We’re fortunate that artists of all genres – from gospel to hip hop and blues to indie rock – choose TuneCore when they want to sell and get their music streamed online. The origins and popularization of the house music genre dates back over three decades ago, but anyone with a set of ears knows how much it (and its sub genres) has exploded over the past five years. Many DJs and producers have been able to gain a name for themselves quickly, but there are plenty who have been on their grind far longer.
Ryan Farish falls into the latter of those two. An electronic artist, producer and DJ, Ryan boasts multiple Top Ten Billboard charting albums, a co-writing/production credit on a GRAMMY-nominated song, and a growing number of song placements licensed for TV shows, films and commercials. With a combined 60+ million YouTube views and his critically acclaimed recent album, Spectrum, (released earlier this year via TuneCore), Ryan was kind enough to answer some questions about his background, influences, the industry, and the electronic/house genre.
What were some of your first introductions to dance and electronic music?
Ryan Farish: I first fell in love with electronic music in 2000 when I was introduced to it on a website called mp3.com. My first early influences were ATB, Paul van Dyk, Enigma and BT.
How old were you when you began producing? What drove you to embark on a career in music?
I began producing music professionally at the age of 24, but I had been recording music with tape decks and an old Korg 01/w keyboard for many years before that. I can remember writing my first song when I was 10.
You’ve been making music during a span of rapid change within the industry. How do you feel your genre was impacted by changes that took place during the mid-2000’s as an independent artist?
It’s been all uphill for electronic music. With all the technology and stores like iTunes, Beatport, Amazon Music, and then the rise of social media, it has allowed other genres besides just pop, rock, and mainstream music to be accessible to the world; and that has really allowed some great music and genres, as well as the sub genres of all kinds of music, to have a chance to be heard.
Tell us how the advancement of YouTube has affected your growth as an artist.
It has had a tremendous impact. Fans are able to share, and collaborate in a sense with their favorite artists, and this has been a wonderful experience for the music to reach as many people as possible. I am constantly blown away by the quality of the fan videos that are made for my songs, and these videos made by the fans play a huge role in helping spread the music.
What do you consider to be some advantages that young producers have in 2015 that may not have been available to you when you got started?
The technology and recording tools in the box, the computer, have come a long way, in terms of the sound quality of the software available such as soft synths, plugins and samplers, and more powerful computers which have become more affordable. With hard work, self education, and the heart for the music, there really is no limit to what you can create today, right at home.
Conversely, what are some of the challenges facing artists looking to break in 2015?
There is just so much music out there. This is why I am always encouraging up and coming artists and producers about the importance of creating your own unique sound.
How has a service like TuneCore played a role in your musical journey thus far?
TuneCore has been very valuable, for several reasons. TuneCore has allowed us to select which stores to send the releases to. Also, the user panel is very easy to navigate, and since we are a label with a lot of releases, it makes things simple for our office to calculate and distribute royalties.
As a multi-instrumentalist, what are some of your musical influences outside of the electronic genre?
The Pat Metheny Group, Coldplay, U2, and Empire of the Sun.
Tell us about what you were going for on Spectrum. How has it differed from past releases?
With Spectrum, I really came from a place of just creating for the sake of creating. Fearlessly pursuing the sounds, and emotions I felt and wanted to feel in the music. I think when we pursue music and art with this kind of authenticity; we are really able to tap into the full spectrum of who we are as artists. This is where the title for the album came from, and I believe this principle works in a similar way across many areas of our lives.
You’ve got some serious experience under your belt at this point. What major lessons have you learned when it comes to marketing a record like Spectrum that a younger Ryan Farish could have benefited from?
It’s really important to have a unified vision for an album, and a sound. It’s easy to explore many directions sonically, but it takes discipline to put together a solid musical vision. There is no substitute for this, and it’s really important starting out that you identify what you connect with the most musically, discover what you can contribute to music as a whole, not try to copy others, and try to stay focused on all that.
Got any advice for young producers who are in the midst of releasing their first album, EP or single?
Release it… and move on to the next. Your tenth song is most likely going to be better than your first song, so keep writing. I’ve worked in the studio for many years, with a lot of talented writers, artists and producers, and we have a saying, onto the next, when we finish a track.
I can remember back in 2008, after winning a Dove Award, and I celebrated with one of my co-writers of that song for about two hours, then we said… ‘Onto the next.’
Music is an ever evolving expression of life, which is why it’s so important to move onto the next track, the next idea… the next release. Keep moving, keep dreaming, and keep living the music. Being an artist isn’t something you do, it’s something you have to decide and commit to being, and live the music every day.