Today I have the privilege of interviewing one of my favorite bands in the world, Future of Forestry.
Every album of theirs is special and their newest, “Young Man Follow”, does not disappoint. I was able to chat with Eric Owyoung – the mastermind behind this incredible, experimental, musical bliss.
At the end of this post, I will show you how you can win one of 5 copies.
David: If there’s one thing I look forward to all year, it’s a new Future of Forestry release. What can we expect from the new album, “Young Man Follow”? How does it compare to your previous work?
Eric: My closest musician friends said it took the varying elements of the Travel series (my last release of 3 EPs) and rolled them into a new identity. It was the next step after an experimental season. I would say these songs are stronger than the songs I’ve written in the past, speaking purely from a songwriting perspective.
David: Many artists feel like they need to wait for inspiration before they create. What does your creative process look like? How does that work into your daily schedule?
Eric: I hate to say this, but like most artists, the creative element comes in last place after the tyranny of the urgent. Taking care of logistics, business, and damage control take up much of my life as an artist. Or sometimes, it’s avoidance so i don’t have to face my creative self!
But when i finally get into that creative mode, I forget where I am. I forget what time it is. I even forget to eat lunch. In some ways, it’s a miserable process of trying to dig up the depths of something within me. When it happens successfully, it makes those hours worth it.
But I don’t wait for those experiences to come magically. I put my self in that painful place by discipline. That sounds anti-artistic, I know. But i feel like there are a lot of pansies out there who could make so much music for us to hear and love, but they are sitting around waiting for the “gods” to come down and inspire. My feeling is that it’s in there, in everyone.
The real matter is overcoming the fear that keeps us from entering that creative zone. We have so many excuses why we can’t be there. Because i do this as a career, unfortunately I don’t really have the daily choice to opt down and wait for inspiration. I have to create if I want to eat!
David: I know you’ve had a lot of experience leading and writing worship music. What advice would you give to songwriters who feel called to write worship songs for the church to sing?
Eric: Oh, jeez. Advice? My advice is usually not to look at me for advice…I’m the worst person to learn from because I keep changing my mind on how things should be done and what is important. I guess the only feedback I would share in my experience is that the more i preachedat people, the less impact I had. But the more I just shared my life in the songs and made them honest and personal, the more it really met someone deeply. From there, I’ve always made an effort in my songs to be “life-sharing” in various forms.
David: What advice would you give to an independent artist who wants to create his or her first album?
Eric: Focus on the music and songs! There are too many mediocre bands and artists out there who have their noses to the grindstone to promote, to build, and get famous. But my theory is to start with better music and let the latter things come as a result.
This approach has been a painfully slow growth process for me. I’ve never had that sudden fame incidents that some artists have. Yet, the slow growth has always been constant from the beginning, and I can say I’m happy to be doing music as a job every day. And it only took about 20 years of pursuing music!
David: What albums/artists inspired you while you were creating “Young Man Follow”?
Eric: Strange to say this, but of all the times I’ve written albums, there were other artists being played from my playlist. From the beginning, there was U2 then Sigur Ros. As the Travel series developed, there was more obscure bands such as Phoenix, Animal Collective, Andrew Bird, DeVotchca, Anathallo, and so many more.
During the writing of Young Man Follow, however, I didn’t have a whole lot playing in my car or mp3 player. As strange as it sounds, I think I was taking a little break from music.
David: It seems like so much music these days is forced into a certain, predictable mold. How do you break away from that and create your best art?
Eric: I just listen to what’s out there and make sure I don’t do that! Ha, I’m kinda joking, but in essence it’s true. I’m constantly writing stuff and asking myself, “Has this been heard a million times before?”
I need to have a pretty heavy filter on that stuff or Forestry of Forestry fans will call me a sell out. Young Man Follow really treads a delicate balance between creative and accessible. With the Travel serious, I really didn’t care how accessible it was. With Young Man Follow, I wanted to make sure I was writing the songs for people to listen to rather than for myself or my circle of nerdy music geeks.
So I anchored everything down with songs I felt would be digestible but I still surrounded them with the unique orchestrations that people are counting on with Future of Forestry music.
How To Win A CD
All you have to do is comment on this post. If you want to double your chances, you can tweet about it or share it on Facebook.
Winners will be selected on Thursday, July 26.
Question: How did this interview challenge you in your own creative process? You can leave a comment by clicking here.