Log for The Artist Shop IRC Chat with Larry "Synergy" Fast on July 29, 1998


Session Start: Wed, Jul 29 1998

<WotanCCC> Ok everyone..here we go.

Welcome to tonight's
Artist Shop
Featured Artist Conference
"Synergy's "Games" & "Audion" re-release party" with the composer
Larry Fast
Presented by
@Music and TalkCity

<WotanCCC> Larry Fast is one of the main innovators of electronic music having worked with Wendy Carlos, Bob Moog and others. In the 70's and 80's he recorded a series of very successful electronic masterpieces under the name Synergy. For 10 years he was an integral part of Peter Gabriel's recording and touring band from the very start of Gabriel's solo career. Larry has also worked with a number of other progressive artists such as Nektar, Annie Haslam, and Rick Wakeman.

The record label that put out the classic Synergy albums folded shortly after they'd re-released his catalog on CD. As a result, most of his fans never had a chance to upgrade their vinyl to compact disc. A couple years ago, after lengthy court processes, Larry finally won back the rights to his music. Since then he has started to re-master and re-release his back catalog. His first two albums, Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra and Sequencer have been out a short while. And now both "Games" & "Audion" have been re-released. Larry, thank you for joining us tonight!

<synergy> Good to be here.

<WotanCCC> I'd like to start off with the first question please. Larry, thanks so much for coming back to TalkCity.  How are the re-releases doing for you? Are you reaching a new audience with your music?

<synergy> It's been very gratifying. Yes, there appears to be a new audience who view earlier electronic music as the "roots music" of electronica.

<WotanCCC> Interesting.....

<synergy> The email feedback I get lets me know that it's not just a lot of people re-buying their old LPs on CD.

<WotanCCC> Thanks Larry. Now for a question for our audience....

<AskLarry> skipb says: Yay! I've waited since about 1978 to get Electronic Realizations for Rock O. in digital form! In the interim, I've melted four sets of Phillips tweeters with "Games" and finally went to Piezos and then Morel tweeters. Never lost a woofer...go figure.

<WotanCCC> LOL A serious fan

<synergy> I guess the woofers are a little more robust. Sorry for the expense. Hope you enjoyed burning out the tweeters.

<WotanCCC> And another from the audience....

<AskLarry> wurlitzer says: I would like to know what has been the basic inspiration for all your records as the music has always created a lot of images in my mind, as if it had been, in some way, created to accompany some images, which is not the case - as far a I know

<WotanCCC> You have some knowledgeable fans Larry...

<synergy> Good point. I don't have specific images and stories in mind or I'd probably be writing lyrics, but I do often work off of sonic moods.It kind of produces a soundtrack to a non-existing film.

<WotanCCC> I've always felt your music would make for a great soundtrack.

<synergy> The inspiration is very hard to categorize. I'm always surprized at the way small creative elements interact to make something much bigger.

<GaryD> Originally you started re-releasing these yourself, one at a time - first Electronic Realizations, then Sequencer and finally Cords. Now you've made arrangements with Polygram to take over manufacturing and distribution. How did that come about? And what does it mean for the fans?

<WotanCCC> Good question Gary. For more information on "Games ", "Audion" and other Larry Fast Recordings, please visit the Artist Shop web site at: http://www.artist-shop.com

<synergy> For the fans the Polygram arrangement should be only good news. It puts the records into stores again and broadens the promotional and distribution reach. That's really hard to do as a boutique label. It means that I *should* have more time to do some new Synergy music in 1999. (We've heard that before, I know....)

<GaryD> New? Tell us more....please!

<synergy> But the early reissues started taking up more of my time being a record executive instead of a creative artist. Now Polygram has to deal with the non-musical stuff.

<AskLarry> wurlitzer says: What is your impression about the "new" electronic music scene which seems, partially, so inspired in the classic bands and artists from the late 60's and 70's?

<synergy> I'm really glad to see it happening. My radar went up about 1991 or 92 when the techno rave thing started getting notice. I don't like everything I hear in the new electronics, but who can like everything. What I do like is that people are using technology to do creative things again which was quite out of fashion for a while.

<WotanCCC> Have any favorites?

<synergy> Tastes and styles will change, but good creative work should continue. Favorites.... no--I'm afraid that there's no one thing that I can completely identify with. It's more enthusiasm for the movement. Nothing I've heard is playing with the classical/technical blend where I like to swim around. But we're all using a lot of the same tools.

<AskLarry> s-scape says: Did Peter Gabriel know about drum machines before you introduced him to them?

<WotanCCC> Good question s-scape.

<synergy> As far as I know...no.

<WotanCCC> They were pretty new at the time.

<GaryD> Was that the Linn Drum machine?

<synergy> Actually we all knew about those horrible fox-trot lounge organ things.

<WotanCCC> LOL

<synergy> But I built a PAiA kit which was the first computer memory programmable drum box where you made up your own patterns and stored them in RAM.

