could achieve in the long run. Ones to keep an eye out for."
Reviewed by Grebo for the Vanity Project
Review of "Lay This Hate To Rest..." Demo
"I don't know if it's my sheltered social life but there seems to be an absense of unsigned metal bands around. All the metal acts I come across seem to have loads of albums out and I can't remember coming across an unsigned act since I saw The Shock in Bristol in 1992. Just when I was beginning to think metal bands must appear fully formed from some sort of heavy metal vortex along pops a CD from Manchester youngsters Forena. The lines between rock, pop, metal, indie and alternative have always been blurred but there is no doubting where Forena are coming from. Opening track "Smother" explodes into life with thick guitars and a bassline that reminds me of Soundgarden, whilst lead singer Jason sings with voice that twangs and whines like a young Dave Mustaine. The songs have an interesting mix of classic metal riffs with more subtle Seattle sounding embellishments. The ballad "Flames" which follows the first track isn't as powerful as the other songs on this CD but then again rock and metal bands often find it hard to write light music with as much punch as their heavier material. Forena aren't perfect. They need to find their feet a bit but they are consistant in their song writing and seem to have a strong idea of where they are going. I like it that they have used various musical influences in their writing and are obviously open to numerous rock genres. Their music is hard hitting and intense stuff and it's great to know that there are young bands out there genuinely trying to produce credible metal music."
Reviewed by Emma Farrer for This Is Not TV
Review of "Lay This Hate To Rest..." Demo
"Apparantley there's been some confusion regarding placing a genre on Forena's music. Genre's aside, this is a pretty effective set of songs. "Lay This Hate To Rest" begins with the song "Smother", whose almost tribal sounding drum beat really adds to the intimidation behind the theme of vengence. It is a bitter and introspective EP without coming across as pretentious. Forena have chosen to write about the strength of human emotions and the overwhelming forces surrounding them are reflected in the music. "Flames" is a deeply solemn song which, in it's introduction, sounds almost like a hymn. Its lucid vocals aided by the distraction in the lyrics serve to create a truly painful tone. Songs like "Hold Me Down", "Broken", "Smother" and "Flames" aren't exactly going to leave you with a grin on your face but this obviously wasn't the intention of the band when the CD was written. If you want to feel happy don't listen to this. However, if you're in the mood for a bit of good old fashioned self pity or you just fancy listening to a damn good CD, stick this on and you'll be surely satisfied. Extremely bitter sounding songs like "Broken" are laced with anger and this goes for the rest of the CD too, along with the intensely personal feel and a depth of melancholy so intense that it taints the tone of the whole CD. I've never seen Forena live and although I wouldn't usually be drawn to this kind of music, I'd be intrigued to see whether the band could pull off the kind of intensity they show on their CD live."
Reviewed by Tonia for Girl Germs
Review of "Lay This Hate To Rest..." Demo
"Forena are epic.Sometimes in a Muse style. They play with tempo, sounds... well anything they can really. They can be called dark, extreme sometimes, but always with a point. As well as having very melodic points, they can also strum out some heavier things as well, giving them a unique, all round sound."
Reviewed by Fran for Dirty Pink and Blue
Stockport College SU 13/11/03
"Stockport's students union bar, a regular haunt of my past, and if I dare be so mean, I really would never have stepped foot in there again if it wasn't for the band I was about to see! FoReNa, 1 of 2 bands for the night, played an 8 song set, and I enjoyed every tune. Influenced by bands such as Muse, you can hear the thoughts and feeling of the band in the music. It's dark and moody, just the way it should be when you use the lyrics: "around me all I see is greed and hate, but you have signed and sealed your fate". Their music is a mix of slow, dark, thumping rhythms and mad thrashing guitar and drum. They are not afraid to play around with the tempo, and seem at home on the stage. I have seen them before at the Grand Central, but the sound tech wasn't up to much, so to see them play with some good noise control was a treat! I must say that my favourite songs tent to be the heavier tunes and if they beefed up a bit more then it's possible I would start stalking them! Please go and check out their website. There you can look at pretty pictures and browse the lyrics for their tunes. There are also some MP3's you can listen to, which are cool including On The Edge, 1 of my fav songs from the set."
