Greetings over there! First of all, allow me to thank you very much for taking your time to answer this interview or perhaps a modest conversation about your band, which I should add that I highly admire. I ask you to, please, introduce yourself to our readers.
The Peasant: Hello, I am The Peasant and I play the drums.
The Bard: Im the Bard and I handle the guitar and vocal duties.
The Slave: Hi! I am the Slave and I contribute to the band with synth and various other instruments!
I believe we should start talking a bit about your previous releases and then we head to questions about the band, the members, your passions and goals. Let me start by saying that I loved “A Portrait Painted by the Sun”, some called it Ambient Metal. Do you agree with this “genre”? And comparing the year you’ve formed the band to today, how do you feel that the band has evolved? In what do you think that has improved?
The Peasant: Thank you, I’m glad that you were able to have a positive experience with the album. I suppose that defining music with specific genre tags is becoming more and more difficult these days. Ambient metal sits fine with me. I feel that Finnr’s Cane has evolved by searching to incorporate additional instruments and sounds. We started with a simple guitar and drums foundation and have grown significantly from those beginnings. Hopefully that makes the music more interesting to the listener as it makes it more interesting for us to create.
The Bard: Yes, we experimented a lot on “A Portrait Painted By The Sun” with acoustic and folk instruments and incorporated more cello and flute than on the previous album. The album as a whole was a great learning experience for all three of us because we pushed ourselves in this way, and it gave us more refined skills and techniques to use in the future.
How was the album received by the fans and the critics? I’ve read some reviews that, in my humble opinion, didn’t really get what the band is trying to do (and many comments on such reviews stating the same feeling that I have). Not only concerning “A Portrait Painted by the Sun”, what are your main goals, your main objectives when creating music? What do you want to reach?
The Peasant: It’s interesting that you feel that some reviews “didn’t really get” Finnr’s Cane. We are well aware that this type of music is a few steps removed from the path that most listeners of heavy music are familiar with. This fact is completely understandable and expected. When we began this project, I told myself several times that I would be more than satisfied if one person felt similar emotions to what I felt playing and listening to this music. At this point I feel that my original goal has been reached, so anything else that happens with Finnr’s Cane is really just a bonus to me. I consider Finnr’s Cane to be a rather selfish indulgence. It began strictly as an outlet for ourselves, to play music that we wanted to listen to but were not currently hearing from other bands. To be honest we were surprised, and continue to be surprised, that a few other people in this world enjoy listening as well.
The Bard: It’s true, not everyone understands what we are trying to do musically, but we actually did receive quite a bit of positive feedback from that album. The Peasant is correct in saying that the band is a more self-serving or “introspective” project for us. When we are creating, we usually do not have any listeners in mind other than ourselves. Maybe this is a bad thing, maybe this is a good thing, but in the end it doesn’t matter to us because Finnr’s Cane has always been about the three of us making the type of music that we want to hear.
I would like to ask you about a new release, if I may. Are you working on something new already? And if so, is there any planning of when to release it? It may not be some certain date, but a year, a semester, just for your fans to have something to look forward to. And if you’re, at least, thinking about a new release, do you have some idea of what it might sound like?
The Peasant: Yes we have been constructing songs for what will be a new album. They have been composed and recorded in rough form, mostly so that the pieces can be tightened and re-worked if need be. The sound is a little more dark and stripped down compared to A Portrait Painted by the Sun. I would guess that this album will be released some time in 2015 or 2016. There is considerable geographic distance that separates the two camps of Finnr’s Cane. Canada is a vast country, and while we all live within the same province, some 600 kilometers lie between us.
The Bard: I am very excited about this new album. I feel like we’ve developed a new sound on it, and that every song on the album is very strong and enjoyable throughout. Hopefully it will not be too long before it’s released!
What about your pseudonyms? I find them very interesting as it makes the band sounds more mysterious, even a bit more exquisite (when it comes to the way you present yourselves as well). Please, tell us what they represent, The Bard, The Peasant and The Slave.
The Peasant: I think the pseudonyms served two purposes. When we first began Finnr’s Cane, the members had previously participated in other bands. We had played separately in several genres of music, with varying degrees of success. We wanted the songs of Finnr’s Cane to be judged fairly; not seen as a side project of any previous band or with the need for comparison to other projects by the members. When the initial Finnr’s Cane recordings were first hosted online, we actually listed our location as a nearby town to try and gauge reactions more truly amongst people that knew us personally. We showcased our music anonymously at first because we felt it deserved the chance to be appreciated or disregarded by its own merit. You must also understand that Finnr’s Cane is largely a studio based endeavour and has never played live. This way we were allowed a certain sense of anonymity when we first began recording tracks. The second reason for deciding on the usage of pseudonyms pertained to the escapist type feeling that Finnr’s Cane allowed for the members. Personally, I feel that there are certain obligations placed upon myself as a functioning member of Canadian society in the year 2014. However, by having a namesake that identifies with values very different to what I feel I am forced to conform to every day, I feel that I can remind myself of small fragments of information that I would be proud to adhere to regardless of the year I live in. I chose The Peasant as a pseudonym because it reminds me to live a simple life, to be happy with what I have, to be proud of hard work and to try and learn new skills to make myself a better-rounded individual.
I’d like to ask you about the inspirations when it comes to creating music. This is a subject that I’m always interested, what leads you to create music, what’s the driving force that keeps you on going on? Tell us also about the inspirations that you get from the Canadian nature, please. By the way, have you watched the documentary Canada over the Edge? It’s simply breathtaking.