<WotanCCC> Must have been convenient.

<synergy> That was in 1977 I think. Marvin Jones at PAiA built up one for Peter and that unit is all over PG3. Thats the one on "Game Without Frontiers".

<WotanCCC> That album has some great sounds on it.

<synergy> The next step was Roger Linn adding digital playback samples to the programmable concept and that first LinnDrum was used all over PG4/Security. Peter picked up the LinnDrum himself, not through me.

<WotanCCC> I saw you perform with Peter Gabriel at the Roxy in Los Angeles on the first tour as well as on the "Security" tour at the Universal Ampetheatre. Two very different venues. Do you have a preference in playing in a small or a large house?

<synergy> The different sized venues can be so different that you almost can't compare them. I like them both, though the really big ones feel easier to do than The Roxy or The Bottom Line in NYC.

<synergy> Roxy LA--about March of 1977 I think.

<WotanCCC> Really? The Roxy... kind of close for all the equipment? Dusty Roads was there, made it interesting.

<synergy>Yes, very tight quarters and Robert/Dusty/Fripp couldn't hide behind anything.

<GaryD> Speaking of live performances, Larry, last year you were part of the first ever live performance of Wendy Carlos as part of a synth ensemble that also featured Jordan Rudess. Is there any possibility of more Wendy Carlos performances and will you be part of them?

<synergy> I still hear talk from Wendy Carlos and from our conductor/promoter Ettore Stratta about additional performances, but nothing seems to have solidified.The Bach festival performance last year was a lot of work, but worth every bit of it. One of the highlights of my career.

<GaryD> Ok folks... We're going to do the first of two giveaways now... Larry is going to ask a trivia question and the first one to answer...will win an autographed copy of Games!

<WotanCCC> Send your answers to the question bot

(AskLarry). Our bot mistress Toni will look for the first correct answer.

<WotanCCC> This is a tough one folks...not for sissies.

<GaryD> Larry, why don't you ask the question?

<WotanCCC> And here it comes folks. Remember the first correct answer wins.

<synergy> for "Games": there was something new in the synthesizer instrumentation on this album that is quite common now, but was rare in 1978-79. What was it?

<WotanCCC> Get those answers in now..... Think early adoption. Think small "thinking machine"

<WotanCCC> No correct answer yet...

<synergy> Want a hint....

<WotanCCC> Yep, give em a hint.

<synergy> A broad hint--it's listed in the credits on the package. It's not information that you had to pick up somewhere else. Everybody run for your LP copies.

<WotanCCC> LOL

<synergy> We'll drop another hint soon.

<WotanCCC> I think we have a winner

<WotanCCC> Confirming with our panel of experts

<synergy> Cool. A good call.

<GaryD> Who's our winner?

<synergy> That's it.!!!

<AskLarry> billys says: I repeat, a digital synth, at Bell Labs.

<WotanCCC> Thats the most accurate answer.

<synergy> The answer is the Alles Digital Synthesizer at Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ.

<WotanCCC> Good call billy

<synergy> It actually ran on a Digital PDP-8 or 11 minicomputer.

<WotanCCC> Ok billys can you send your address and info to GaryD? We'll make sure you get your CD.  Ok, back to the audience questions...we'll give another away in a few minutes.

<AskLarry> sharonrose says: What is your favorite keyboard or synth to play on and what is the newest 'toy' you have to play on these days?

<synergy> For you digital freaks--the software used on the machine heard on Games was actually developed at Stanford and became the basis of FM synthesis used in the Yamaha DX instruments in the 1980s.

<WotanCCC> Very cool Larry.

<synergy> In recent years there have been so many good instruments that it isn't like the old days when everybody knew that Bob Moog's pateneted filters sounded better than the others. Lately I've been using a lot of Kurzweil instruments, though I still have Emu, Yamaha, Roland, old Moogs, my old Prophet 5's, Korg Wavestation. I've put a lot of time into my library of sounds for the Kurzweil so I tend to use that stuff the most. I find it better to get to know a few instruments inside-out than to have a lot with little depth.

<AskLarry> elfstone says: Your collaborations are impressive. Have you ever had a chance to work with Thomas Dolby?

<WotanCCC> Interesting combo..

<synergy> Yes. I saw him last week in New York about his Beatnik software for Headspace. We worked around each other on Foreigner 4. They had us both work on the same songs and to this day we don't know eaxtly which overdubs each of us contributed. It wasn't a real collaboration, but we did both contribute. Maybe we'll do something, someday....

<AskLarry> s-scape says: are there any artists today you would enjoy collaborating/composing/ creating with?

<WotanCCC> Good follow up question.

<synergy> I'm feeling a little insular these days because it's been a while since I did a Synergy project--everything's been collaboration for the last few years. Wendy Carlos and I have been looking for the right project to do, but it just hasn't presented itself.

<GaryD> Which, of course, brings us back to the subject of NEW Synergy music.

