|June is traditionally one of the hottest months of the year and it just so happens that "hottest" is the most apt description for this month's Featured Artist of the Month, Finespun. SkidMcSkidder our Virtual Interview Virtuoso talks to Vocalist & lead guitarist Oren Barak (aka Finespunmusic) about the NYC music scene and Finespun's meteoric rise into being one of the coolest bands to hit the city indie circuit.|
SkidMcSkidder: Hi Oren thanks for takin' the time to talk to us! How're things in NYC?
Finespunmusic: Very good, nice and quiet in the wake of all thats happened
SkidMcSkidder: Yeah, from talking to other NY artists it was a little quite on the gigging scene for a while after Sept.11th - how's it recovering?
SkidMcSkidder: Its been going strong right through the whole disaster. We actually went to a friends show in the city on 9/12/01. The clubs never want to stop making money
SkidMcSkidder: Heh heh, yeah hell will freeze over before clubs stop taking the money! I see from your review page over at www.finespunmusic.com that you're going from strength to strength on the circuit - what do you think is the key to your success?
Finespunmusic: Promotion, promotion, promotion. We just try to get our name out there. We have all kinds of postcards and stickers and stuff that we like to litter with. Keeping the word of mouth alive is key
SkidMcSkidder: Cool! Staying on the subject of finespunmusic.com, it's a really pro job - did you guys do it yourself?
Finespunmusic: I did it all myself. It took a long time and a lot of sweat and coffee. The next site will be Flash so everyone should go download the plugin. I like to put up a new site every six or so months
SkidMcSkidder: And who's the wicked artist who did all your graphics?
Finespunmusic: Hehe, that would be me also
Finespunmusic: We are a totally self contained band. Everything from the art to the CD production is done by us
SkidMcSkidder: (Laughs Out Loud) you're a man of many talents then! Is graphic art a hot subject of yours?
Finespunmusic: I've always loved computer animation and the like, so I just dive in and give myself a headache till I figure out how its all done
SkidMcSkidder: So it's not something you've actually studied at say Uni?
Finespunmusic: No, as far as the graphics go, I'm entirely self taught
SkidMcSkidder: Way cool! So going back to the band - how'd you meet the rest of the boys?
Finespunmusic: The drummer Ed and I actually met while we were in high school. We didn't go to the same school, we actually met out the window of a public bus. I was on the bus with a mutual friend and he was on the other side of the street waiting to go the opposite way. I was 15 and on my way to a battle of the bands
Finespunmusic: He's been my drummer in every band I've been in since...which brings us to Shawn the guitar player...
Finespunmusic: Shawn used to come watch Ed and I play in a band called Stonetree. I was the guitar player of that band. He was in the front row watching me for about 5 years while that band was together. When it broke up, Ed and I started jamming with him...
Finespunmusic: We started looking for a bassist (that would take us another year to find). We started putting up flyers and placing ads and all kinds of things. Phil told us when he joined that he saw our ad in the paper and didn't call because he thought it was a cheesy ad. A friend of mine sometime later found a flyer of Phil's in a music store and passed it on to me... a few weeks later Ed and I asked Phil and Shawn to join the band at the same time even though Shawn had been with us almost a year already:)
Finespunmusic: The end...whew!
SkidMcSkidder: (Laughs Out Loud)
Finespunmusic: We like it to be as communal as possible...
Finespunmusic: Of course half the time I'll come down with a complete song ready to go...
Finespunmusic: Most of the time someone comes down with a lick or progression and then we all build on it until there is something that sounds like a song. After that, I do all the lyrics
SkidMcSkidder: Oh yeah - some of the best stuff gets built like that
Finespunmusic: Yeah, if I bring a song to the band however the lyrics are usually done before the music
Finespunmusic: Inspiration is like the birth of a baby. It wakes you up at 3am without warning
SkidMcSkidder: who wrote the excellent tracks "Sorry" & "Tuesday"? (Check 'em out here: http://www.finespun.addr.com/6Html/Music.htm)
Finespunmusic: "Sorry" was actually one of our first collaborations. I started playing the verse lick, then everybody picked it up and I wrote the chorus underneath it while we were getting the verse together
Finespunmusic: Tuesday started with the bassline, then Shawn added the verse licks and as impatient as I am, I had to write the chorus progression before we were done that night
SkidMcSkidder: Sounds like a busy jam that night! (Laughs Out Loud)
Finespunmusic: It is every night
SkidMcSkidder: Your self-titled CD "Finespun" has had plenty of rave reviews off local radio stations, any plans to release a new album some time soon?
