Heinali and Matt Finney - Interviews - Soundblab

Heinali and Matt Finney

by Priscilla Eyles Rating: Release Date:

Alabaman spoken word artist Matt Finney started off collaborating with Randy Erkes in ambient/experimental duo Finneyerkes and through a recommendation of a music blogger friend now collaborates with Ukrainian composer Heinali. It has been a fruitful partnership with Heinali producing atmospheric and brooding post-rock that perfectly complements Finney's tormented and frustrated world-weary narrator, and this despite living in different countries. Soundblab catches up with them to discuss their latest EP Conjoined, their influences, the state of their respective countries and how much the lyrics are based on personal experiences.

Obvious question but what has been your biggest influences, musical and non-musical? For instance, in the feel of the music and the lyrics, people like William S Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Raymond Carver, David Lynch and neo-noir films came to my mind, as well as musicians like Tom Waits and Nine Inch Nails.

Heinali: Yes you're in the right direction. Burroughs and Lynch it is. As well as Trent Reznor. Downward Spiral was on repeat almost every day when I was 16. It went so deep I can't even be reasonable about it anymore, it just became a part of me. Like, well, most of the things you listen to or read to when you're in your teens. Though the main influences on Conjoined EP, musically, were The Angelic Process, Nadja and My Bloody Valentine.

Matt: All of those were influences of mine. Especially Raymond Carver. I modelled my style after him. He's an absolute genius. I'm also a huge fan of David Lynch's films. It would be a dream to work with him. Others that are a huge influence on me musically would be The Angelic Process, Nirvana, The Cure, The Smiths, The Twilight Sad. Non-musical: Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Raymond Pettibon, my friends, and my family.

Heinali, you mention a lot of classical composers like Philip Glass, Arvo Part and Debussy as influences. How have they affected your music-writing?

Heinali: Enormously. Sometimes I wish I had another life where I could just study Bach. It's really impossible to say how they all affected my music writing, every one of them affects pretty much in his own way. Though I'm quite obsessed with Arvo Part recently. It is the beauty. You can learn music theory, harmony, composition, improve your instrument skills, but you can never learn to have this enormous amounts of pure faith in your music. And by faith I don't mean religion at all. It's more like the faith itself, as the opened up compassionate state of mind. It's so incredibly beautiful and so powerful...

How difficult for you both has it been not currently being able to tour, and do you any have plans to tour in the future?

Heinali: Very difficult. It's a financial thing. Here in Ukraine, basically no one gives a shit about music, the country is overall in a barbaric state. People who try to support art music here are either saints or madmen.

Matt: It's extremely difficult. I never knew how big concerts were to people. I'm not an avid concert goer so that never occured to me. We're actually talking about playing our first gig in May. The details are kinda secret right now but that's what we're aiming for. We're hoping that Heinali can come to the states and we can do a full tour. That's the goal.

You both said in an interview that your respective music scenes were pretty stagnant, has this influenced or driven you both in any way?

Heinali: Of course it influences a lot. Everything here tells you (you wil) have no future if you do what you love to do. On the other hand it has it's own kind of a joy on doing your thing no matter what, fuck all, you know. It's driving things, keeps you up sometimes. But the worst thing is that it's impossible to grow here. I see all these musicians and composers in Europe who collaborate, do gigs, work in different studios with different people, apply new creative methods, always dynamic, always growing. And you are rotting here in your home studio with two guitars and a midi-keyboard.

Matt: I gave up on trying to get involved with the scenes here and having my music embraced. The kids just aren't having it. My family is supportive of what we're doing but it's not something that they would put on in their free time to listen to. I think what drives us is to do something different. To make music that we think is great. Music that we always wanted to hear. That's my drive, anyway.

Matt, what has it been like going from previous group Finneyerkes to your current collaboration with Heinali? How have things changed?

Matt: It's really exciting and weird. I'm proud of what FY accomplished. Randy is still one of my best friends but we reached a point where we didn't know what to do. We might record and put out a fourth album in the future but it will probably be our last one. I think more people are open to the collaboration with Heinali. More people are willing to listen. It's exciting for me to work with him as well. He brings the sound that I have in my head to life. I also get a lot more out of the songwriting process. It's amazing.

The music on current EP, Conjoined, is much darker and rockier than previous EP Lemonade; was this a deliberate decision?

Heinali: Hard to say, it kind of just went that way. Felt right.

Matt, your lyrics seem to be a mixture of the political, personal and abstract. How much of what you write about is things you've gone through or observed, and how much of it simply reflects your emotions or frustrations at the time? Do you find the writing process cathartic?

Matt: One hundred per cent of what I write is what I've gone through or observed. This EP especially is kind of the fall out from Lemonade. That relationship and the situation that me and this particular girl were in. We were too afraid to let go of each other. We stayed side by side but we knew it was over. It's still not healthy that we speak to each other. That's what Conjoined is about. Us dragging each other like prisoners through something that we didn't want because we were scared. The writing process is very cathartic. It's where I deal with things and voice my opinion. I'm not so quick to do that in real life.

If there was one thing you could change about your respective countries what would that be?

Heinali: Education. Good education will change everything.

Matt: An end to all hipsters.

What are your plans next?

Matt: To record a new album, of course. It's already written. That will start soon. Other than that, hopefully more videos and then more promotion. Maybe more people downloading our albums and supporting.

Finally, what up and coming acts should Soundblab readers be excited about?

Matt: I'm not really up to speed on what's going on out there musically. We do have some extremely talented friends and they're all about to release some mindblowing records. keep an eye on Yawning, Jannick Schou, A Death Cinematic, Ursine Vulpine, and Sleepmakeswaves. Other than those, everybody should listen to The Angelic Process, Nadja, and Sumner McKane.

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