The DBs (1988) - Saw their last performance (without Chris Stamey) before they went into retirement for a number of years. Peter Holsapple's voice was ragged but right, and the band was in a groove. They closed with cue card credits, a la Dylan.
STAR'S END: What's it like where you live?
Forrest: I've enjoyed living in the Bay Area over the past three decades. It's gone through its economic ups and downs, but the constant has been the liveliness of its arts scene.
STAR'S END: Define masculinity, basically, in one or two sentences...
Forrest: Whoa, that's a bit of a loaded question. The word has a lot of cultural baggage. In strictly musical terms, I think that a "masculine" sound could complement a softer, more "feminine" sound in the way that an allegro movement in a symphony precedes a slower adagio. Yin meets yang.
STAR'S END: Explain how your 2016 release The Sleepwalker's Ocean became a two CD set?
Forrest: The long-form piece on the second CD (An Alternate Ocean) was almost an accident. I was experimenting with extreme processing of certain elements from the album and found that they worked well as a continuous piece.
STAR'S END: In the late 1970s, when you were still a teenager, your parents
bought you a synthesizer. Have I got this right (my parents were not
so encouraging)? I imagine this was a turning point for you? or one of
many, in your journey into music... Please tell us about your parent's
attitude toward your creative endeavors.
Forrest: My parents were very supportive of my interest in music to a point. My father played violin, so he was very happy I had chosen violin as my first instrument. They bought a Moog Satellite for me as a high school graduation gift, but they knew and I knew I would have to support myself some other way. It was a turning point in that I decided I had to study electronic music and composition first before creating anything I would want to share with anyone. I think they realized my commitment to making music was for real when I came out with my third album, Migration at a time when it was very expensive to release record albums.
STAR'S END: I've heard from many musicians about the "flow" state they
sometimes achieve during live performances. As I suspect that you do
not play out live, have you a means to experience "flow"?
Forrest: To me the process of creating music is more like painting. It's something I prefer to do in private, as a form of personal release with focus and minimum distraction. Not quite a meditation, but close. I experience "flow" when the various elements of a piece suddenly "come together" to such an extent that I can sense what the rest of the piece should sound like. From that point forward, I'm in a race against time to record the remaining parts of the piece before I lose that sense of flow. It's much like remembering a dream when you wake up and scrambling to get the details of that dream on paper before they vanish.
STAR'S END: Your excellent 2017 release Following the Ether Sun finds you continuing the path of the innovative artist. Were there any certain conditions in your life which contributed to the atmosphere of this album?
Forrest: Two close family members passed away over the past two years, so the sense of making my life count has been fresh in my mind. I am also acutely aware of the current endangered state of the compact disc, given the music industry's shift to streaming. I hope my recent releases help make the case for preserving music in a physical format.
-Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END Interview with Forrest Fang - February 2017