Wednesday, January 09, 2008

White Rainbow - Prism of Eternal Now

After working in bands/duos for so long what about working solo was a pleasant surprise? What do you feel you might have been missing most from collaborating?

Working up to doing things on my own has been about building confidence in myself as a musician. Its hard to have all the weight of the quality of the music rest on my shoulders alone, and I was nervous about it for a long time. I'm still nervous about it. I struggle with the feeling that what I do is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, or that my past mistakes will add up and come to haunt me.... But my constant reply to myself is that it doesn't matter if it matters to the world so much as it matters that I am personally proud of the things I make, and that I keep doing it. It has been a few years now, starting around 2002, since I first started playing shows by myself. I have made so many mistakes on the way. but it's been about 5 years now... that's longer than I was in college... so hopefully i've progressed! And I still love to make music with other people. I do it as often as i can, but now I enjoy being more of a contributer rather than a leader of anything.

In a recent interview you made reference to a spiritual component in creating this type of music. Do you find, as an artist as well as a listener, that music is a better medium to articulate these feelings and philosophical ideas than the spoken/written word?

I don't know if music is fundamentally or universally better at articulating philosophical or spiritual ideas..all I know is that the act of creating music has always been my way of looking inward and in some way might be close to some sort of "active meditation". There is something to be said about letting the world of words go, clearing the mind and body and whatever else there might be and getting wrapped up in a world of sound. For me it is cleansing, and I guess I have been exploring that concept further, trying different ways to create a world of sound for others to get lost in as well. This "getting lost" maybe is spiritual in nature? Either by turning off the inner-chatter, or literally losing a sense of self or ego. I hesitate to define it too much for fear of it losing its openness to different interpretations or usages. But to come to some sort of interaction with some sort of inexplicable sublime... or total psychedelic sonic/visual immersion. Those sorts of experiences are so hard to describe in words. As an artist i'm not trying to drive a specific point home, so its hard to say if my point would be better spoken or shown or made with sound. I don't make music in order to articulate anything in particular. I just make sounds and I figure out what they are making me feel and think in that moment and continue to react to that. Maybe nothing is articulated. I don't know. The best stuff comes when I somehow get out of the way and things just flow through me somehow. Same with listening, when I can let go of my thoughts and just be with the music.

The album's artwork is saturated with pop/new age slogans for healing and restorative powers of the album... how much tongue-in-cheek is this satire vs. a more serious criticism of quick-fix "soul cleansings"? Are you/were you ever worried the artwork would undercut the album's sincerity?

The back cover is a tribute to Dr. Bronner's magic soap, and I guess I never worry too much about the whole issue of irony vs sincerity. I guess i'm kind of over that whole issue. To me humor and sincerity are both a big part of my life, so why not my art? I don't think its too much in this day and age for people to handle that. I kinda feel like the 'seriousness' of music, and spirituality can hinder it sometimes. I make really trippy music in this really fucked up world. I am constantly confronted with the fact that the things I do most 'normal' people would find really really weird. I enjoy Dr. Bronner's soap bottles probably the same way most people do: it is amazingly deep and profound stuff, but also completely crazy and ridiculous. there's always something deep that you can take with you as a sincere thought about life and how to live it, next to something that comes straight out of left field and is totally crazy. If we can live with that reality, and we can all enjoy his soaps and their labels, I don't see why it has to be any different with my music. As a person who makes borderline new age music, I am attracted to that dialog.

Am i for real? Totally. Yes. 110%. Do i think music can heal people? Yes yes yes yes yes. It has saved me a million times in my life. But can we also laugh at how hokey the world of healing and self-help and new age can be? and if not, why? Yes i admit it I am self-aware, that to me is sincerity. i think of it as much more sincere than pretending to be totally serious with more pictures of clouds.

I enjoy thinking about both sides of the equation. Maybe some people find it too "post-modern"ish or something. But if the neo-modern times we live in, with its fascination with minimalism and utopianism (and on the other side of the fence, world leaders going back into some fascist vibes), is to not fall into the same problems as similar motivations in the 20th century, we have to be able to see beyond our 'sincere' convictions to some new way of being in the world. Or something. I don't know. I guess that's why I did that artwork like that.

From a technical standpoint... there is a greater diversity of instruments than usual... does that still feed into a focused aesthetic, or is it a struggle to not open up the soundworld even more?
I feel like i have trouble with creating any one focused aesthetic with my music. you can take things so many places. So, yes it is a struggle to not open the sound world up to everything a computer and a guitar and a bunch of pedals and all the other odds and ends lying around can create. When I'm recording music or playing live, I really can't be worrying about that stuff or everything will just go cold. I can only hope that the fact that I am making it makes it singular to me. I throw out a LOT of music that I make, too. I'm just not the type of person that
thinks of the aesthetic first, make the t-shirt designs before the music, comes up with a style and then executes within that structure.

Is there a piece or pieces of gear that you think of as logical starting points for the "Adam Forkner sound"?

Circa right now... you'd need some fuzz, some lo-pass filter (wah wah-ish), octave pedal... many different delay pedals, looping devices, phaser, pitch shift... voice, guitar, hand drums... and when recording don't forget the flange! But tons of people use all the same tools. In the end I can't think about that stuff too much when I'm making things or I would get twisted up in confusion and lack of confidence.
White Rainbow - Prism of Eternal Now (Kranky)

Some of White Rainbow / Adam Forkner's favourite things from 2007

Adrian Orange, as a person and a musician. Just watching him grow and explore and being able to be a part of it. Playing weird improvised shows with him around portland has been one of the greatest pleasures for me this year.

Flange and Chorus: big comeback in 07.

Adrian and Tom Blood's new Supertape label (

Rob Walmart in general (,

Seeing Deerhunter live.

The Bottled Smoke Festival thrown by Foxy Digitalis.

The Echo Curio Gallery in L. A. Good bands, good times, good vibes.

My special lady friend Honey's new Valet record (comes out in feb 08).

Getting to finally play a show in Big Sur

Playing on/'coaching' the Marriage Records sponsored futsal (indoor soccer) team THE LIGHTNINGS

Sun Circle
(Zach Wallace and Greg Davis and one other dude) live show.

The new book about Father Yod and the Source family The Source

Youtube: Chocolate Rain, Speak (the Hungarian rapper) "Sometimes people make a
war," Leprechaun in Mobile Alabama (and Remix)

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