Lake Forest is the introspective and sometimes melancholic folk music of Will Whitwham, singer and songwriter of the Wilderness of Manitoba. Last winter, in between tours with the band, Whitwham decided to write and record a song per day and see how long it took to get something he felt could be a snapshot of a period in time. The winter was a catalyst as every season can be. “I'm always moved the most by music that is really emotive above all else because that's the only way I find it can really stay with and sometimes haunt you.”
After that, Whitwham wanted to send it out to a few close friends to hear their thoughts. Then, once revisiting it all, he wanted to put it out because he felt that the songs formed a real cohesiveness through this challenge; as though they could only be released if they were all together. It definitely captures the mood he was in and the sounds he really wanted to be creating at the time. He always prefers listening to a whole album by someone because then you get a wider perspective or series of moments rather than just one of them.
The Lake Forest name came from a place or a number of places that felt synchronistic, both internally and externally. One is the place in Illinois that Whitwham had read about in a book that moved him - Dave Egger's "A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius". Another is the name of a road up north near a place where his family has had a cottage since 1979 and is the only place he has recurring dreams of throughout his life. The last was an image in his mind of a frozen ground surrounded by evergreens. “This came to me in the form of a beautiful photograph a good friend of mine took which immediately became the album cover. It was very cold, surreal and moving all at once”.
While remaining a member of the Wilderness of Manitoba, Lake Forest will always be an ongoing creative outlet for Whitwham whenever the mood and ideas come around. What separates Lake Forest is that it takes on a more sombre, melancholic tone with more sparse arrangements. “I also feel like there is more room to experiment in playing with what exactly that 'sound' is when I'm on my own. It ultimately delves much further into the introspective songwriter territory rather than the collaborative band dynamic. I started making music alone and always find myself returning to it and creating that way again. I'm writing all the time and can never really fit it all into one project because I feel like there is so much music out there.”