FIN is Just Getting Started

And the single from her new album, ICE PIX, is giving us the chills – in a good way.

Canadian artist Rebecca Fin Simonetti is many things. Beyond her work as a highly-lauded visual artist, she’s also a musician who’s developed quite the rep for her dreamlike music. With the release of her new album, ICE PIX, Rebecca has fully morphed into FIN, and her latest tune, Autobody inspired by the works of poet Ted Hughes and set to be released via Hoss Records, is our current addiction.  We sat down to chat with FIN and discovered that she’s actually a mermaid (it all makes sense now!), discussed the importance of sharing knowledge, and got to the bottom of her self-made genre, “frailtech.”

Is there a reason you chose FIN as your musical alias?
Fin actually isn’t a part of my real name.  My real name is Rebecca Lee Marietta Simonetti.  But, when I was a kid, maybe six or seven, I went through a sort of existential crisis and decided I wasn’t human.  Since I grew up in Vancouver, where I spent a lot of time playing in the ocean, I decided I was a mermaid.  To christen my new identity, I renamed myself “Finevere”, which is a made-up combination of Fin and Guinevere.  Finevere was eventually shortened to Fin, and it stuck long enough for it to eventually be incorporated into my actual name.

How is the process of creating music different for you than drawing and painting?
When I’m feeling obsessive and cerebral, I like to draw. Drawing is meditative and focused–the nattering in my head gets very quiet, and I can think clearly. Music comes from a place of curiosity or emotion; it comes from a lower place. I write music when I’m feeling hyper, intense, or impulsive.

Drawing by Rebecca Fin Simonetti

When did you decide that you wanted to start creating music?
It was never a conscious decision. I’ve always made up songs with whatever tools I had, or just in my head.  I started recording on a Tascam 4-track I bought on Craigslist in my first year of college. That was the beginning of making music in a more concrete form.

Tell us how you came up with the name of your album, ICE PIX.
The title ICE PIX conflates a few different ideas. It could refer to “ice picks,” a hand tool that is used to chip away at a hard or opaque surface that conceals depths beneath.  Alternatively, the title refers to pictures of ice.  This also fits for me poetically: the album is full of hard, shimmery imagery. Also, the symmetry of three-letter words appeals to me: ice, pix, fin.

Walk us through your creative and logistical process when it comes to your music.  
I usually start with some music that pops into my head, which I sing into my phone or laptop for reference. I have these kinds of “notes to self.”  Most don’t become anything, since there are more ideas than there are songs, but often I work from these initial phrases when I’m writing. Sometimes a song idea comes fully formed, and it’s just a matter of recording it. In Silver popped into my head one night as I was falling asleep, and I recorded it almost in its entirety in bed.  The main vocals and vocal samples were recorded straight into my laptop, without a mic or interface, and the synths were just drawn in with MIDI.  The next day I went back into the file and doubled up some of the vocals and synths with “proper” production tools, but otherwise that song was pretty much a one-night process.  Most of the time it’s not magical like that though, and I have to wrestle with different sounds and ideas to get them to stretch into a shape I like.

I hear elements of electronica and sort of trip hop beats in your music, but how would you classify your sound?
Hmmm. I honestly don’t think in terms of style–I just make what I make. My friend Airick Woodhead made up a genre called “future-shock” as a blanket term for the weird new music he and our friends are making.  On Soundcloud you have to enter a genre on your account, so I made up a term: “frailtech.”

Any advice for our readers and aspiring artists?
Check your privilege, make yourself uncomfortable, get acupuncture, watch that documentary about Louise Bourgeois, touch a dog, call your grandma, donate to Planned Parenthood, log off, go to your local botanical garden, read some Ariana Reines, get therapy, always stay hydrated and politically active.  Those are my suggestions.

Photos by Andrew Querner and Jeremy Liebman.