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An Interview with Fins A Luminous

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Continuing to create a sound that is as mysterious as it is diverse, Brit duo Fins A Luminous are back with two fresh tracks that are, whilst remaining vastly different, equally as effective at enticing and provoking thought. Released via Bandcamp earlier this year, the double A side is an indication of the effect that exploring a variety of genres has had on their musical maturity.

HUNOW caught up with BBC radio 6 music favourites to talk inspiration, musical identity and the importance of taking risks.

HUNOW: For those who don’t know, who are Fins A Luminous?

Joe:  Joe Bond (Vocals/lyrics) and Ross Saunders (Music/production/everything else) are Fins A Luminous. Our good friend Russell adds guitar to some tracks.

HUNOW: What brought you together? How did Fins A Luminous begin?

Joe: We have been friends since school. We began writing songs together when we were about 16.  We played in a band together for several years, gigging around the country. After a hiatus of about 7 years we started writing together again in 2013 and named the project ‘Fins A Luminous’. The name came from lyrics in the Syd Barrett song Terrapin. We really like the fact that our name doesn’t really make sense or mean anything.

HUNOW: On your social media accounts your identities are pretty elusive, what is the reason for this?

Joe: We just want the music to speak for itself. No other reason.

HUNOW: You self-describe as dark electronica. I find with a lot of music produced within this genre, vocals aren’t often a dominant component, but more of a compliment to the rhythm of the track beneath rather than a story to tell; what are your views on this and how important is the lyric writing process to you?

 Joe: Electronica is just a part of what we create.  I don’t think we can be tagged solely in that genre. The vocals in our songs are equally as important as the music. The words are very important to what we do but they are also an instrument. We don’t always intend them to tell a story but we definitely want them to help build the mood and atmosphere in the track.

HUNOW: Your track Funeral Shake was inspired by Twin Peaks, what else encourages you to put pen to paper?

 Joe: Twin Peaks was a part of what inspired the words to Funeral Shake. The part about ‘the man from another place’ and I wanted the words to have that strange feel to them. Also, the backwards vocals on there are influenced by The Black Lodge in Twin Peaks.  But overall the main influence behind the words to that song are fear and danger. My lyrics come from all over the place.  Some have a clear theme and some are completely random cut ups and snippets of bits and pieces I have written.  I really like it when lyrics don’t make sense and the listener has to make up their own meaning.

HUNOW: What comes first in your creative process (e.g. vocal/melody/theme)? Do you have a process?

Joe: Ross will create a piece of music and send it to me and I will start thinking about words I want to use and start thinking up melodies and atmospheres that would suit the piece. We will then get together and try and create a song out of all the ideas.

HUNOW: How do you produce your music? Do you play instruments, and are you playing what we hear or producing digitally?

Ross: All of the music is produced on a laptop. The music writing process normally starts with a broad idea for a song to mix the different genres of music I’m currently listening to together. That’s why each song is different, because it comes from what I’m listening to at that moment.  The song is normally written from the beat upwards and the parts are performed either on the keyboard or guitar. I also use samples and loops from field recordings collected on my travels around the world. In fact some of our songs are structured around and their sound influenced by a particular instrument or sample I’ve recorded.

HUNOW: You have just released a double A side via band camp, both tracks hailing from a variety of influences: Setting Souls, which combines blues influences with minimal house, progressing on to the darker grunge infused daze of Funeral Shake. What do you consider to be your main influences? What inspires you?

 Joe : On Setting Souls we definitely wanted to make the vocals sound like a sample of an old devil blues song and musically I think Ross was inspired by a trip to Ibiza . Funeral Shake just got weirder and weirder the more we worked on it.  We both have very eclectic tastes in music, so anything that we hear and we like, influences us in some way. Different tracks will come from different musical worlds. Our other tracks have been equally influenced by rock, electronica, folk, dubstep, African rhythms…. the list is endless.  However I would say that all of our tracks have an ‘electronic’ pulse from an ‘alternative’ heart. We are currently working on a track that is heavily influenced by Smile era Beach Boys but has grime rhythms.

HUNOW: Although they complement each other well, both tracks give off two very different vibes. How important is it for you to show this kind of diversity within your music?

Joe : The fact that we put those two songs out together and the fact that they are so different was completely deliberate. We don’t want to be tagged as one genre. With each track we create, we want to make something different and explore sounds and themes that we might not have used before.

HUNOW: What kind of equipment do you use live and in the studio?

Ross: Our studio is pretty basic; most of the processing of our sound is done on the laptop. I use a number of DAWs, software synths, drum machines and plugins. I have an old electric piano with a midi out that has nice weighted keys and a solid action, and most of my writing and performing is done using the piano. I also have a number of electric and acoustic guitars. Apart from that I’ve got an audio interface with some good mic pre-amps and a couple of decent microphones. Oh and a little portable stereo recorder for collecting the samples. I’ve also got a light weight midi controller and keyboard which we’ve used to try and put a live show together with. We tried it as a three piece with a guitarist but we weren’t completely satisfied with the results. We’re on the lookout for a drummer to help us realise our sound live.

HUNOW: Have you had many live shows? How do people engage with your music?

 Joe: As Fins A Luminous we haven’t yet done a live show. It is something we are thinking about but we want the timing and setting to be exactly right. We are still working out how to put our music across to people in a live setting.

HUNOW: How do you feel your new release compare to your previous releases?

 Joe: These tracks are different from what we’ve put out before and they also feel like a progression.  We hope that people will be drawn in and enjoy then. All I can say is that the next songs we put out won’t sound anything like these two. We hope that we can keep evolving with each release. We do think that all of our songs sound like Fins A Luminous though.

HUNOW: What ways do you feel you have progressed as artists since your first release?

 Joe: We are more willing to take a lot more musical risks now. We challenge ourselves to try new things with each new track. We are definitely not scared to go out of our comfort zone anymore.

HUNOW: What is in store for 2016?

Joe: We will put out at least one EP and explore other ways of getting our music heard. We will have another look at the live set up and see where that leads. All I know is that we will continue to be obsessed with creating music that we hope people find interesting.

To find out more about Fins A Luminous you can visit their:

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About The Author

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Journalism graduate, just about surviving in the City of Bristol, UK. Pop-Punk, Pizza and Prose, Probs. @rjmwrites

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