It’s rare that you come across a band that you can’t seem to find the fitting band to compare them to. Fin-Folsom is that rarity. Brooklyn trio Conor Walsh, Joshua Gottesman, and Jeremy Nakamura “went to school together, didn’t hang out, graduated, didn’t enjoy working, started playing music, and are still working”. This ordinary path of most twenty-somethings lost in the limbo of life led to the extra-ordinary sound that the band describes as “Animal Pop”. What Animal Pop is, no one knows - not even the band - but that doesn’t stop us from knowing that Fin-Folsom is going places, and you should probably tag along.
The band has released several EP’s thus far — Tell Tale (2013), Early Summer (2014), and most recently Ruins+Rituals (2015). The latest 5-track story by Fin-Folsom disregards any notion of presumption…in the best way possible. It includes the anthemic “It’s Cool Me Too”, the goosebump-inducing “Spoonfed”, and “Horses”, the song that will make you a fan.
Conor, Josh, and Jeremy recently spoke with us about their journey, their jobs, and the future of Fin-Folsom. After thoroughly swooning over the talk and tunes of these guys, make sure to check them out live in Brooklyn at Cameo Gallery on 3/26 and Bar Matchless on 4/24.
When you Google Fin-Folsom, you guys are the first thing to come up, which is an achievement in itself. Is there a story or meaning behind the name?
Conor: I was definitely excited when it passed the Google test. The meaning is something I keep to myself. I don’t think this is really a story, but I always had a ton of demos on my iPod and they were under my name so if someone was scanning through they would always stop there and throw it on. I didn’t enjoy those occurrences and when I changed the artist name it never happened again.
You mention in your band biographies that this project stemmed after graduating college and working in corporate captivity — how has the vision or goal changed over the past couple of years?
Josh: Being indoors all the time makes you want to be out, and one way to channel the difficulty of growing up is to put it through the rigors of a songwriting process. The goal has become better and more clearly understood to us, which for me is to make music that we are proud of for people we respect. Ideally, someone would pay us for the privilege but that’s the underpants gnomes part.
Conor: Yea, I think getting a job was just a spark. I didn’t approach song writing any differently but I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t survive without simultaneously pursuing music seriously. I still stand by that. We set small goals and then set new ones when we accomplish them. That’s not going to change.
Are you guys still working, or have you prioritized music to be your main focus?
Josh: Still working for now, but hopefully that’ll change when I finish grad school.
Conor: I would say that it’s my main focus, but yeah, still working. Health care man. If art is your main income and you live in New York City I respect you mucho.
You describe your sound as Animal Pop, and it is just as unique as the name you’ve given it. What would you say are the components that classify it as that?
Josh: Conor lets me write things on the Internet, and I feel like an animal.
Conor: Josh is super talented at writing the dumbest shit on the interweb. I logged onto Bandcamp one day and it said that Fin-Folsom is a band that specializes in animal pop. I loved it. When people say “What kind of music do you play?” I really struggle to answer the question. I’m not saying that you can’t classify our sound. It’s not particularly ground breaking. I’m just saying that I suck at answering that question so we just started to say ‘Animal Pop.’ I really like hearing other people’s band comparisons
Do you think being in Brooklyn, the sort of hub of it all these days, hinders you or encourages and supports you?
Conor: I’ve definitely told some friends from out of town to not move here for their musical aspirations, but what do I know. Yeah, the market seems oversaturated, but it definitely pushes us and I definitely don’t have a problem with seeing amazing music any night of the week. So, the encouragement is there. Maybe not the support. When we launch an EP into the abyss that is the internet it doesn’t matter where we are from and sometimes I think our current sound is the general vibe of other places. That’s a generalization of course. I take solace in knowing we are all from this city.
Josh: It’s easier to find cool bands, but harder for anyone to care because time and money are vain but also limited.
You say that Ruins+Rituals revolves around “character adventures” in NYC — are you the characters? Do you find that there’s an underlying theme when writing the songs based on such a specific surrounding?
Conor: I’m the speaker in a few of them…at least for parts of them. The song “Horses” and “Spoonfed” are true character pieces. I’ve never felt like New York had so severely affected my writing and I embraced it. As for an underlying theme it’s definitely my love / hate relationship with this place. I think “It’s Cool Me Too” best captures that. I’ve grown up with people with who are New York to the bone. Others left and never came back. I feel like I’m in a ping pong game though. If I knew the name of the place I’m eventually moving to, I would already be there.
Your releases thus far have been 5-track EP’s — can we expect a full-length album anytime soon? A tour?
Conor: I can’t wait to do an LP. The content is there. The money aint.