Speakeasy with Ryan Farish 

Ryan Farish is a "M

Ryan Farish is a "Moby meets Enya meets Delirium meets Enigma" instrumental artist who's written music for IBM, the theme song to Storm Stories on the Weather Channel and signed with Capitol Records partner Neurodisc after accumulating 1.8 million downloads on now-defunct MP3.com. Naturally, we discussed the difference between the rock and new age scenes and his sweet ponytail. Q: Do you make the music you favor as a listener? A: I suppose, but what I like about instrumental music is that it leaves the listener the opportunity to hear it and paint their own picture. Versus if I wrote lyrics (nothing against lyrics), that sort of tells the listener, "OK, this is a love song." Q: Is there a "selling out" stigma in the instrumental world as there is in rock? A: It's a bit different. I think that's a shame. I've never really thought that groups were selling out because they became more commercial. I thought, "Congrats, dudes! You're reaching your fans." To me, the goal in music is to connect through your art. If your goal is to reach people why would you not want to reach people? Q: Are you a fanbase-catering formula fitter? A: No. I mean to say if you started putting in slap bass guitar and jazzy muted trumpet that would make it fall into the smooth jazz genre. I just do what I want to hear and it's been categorized as this genre. What my music has, that is not so typically found in a lot of new age music, is an emphasis on groove, not all atmospheric soundscapes. Q: And the spiritual implications? A: Unfortunately, sometimes people think the whole new age genre to be part of the crystals thing. There is a lot of music that falls into the new age genre that is created by artists that aren't into that. For instance, I'm a Christian. John Tesh's music falls into the "inspirational" category, but some of his records are also filed under new age. Q: A rocker's income is mostly based on touring, not album sales, whereas you don't tour and rarely play live. A: Well, Enigma is a really good example. They've sold 22 million records and have never performed live. The indie rock and pop kind of scene is a very different path. What I mainly do are studio projects. Q: Different how? A: To perform my music live would take so many people. It's not just a drummer, guitarist and singer. Delirium, for example, is on the new age charts. They're on Network, which is Sarah McLaughlin's label and Sarah McLaughlin sings on their tracks. This wouldn't be what you'd consider new age, but the record is filed and charting accordingly. The new age reputation has been changed by the new generation of artists. Q: Such as the blurry distinction of French duo AIR. A: Absolutely. If you were to look at the Billboard in recent history, it's Mannheim Steamroller, Yanni, Delirium. It's Jim Brickman. No crystals. I think a lot of music that is instrumental, easy listening that is not jazz, gets filed under new age. Q: I'd bet your ponytail you're a Rush fan. A: I haven't listed to anything after Roll the Bones, but growing up as a musician and a drummer, of course Rush, and Pat Metheny Group I listened to a lot. It was fun as a kid.

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