Eight (and a half) Questions with The Neuro Farm's very own REBEKAH FENG
1 TNFTV: How do you juggle and make distinction between the disparate worlds of rock and roll and the scientific community? Does it feel like you live a double life?
RF: I totally live a double life!!! Makes life more interesting for sure! I love both science and music, I can't imagine not having one or the other. It can be challenging though to stay productive in both. I try to be laser-focused when I'm physically at work so that I have time to work on music when I'm home. I'm sure all double-lifers would agree, compartmentalization helps.
2 TNFTV: Do you stay in touch with any childhood friends? If so, do they know you are in a rock band?
RF: I try stay in touch with childhood friends, though I should do better... This goes back to balancing a double life of being both a scientist and a musician. There's just not enough time in a day. Not all of them know I'm in a rock band. I love gothic rock and its aesthetics, but it may not be everyone's cup of tea. I certainly don't want to scare any of my friends! :D
3 TNFTV: Do you listen to music when you are all by yourself?
RF: Definitely! I have a playlist for every situation. I listen to lots of darker and industrial music when I'm at work. Eisbrecher and Rammstein, in particular, are excellent for data analysis, and Chelsea Wolfe is great for writing manuscripts. I listen to Radiohead a lot when I want to be inspired musically, Sigur Ros and Jonsi when I feel spiritual or happy. I put on Wir Sind Helden when I feel nostalgic about living in Germany. Blutengel, And One, and 69 Eyes help me get through chores or anything else I don't feel like doing. :D
4 TNFTV: What's the most satisfying part of being in a band?
RF: Being in a band just makes everything better. It's nice to have band mates to bounce ideas off of. In particular, you (Colin our drummer and TNF TV producer) and our bass players add a lot of energy to our music as the rhythm section. A good rhythm section can transform the mood of the song instantly. I do think the rhythm section of The Neuro Farm is a major strength of the band. After all, that's how we achieve our dark and doomy sounds. :) Playing shows as a band is really nice - all the camaraderie and exhilaration that I can't imagine feeling if I were going solo.
5 TNFTV: The Neuro Farm had planned on touring in the Spring of 2020. If those plans had not been derailed, how did you envision that experience playing out?
RF: It really sucks that we had to cancel our tour! :( We were looking forward to bringing our music to different cities and experiencing each local scene. We were even going to test out vegetarian restaurants at every tour stop. But, we'll still tour in the future when things return to normal. When that day comes, it'll be glorious! :D
6 TNFTV: Can you name any musicians who you admire and/or follow? What is attractive about them?
RF: Thom Yorke, hands down, is the most talented musician I admire and follow. He's on a different plane of existence when it comes to creativity. I don't understand how someone can be so good at writing songs, playing the guitar and the piano, and sing... I go through phases when it comes to music and bands I like, but Radiohead is the one constant. On a side note, I've been really into Chelsea Wolfe lately. She's an insanely good vocalist and also very creative with her usage of effects.
7 TNFTV: Do you apply similar creative skills to your photography as you do with your music?
RF: This is yet where I live another double life. I've mostly done commercial, event, portrait, and (my favorite) dog photography. I use a lot of saturated colors in photography, which probably evokes a different feeling than the kind of music I gravitate towards. Other photographers may disagree, but I tend to view photography as a more technical pursuit - it involves manipulating a finite number of variables (aperture, exposure time, ISO, etc). I do a lot of microscopy at work, photography is very similar to that - different instruments and subjects, but same principles of optics. But I digress. Creative skills involved in photography, to me at least, are probably more similar to science than music.
8 TNFTV: If you were not living in DC and involved in all of your current commitments, what would you be doing?
RF: I've always wanted to be an astronaut! But that's probably not going to happen at this point... The more achievable goal for me is to get a pilot license. I took a pilot class once, it was so peaceful, and almost spiritual, up there surrounded by nothing but the blue of the sky. I'd like to do that more. When I lived in Germany, we used to travel to a different country almost every other weekend. I really miss that. So traveling is definitely on the list. Another dream of mine is to foster puppies for our dog rescue! I'll probably do that when I'm too old to continue living this life of rock-n-roll.
8.5 TNFTV: What advice would you give your younger self?
RF: So I don't have many regrets in life, but I regret not growing up with a dog. If I could go back in time, I'd tell my younger self to get a dog despite my parents' objection. Dogs make life so much better! I'd like to give a shout out to Nash, he's the best dog in the whole world!