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Conversations with Jamie: Artist-To-Artist Series
Hailing from Toronto, Canada, guitarist/composer Jamie Bonk has graciously agreed to become a contributing editor to NewAgeReporter.com. Jamie will be conducting a series of interviews entitled Conversations with Jamie: Artist-To-Artist Series. We look forward to his contributions for they are both insightful and offer a unique artist-to-artist perspective over the typical interview. We hope you enjoy them.
Other Conversations with Jamie: Artist-To-Artist Series:
A Conversation with Alien Chatter, May. 2004
A Conversation with Oystein Ramfjord of Amethystium, Apr. 2004
A Conversation with Rob Eberhard Young, Apr. 2004
<<-later interviews | earlier interviews->>   <<- all interviews ->>
Jamie Bonk
A Conversation with Ryan Farish
September 2006
From his first music lessons at the age of four, to his studying music performance at Old Dominion University and music business at UCLA, to his recent release, Everlasting, composer/producer/mulit-instrumentalist Ryan Farish has clearly been making a musical splash. Just a few highlights from Ryan's amazing bio: he had 1.8 million downloads via his website on mp3.com; his music has been featured on The Weather Channel's Local on the 8's; he wrote the theme music for the prime time TV show Storm Stories; had his music used as part of the Freedom Towers documentary. His national debut album, Beautiful, reached #10 on the Billboard Top New Age chart and was also ranked #1 on Music Choice's Soundscapes. Ryan's sophomore record, From the Sky, hit #3 on the Billboard New Age chart five weeks after its release and was the second most downloaded Jazz album on iTunes for two consecutive weeks. And here's just a short list of companies that have benefited from Ryan musical expertise: IBM, SONY, Columbia Tri-Star Pictures, COX Communications, IQ Television Group, Lifetime Network, Red Cross, Freedom Stone (Innovative Stone), Disney, and The Weather Channel.

Ryan sites Moby, Robert Miles and BT as inspirations for Everlasting and I'm not going to argue. But like all talented artists, Ryan has his own instantly identifiable musical sensibility. It's a sound millions of listeners love. Including myself.

To learn more about Ryan and his music, please visit his website at RyanFarish.com.

Ryan Farish
"I really tried to push myself to another level of growth on this record." - Ryan Farish
Jamie: Everlasting sure has some great melodies on it! The kind that stick in my ear and I end up humming all day. Does melody writing come easily to you?
Ryan: Hey Jamie, thanks so much! Melodies often come easy. They come in two ways. One, I will hear the complete melody in my head, and then just need to record it. The other way, is by just sitting there at the keyboard and soloing... in the solo, I will hear something I like as a melody, in what I'm playing, and then I just have to usually make a couple tweaks before it becomes the final melody to the song, or section of the song.
Jamie: So, are you writing the arrangement around the melody?
Ryan: No, most of the time I start a tune with the bass line, chords or a drum groove/percussion idea. In my songs, I spend a great deal of time working out the grooves. Most of the time, the groove inspires the melody. "Most of the time, the groove inspires the melody."

- Ryan Farish
Jamie: I have to ask then, what inspires the groove?
Ryan: Well, as far as what inspires the grooves... that can be a number of things. A sound, a melody popping into my head... a chord progression. To be honest, it's really hard to say, because it just happens. Sometimes it comes easier than others, but usually the best grooves are the ones that come the easiest, and just pop into my head.
Jamie: I hear you... It's usually the least "forced" ideas that work best for most artists. The arrangements and production on Everlasting are uniformly excellent. From your last comments, I'm guessing that your approach to composition includes production. Do you feel that a tune like "Together We Will Conquer" would work as well as it does with a different style (i.e. acoustic-based) of production?
Ryan: Thanks Jamie, yeah I spent quite a bit of time on the production side of things for Everlasting. I seem to have a passion both for composition, as well as the art of music production. This is a good question, as with much of my songs the production is something that helped shape the tune. I think "Together We Will Conquer" would work well as an acoustic arrangement, and I will most likely perform it at some point in an acoustic setting. I have spent time playing with friends and musicians where we have performed some of my songs acoustically, and I am actually pretty surprised at how a lot of them really lend themselves to acoustic versions. Yes, the production on Everlasting plays a huge part in its overall sound, and I appreciate you noticing that. I really tried to push myself to another level of growth on this record. Both compositionally as well as from the production side of things. I was really excited that we brought in Emily Lazzar from the Lodge in NYC, to master this record. It was a milestone for me as an engineer to be able to put something together that we felt deserved such high end mastering treatment. "It was a milestone for me as an engineer to be able to put something together that we felt deserved such high end mastering treatment."

- Ryan Farish
Jamie: A mastering engineer told me years ago that he felt the albums that were the easiest to master had the best arrangements and production. That really made a lot of sense to me. If the arrangement is solid and the engineering/production is top notch, then the mastering engineer can focus on making things sound fantastic versus correcting a bunch of audio "problems". Everlasting sounds terrific, so I imagine there were very few (or no) "problems" Emily had to fix. From an engineering perspective, what did you learn in making Everlasting? Any tips or tricks you can pass along?
Ryan: Well, as far as tips the general rule is to fix things at the source. Meaning, take the time to get the proper levels, and sound as your tracking. Focus on getting great sounds, prior to relying on effects or plugins. Strive to get a clean recording, minimal noise. Take the time to consider the wiring in your studio, the cables you use... the gear. I found that my Digital Recordings were warmed up greatly by the addition of a few analog pieces, such as the Avalon 747sp, and the Avalon U5.
Jamie: All good points! I think you're absolutely right about getting great sounds first -- there really is no substitute. And since we're talking about gear, could you describe your studio?
Ryan: My studio is Mac based. I run a Power Mac, Power Book and iBook. I have various hardware and software instruments, and various pieces of analog hardware which helps smooth out and warm up the sounds. I keep a Pearl Masters Custom drum kit (7 piece) mic'ed and ready for recording or sampling, as well as a Roland V Drum kit used for triggering samples (sometimes of the Pearl Kit ;-). Also, I have a couple favorite guitars; my Martin and Cordoba are used the most in my studio both for writing and recording.
Jamie: You've done extremely well licensing your music. Your compositions have been placed in a number of productions such as the TV series Missing and the film Into The Sun starring Steven Segal. Is licensing something you actively pursue? And, secondly, what impact do you feel it has had on your album sales?
Ryan: Most of the music I have licensed recently has not been music from my last three albums. I view my music licensing and music for picture work as a separate division of my business, and artist career - although they parallel each other nicely.
Jamie: I was just visiting your MySpace page and enjoying your video. Pretty groovy light show! Are you doing much live performing in support of Everlasting?
Ryan: Thanks Jamie. No, I am currently focused on doing more recordings, and an upcoming music video we are producing for "Mercy Follows". I'm really excited about that! "I am currently focused on doing more recordings, and an upcoming music video we are producing for 'Mercy Follows'"

- Ryan Farish
Jamie: Sounds like you're going to be really busy! Anything else on the go that you'd like to talk about?
Ryan: Yeah, it's an exciting time for us! We are also very excited to present the Selected Works and Selected Works Xpanded collections. These are the "Best of" my early albums such as Daydreamer and Beyond the Horizon, which have been unavailable for a couple years now. I am so excited to have them available again as downloads from RyanFarish.com and on CD from Amazon.com.
Jamie: That's great! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this artist-to-artist conversation. Best of luck in the future and please stay in touch!
 
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