Music has an almost preternatural ability to convey emotions so perfectly, that sometimes we take for granted the source of those feelings, and how deep they run. Humankind is in a constant struggle with itself, and the our rejection of nature and its pull on us. All the while we must reconcile the soil in which we came from is the same one we eventually return to. One band which understands this balance is Finnr’s Cane. Their music cuts through to your soul, especially their post-black metal masterpiece A Portrait Painted By The Sun (Prophecy Productions). Raymond Westland caught up with the “The Bard” to get the inside story of their new album.
Congrats on releasing such a great album as A Portrait Painted By The Sun. Are you happy the way it came out?
Thank you very much! They say an artist’s piece is never actually finished, but rather it simply reaches a point where the artist is happy and stops working on it. It was a long process but finally, we are truly happy with how it sounds.
The artwork of the new album is a stunning piece of art. Who made it and what does it represent?
The artwork was created by Benjamin König of Sperber Illustrationen. To us, it represents the beauty and occasional serene tranquility of the forest, the rebirth of the soil and the return of the light after a cold and dark season, and the uplifting promise of happiness and warmth.
From what I’ve read the themes on the album are about endless natural cycles. What does it mean to you personally? What do you find so inspiring about this theme?
I suppose what I find so inspiring about the cycles of nature is that it’s something so real and close to us, and yet so enormously cosmic and unknown to us at the same time. Sometimes I will think, what should I write about? Love? Hate? So many songs have been written about these human emotions, which seem so small and insignificant to me when compared to the entirety of the universe. I suppose that’s why I always tend to come back to nature as a central theme. That feeling of pondering something that is so much larger than ourselves is always so strangely wonderful to me.
Can you take through the motions of writing and recording A Portrait Painted By The Sun? What were you guys aiming for?
We really were not aiming to do anything except create an album that we would enjoy. We don’t usually start off with much of a goal in mind. We simply get together and play music, record it, and through months and months of piecing these recordings together and refining them, the end result becomes our album!
A lot of the music within Finnr’s Cane comes together through improvisation. What do you find so liberating about this approach compared to more traditional ways of creating and writing music?
For one thing, it’s more fun and exciting to get together with the band without any pre-conceived ideas, and say, “Okay! Hit record, lets play!” It’s like opening a wrapped gift, you never know what’s going to come out, and it’s extremely satisfying when it comes out sounding great. Another thing is, I think that through this method, you can capture little “accidental” bits of music that simply could have never been written in a more pre-conceived way. I think that gives our music more originality and less predictability.
Canada is a country known for long winters and large forests. How did this influence Finnr’s Cane music?
Winter has always been an inspiration for Finnr’s Cane. The Peasant lives quite far from us, and Winter is often the season which affords us the most time to get together and play music. In general though, it is not just winter and forests which are inspiring to us. In Canada, we have four very different seasons with distinct qualities and sensations. Also, Canada has a wide variety of inspiring natural elements such as many great lakes, rivers, valleys and mountains which reveal to us the diversity of life on Earth as well as the cycles which govern it.
One of the reasons I find it so important to stay connected to nature is because inevitably, we can’t escape its influence. As an example, the weather can have an effect on everything from our mood, to our day-to-day plans or even one’s medical condition. The sensitivity of ecosystems, the way the moon pulls the tide, even the way our own bodies work is a result of thousands of years of unbridled nature. I think the more I realize this and work in harmony with nature rather than try to fight it, the better I feel and the better my life becomes.
This is your second album for Prophecy Productions. What makes it such an exceptional label to be signed to?
It has been a pleasure thus far to work with Prophecy. We really appreciate that they are able to strike a good balance between professionalism and artistic expression. We feel that we are well represented and that our artistic vision is always well respected.
Prophecy is a relative small label with all pros and cons that come with it. Would you consider moving on to a bigger label if they come up with a good enough offer?
As with any major decision in life, I think we would need to carefully consider the individual circumstances at hand. We don’t have anything against being part of a larger label, however we would not want our artistic vision and/or processes to be compromised in any way.
What touring plans do you have in support of the new album?
As of right now, Finnr’s Cane remains a studio project, however, we would like to do live performance someday if circumstance should foster this possibility. Thank you very much for the interview, it is much appreciated!!
Finnr’s Cane on the web www.finnrscane.ca