<synergy> And if Peter Gabriel moved back to electronics as a focus I'd be happy to do that. What about new Synergy--any specific questions?

<WotanCCC> Are you still in contact with Gabriel?

<synergy> Yes, we're still in touch, but Peter is always off to somewhere exotic in the world and much of his time seems to be spent on non-music projects so our paths don't cross that often.

<AskLarry> mike says: I understand you are working on new music, any time frame for release of this yet, and how will it compare to your previous music

<synergy> Some new Synergy material is in various degrees of pre- construction. There is a LOT of material to sort through to find the best ideas to bring to completion. The digital remastering of the 9 old albums has taken a lot more effort than I had anticipated and it's all pushed together into one year (1998). For instance, I just completed the digital remastering and updated artworn for the NEXT reissue, "Semi-Conductor" which should be out sometime in September. Pretty much ate up my July getting that prepared. So...no significant new projects until 1999. I expect the new stuff will be similar to the old stuff; orchestral, expansive soundstages and so on--only even better. The equipment is better and I try to write better as I get older. You'll have to judge that.

<AskLarry> cnektar2 says: Hi Larry it's nice to see you after all these years, I have been trying to get an album you worked on called Intergalatic Touring band just for the song Silver Lady that i saw you perform in concert with Nektar. I would love to see you get back and work with them again

<synergy> Now that's a blast from the past. Marty Scott, who produced the IGTB album and exec produced the first two Synergy albums is trying to get the reissue right for Intergalactic (not to be confused with the new Beastie Boys record...) So far, no luck but you never know. Annie Haslam performs "Reaching Out" from IGTB in her live set these days.Still no news on a Nektar reunion. Though I was looking after Nektar bass player Mo Moore's kids around the pool this afternoon.

<GaryD> So, aside from your catalog is all the music that was on Passport lost forever, then?

<synergy> The Pasport music isn't lost forever; just the ownership of the copyrights is very confusing because of the way the company went bankrupt.   The Synergy rights weren't all that difficult; I come from a family of lawyers and almost became one myself; and it still too 5 years to clear the rights. Something like IGTB which was owned by Chapell Music for publishing and masters by Passport's bankruptcy creditors and trustees is very difficult.

<AskLarry> technicus says: Larry- Do you have any video footage of your work? Ever considered it? How about a project like Jan Hammer did with Beyond the Mind's Eye?

<WotanCCC> That would be interesting.

<synergy> That's a possibility that's being explored. Those are actually more marriages made between the music and video creators because of the expense involved. But there has been some talking, but it's way too early to say anything concrete.

<GaryD> It's time for our second giveaway for the evening..... Pay close attention to Wotan's instructions for submitting your answers. The winner of this trivia question.... will receive an autographed copy of the new Audion re-release.

<WotanCCC> Send your answers to the question bot

(AskLarry). Our bot mistress Toni will look for the first correct answer.

<WotanCCC> And please read the question carefully.

<synergy> For "Audion": there was another Synergy album put into limited, special release on the exact same day as "Audion". What was its name?

<WotanCCC> Send in your answers now....(AskLarry).... Ok we have a winner.... And the winner is.....

<AskLarry> mike says: Computer experiments volume 1

<GaryD> I guess this question was too easy ;-)

<synergy> That was quick...no hints needed.

<WotanCCC> That work for you Larry?

<synergy> Mike is right!!

<WotanCCC> Apparantly Mike had the only correct answer.

<GaryD> Congratulations Mike!

<WotanCCC> You know your Synergy trivia....

<synergy> Good going, Mike.

<WotanCCC> Mike send your address and info to (AskLarry) and we'll make sure you get your CD.

<GaryD> Well, Larry, thanks for being with us tonight!

<synergy> It's been a pleasure.

<GaryD> We really look forward to the next Synergy re-release. Or should I say the next four!

<synergy> One in September, and three more in Oct. or Nov.

<GaryD> Which would be Semi-Conducter, Computer Experiments, Jupiter Menace and Metropolitan Suite.

<synergy> Thanks everybody. Goodnight.

<GaryD> Thanks everyone for coming! Be sure to check out the latest Synergy re-releases at http://www.artist-shop.com/thirdcon.

<GaryD> Thanks to Wotan and Toni for their assistance.

<WotanCCC> Looks like our time is up... I'd like to thank everyone for joining us tonight. Larry, we appreciate your taking the time to come and chat with us tonight, and hope youšll come back to Talk City again soon!  To purchase Larry Fasts' "Games", "Audion", or for information on other Artist offerings, please visit The Artist Shop Online at:http://www,artist-shop.com/thirdcon.

<GaryD> Both Talk City and The Artist Shop will be posting the log of the chat. Be sure to look for them soon.

<WotanCCC> http://www.artist-shop.com/thirdcon   Finally, thanks to the Artist Shop for working with us on this conference. We especially appreciate the efforts of Gary Davis in giving us the opportunity to speak with Larry Fast http://www.artist-shop.com

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