Fin’Amor – Following Passion Part I

Sunday, 9th August 2015

Some bands take longer than others to find their sound and hone their craft. In this day and age we are witnessing bands firing off EPs and albums that they create and design in a span of months (for better or worse, depending on the band), but there are still some that work tirelessly over years to accomplish their goal. Brooklyn’s Fin’Amor is one such example. Forbidding Mourning, their debut album, took seven years to craft (you can read below as to some of the reasons). But one can sense it was a labor of love to will it into existence, as the doom-ish sound of Fin’Amor is one worth seeking out. Particularly for fans of the older flavor (older Anathema, My Dying Bride, etc).

With the band heading north from “the City” for a few dates, we were able to cross paths at the Trickshots venue in Clifton Park, New York. Chatting with the entire band (Julian Chuzhik – guitar; Nodor Khutortsov – keyboards; Benjamin Meyerson – vocals; Slava Morozov – bass; Eugene Bell – drums; Raphael Pinkster – guitar), it’s hard not to be inspired by their approach to the material and their ‘win over fans one at a time’ attitude. We discussed at length much of what the band has been through, where they are headed, and everything in-between. Read on to learn much more about a band that is truly passionate about their art…

Dead Rhetoric: So it took seven years to finish up the album, any reasons behind it or was it a matter of things coming up over the course of time?

Benjamin Meyerson: Every reason. Everything came up. We had issues with members, we had writing problems. We had technical and financial problems. A lot of issues, but I think over the last 7 years it ended up coming out the way it was supposed to. It was good that it took us that amount of time because if we had recorded it any sooner, it wouldn’t have represented everything that we ended up becoming, as opposed to just where we came from.

Raphael Pinkster: Julian [Chuzhik] and I actually had a conversation after we started getting all the positive feedback on the album. We talked about how maybe it was a blessing in disguise that it took this long to release the album. If you listen to the older stuff it sounds almost nothing like what we released now. I think it took us so long to mature our sound. Julian said that the older material that’s on the album is like the first half of the Fin’Amor era. “Valediction,” “Oasis,” and “Porcelain Swan” are the latter half. You can actually hear the transition between the older songs and the newer songs. We’ve matured over the last 7 years and I guess we got more atmospheric.

Julian Chuzhik: We got to the sound that we were aiming for.

Dead Rhetoric: What do you think defines Fin’Amor at this point since you have had so much time to flesh everything out? Is there some aspect that solidifies it?

Meyerson: Hope and faith. We keep going, no matter what ends up going or what gets in our way. A flat tire yesterday, Hurricane Sandy destroying half of our stuff. Whatever it is, we just keep going and it’s having that hope and faith that we will at least be able to keep doing this. That’s the main goal – to keep this alive as long as we can.

Slava Morozov: Not even that, I think that it’s also reflected in the lyrics. If you look at “Natura,” it’s based around hope, and growing around the ashes of the past.

Meyerson: No it’s not [laughter from the group] – I think there is a form of hope in “Natura” that eventually we can change into what we will eventually be. But I think it’s thematic throughout the whole thing. Each song – as brutal and gut-wrenching and as low-to-the-ground as it makes you feel sometimes, there is always a positive line or word in a sentence that kind of pulls you back up and reminds you that sometimes terrible things happen but if we keep going and going, eventually we will reach a high point again.

Dead Rhetoric: So all of you come from a lot of different musical backgrounds (hardcore, black metal, etc). Does that impact your sound? Fin’Amor doesn’t sound like ‘straight doom’ per say, though the traditional elements are there…

Chuzhik: If you really break us up – there are so many different influences in this band and it’s kind of hard to ground us up into something. One thing that has always kept us in check is that we all had an affinity for doom metal. The slower style. The faster songs that I’ve heard many times, the faster songs that other bands put out – even we tried it when we started out, it doesn’t really translate well. It doesn’t really separate from the norms. We wanted to do something that has more feeling to it. I think that doom really translates that feeling a lot, more than any other genre. So we try to keep ourselves grounded in doom. But we do add a lot of elements on top of that, because we do come from different backgrounds and we want to incorporate the best developments in those. Just put them in and see how they mix them together, and I think that we still have a long way to go. But what we have now is closer and closer every day to what we actually want to sound like. “Valediction” is the last song that we wrote, and that is the song that best exemplifies the sound as best as we could to date.

Nodar Khutortsov: I think musically-speaking, from the perspective that I write – and I do much of the orchestration, is that I think of the music as thematic, as though I’m writing a soundtrack rather than a song. So for me, I start from the place where – do I enjoy the atmosphere? Is this the landscape that I want? And from there, we build upon the song further and further.

Pinkster: I think there are two sides, because sometimes Julian will have a riff…

Khutortsov: In terms of specifically “Valediction,” we started off with messing with this syncopated rhythm, but then I sat on it and I started the intro – I imagined this landscape. It has a bit of an ‘80s feel. I love ‘80s music, whether it’s synth pop or darkwave, I really enjoyed growing up in industrial music, and you should be able to hear some of those influences on the album.

Meyerson: As much as we’ve fallen into the doom genre, I think our music is as progressive as any genre of music needs to be in order for it to change and that’s kind of where we came from with things. Our different backgrounds have contributed to the genres we were involved in previously. I think that a lot of genres can become pretty confining and we needed to find a ground in which to build more of off and that’s where we ended up. All these different elements came together and although doom seems to fit us – at the same time music has to be progressive in order to survive.

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