Finespunmusic: Yeah, we are actually recording the follow up right now. I'm working on drum tracks while doing this interview
SkidMcSkidder: Drum tracks? what do you do - sequence 'em then give 'em to Ed?
Finespunmusic: Nah, he records them and then I spend time EQ'ing and effecting and things like that
SkidMcSkidder: Ah.. So you've got some pretty nifty software then?
Finespunmusic: Yep, we used Cakewalk 9 for the last record. We'll be using Sonar 2 for this one
SkidMcSkidder: Wow! They seem to be pretty popular pieces of software! - Last month's FAOTM, Uncle Binley's Room use the very same software to produce their albums too!
Finespunmusic: It's great software. More RAM=more tracks of digital audio. You can't go wrong
SkidMcSkidder: I gotta admit I've a copy of Cakewalk 9 that I've er... acquired(!) but got no idea how to use it - in fact I'm still in the stone age using cakewalk 3.0!!!
Finespunmusic: We started on Cake 3, they just started releasing new versions faster than we could ..er.. aquire them:)
SkidMcSkidder: Heh heh
SkidMcSkidder: Going back to the net - You made quite an impression when you last played "live in the living room" over on Jerry's awesome webcast radio show at www.bumpskey.com - how do you feel web radio broadcasts have helped the Finespun cause?
Finespunmusic: I love webcasts, we love Jerry and Bumpskey.com and YES, I feel that web radio has been a big help to us. It brings hits to the site and internet CD sales. We can't get local airplay here for some reason the DJ's that do the local shows don't want to play us. Everyone should go visit Bumpskey.com they are doing the best thing for the indie artist that Ive ever seen
SkidMcSkidder: I agree - If it weren't for Jerry's great show SkidMark Multimedia would never have existed - it was a direct result of Jerry initially contacting me about playing my recordings aka Incubus Lovechild that got me into the whole internet music scene, and what a GREAT scene he introduced me to man!!
Finespunmusic: Jerry rocks...all shall hail!
SkidMcSkidder: We are not worthy! we are not worthy! (Laughs Out Loud)
Finespunmusic: (Laughs Out Loud)
Finespunmusic: He actually came out to see us play in NYC last week
Finespunmusic: Yeah, he is awesome
SkidMcSkidder: I just hope the show reaches critical mass and really takes off big time - he deserves it with all the effort he puts in
Finespunmusic: We opened up for The London Choirboys and he was kind enough to pay $12 to see us
A huge thanks to everyone else who reads this that paid to see us that
night as well
Finespunmusic: I think we'd better get him something and quick...
SkidMcSkidder: Heh heh. On the subject of gigging... Have you done, or thinking about doing, any sizable tours?
Finespunmusic: We were going to do an east coast USA tour this summer, but the company we went through was a little confused and we ended up running out of time to book. If anyone's interested in booking us, we will play anytime, anywhere just contact us from the website
Finespunmusic: We are desperately trying to hit the radio stations in other states to gain some airplay and then book shows
SkidMcSkidder: Ever thought about coming over to the UK?
Finespunmusic: Love to! If we could get something where we could cover our costs we would be more than happy to come over there
SkidMcSkidder: Yeah, it's the bane of every indie musician - money! It'd be cool to see you this side of the pond - last year I hooked up with the extremely talented and lush Ali Handal in Manchester, as she came down from Scotland on her way to London - it was a great gig and a great time finally meeting one of the artists listed on SkidMark!
Finespunmusic: That's awesome. We're not even looking to make any money, we'd just like to be able to pay for our plane tix and lodging
SkidMcSkidder: I wonder how long it'd take to swim with the equipment? (Laughs Out Loud)
Finespunmusic: Hmm, I'm so bad at maths
SkidMcSkidder: Yeah, seriously though, I was planning on revisiting the states myself this year but that's another trip gone out of the window!
Finespunmusic: Damn the dollar!
SkidMcSkidder: and the pound!!
SkidMcSkidder: Have you ever visited the west coast?
Finespunmusic: Never, love to go there too, same deal. We'll even pay for gas if we have a place to stay and a place to play
SkidMcSkidder: I've visited LA and Venice beach which was great for street music - your buskers (or are they classed as beggars?!)