The Peasant: I think at the beginning, we were inspired mostly by nature and a distinct few musical acts. We grew up in an area with a very low population density. A beautiful feature of our home city is many (in the hundreds) of lakes that fall within the limits of town. It’s not hard to find yourself completely alone and isolated if you have such an inclination. Those types of feelings are very inspiring. Also, when travelling within Canada, I have been lucky enough to have seen the beauty of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Rockies, the prairies, glaciers, the Great Lakes, and many other beautiful areas of Canada. I have not seen Canada Over the Edge, but I have seen similar type programs where helicopters fly over the natural wonders and historic locations of Canada. It is a vast country with varied climates, landscapes, and people. Someday I hope to make it to all the areas within its borders.
I am sure that you’ve been asked many times about this, but I’ll ask you again because I’ve been interviewing many, many talented Canadian metal bands, some that have already reached a degree of fame and others that are still working, but, nevertheless, all very talented and, yes, Finnr’s Cane included. How this helps your band and to what you credit Canada’s metal scene, especially on the Black Metal genre, having so many new and exciting bands?
The Peasant: For myself, I can’t say that the Canadian black metal scene has a huge influence on the relative success of Finnr’s Cane because I feel like I am not aware enough of the bands that are contributing to the reputation. I must say that I have recently discovered Gris and am saddened that I have been missing out on this band up until very recently. Perhaps you could give me a few of your favourite Canadian black metal bands and I would gladly check them out?
The Bard: I have not been keeping up with the Canadian scene as of late. With Finnr’s Cane, we do not feel like we are part of a scene. This could be partially because we have not yet played any live shows, but maybe also because there are no bands similar to us within hundreds of kilometres. Every now and then I will hear a really promising band, usually either from Quebec or out west (British Columbia or Alberta) but it seems they usually do not last for a long time. If you have any suggestions, as the Peasant said, we would love to hear them!
It has already been some time that you’ve been signed to Prophecy Productions. As a buyer, I have to say that they’re very honest, very reliable, answer your questions very soon, but I’m not in a band, I don’t know how they work, I sure hope the same way as a seller, so, how satisfied are you with the label and how much have they helped into promoting “A Portrait Painted by the Sun”?
The Peasant: Prophecy Productions has been a very welcome partner in releasing our music. At some points we have felt that their blunt honesty (possibly because Germans are more direct than we are?) was hard to deal with, but in retrospect I think we have come to understand their point of view.
The Bard: As you said, they are honest and reliable. These are two things that are very important to have for a label, so we have been very pleased with their level of professionalism in all they have done for us.
Connected to the previous question how do you feel about the music industry nowadays? There are so many problems that a band have to face, even when they have a label backing them up. I mean, how can a band overcome the problem of illegal downloads? Working on different editions, such as vinyl to appeal the fans, playing live more often, selling merchandising? And what would be your main suggestions to a band of young people that is just starting, trying to make it out there, to get a deal with a label?
The Bard: My advice to a young artist would be to focus on your music first, and don’t be too proud to sign with a smaller label. A small label can often do things for you that you can’t do on your own, and will help you get noticed by a bigger label. The music industry has changed so drastically in the last 10-15 years that it’s hard to predict where it is going, or to even decide if its a positive thing for musicians. On one hand, we see a landscape in which artists are given more of a platform than ever before to have their music heard, and this has made the industry more of a level playing field. On the other hand, you have an industry where even the top earners are struggling to make a living, and even the listeners have bloated themselves with so much “free” music that it is not the precious and enjoyable commodity it once was (think back to when your parents were young). Technology has made it much easier to create, share, and consume music. I think the music industry is at a turning point, and needs to see new broadcasting and consumption methods developed. The focus on consuming music from a tiny cell phone screen doesn’t seem appealing to me. Maybe music will become less financially-motivated in the future, something I would love to see.
Many of our readers are already aware of what I ask now, it’s just a question about yourself, about you and your life, as I (and many others say as well), the man/ woman behind the music. Just tell us some of your main interests, passions, goals, hobbies, if you have any, what you enjoy doing when you’re not creating music, anything you’d like to share with us.
The Peasant: I enjoy fishing, cooking, spending time with small groups of people, and walking empty city streets. If I’m lucky I will encounter a cat during these walks.
The Bard: I enjoy mostly the same things: hiking, camping, gardening, cooking, spending time with friends, music, and other types of art. Mostly music though. Right now I am spending a lot of time on various music projects.
The Slave: Over the last few years I have spent much of my time in University studying Psychology, however, now that I have finished I enjoy spending my free time in the outdoors hiking, camping, and gardening. I also enjoy creative outlets such as cartooning, painting, music, and sewing.
I have one more question to ask you that is related to you personally. During the years of your musical life, your musical career, are there any regrets (musically speaking, obviously) or something that you’d change as well as what are your proudest moments with it?
The Peasant: I think the biggest regret would be the inability to enjoy the events of the present time. I am often too focused and anxious about what will come next that the moments I should be savouring are not appreciated fully at that specific time. I think the proudest moment for me would be the sense of accomplishment that came with listening to the master copy of Wanderlust for the first time.
The Bard: If I had any regrets musically, it could be that I have sometimes spent too much time working on projects, and may have lost passion or creativity from over-working myself. A song sounds drastically different after listening to it 6 times in a row, than it does hearing it for the first time after not listening to it for 6 weeks. But I have had many proud musical moments. Every time someone listens to something I have created and gets a positive feeling from it, I feel proud. I live for every small moment when it comes to music.
And so we reach the end of this interview. As usual, I hope that you have enjoyed it as well as the readers. It has been very pleasant for me to interview you and I would like to wish all the best in the future. Do you have any last words for our readers?
The Peasant: Thank you very much for this interview. The questions were thought provoking and on point. You have earned a reader.
The Bard: Thanks very much to you and the readers, and see our official website for updates on the progress of our 3rd album!!
July 27, 2014