West Coast Spotlight – Fionn is on deck for today! We got the chance to sit down to talk about their music and the industry today. Their new EP Everyone’s a Critic came out a few weeks ago so make sure to take a listen now. Check out with Fionn had to say.
So, I must ask, how do you prefer folks to pronounce your name? is it Fee-on or Fee-uhn?
‘Fee-uhn’ is the proper pronunciation! ‘Fionn’ is the Irish word for ‘Finn’ which is one of our two last names.
You have been performing together all your lives and were even actively busking over on Granville island when you were in high school. How did you have the self confidence to just put yourselves out there?
When we first started performing as a duo, we were extremely shy! We were 13 year old’s with big dreams, and synonymously, big Justin Bieber fans. When we went go to see his first autobiographical movie ‘Never say Never’ with a couple of friends and heard that HE started busking at 13, we begged our parents to let us try. After our debut Granville Island busking performance, we were so mortified and self-conscious that we probably would have never continued without parental encouragement! Performing can be extremely nerve wracking at times and getting used to it is like jumping into a cold swimming pool. Busking originally felt like being pushed into the deep end, but our confidence grew over time and gave us the confidence that we carry ourselves with today.
Being twins, as well as bandmates do you find that you create better because you are naturally on the same page? Or does the sibling rivalry get in the way?
When people hear that we’re twins who share a band, they always assume that we write every song together. Although we wouldn’t consider ourselves petty towards each other. When it comes to our project, we do write separately most of the time. We don’t do this because of any rivalry. More because song writing is the only way that we can express our own individual personalities.
Growing up, what were some of your favorite or influential artists? Whether they were family memories or just a song that really resonated that music was the thing for you?
Over the years and in different phases of life we have had so many artists that have inspired us! We can’t remember a time when we weren’t dreaming about being musicians. Vividly remember our Dad giving us a Grammy Nominees 2007 CD when we were kids. We played that CD until it was so scratched that half of the tracks don’t play anymore (the CD is still in our car!) Listening to that CD really cemented our dream to be recording artists. As we grew older, we were more inspired by Taylor Swift and Katy Perry ,and eventually, Florence + the Machine, The Lumineers, and Hozier. When ‘Melodrama’ by Lorde came out, we were absolutely blown away, and now are in love with Rex Orange County, Phoebe Bridgers, Dua Lipa, and Tove Lo (among many others).
Your debut track “Skeleton” was released only in 2017, but just exploded in popularity. How did it feel to just get thrust into the national spotlight when you were, 18-19 years old?
We had a lot of amazing opportunities thrown our way because of Skeleton including our record deal, our first Canadian tour, and a ton of CBC radio play! We are so thankful for all the love that was sent our way, and the support that inspired us to continue making music whole heartedly!
“Skeleton”Your self titled album came out just back in 2018, but has some just killer tracks, “the horns are fake” and I think “Sad Boys” might be my personal favorites, but they are all amazing. What did it feel like to finally have all of yourself out there?
It was incredibly exciting to release our first album! Having just graduated high school when we started recording in the studio, and because it was our first time making an album, it took us a long time to figure out what we wanted our sound to be. We felt that we experienced a lot of personal growth while arranging the songs, and overall felt that we grew up during the process of its creation.
We just interviewed Fake Shark recently who you did the track “Wake Up” a few years back. What was it like working with them?
Fake Shark is amazing! We’ve always loved their quirky pop/rock vibes. Super excited when they asked to feature us on their song ‘Wake Up’. Through recording and performing ‘Wake Up’ together, we got to know Kevvy Maher (their lead singer/producer) very well. We decided to have him produce our current album ‘Everyone’s a Critic’. Kevvy is an incredibly fun presence to have in the studio. He works extremely hard on every project he takes on. We had so many laughs while making the record together and are all genuinely ecstatic about finally releasing it.
Since 2017, you have been creating nonstop. What are some of your favorite stories from the road? Favorite performances that really stuck out for you?
When we got the opportunity to open for Royal Wood on his tour across Canada. We were in disbelief when we saw that Massey Hall was on the line up! We had just been in Toronto that previous summer and remember walking by the venue with a friend who said to us ‘maybe you’ll play there someday’. It was so cool that we got to play there not even a year later!
Our Dad was so excited (he is also a musician and was familiar with the venue) that he flew out from Vancouver just to see us. We remember the crowd being warm, the sound being amazing, and our adrenaline pumping like crazy! It definitely is the biggest venue that we have played so far, and left us feeling like a million bucks! After our show, we took a taxi across the city to go to Fake Shark’s show (since they were also in Toronto at the time). We ended up performing Wake Up with them. At the end of the night we were exhausted. We still remember it as the craziest performance experience that we’ve ever had!
