Fresh off the release of their sophomore album, Batch, Forq is made up of Chris McQueen on Guitar (Snarky Puppy, Foe Destroyer, etc.), Rudder founder Henry Hey on keyboards (Jeff "Tain" Watts, Joe Locke, Chris Botti, Bill Bruford, Seamus Blake, David Bowie, Empire of the Sun), Snarky Puppy founder and Grammy Award-winner Michael League on bass (Kirk Franklin, Wayne Krantz/Ari Hoenig Quartet, Lalah Hathaway), and Jason "JT" Thomas on drums (Roy Hargrove’s RH Factor, Marcus Miller, D’Angelo), Forq is an all-star ensemble of sorts - but with the spirit and cohesiveness of a garage band.
Though based in New York City, the group retains a subtle Texas accent, where Michael League and Jason "JT" Thomas established a fast friendship and musical rapport through almost two years of weekly gigs in legendary keyboardist Bernard Wright’s trio. Upon moving to the east coast, League teamed up with Henry Hey and Adam Rogers (who are East Village neighbors, by coincidence) to form a group rooted deep in that distinctly southern groove, but with with both the fire and inventiveness that NYC is known for. Hey and Rogers contribute all but one of the tracks on Forq’s debut album, a mixture of fierce, playful, and soulful material. It’s the Texas-meets-Manhattan cocktail that has a created a sound rich in both musical intelligence and undeniable pocket.
Forq’s first double-disc CD/DVD (which features full-length, in-studio video of each track) was released on GroundUP Music in September of 2014.
September 22, 2015
"I met Chris McQueen the summer before our first year in college at the University of North Texas. He plays in Snarky Puppy with me. I met Jason "JT" Thomas (who is an original and still current member of Roy Hargrove's RH Factor, and has played with Marcus Miller, D'Angelo, etc.) in Dallas just after college, and we ended up playing a weekly gig every Monday night for a year or two with Bernard Wright at the lower-Greenville live music staple Gezellig before it closed.
Henry and I met when his band Rudder and Snarky Puppy toured together. He's kind of like my big brother in NYC... actually, the guy who convinced me to move there and got me a steady gig which allowed me to afford it.
We had the idea to start a band that was biiiiiig on groove and sonic exploration, without getting caught in the snags of the modern jazz world. We want to play shit with personality, character, and not nerdy, brainy stuff.
Also, we want people to shake their asses. I think the band has a very hard, NYC-style sound that is industrial but also innovative, but also has some serious Texas flavor considering that two of the guys are from there (JT and Chris) and that all of us lived there for different periods of time (Henry went to school at UNT).
We got Adam Rogers involved initially, as he and Henry are old friends (and neighbors in the East Village). He contributed a few songs on the first album and we did one US tour together in that lineup. He was booked solid this year, so we brought Chris into the band - I wouldn't say that it's a "replacement"... who knows, maybe both of them will play on the next record together! But Chris is the only one on Forq #2 and is doing the tour"