Reviewed by Jen Shaw for Cumbersome Cucumber
(Jason, Fee and Dan)
39) 121004: Jabez Clegg, Oxford Rd, Manchester
(Jason, Fee and Effan)
38) 290704: Stockport College Students' Union
37) 280704: Jilly's Rock World, Manchester
36) 230704: The Rampant Lion, Victoria Park, Manchester
35) 070704: Grand Central, Manchester
34) 270604: The Rampant Lion, Victoria Park, Manchester (mini-festival)
33) 180604: The Rampant Lion, Victoria Park, Manchester
32) 160504: Retro Bar, Manchester
31) 010504: The Rampant Lion, Victoria Park, Manchester (headlined a mini 3 day festival)
30) 190404: Night & Day Cafe, Manchester
29) 080404: WA1 Club, Warrington
28) 040304: Stockport College Students' Union
27) 220104: Stockport College Students' Union
26) 131103: Stockport College Students' Union
25) 191003: Jabez Clegg, Manchester (VMan Events)
24) 161003: Grand Central, Manchester (The Void)
23) 091003: The Late Room, Life Cafe, Manchester (HMV Showcase)
22) 070803: The Witchwood, Ashton Under Lyne (supporting Number One Son)
(Jason, Fee, Effan and Laura on rhythm guitar)
21) 020403: Jabez Clegg, Manchester (benefit gig for Red Cross)
20) 170303: The Hop & Grape (Academy 3), Manchester (student Battle of the Bands)
19) 280103: Night & Day Cafe, Manchester
18) 081202: The Attic, Manchester (>FoR THoSe aBouT To RoCK<)
17) 171002: Star & Garter, Manchester (Team Hifi Records Battle of the Bands)
16) 041002: Star & Garter, Manchester (>FoR THoSe aBouT To RoCK<)
15) 060902: Star & Garter, Manchester (>FoR THoSe aBouT To RoCK<)
14) 080702: Night & Day Cafe, Manchester (acoustic set)
13) 160602: "Scottfest", Bramhall (local festival with 20 local bands)
12) 190402: The Grapes, Sheffield
11) 110402: Upstairs @ The Garage, Highbury, London
10) 210302: The Overdraught, Manchester (Blue Fish Promotions)
9) 070302: Night & Day Cafe, Manchester
8) 230202: The Feathers, Soho, London
7) 140202: The Roadhouse, Manchester
(Jason, Fee and Effan)
6) 170102: Star & Garter, Manchester
(Jason, Fee, Effan and Egg on rhythm guitar)
5) 121101: Night & Day Cafe, Manchester
(Jason, Effan and Lee on drums)
4) 080801: Night & Day Cafe, Manchester
3) 070701: The White Horse, Wycombe (supporting The Suffrajets)
2) 040501: The Roadhouse, Manchester
1) 140301: The Roadhouse, Manchester
Oct 2004 to Jan 2006
Musically, Sanity Lost was the 1st band I was in where I knew exactly what kind of music I wanted to play.
In Forena our music style changed a lot over the years, we were finding ourselves, whereas Sanity Lost, for me, was instantly what I wanted.
Sanity Lost came from the ashes of Forena.
After Fee left Forena, myself and Dan decided to get another band together.
I found Gaz through an advert. Gaz was a bassist, but could also play guitar and a bit of keyboards, which was exactly what I was after.
And Gaz knew a drummer, Big Dan, through various jam nights, so we had a full band straight away!
Unfortunately after a few gigs Big Dan decided he couldn't do it. It was all down to confidence, we tried to change his mind, but it didn't work.
I'd come across a band called Orpheous through meeting their guitarist Alex, and their drummer Ant was just what we were looking for, so we asked him to play for us as well as for Orpheous and he wanted to.
Unfortunately, once again, there were band member problems.
Dan's prefered choice in music is a lot heavier than what we were playing, so his heart was never really in it, which was a problem for him and for the band, so we parted company.
One of mine and Gaz's friends, Jo, wanted to take his place, so we got her in.
But then Ant decided to leave. He had some paranoia trip that we only wanted him in the band coz he could drive, which was not the case at all, I classed him as a good friend and he was a damn good drummer, but nothing we said changed his mind and he left us.
So we were once again looking for a drummer. Big Dan came to us saying he would fill in for the gigs we had booked til we found someone else, but he ended up doing so well he was back in the band!
But after all the upheaval, the constant looking for new band members, both myself and Gaz decided maybe it was time for a change, and we split the band... which was a big shame, because there were rumours of interest from Roadrunner Records...
