Notes from the Underground

Fian is a band based in Seattle, Orcas Island, and LA. From day one, Fian has pursued its chaotic and flagrant vision with an adamantine belligerence.With 5 members in their DNA make up they are able to create some indescribable music together. I will do my best to actually describe it.

This band wrote a song called “Cain”. It’s such a jazzy and fun storytelling song. Really taking music from our local scene to a greater level. The song itself has a hybrid theme to it all while being cohesive. Under taking many twists and turns, you are guided through an eclectic demonstration of the talents within their musicianship and song writing. Kicking it off with a ragtime style drum introduction. Slowly follows in the keys and profound vocals. The year seriously feels like 1950s. Fian has added in a world sound element to its music and yes, the appeal is universal. I can see this song doing well in a license deal being put into a motion picture.

The way the band can capture a feeling from over half a century past is well beyond my comprehension. My belief is that the soul from the vocalist is from another dimension of time; also a beyond his years talent. But another noteworthy mention is the added theatrical manor of the words sang. There is not one second that is left lackadaisical. The overall effort is truly displayed in the record. I was captivated by how light a flip of a switch the group goes from a big band Chicago sound; immediately to a jazzy Latin fusion yet metal sound. I mean it sounds crazy but that is how it works out to be in my head.

“Nosmirc” has the most radical of time changes. The time signatures shift throughout, which causes the hair on my neck to become raised. Their way of capitalizing on this many time through a song is observed. But also it coincides with the songs unique melodic structures. Imagine a constant back and forth battle of hot and cold.

The melancholy of the guitars fuzziness and synths reverbs flood the song immediately. And then swarmed into a fast and swiftness of the chilling strings and rhythm section. It’s quite ferocious actually. Meanwhile the vocal meistro lays down the most canorous lyrics in an essence of a narrative. I enjoy the introspective discussion it allows as you listen in. There is a lot of soul brought in to the lyrics. It reminds me of a man who is coming to terms with a God, and asking all the question he is needed to have answered to feel contentment truly.

Fian is a musical group that is set on a trajectory of success. The way that their music is composed is to appeal to large and diverse audiences. If you haven’t yet to heard of them I will encourage you do download their songs I mentioned above. If you want more on them click into the links below and stay connected.

The MusicManiac finds out!

Q: How did the band Fian come together to start writing music?

A: I met our first pianist, Hudson Reed, back in 2010 slinging Christmas trees at Molbaks. There wasn’t really any expectation but we decided to hang out and try writing a song. It took about 3 hours to finish our first one which gave us a solid unrealistic expectation for how songwriting was going to go in the future. After writing a few more I convinced my childhood friend Josh Nelson to come by and play guitar with us. He also recruited a friend of his, Jacob Kaufman to play drums. A few years later we decided to record some of our songs for posterity. We asked a friend from LA named Harrison Scannell if he would be interested in coming up to Seattle to record bass on the album to which he replied “yes, immediately.” It was supposed to be just a one off recording for us to just have but it hooked everybody. That was our self titled record that came out in 2015. Harry became a permanent member and after Hudson left the band a few years later he stepped in as the lead songwriter on the music side. Robert was in a band called Raphael with whom we shared a lot of bills maintained a friendly rivalry. After Raphael broke up we recruited him to fill the expansive void on keys our friend Hudson had left behind. As a very piano heavy band, this role was a pretty vital one to fill. Around this time, Jake our drummer, had a career change and couldn’t play anymore so we eventually found Christian Rider through some friends in another ally/rival band Grand Arson. That’s the line up that lead to the completion of “Notes from the Underground.” Though often dealing with geographical challenges throughout our history we’ve become even more collaborative over the years. Everyone is deeply involved in the song writing process.

Q: Which song from your current album is your favorite and why?

A: I couldn’t possibly choose a favorite and I think the rest of the guys probably feel the same. They’re all so different so it kind of depends on my mood. I sank hundreds and hundreds of hours designing and building a ludicrous set and running production for a live music video we made for the last song “Nosmirc (Notes from the Underground)”. Life and limb were risked by all for sure and I’m quite pleased with the final product so that’s definitely an endorsement for that song. “Persephone” is good brutal fun that goes in all kinds of weird directions. Right now, Robert and I are doing the arrangement for a local choir’s rendition of “Joy of the Morning” so that one has been very interesting to me lately.

Q: Do you have any advise for aspiring musicians?

A: We’re all pretty much of the opinion that hard work is extremely cool. The sort of laid back persona of certain musicians that like to exude a sense of ease or that they’re “too cool to care” is pretty uninteresting to us. We like being and seeing other musicians teetering on the precipice of failure and somehow pulling it off. This means writing songs you aren’t good enough to play…yet. So yeah, practice practice practice. Ignore the current trends and only make music that you like. It’s so futile to try and please anyone else. If you want to play in a group setting, look for band mates that are kind and good people with ambition. Being in a band is such an intimate relationship it’s essential that it’s not toxic. They don’t need to be the best, they just need to want to become the best. Be humble enough to aspire to your heroes but be egotistical enough to try to dethrone them. You better believe that I’ll be better than Jeff Buckley someday.

Q: What can fans expect when they come out to your show?

A: Our shows are always different. Given the geographical hardships I mentioned earlier, we are often down a member or two. But it’s important to us that the music never comes off as “less.” So we rearrange songs frequently to work in whatever ensemble we are running with. It’s always a kitchen sink though. This is probably pretty obvious, but we don’t really subscribe to the notion of genre for our records or our shows. So hopefully our audience will endure some solid emotional and physical whiplash.

Q: Do any band members have any preshow rituals? If so, what are they?

A: I try to sit in the quiet if I can but I usually end up busying myself with some nonsense, or pacing. Robert will sometimes play air piano. Christian is ostensibly the picture of calm. Harry likes to loosen up with no more than two beers. We always try to have a quick huddle beforehand to psych each other up and Robert always makes the same, stupid goddamn joke but it just wouldn’t be right if he didn’t.

Q: When is the next show?!

A: Next show is at Factory Luxe on Friday March 3rd with Obol and The Whole Bolivian Army. TWBA is a Northwest institution and this is their last show, Obol is quite possibly my favorite band in Seattle. Needless to say, I’m very excited about this one.

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