For at least one album, Eric Owyoung needed to stop singing in order to express himself. The man behind Future Of Forestry recently released Union (buy), a brand new instrumental album marked by orchestral soundscapes, a deeply moving suite that allows the listener to form and apply his/her own meaning to the music.
For Owyoung, the songs on Union are rooted in an exploration of being one with his Creator. It’s also a sonic exploration of abstract art, of being a participant with the work rather than forcing it in a specific direction. We recently asked him what he learned in the process and how it will affect his work going forward.
CCM Magazine: Union is an entirely instrumental album. Was this something you’ve wanted to record for some time?
Eric Owyoung: Most of my albums are available in instrumental form. They were recorded with vocals first and then for film and television or for different purposes, they like to have these instrumental versions. With my music, I made these instrumental versions and people really loved them to the point where some people would just buy that and get enthusiastic about that. I enjoyed those mixes as well.
The difference though in making an instrumental piece is that you’re featuring the instruments. Whereas when you work on a vocal piece, you’re focusing on that and everything else works around it. It’s really not the same process even though you’re deleting the vocal. There’s a lack of something there that’s intentional. So I wanted to be intentional about it and instead of featuring the vocals, I wanted to feature the cello.
So I took a step back and said, ‘I want to make something that’s beautiful and that speaks for itself without the lyrics being there.’ It was a really fun process for me because, in some ways, words can’t really capture the essence of what you’re trying to communicate. In my mind, it’s something very visual and cinematic, so doing an instrumental album really fed that desire to be able to express that.