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Bank of sound with Fin

North Carolina born, Johnathan Wyatt, came under my radar under one of his alias names- Fin. His music is a diverse mix of instrumental hip-hop. Jonathan has released house music under the alias, Kaepora Gaebor. He has also released Vapour wave beats under the Alias, Fiji, and prompted me to find him on Instagram.


There were two other reasons I decided I want to find out more about him and his work. Two things about Jonathan stand out.

His collaboration on the track ‘Obsession Depression’ with his close friend, Skyler Nelson, (PKSkyler) a rapper based in San Diago, California on ambient Agape Records vol 1 album for U.K. based label Agape records -all proceeds went to MIND (mental health) Charity.
His dedication and maturity for his passion to create music in the past 5 years are astounding. Fin is 17 years old. He has released 3 albums, 6 EP’S and several demos and his next album –Näherin due to drop on 6th November 2020.

‘Tower’  is taken from his latest album.

 

 

When I asked Jonathan to what words came to mind when on MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVITY) (CREATIVITY his answers were -Process, Inspiration, Expression. Frustration, Anxiety and Depression.

ON DEPRESSION OBSESSION

For Depression Obsession, the song I produced for PKSkyler on
(AGAPE Volume 1), Skyler just messaged me one day asking if I was interested in making a track for a charity compilation. We didn’t have a theme to start with, other than that it was mostly ambient music on the compilation and the person who started it was doing it as a tribute to a friend of theirs who had overdosed a few months prior. The song came together really quickly since we had a deadline to submit.

It was great to be a part of a project that feels so personal, with so many talented musicians as well. I’ve dealt with anxiety since a pretty young age, and have had some issues with depression over the past couple of years, so the links between mental health and creativity are very important to me.

I started with a sample from a song by one of my favourite bands, Azeda Booth. I laid some drums and bass down and had the rough bones of the beat. I sent a snippet of this to PK, and we both figured it should go in a more ambient direction, to fit with the other songs on the compilation. That’s when I thought of the concept of the track having two halves, with the first half being a normal rap structure for his verse and hook, and the second half being entirely beatless and ambient. I put some airy vocal chops from a Frou Frou song, some details, and the droney ambient section for the outro. I sent the instrumental to PK, he liked it, laid his vocals down, sent them back to mix, and the song was done.

pfp

FIN ON FIN

I make a lot of different kinds of music, but the sound that’s compelling to me is anything sample-based. I’ll usually buy cheap records from thrift shops and record stores, skim through them, and try to combine as many elements as I can into a cohesive piece. I do play a handful of instruments and write original music, but sampling is something I’m really, really passionate about. I think it deserves a lot of credit not just as a compositional tool, but as an art form all its own. It’s almost post-modern in a way, with the constant recontextualization of recognizable material.

BACKGROUND

When I was young, maybe around 7 or 8, I was obsessed with Micheal Jackson. I don’t even remember how I got interested in him, lol. I listened to his music religiously, had all the costumes, took a few dance classes, everything. This was before I ever considered playing an instrument, it was probably a big part of me getting deep into music later in life.
I started playing the guitar when I was 11, and about a year later I got obsessed with the idea of writing and recording my music. I got really into the idea of not needing a band or recording studio and doing everything myself. I started taking piano lessons, got a cheap bass, and took over my sister’s drumkit. I made about 3 albums worth of really crappy indie rock before getting interested in electronic music. I messed around with drum & bass, synthwave, and chiptune sounds before I got into sampling and beat-making. This was also around the time I met a few rappers and my friend Skyler (PKSkyler) on Facebook. I was super into the then growing vaporwave and cloud rap scene and was making loads of beats in that style. Those beats ended up on PKSkyler’s first album,Life of Skyler ). I would’ve been around 13 years old at this time.

fin1

 

Probably around age 14 is when I got into buying and sampling records. I was taking drum lessons, and it turned out my teacher was a huge hip-hop head and producer. He really pushed me towards where I’m at musically now. He’d bring stacks of records for me to sample, let me borrow his SP-404 sampler for a few months, and was a massive influence on my album Berkeley.
I’m 17 now, and ever since then I’ve been constantly working on and releasing new music. Over the past 2 years, I’ve released 3 albums, 6 EPs, and 4 beat tapes.

