Originating from Austin, Texas, the female-fronted power pop/punk outfit Forever Starts Today consisting of Christina Murphy (Lead Vocals), Nathan Dunn (Guitar & Vocals), Troy Hirschhorn (Guitar), Kyle Salaga (Bass) and Nicholas Turner (Drums), sprinkle messages of hope, positivity, and discovery throughout their lyrics. The band’s message, “Your Forever Starts Today, and the possibilities are LIMITLESS” which continues to push their theme that “no matter where you’ve come from or where you are in this moment, you can obtain any kind of future as long as you work hard and take action.” Have a listen to “Optimist” from their upcoming album “Always Hope“, set to release August 25th, embedded below.
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Jenn O’Hagan: Being from Austin, can you describe the city, its atmosphere and a bit about what makes it special?
Troy Hirschhorn: What I love about Austin, from the perspective of being a musician, is the overwhelming sense of community that we have. We found our way to this local music scene in Austin and not every city has that. Where I’m originally from it’s very competitive and dog-eat-dog, similar to a lot of other music scenes, but in Austin there’s this big sense of family camaraderie and helping each other out. We have a group of eight-or-10 bands, and we all go to each other’s shows. We almost always play a show with at least one of these other bands.
Instead of all these bands fighting, competing and keeping their fans separate from each other, it’s all one big family. All the bands are friends, all the fans are friends and we all hangout outside of playing music together. That’s really the most predominant thing that stands out about what makes Austin special to me. It’s a lot easier to get to where you’re going when you have friends to help you, as opposed to people stepping on people on the way up.
JO: That sounds really awesome! Typically the music industry does have a reputation of being quite cut-throat, so having the element of camaraderie and friendship while rooting for each other must be really nice. If you had to tell a first-time visitor to Austin, what would you say is the first thing they have to see?
TH: It honestly depends on the person, but the big thing that everybody says is go to Sixth Street. But, if that’s not your thing, you can go downtown any day of the week and see, in my opinion, one of the best bands in a small venue. There’s so much amazing talent musically and artistically.
JO: Where did your love of music come from and how were you eventually inspired to create music yourselves? How did that initial inspiration turn into your band, Forever Starts Today?
Christina Murphy: I was in middle school and heard about Avril Levine. I really identified with her, because I myself am also very tomboyish. I didn’t really fit in in school and was just one of “the guys”. She was really my first musical influence and from there I learned about blink-182 and Green Day. That’s when I was like, “Woah, I love this! I want to sing.” That was probably around when I was 12 or 13. I didn’t start playing in front of people, because I actually had huge, huge stage fright. I worked through that my entire life, and now people compliment me on my stage presence, which is an awesome pat on the back to myself. I’m really proud of that. I didn’t start playing shows until I was about 18, and that’s when I started playing live.
TH: My mom likes to tell people from the time I could walk that I was getting up on the piano benches and pulling down microphones. The first time I did that was a hotel in Austin as a toddler. I started playing piano when I was young, but I was always drawn to the guitar. I finally convinced my parents to get me a guitar, in which my dad handed it to me and basically said, “Okay, figure it out.” So, I was mostly self-taught. I saw Green Day on the American Idiot tour in 2005, two days before I started seventh grade, and it’s still one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It made me feel like I need to get on the stage in front of people. Jimmy Eat World was the opening band on that tour — just amazing. I saw that and it literally changed my life that night. I decided I need to find a band and play music in front of people, and here we are some years later.
JO: Your full-length album, Always Hope, is set to drop August 25th. How was the lead single “Optimist” been received so far since you guys released it?
CM: Way better than expected! “Optimist” has gotten the most attention than any song we’ve ever put out, so it’s really cool.
TH: I think, as of this morning we’re about to break 12,000-plus streams on Spotify. It’s totally mind-blowing to me. It’s really humbling, and so cool that people are anticipating songs that I just wrote with my best friend in a living room last year. It’s still so surreal to me and so incredible that we’ve been able to reach so many people already.
JO: How would you guys say music and travel compliment each other and go hand-in-hand?
TH: To me, music and travel are synonymous. What do you do when going from point A to point B? You put on some of your favorite songs. It’s cool getting to wherever you’re going, because one of the first things I pay attention to is what the music scene in that part of the country or world I’m in is. I was in Connecticut and New York a few weeks ago, and State Champs and Bayside are from there. We were in Montauk and they have a song called “Montauk”, and I was like, “Cool! I’m here.” To me, it’s not how they go hand-in-hand, they just do. I’m not afraid to drive an hour of two to go see my favorite band if they aren’t coming to Austin.
CM: I think it’s hard to be a successful musician without traveling and getting your music heard all over. That’s necessary. If you’re not traveling physically your music still has to travel to others to be successful.
JO: So everyone has a list of places they have to hit. What are three destinations either for work or pleasure that you need to see and why is that?
TH: One that is going to be cool for me is playing in Las Vegas. That’s where I saw my first show ever at the MGM Grand, but obviously we’re not playing the MGM Grand in a couple weeks. I really want to go to New Zealand or Australia, so any excuse to go there really — Europe too.
CM: Another continent basically! While it isn’t necessarily a specific location, I would love to play all of Warped Tour. That’s where I would feel really successful.
JO: When you’re relaxing in your downtime what’s your favorite type of music to listen to? Is it your genre or something completely different?
CM: Right now I’m in a huge swing music phase. We are surrounded by intense music all the time, so putting on some swing music and just chilling is all I want. I have different phases.
TH: I wouldn’t say this is really a genre, but I really listen to most of our friends bands in Austin to be honest. I know that sounds kind of cheesy and cliché, but we have a bunch of extremely talented friends. I get a lot of my musical fulfillment listening to my friends in Lions and Tigers, Burning Ears and Gold Steps just to name a few. I’ve got some really talented friends in Austin. I also listen to a lot of progressive metal. I was in Jazz band, so I’ll listen to everything, but right now I warn people that get into my car that we’re probably going to be listening to one of my friends’ bands wherever we’re going.