The Peasant: Pinning down the exact time that Finnr’s Cane began is a difficult task. I believe it was at some point in 2008. The Peasant and The Bard had known each other from previous musical projects and decided to get together for the purpose of a casual improvised session of music. We recorded the compositions solely for our own personal enjoyment. I believe at this point Snowfall and The Lost Traveller (from Wanderlust) were first conceived. The objective from the beginning was to create music that we enjoyed listening to; quite honestly we were surprised that a few others enjoyed it as well.
2. Your second, full-length release A Portrait Painted By The Sun is a unique, emotionally charged album. It has the power to enchant the listener, then flip them upside down and inside out. How would you sum up the album, and what are your personal feelings towards it now that it’s finished?
The Peasant: After we had completed Wanderlust (a dense, dark album largely inspired by the bleak of midwinter) we were focused on the rebirth of the soil and the return of the light. I feel that these themes resound in the songs and production aesthetic of A Portrait Painted by the Sun without ranging too far away from the fundamental sound of Finnr’s Cane.
The Bard: I agree. Personally I am very glad to have this album finished as it took longer than expected and surrounded a rather dark time period in my life. The process was grueling (especially when doing the mixing & mastering all yourself) but I am very happy with the final product, and feel that it is an essential chapter of the Finnr’s Cane story.
3. The cover art for A Portrait Painted By The Sun is spectacularly atmospheric. Can you share your thoughts on the work of the artist behind it – Benjamin König?
The Peasant: Benjamin of Sperber Illustrationen is an extremely talented artist and we were very happy to have him involved in the art direction of the layout. His art is dark, beautiful and thought provoking.
4. You create much of your music through improvisation. Can you open up about this process, and why you feel it works well for the band?
The Peasant: All three members of Finnr’s Cane have participated in musical projects that had a focus on a more traditional approach to composing arrangements. At the time that we began playing together as Finnr’s Cane we were not looking for another musical commitment of this nature. It was much more exciting to simply hit “record” and interpret the result later. Often we will discuss a specific concept just before playing and try to capture elements of that concept as an audio representation. For one song in particular on A Portrait Painted by the Sun we went for a walk on a frozen lake and gazed at the stars. There is significant geographical distance between our two camps, so writing music in this fashion is much more kind on the travel budget as well.
5. Your lyrical inspiration is primarily sourced from the natural world. What role does nature play in your daily life?
The Bard: One of the reasons I am so fascinated with the natural world (other than its divine aesthetic beauty) is that it plays such a big role in all of our lives, but often we tend to deny its influence. It is always hard to escape the influence of nature. For example, the weather can have an effect on everything from our mood, to our day-to-day plans or even someone’s medical condition, such as arthritis. 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 sometimes see humanity trying to move away from our connetion to nature, and I think that can be a dangerous thing.
6. Canada is rich with extreme metal talent, specifically black metal. What do you think it is about Canada that makes it the perfect place for musical talent to thrive?
The Bard: The beautiful and constant change of seasons here has a strong effect on our creative energy and is perhaps the primary inspiration to many of the great black metal musicians that reside here. Also, Canada is such a vast and relatively uninhabited country that we (especially those in smaller cities such as ours) don’t tend to have the same entertainment destinations as those in more populated areas. This leaves us not much else to do but pick up an instrument and start playing!
7. Your influences are vast and varied, but I’m interested to know what music fuelled the creation of A Portrait Painted By The Sun?
The Bard: I dont think that this album was particularily influenced by any other music, except perhaps vaguely some of the other classic “Spring/Summer” sounding black metal albums such as Ulver’s Bergtatt or a few of Agalloch’s works. It’s impossible to shake the influence of the music you love, but we are always striving to maintain a sound that is completely our own.
8. What are your personal preferences when it comes to collecting music? Do you move with the technologically minded crowd, or do you prefer to buy and collect physical copies of CDs/Vinyl/Tapes?
The Bard: I think I will always have the desire to have physical copies of my favourite albums. Vinyl is great (we hope to have our albums released on vinyl in the near future). On the other hand, I also try to stay up to date with the technologically-minded crowd as well, to see how people are generally connecting with music these days. I would be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally download music to listen to, and I think there’s nothing wrong with that so as long you support the artists you truly enjoy. The internet has brought to light a lot of great artists that may not have otherwise had a chance to be heard in the old world, so I don’t think the internet is as bad for music as many others may think.
9. What impact do the long winters have on the band? Does it inspire creative work, or is there that simple desire to hibernate until spring pushes back through?
The Bard: Winter has been a very inspiring time for Finnr’s Cane thus far. We unfortunately maintain a long distance relationship, with the Peasant living over 500 km away, but it seems Winter is often the season which affords us the greatest amount of time together to write and record music, which is probably quite fitting for a band such as ours.
10. What is next for Finnr’s Cane?
The Bard: We are very excited to continue working on material for a 3rd offering. We are hoping to incorporate more jazz and rock elements, so it should be a very interesting process. We really appreciate your interest in our music and hope that you will enjoy all of our future work. Thank you so much for this interview, its been a pleasure!