ON CREATIVITY

For the stuff I make as Fin, it was lo-fi artists like Mndsgn, Knxwledge, and of course Dilla. About halfway through the production of my first album, Berkeley, I heard DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing, and that changed my path. I was obsessed with the idea of making structured songs out of samples, instead of short beats. Even when I didn’t have the skill or knowledge to pull it off, I’d try to work in shifting structures and distinct sections in my tracks, for better or for worse.

I always try to have a theme to each big project I do, whether it’s just a palette of sounds that the tracks share, or something more focused. My EP, Substance for the Shadow was based around the idea of making something influenced by soundtracks, post-rock, and krautrock, and writing everything from scratch without sampling.

For the beats I was making for PKSkyler as Fiji, it was a lot of cloud rap and vaporwave, like Yung Lean and Blank Banshee. I was also sampling a lot of soundtracks, mostly old JRPGs and Earthbound.

ON INFLUENCES, THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

(In my hometown) the music scene basically non-existent, lol.

It’s a rural area with a pretty small population. It’s not far from Raleigh, which is a pretty big city with plenty of local bands, musicians, and venues, but obviously, I haven’t been able to go to any shows for the better part of this year. I try not to let that stop me, though, I’ve never really collaborated with anyone in person anyway, never been in a band either. I’m very much used to collaborating online, sending stuff back and forth through email, etc.

I’ve met some of my best friends through the internet, and there are so many niche artists and scenes that would’ve never found an audience through the internet. Things like vaporwave netlabels, obscure lo-fi hip hop releases, and the culture surrounding Bandcamp could’ve never existed 20 years ago.

On the other hand, there’s so much music being released right now, it can be hard to break through and find an audience. If there’s a genre you like and want to hear more of, there are hundreds of albums being released online every day in that style. It’s a blessing and a curse.

As far as finding success in music right now, it goes back to what I said before about breaking through the sheer amount of music being made right now. I’ve seen the lengths musicians go to gain listeners, it’s kinda sad.

I’m not the biggest fan of the things a lot of artists are doing right to be seen, like gaming the Spotify algorithms, hiring ad agencies to make songs go viral, etc. It doesn’t feel very genuine. Either way, commercial success isn’t really what I’m looking for in music, that’s never been my goal.

ON LATEST ALBUM AND UPCOMING PROJECTS

I have some songs I’m working on right now is a bit more of a downtempo and electronic-tinged direction. Still sample-based hip hop, but more atmospheric, with a big focus on texture and lo-fi sounds. I also produced and mixed a bunch of the songs on PKSkyler’s newest mixtape, which should be out very soon.

My new album Näherin is out now on my Bandcamp. It’s a 13 track instrumental hip-hop album touching on some elements of trip-hop, boom-bap, and downtempo. It’ll be on Spotify and Apple Music within the next week or two. I’ve also got cassettes that I did in a bootleg-y DIY style. I hand recorded each tape and printed the labels and J-cards myself, instead of going through a duplication service. I also produced 10 of the 16 tracks on PKSkyler’s newest album Lost in Darkness, which came out in April.
Thank you for listening.

Fin Bandcamp

FIN DISCOGRAPHY & RELEASES

Hangman’s noose -Don’t give in

Never give up!

Nina sang it well: it’s a new dawn, a new day….

When you look at yourself straight on in the mirror – chant his name three times.

The Grim Reaper is more likely to pay a visit and say ‘wassup?

Thinking about all those folk who want to live. Don’t have a cat’s chance or a lucky clover to pray over.