Finespunmusic: I think its all synonomous with "musician" (Laughs Out Loud)
SkidMcSkidder: Heh heh yeah, it's a fine line!!
Finespunmusic: Yep, and I'm very awkwardly balanced on it
SkidMcSkidder: Going off at a tangent from "fine line" how did you settle on the band name, "Finespun"?
Finespunmusic: Found it in the dictionary one day. The Dictionary I have has the definition as: Finespun - spun as if to be fine. Who can argue with that?
SkidMcSkidder: I can't! I've heard ya MP3's! (oooh can I kiss butt or what?? (Laughs Out Loud))
Finespunmusic: (Laughs Out Loud)
SkidMcSkidder: How many guitars do you use during a set Oren?
Finespunmusic: I use one, and I always have a backup in case I break a string or something. I'm using a Black and Gold Les Paul Studio as my main guitar right now and my '72 cream strat as backup
SkidMcSkidder: Hey! I've a cream strat too! Only mine's an '84 left hander
Finespunmusic: Shawn uses a 1960 Les Paul Standard and a American Strat now also
Finespunmusic: Mines a Jap. I love it
Finespunmusic: pre CBS headstock, gotta love the vintage stuff
SkidMcSkidder: Mine's a Jap too. Ah... Jimi Hendrix cream!
Finespunmusic: Shawn and I are Jimi freaks
SkidMcSkidder: Jimi's a big influence of yours, right?
Finespunmusic: Yeah, my ears finally unclogged when I first heard him
SkidMcSkidder: Yeah, there's something almost life changing about getting into the Hendrix scene..
Finespunmusic: Sure is
SkidMcSkidder: Any particular favourites?
Finespunmusic: The Ladyland record for me.. band of Gypsys with Mitch for Shawn
SkidMcSkidder: Cool.. He's a hero of mine too especially as he played a LEFT HANDER too! I'm always having the piss taked outta me for being a left hooker, but he's always there as a prime example of what you can do "upside down"!!
Finespunmusic: Hehe, damn right. I have sympathy for all the left handers..so hard to find cool guitars
SkidMcSkidder: You bet! the frets on my strat are really looking sorry but I can't find another leftie that I like enough to "retire" my strat long enough to allow a luther to butcher it!
Finespunmusic: My strat has had 5 fret jobs already and is in sore need of another one
SkidMcSkidder: Ah, wouldn't it be great to have enough folding stuff to walk into a shop and buy one whenever you want - pipedreams!
SkidMcSkidder: Anyways, we're going off track here - anything you want to talk about Oren?
Finespunmusic: Yeah... go to www.finespunmusic.com and find out what youve been missing
Finespunmusic: Thats it
SkidMcSkidder: (Laughs Out Loud)
Finespunmusic: And someone send me a DV camera so we can take more video to put up
SkidMcSkidder: Okay dude, to wind things up then, what're Finespun's plans for the rest of 2002 and where do you guys want to be for 2003?
Finespunmusic:: We plan to record and get this record out by the end of the summer. We plan to harass and assault radio stations to get some airplay. We plan to rehearse our asses off so that when you come see a Finespun show you have to bring an extra bag to take your tongue home in. In 2003 we'd like to be on tour and will most likely be recording a 3rd record. We have like 35 songs for this one plus 10 left over from the last one and we are always writing....
Finespunmusic: Thats it :)
SkidMcSkidder: excellent! Well don't forget to send SkidMark some promos and we'll see if we can't get them put around a little
Finespunmusic: Yeah, I have those being mailed to you tomorrow
SkidMcSkidder: Cool! Oh, that's the gear for the comp yeah?
SkidMcSkidder: So don't forget everyone - enter this month's competition to win some cool Finespun merchandise!
SkidMcSkidder: Okay then, unless you've anything else you want to discuss bro, we can wrap this mutha up
Finespunmusic: I is done, stick a fork in me
SkidMcSkidder: Well it's been great Oren, here's wishing you and the rest of the guys every success and don't forget - if there's anything SkidMark can do to push the band, let us know!
Finespunmusic: I will, you can count on it:) Thanks again man
SkidMcSkidder: Catcha later dude!
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Virtual Interview conducted using Yahoo instant messenger ™ 17-06-2002
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