Synth Happens

Triangle Forest embraces the electronic sounds of yesterday’s future


The technological singularity is fast approaching and for synth-retro-call-it-what-you-will-wave band Triangle Forest, it can’t come fast enough.

“We like synthesizers, and we like synthetic music,” says Triangle Forest singer Brendon Britton. “I wish we could be more synthetic.”

According to MIT, the technological singularity is “the idea that... ordinary humans will someday be overtaken by artificially intelligent machines or cognitively enhanced biological intelligence, or both.” For those of you who have been lucky enough to catch a Triangle Forest show – an array of electronic sounds fused with the work of live musicians programmed with the sole purpose of making people dance – the idea of singularity does not seem so far off.

Made up of brothers Brendan and Ben Britton on synth and drums and Martin van Etten on synths, Triangle Forest has been making infectiously danceable retro music since 2006. Following a WBRU Rock Hunt win in 2007, critical acclaim for their album Hostile Takeover and tours, Triangle Forest is still a regular fixture around the city.

“We are definitely a live band,” Britton says. “We like to practice, and we like to perform. We actually record in our studio a lot between gigs, but it’s always a very tortured process. We only share those songs that we feel satisfied with and that’s not too often.”

A casual visit to the Triangle Forest Bandcamp reveals this release-as-they-come approach to songwriting with them following up Hostile Takeover with periodic singles. “When we record a new track and think it’s worth sharing,” Britton says, “we usually send it to a few friends and put it up online for listening. An album would be nice, we have the material for it, but I’m not sure if it makes sense to release all those songs at once anymore.”

With a sound reminiscent of The Police, Triangle Forest brings rock sensibilities to their music with an emphasis on live performances. “We sound our best when when it’s just the two of us hanging out, drinking beer, and playing in the studio,” Britton says. “But during live shows, when the audience is feeling it, and it sounds good onstage, we occasionally channel some very intense energy, and that might be when it is most fun to watch.”

For those unfamiliar with a Triangle Forest live performance, people descend on the venue out of seemingly nowhere, dance furiously, and know every word to every track before disappearing from whence they came. 

Despite being a rock band at heart, Triangle Forest has fallen into an emerging synth-wave scene that goes by many names. The Retro-futurist sound of synthwave/outrun/retro/darksynth has been coming into its own, employing old technology as far-reaching as vintage game consoles and computers to vintage synthesizers to portray the future as envisioned by the past. Triangle Forest, along with local acts Beta Motel and Lame Genie, have found themselves to be a part of this scene. This month, Triangle Forest will be a part of the first NEON Retrofest being held at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, where vintage arcade games, live synthwave, cult film, retro tech, and guest speakers will converge to bring us one step closer to singularity and show what retro-futurism is all about.

Triangle Forest
Performing at NEON Retrofest, August 24-26