Last night, life became mission impossible. If you read it – I’m free flowing this to say

Don’t give up.

Don’t give in.

When it feels like you are at the end of Hangman’s noose about to kick the bucket from under your feet

that’s the moment we’ve the opportunity to reveal our true soul’s pathos.

Don’t you think the cloaked hooded figure has a lot of soul collecting to get on with?

I’m not saying that what we feel at the time is an illusion.

I pointing out -change is the only constant

 That can lead to desperate ,devastating confusion.

Inside – I’m trembling worrying , wondering. What am I gonna do? Can I do this?

Question after question more questions fogging up my third eye- it’s enough to make any mind spin.

Stop. Hammer time.

Warped sense of humour.

Effective

Enough to keep all the rattling bones and bolts inside me cast a  glow over my demeanour.

Hope.

Look around. You see a flower wilt or bloom inspite of his brethren humming out sad tunes.

Hope.

That’s Life continuing in spite of all that strife.

Hope .

One Seed.Of.Hope. Get through this second,hour, this evening.

Take the seed, germinate it, nurture it, feed it, love it , talk  to it.

Take the time – make it thine.

Watch it grow into a mighty oak – proud and on display.

Seems impossible to define.

Plant it. Don’t throw it away.

Keep a hold of it. It may be the one thing that  carries you over the struggle D-day line.

On the surface – flowers, trees, icebergs – all look fantastical – magical even.

Look below the surface. There is a formula – you can build on that too –

No magic. No miracles.

Approach thyself with an examining eye.

Make it  your number one priority to get to know what makes you  tick.

If heart’s Hope stops make it your priority to know where to go to get a battery replacement. Get it resuscitated.

Know what makes you well

Reach out to that alien.

Get out of that comfort zone.

Scream ,yell, type, don’t bottle it  up .

We have the technology – make a call -pick the phone up.

We have a voice – use it. Listen..

Sweet melodic freedom – we’re the only ones with the unlock and escape from our own self made prison key.

Hope.

Never give up.

Life gets difficult

Life gets complicated.

There is more to this space than a  one-dimensional prism.

 I know it’s scary – to feel caught up in that schism.

Pieces of the mind caving in -thoughts toppling over like being a Chilean miner being held hostage underground.

Two months of no light . A sorrowful plight.

It’s dark but you are still breathing. You may be the only one but time is not about to start giving in.

Chin up. Keep looking for a strategy.

An exit route.

Use that sombre time to recollect . Hell, soak up the dramaturgy.

We come into this world kicking, screaming, wondering, possibly even believing. We mustn’t give up unless time says  ‘okay enough’.

So, I say go the way you came in . If it is not  our time – fight with every muscle. All the nerve you can summon up.

Truth  or  dare?

I  have truth spilling out of my aura like pennies falling into the slot machine- the one in  working  order.

Dare to have.  slip on your shades if you have to – things might just get a little brighter.

You might levitate – feel lithe even a little lighter.

Don’t be afraid to succeed.

Don’t afraid to be happy.

You don’t need to go to the dentist to get your two front teeth divided so you can look like some Go  Lucky Gappy.

Photo credit Francesca Woodman – White Socks, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976.

Illogic Trimester review

 Illogic has pushed the boundaries with the track  ‘First trimester’ ( Illogic – Celestial Clockwork (2004)).

Each verse focuses on the different perspective of a couple and their unborn child going through the decision of whether to keep their child or have an Abortion.

It’s a lateral thought-provoking song to the Life versus Pro-choice debate.

It is Illogics maturest track to date.

It highlights the need to create more awareness (about not only women) but Men’s thoughts and emotions; about Life & Abortion & challenging our beliefs. It definitely engages critically with this still taboo subject.

We seether gamut of emotions the couple go through trying to keep their relationship together & looking at what is best for their futures. The inner conflict is raw. The last verse from a child’s perspective blew me out of the water.

Chapeaux Illogic