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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

Feature: Staghorns on music, Mental health & creativity


Staghorns a part of  the metropolitan  sound of  music  subculture in Tel aviv talking about Mental health , creative outlets, life and his music ventures.

I’ve been sitting on Staghorns for a couple of months – another great Soundcloud discovery. I connected body, mind and soul with Tel Aviv native-born Staghorns -Shlomi’s track -Outfluence.
The track’s title is the opposite of influence listening to this track conjures colours, soft textures, a breezy summer house tune. It is playful. ‘Outfluence’ and a couple of his other tracks ‘Uneasy Dave’ and another track yet to be released take you on a journey into the very heart of Tel Aviv’s thriving electronic dance music culture.

Staghorns music is inviting the world to enjoy the sounds of Tel Aviv’s music subculture: the message seems to be about Freedom. His sound is infectious without the unwanted side effects of living in a COVID 19 World. Staghorns other tracks are typically optimistic, he experiments with ambient sounds and swings right over the sensual acid synth sounds of electronic dance music.

I love the track Outfluence – it has so much energy and bounces.

Hello Staghorns! Thank you so much for doing this Feature. Firstly I want to say I love the new video for your track ‘Outfluence’. Can you tell me more about how it came about?

 

A page   LoDisco makes videos for hobbies and wanted to make a video and I appreciate it very much.

(LoDisco  promotes upcoming artists in the LoFi disco and LoFi House scene  -Join channel on LoDisco

How did the name Staghorns come about?

Okay, my family name is Zvi (pronounced Tzvi) which is a stand for Stag and a Staghorn is a very interesting plant.

(Okay I’m going to have to look that one up. I am such a geek haha! )

Me too -lol

What if anything inspired your track and your music?

My interest comes from my own trying to make sense of life and living, through the game of parallel sound channels, learning through a playful process.

When/What made you start playing music?

When I was young, I had a Yamaha PSR e413, which is an entry-level keyboard, it had some cool sounds on it and I learned how to record songs into it.

What genres of music do you like to perform in?

House music

What kind of people connect with you and your music?

Most of the people I know feel open with me, and they also feel open with my music, even though some of them are not familiar with electronic music.

What quote/sentence would you say best describes you and your music?

Looping the loops

Going back to ‘OutFluence’ I was drawn to the Alan Watts-esque sample 

Actually in Outfluence I sampled a Psychiatric from YouTube who talks about how to handle with anxiety. but maybe he cited Alan Watt? I don’t know. 

Who are your influences in music? And why?

Tiga, Four Tet, Booka Shade – They came through my mind when I thought “wow I want to make something like this!” while listening to them.

When you think/see the two words Creativity & mental health what 3 words come to mind for each one.

Creativity – Art, Sex, Ideas
Mental Health – Anxiety, Depression, Addiction

How does being creative help you?

Being creative helps me express myself.

What are your experiences or views with on mental health issues and the music & entertainment industry?

Music can be something to lean on, especially if you create it yourself…mmm I’ve been struggling with anxiety all my life, 10 months ago I decided to take care of it seriously.

Have you had negative experiences in your life that drew you to a creative outlet like music? And if so how did exploring your creativity help you?

Sometimes when I have bad dreams it affects the mood of my next creation.

(I think I can relate. When a person’s Mental Health becomes unwell -for myself it feels like I’m under the Influence of my Illnesses. Your track ‘OutFluence’ is the opposite of how I would describe the symptoms of Mental Health -isolation, fear, etc.)

Is there a bigger message you are trying to send out and what is your message?

The bigger message is an oldie but a goodie…
Telling my story as a legitimate one and hoping the effect is contagious…

It is a crazy world we live in. What is life like for people living in Tel-Aviv with COVID?

It’s hard to see the city shut down during lockdown, especially after you experience how vivid Tel Aviv is.

Are you trying to do something or create awareness with your music career or hobby?

it’s a work in progress.
I’m figuring out what is in the core of my creative process.
Basically, I’m trying to make myself feel more “at home” in the world.

What is the weirdest job you have had?

I was an Escape Room operator

(Haha! Funny & cool too. That is ironic in the sense that Anxiety is about escaping form what we are trying to feel as opposed to embrace our fears and conquer our goals.

Your new track ‘ Uneasy Dave’ (Big Momma’s House Records) has a great acid sound to it. It’s an intriguing title.

Uneasy Dave is a pun
It’s like Uneasy Day

but Uneasy Dave stands for a character who feels uneasy and shy. if you hear the first 2 seconds of the track, you’ll hear a “heh…” a sound of discomfort

(The first words that came to my mind when I heard the track is that is creative, innovative, sensual – the title seems to tie in with the anxiety and mental health issues yourself and many other people can find deliberating to live with at times…)  

 

 

Are you trying to do something or create awareness with your music career or hobby?

 

it’s a work in progress.

I’m figuring out what is in the core of my creative process. 

Basically, I’m trying to make myself feel more “at home” in the world.

(I think I can relate.In my opinion when my Mental Health becomes unwell – it feels like I’m under the Influence of my Illnesses. Your track ‘Outfluence’ is the opposite of how I would describe the symptoms of Mental Health-isolation, fear & other symptoms people can find debilitating to live with at times)

(It has been fun and pleasure collaborating with you and finding out something about Israel’s electronic house scene and I appreciate you opening up about your own Mental health issues and how creativity has helped you embrace and improve your Mental Wellbeing).

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