Review of "Fragile Vengeance"
"Four tracks of darkish alt-rock aiming at that Muse/Placebo type thing and nearly getting there. This band are very ambitious in their arrangements and just need that big production to pack the final punch and grandness. But as a statement of intent this is impressive, you can feel the big ideas lurking and they are unafraid to strip the tunes down and slow things down before hitting us with a wave of powerful noise making it all the more intense. SL is all about building tension and atmosphere, light and dark, pulling us in to whisper and then ripping our heads off."
Reviewed by Grebo for The Vanity Project
Review of "Fragile Vengeance"
"If ever a demo didn't do a band justice, this is it. Sanity Lost have power in metallic bundles and a handful of songs as epic and as arcing as you could ask for. Unfortunately they've put them together in a demo that sounds like it was recorded in a different room from the microphones. It's a tribute to Sanity Lost that you will feel like breaking down the wall between the two."
Review on the BBC website
Review of gig @ The Castle, 20/1/05
"The second band on the night was Sanity Lost, who had unfortunately parted company with their drummer a few days before the gig. However, the drummer from Circle of Silence, who had pulled out on Tuesday, agreed to play with them so the gig could go ahead as planned.
So obviously everyone was highly interested to see how well the drummer coped having only had a few days to learn the band's set. And everyone found it highly amusing to see the drummer play like ke'd been with the band for years, whilst the guitarist gave the bass player (Dan) lessons and instructions throughout!
That'll teach him to drink that crappy american Budweiser stuff when we have authentic Czech Budvar behind the bar!
Despite the "technical problems" they went down an absolute storm, and will hopefully be back at The Castle very soon."
Review on The Castle's website
Review of "Fragile Vengeance"
"With Fragile Vengenace Sanity Lost have confirmed a sound that cries loud allegiances towards the world of Muse and bands of that mould, which is no bad thing considering the success the genre is experiencing at the moment.
Opening with mature lyrics and a gradual assent into pure melodic mayhem, Sanity Lost are sure to gain a rapid and comitted fanbase. Higher Stae of Consciousness opens with Muse-like riffage and Incubus style vocals, a comparison I hope the band wouldn't disagree with. It's a controlled yet random song structure that makes this opener better than many run of the mill efforts and gives the listener a strong introduction to the Manchester-based band.
Deity Position Vacant suffers slightly from very quiet vocals from the offset and takes the band almost down a kind of Tool route, but once the song gets going the lead guitar grapples the music back up to the standard set from the 1st track.
Evacuate The Area did exactly that when I belted out the song in other company, but that's a good sign, if my Pop-Idol-loving-Busted-worshipping peers liked anything I played then I'd probably pack my bags and send myself on a pilgrimage to meet Mr Coweel and company. It's a solid track and though it doesn't really leave too much of a memory behind, it sends out a message of intent.
The finale is Smother, an intelligent finish to a solid recording. Perhaps not the most innovative EP I'll hear this year, but an assertive mix all the same. Sanity Lost have good potential and I look forward to seing what this line-up of the band can achieve in the upcoming months."
Reviewed by Adam Harrold for Gigs Unlimited
(Jason, Gaz, Jo, BigDan)
20) 190106 @ The Roadhouse, Newton Street, Manchester
19) 021205 @ The Beerhouse, off Rochdale Rd and Oldham St, Manchester
18) 271105 @ The Bierkeller, 77 Piccadilly, Manchester (Stone Soul River album launch)
17) 111105 @ The Castle, Oldham Street, Manchester
16) 251005 @ Grand Central, Oxford Road, Manchester
15) 031005 @ The Castle, Oldham Street, Manchester (In The City)
14) 280905 @ Life Cafe, Peter St, Manchester (MCR:Music)
13) 250905 @ Grand Central, Oxford Rd, Manchester
(Jason, Gaz, Jo, Ant)
12) 290805 @ The Castle, Oldham Street, Manchester
11) 140805 @ Grand Central, Oxford Rd, Manchester
(Jason, Gaz, Dan, Ant)
10) 030705 @ Life Cafe, Peter Street, Manchester (HMV all-day showcase)
9) 230605 @ Jabez Clegg, nr MUSU, Oxford Rd, Manchester
8) 010605 @ Night & Day Cafe, Oldham St, Manchester (supporting Days of Worth)
7) 110505 @ Retro Bar, Sackville St, Manchester (VMan)
6) 080505 @ Satans Hollow, Manchester
(Jason, Gaz, Dan, BigDan)
5) 150405 @ The Late Room, Life Cafe, Peter St, Manchester (HMV Showcase)
4) 130305 @ The Castle, Oldham St, Manchester
3) 060305 @ The Retro Bar, Sackville St, Manchester (VMan)
(Jason, Dan and Rich from Circle of Silence)
2) 200105 @ The Castle, Oldham Street, Manchester
(Jason, Dan and Fee)
1) 071204 @ Jillys Rockworld, Manchester, in aid of The Phoenix Trust
Feb 2006 to Oct 2006
Redscar, unfortunately, was very short lived once it was up and running.
