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Interview With Canadian Folk-Pop Duo Fionn

In your own words, how would you say that the new tracks on your third album of I Might Start Smoking are an evolution for you two? Fionn: We started off our act as an acoustic duo performing live with only a guitar and mandolin. Naturally because of this, our first record was organic folk while our last EP, Candid Constellations, was straight-up pop. I Might Start Smoking is a mix of the organic and pop sounds that we loved from each record, and feels like the kind of album we always dreamed of making! We feel like we’ve finally found our lane stylistically.

Press shot for Canadian folk-pop twin sister duo Fionn.

The evolution over your three albums and EP is apparent. You started dabbling with a Celtic-folk inspired self-titled record, then slowly moved into the intricacies of pop of the Everyone’s A Critic EP (2020) and Candid Constellations (2021). Now with I Might Start Smoking, I feel like you sort of merged the two sides of your sound together. What would you contribute to the changes to your sound over the last five or six years? Fionn: Writing music in our late teens and early twenties was interesting because like grown-up children, our tastes were malleable and gave us the desire to try everything! We liked so many different styles of music and changed our minds a few times when it came to our direction. I feel like allowing ourselves to try everything we wanted to was beneficial and put us in an ideal position to make, I Might Start Smoking. Looking back at the writing of the new album, are there any more things that might make you start smoking that weren’t discussed on the record?

Fionn: I think the major elephant in the room that wasn’t discussed on this record was COVID-19. I actually wrote most of the title track "I Might Start Smoking" mid-pandemic, which sparked the idea of "starting smoking" in the first place. When we started diving into writing this record, COVID was almost too fresh to talk about. I think we both wanted to put it behind us, but maybe sharing our experiences during that time period will feel more natural in the future. When thinking about your career, what moments stick out to you as the most satisfying?

Fionn: I think the most satisfying moments have been since the pandemic. Because were unable to perform and travel for so long, getting to play the likes of SXSW and NXNE this year felt absolutely unreal! What inspires and influences you?

Fionn: Finding new songs to listen to! I feel most inspired when I seek out new artists and find fresh songs that inspire me to write. What keeps you going musically?

Fionn: At this point, we both have been playing and writing music for so long that it really just feels as natural as breathing. We don’t have to do anything, in particular, to keep ourselves going. Do you have any particular favourite songs on the album?

Fionn: My current favourites are "Runaway", "Leo," and "Hurt feelings"! Are there any topics on the twelve tracks that made you feel overly vulnerable or afraid to put out into song?

Fionn: To be honest, there weren’t any stories that we weren't ready to tell on this album. Putting out these songs felt totally natural. How has the reception been with these new songs? Especially speaking on your recent album release show on June 11th?

Fionn: The reception has been great! There were a lot of new faces at our release show so I think that means our new material has been gaining us new listeners. You two released a few singles throughout last year, “All Good,” “Waves,” and “Picnic on the Moon.” Any reason why they didn’t make the tracklist of I Might Start Smoking?

Fionn: "Waves" and "Picnic on the Moon" were our token folk tracks we recorded while writing the songs for I Might Start Smoking. Personally, we didn’t feel like they fit the record sonically or thematically, but we loved the songs and thought it would be fun to release them as one off singles instead. Being based out of Winnipeg, you’ve played here before with Royal Wood in 2018. Do you have any profound moment of your time in the city that has stuck with you since, that you’re willing to share?

Fionn: We did our tour with Royal Wood in springtime, so the weather in Winnipeg was lovely the day we drove in. It was the last stop on tour, so we were sad that the experience was almost over, but extra excited to give it our all for the last show. We made a pit stop in Brandon, the town where our grandfather was from, hoping to find the house he grew up in. At the very last minute, after going through many old boxes, a relative in Saskatoon sent us the house’s address, and we managed to find it looking very much the same as it did in old pictures. Visiting his neighbourhood was incredibly special for us and put us in a great mood for our last show on tour. After the show, we had celebratory cocktails, stumbled upon a pride event, and eventually made it back to our hotel at a totally unreasonable hour dreading our early morning flight! Finally, any plans to tour the record throughout Canada in the coming months?

Fionn: We don’t have any dates set in stone yet, but are in the midst of planning something! Thanks for the time! Is there anything else you want to add before you go, that I might’ve not touched upon?

Fionn: Not that I can think of. Thank you so much for including us in this!


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