Since this happens to be our first interview with Finnr’s Cane, we start with few questions about the past. How did you ever meet each other and decided to start a band?
The Bard and I met in our teen years. We went to separate high schools but became friends over a shared interest in heavy music. We first performed together at a school assembly… I think we played ‘Jotun’ and ‘Episode 666’ by In Flames, and a snippet of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite (because it was Christmas time). Several years after that, we both wanted to be part of a musical project that was different than the bands that we were busy with at the time. And so, we wrote several songs on a whim in a short period of time. These songs were eventually recorded and featured on our first release ‘Wanderlust’.
What about the musical influences you had when gathering to create your own music?
We enjoy artists of many different genres; traditional metal of course (Ulver, Emperor), but also non-metal artists (Jandek, Lorena McKennit). Because of this, it was easy to draw inspirations from a wide variety of artists without having to worry about staying within one particular genre. The idea was never to create music that sounds like Band X, Band Y, and Band Z mixed together, but rather to create music that we would enjoy listening to, regardless of the genre tag that is used to categorize it.
And how has this developed through the years, with reflections on albums like ‘Wanderlust’ (2010) and ‘A Portrait Painted By The Sun’ (2013)?
Over time, the members’ musical tastes have widened; we probably listen to less metal now than ever. I suppose this helps to create a tolerant environment where we feel like any specific type of music can be used if the song calls for it. It’s much more liberating this way.
Now we dive into the present and the new album. What about the writing process this time? I think you focused on more structured songs than ever and improvisation was not so important anymore. Can you give some more details about that writing process?
Yes, it is true that improvisation was less important compared with previous releases. However, it still was implemented for the purpose of creating the songs. What was vastly different this time was the amount of revisions and modifications that were done to the original parts. For these reasons, ‘Elegy’ is of a similar sound as our previous works, but the songs tend to have a more focused path from start to finish.
Does nature plays an important role as source of inspiration for your music?
Yes, absolutely. The Bard lives in a fairly isolated area with access to beautiful forests and lakes. We often try to invoke a sense of detachment from everyday life in our songs that is not unlike a walk through a winding path in the trees. It is never hard to feel inspired in this environment.
Yet I see that the lyrics on ‘Elegy’ also deal with urban desolation and emotions invoked by city life. Can you go deeper into the lyrical contents of ‘Elegy’?
Yes, you are on point. For songs like ‘Willow’ and ‘Empty City’, the major themes were finding solitude and reprieve while living in an urban environment. The passage of time has been a central theme for us over the years, and on this release we wanted to explore that concept relative to city life.
What about the recording process? Did you use an extern producer or did you handle the DIY approach?
We have always employed the DIY approach. The Bard handles the recording, mixing and mastering. Our previous two albums were recorded at Sardonic Moon Studios, while ‘Elegy’ was recorded at Soundhouse Studios in our hometown of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. We are thrilled with the production aesthetic of our latest tracks.
It leaps to the eye that vocals are often used as a supplementary instrument, not so much vocals either sometimes. Do you agree on that or not?
You are correct. We regard the voice as simply another instrument, whether it be used in clean or harsh fashion. To me, the guitar is the central piece of Finnr’s Cane upon which the ancillary instrumentation (cello, flute, synth, or even vocals) can be added in.
Why the choice for cello instead of the obligatory bass guitar?
From the beginning we had a clear direction to create a sound that had an empty, other-worldly type of atmosphere. Because we started only with guitar and drums, we found that there was 1) more space for the guitar sound, and 2) the presence of an interesting void due to the absence of bass guitar. However, this type of atmosphere has its limitations and certain parts require a bottom-end instrument. We decided that cello would be a more interesting way to accomplish this need compared to using a traditional bass guitar.
Would you be open-minded to grace one of the songs with visual support in the form of a video clip, maybe with natural landscapes or atmospheric visuals?
We would love to do that! Do you know anyone who works cheap?
Will you ever play live?
At this point we are strictly a studio project. But, from time to time I daydream of playing at Prophecy Fest in the Balver Höhle. Ideally, Tenhi and Arcturus would also be performing.
What can you tell about the artwork?
The artwork is a self-portrait created by a talented artist named Dustin Panzino (Inkwell Illustrations). We learned of him while searching for artwork for this release and highly recommend his services. He is an illustration student and is talented with a variety of techniques outside of illustration, including oil painting, costuming, photography, and 3D modelling.
What are the plans for the near future?
We’ll continue existing as we always have and hopefully be back with another album before too long. There was a five-year break between releases this time around and that feels a little too lengthy.
If there is anything you’d like to add, feel free to do it here...
Thank you for the insightful questions! Wishing you a pleasant summer.