Your latest album Everyone’s a Critic is a masterpiece. Each track is an interesting and thinly veiled criticism of various social aspects. Was that intentional or just a natural byproduct of the catharsis of writing music?
We wrote all of the songs for ‘Everyone’s a Critic’ over the span of a year, and only noticed that they all tied together conceptually when the album was finished. That’s when we decided to call the record ‘Everyone’s a Critic’. Sometimes we write songs with similar themes subconsciously when we’re really trying to give them different storylines.
The title track, “Everyone’s a critic” as well as the track “Get Stoned” really give off some strong Florence Welch/ Amanda Palmer vibes. What were the inspirations behind those tracks and the creative process to their creation?
A lot of the time when we get inspired by other artists, their style may not sound anything like ours or the songs we write that are inspired by them. We wrote ‘Everyone’s a Critic’ after hearing Amy Winehouse’s song ‘You Know I’m no Good’. Even though we don’t sound anything like Amy, there was just something about the song that really made us want to write. After hearing the song, we started off with a similar theme but instead made the song more comedic than melodramatic. Writing ‘Get Stoned’ we initially wanted to channel Julia Michaels’ minimalistic pop song writing, but instead ended up using old country song writing tricks that we learned in Nashville.
Personal favorite song on the album must be “Modern Medication” which is just so amazing. It’s a bit more pop/dancey than your other releases. As someone who also resonates with growing up in a “cut and paste generation” what was the story behind that powerhouse?
We wrote ‘Modern Medication’ with our good friend Louise Burns who produced our first album. Brianne had the idea to write a song with that title months before we started writing with Louise, but was inspired to bring up her idea after the three of us cut out words from an old magazine and put them together to create the opening line ‘I was born into the magazine generation.’ The combination of those words lit a fire in our minds, and we started thinking about Gen Z’s ultimate drug. After 2 sessions in Louise’s East Vancouver suite, we had written a satirical song that summed up what all three of us thought about the modern day and everybody’s obsession with social media.
You might be the youngest artists I have interviewed, apart from your fellow BC artists Ludic. Being Gen Z, you have grown up and come to see the world wildly different from many of your contemporaries. How do you feel that the interconnectedness of social media? Or the economic and climate awareness that have become synonymous with your generation effected your art?
Social media has been such a game changer for the industry as a whole. It is great in the way that it gives everybody the freedom to market themselves and their art the way they want. It can also be negative in the fact that people are only showing the best versions of themselves which can set unrealistically high expectations.
In the grand scheme of things it is so new and we as humans don’t know yet what the effects of it are going to be on our generation. It is equally scary and fascinating. This idea has definitely made an impact on us and our art. It shows up in a few songs on the new album. As for climate awareness, I do believe that artists in our generation put more thought into the merchandise we create. We try to make sure that it is as environmentally friendly as possible.
Do you feel artists of your generation have an easier time breaking into the scene with the access of platforms like YouTube and Spotify? Or is it more difficult due to other generations sticking around or even with the over-saturation of media?
Personally, we feel like it is more difficult because of over saturation. We believe that a lot of people on Spotify aren’t as interested in listening to albums. They have so much music at their fingertips that they cannot appreciate the work put into making them. We’ve even fallen victim to this at times, there’s just so much music! However I never lived in the past and it could have been equally as difficult then as well! The positive take from today’s market is that everybody can have the opportunity to release the music they want whenever they want. That is pretty cool and definitely something that could never be done before.
Being young, female musicians, what are some words of advice to other young female women out there. Dealing with haters, and who are just starting to learn how to put themselves out there?
We think that it just takes time and experience to build up a skin that can deal with the “haters”. It’s also helpful to think about the fact that any hate thrown your way is usually a reflection of that person’s insecurity rather than anything you are doing wrong. If somebody felt truly good about themselves and they saw a song they didn’t like on youtube, would they comment? Probably not. That’s what we try to keep in mind whenever we cross a troll on the internet.
How have you been keeping yourselves busy and sane during the Covid times?
Actually we have almost finished our next album! We wrote a ton of new songs with Jared Manierka over zoom at the start of quarantine. We just finished recording them! It is exciting to have a new project on the way and to plan for the new direction.
Finally, now that things are slowly starting to get back to normal. What are some local restaurants, venues, local hidden gems you are looking to get back to?
We would love to play a show at “Guilt & Co” in the coming months, or maybe “The Fox Cabaret”. “The Railway” has also always been a sentimental favourite, so hopefully we can get something booked there as well! We will so appreciate being able to get back behind the microphone!
West Coast Spotlight – Fionn is done. Big thanks to this incredibly talented young duo for spending some time with us.
Checkout the new music right here.
Keep up with everything Fionn here.
Your turn for a Spotlight Interview.