It started off as myself and Gaz looking for a female vocalist. We were gonna have it as a 3 piece, myself on guitar, Gaz on bass, the vocalist obviously doing vocals, and a backing track for each song comprising of drum machine and keyboards.
And we did some good recordings for it!
But our housemate Rob plays viola and piano, and we thought instead of having keyboard style strings, it might be good to have Rob record viola for us. Then we thought Rob's better at piano than us so let's get him to record piano.
And then we thought, why not just get him to join instead of just recording for us?!
So that was when we decided to start getting a band together.
We tried out a couple of vocalists, to varying degrees of success, but no-one stuck, so I ended up singing again.
And we got Paul, who was a friend of one of the vocalists we tried out, on drums.
So that was it, a 4 piece band, and we should have stuck with that!!
But I still wanted a female vocalist, so after a little while I persuaded the rest of the band to try out a female vocalist I'd found called Lisa. And even though I ended up not wanting her in the band, coz it had taken a lot to persuade the others to try her out, my pride said I couldn't then say I don't like her.
And as they DID like her, we got her in.
And so the arguing started. The best one was that we I was holding her back. She'd joined a ready made band, with songs already written, and had been told she would initially be doing backing vocals until we wrote new stuff for her to sing. But nevermind eh?
The rest of the band didn't back me, I got pissed off, and I walked... and that was the end of Redscar.
Which was unfortunate, coz live this was a DAMN good band...
(Jason, Gaz, Rob, Paul, Lisa)
5) 041006 @ The Retro Bar, Sackville Street, Manchester
(Jason, Gaz, Rob, Paul)
4) 280806 @ The Sabrina Tent, Shrewsbury Folk Festival
3) 160806 @ The Retro Bar, Sackville Street, Manchester
2) 250706 @ The Limelight, Crewe
1) 240706 @ The Retro Bar, Sackville Street, Manchester
Nov 2006 to March 2007
If you're reading these in reverse order (the order I'm typing them in), you'll see Redscar was pretty short lived.
Innerdemonic was even shorter.
And again this is a shame, coz again this could have been a damn good band!
Innerdemonic came about when I got together Chris, Sonja, and another guy whose name escapes me coz I'm crap with names!
I can sing, play guitar, bass, and drums.
Chris was a friend through him having been to Redscar gigs, and could play guitar, bass and drums.
Sonja was my ex, now friend, who could sing, play bass and a bit of guitar.
And the other guy could sing, and play guitar and bass.
So the initial idea was to have a band where we all swap instruments, woulda been brilliant, really interesting to watch and to play in!
But when I got all 4 of us together to jam we quickly realised the other guy was only there to make noise, he never stopped playing, whilst we were all trying to talk and work things out he was just constantly making noise and hardly talking to any of us.
So after the practice the 3 of us decided there was no way we could work with him, and that left us as a 3-piece.
And as my main instruments were vocals and guitar, Sonja's were vocals and bass, and Chris had suddenly realised he loved drums, we had a standard 3-piece instead!
We found a lock-up rehearsal place and rehearsed twice a week, and for a little while it went REALLY well!!
But unfortunately (and this is my opinion, I'm sure she'll disagree) anytime Sonja had a problem in her life she seemed to decide to take it out on me. Which, after a little while of putting up with it I couldn't take anymore.
I asked her, very nicely actually, to stop it, or I would have to leave the band.
She said she wasn't doing anything, there's always gonna be creative differences in bands.
I said this was nothing to do with creativity, she refused to back down, so I left.
I still wish I hadn't, coz as I've said earlier, this could have been a VERY good band. But if the band members can't work together there's no point dragging it out...
3) 150307 @ The Music Box, Oxford St, Manchester (supporting Obsessive Compulsive)
2) 050207 @ The Retro Bar, Sackville Street, Manchester
1) 050107 @ The Retro Bar, Sackville Street, Manchester