Eric Owyoung started making music at the age of 7, counting himself fortunate to attend a school with a “decent” music program but, more importantly, to have supportive parents who “were pretty much behind anything we wanted to pursue.” Without their help, he doubts he would have the musical ability he possesses today, an ability that makes his current project a success.
Future of Forestry formed in 2006, after 6 years of performing under the name “Something Like Silas.” They just released their tenth album, Young Man Follow, with two tours planned in 2012. With haunting melodies and deep, faith-based lyrics, Future of Forestry has found its identity playing alternative ambient rock.
The Most Important 2%
Owyoung has a clear head when it comes to understanding his path. For him, it’s all about the music, all the time. He sees the life of a touring musician as a compromise: “being on stage and playing music is pretty much the only redeeming factor for being on the road and killing yourself with lack of sleep, fatigue, and home sickness. Ironically, it’s like 2% of the job, but that 2% makes everything worth it all.” Things always go wrong, he reports: “some speaker blows up, someone left the 9 volt batteries at the last gig, someone put the wrong address on the website for the venue, or someone didn’t read the tech rider and forgot to take out the green M&Ms (I’m kidding).” What goes wrong isn’t important though, compared to the ability to overcome problems in the name of art. “The name of the game, when it’s tour time, is adaptability. People who don’t adapt well just don’t do well on tour. It has to be about the people and enjoying each moment as it is, not as it was expected to be.”
He understands that transformative power of music, the way it can transport the listener, creating strong, and sometimes confusing emotions. He remembers clearly, being a child and freaking “out when my sister brought home some U2 cassette tapes (War and Unforgettable Fire). I put them on headphones and felt so incredible; I thought for sure it was a horrible sin to listen to such music and be affected like that.” At the same time, music can bring people together in ways that are equally remarkable. He finds “the fact that I can sit in my living room one night and write a lyric, then show up in some random club all the way across the country, in Missouri or something, and all these people are singing their guts out to that song,” to be both “beautiful and scary.”
His “fans tend to be very techy people, the kind of people that have to buy the new iPhone when it comes out.” It’s the “young but mature music nerds” who truly appreciate Future of Forestry’s “thickly orchestrated style of music” and the “very technical aspect to the band, especially live.” To keep up with their base, Owyoung reports that digital outreach focuses “on whatever is relevant at the time. We used to invest in MySpace. Now, it’s Facebook and Twitter. Tomorrow,” he jokes, “it will be something strange called ‘Twitterface,’ or something like that.”
For Owyoung, this is all secondary. “I’m a terrible example,” he says, considering the challenges of working as an independent musician, in charge of his own publicity and bookings, “because I probably don’t care as much as other musicians. I focus a lot on the music rather than publicity. I guess then, my advice is to balance the two. You can’t have good publicity and bad music. No sense in promoting a turd right?”
What Owyoung cares about is his ability “to keep growing, to keep making music, and to make sure that I’m doing something new rather than just following the trends. I just released the album Young Man Follow. Going into 2013,” Eric Owyoung and Future of Forestry “will be working on new music once again.”