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Fin and Giuls

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Fin & Giuls

June 20, 2017

Fin & Giuls are sisters in a family of seven. They’ve been playing music since they were about ten in their family band, The Knuckleheads.

Inspired by artists like Julien Baker, Foxing, and Caspian among others, they realized they wanted to play acoustic music after seeing Erica Russo play at Faneiul Hall a couple of years ago. “It was a huge inspiration for our acoustic work, that you could make such amazing music with such a stripped down set of equipment.”

They describe their sound as very heavy and ambient and, at some points, gloomy and depressing. “We just think there is a lot more emotion in sadness than happiness,” Fin said.

In March, the duo released their first acoustic album titled ‘What’s Inside Of Me,’ which shared the name with the first original song they wrote.

“We recorded it at the same time we recorded the farewell EP for The Knukcleheads called ‘Goat Dealer’, which really marked the time we knew we had to strike out on our own.”

The duo are part of the Five By Two Records, which was founded by their father, Robert McCarthy. “He started the label to give us, and all the kids like us, a fighting chance at being able to understand how to work in the local scene, and record and play shows and not get lost.”

Their favorite part about playing music in Boston is that it has such an open and accepting environment. “We love the atmosphere of everything and Boston is the perfect place for any artist with music in their hearts and minds,” they said.

They hope that people walk away from their Make Music Boston performance with enjoyment and the lasting effect of their words. “We hope they don’t just hear the music, but that they feel it.”

“We write and sing and strum and pick to get people to feel. We want people to be moved and to find joy in what we love doing.”

Fin & Giuls will perform at Make Music Boston 2017 on Wednesday, June 21st. Catch their set at Boston Public Market at 11am or at Boston Common (adjacent to the visitors center) at 2:30pm.

Read our full interview with Fin below:

Can you tell me a little bit about each of you and your musical journey thus far?
I’m Fin and that’s Giuls. We’re a family of seven–5 kids total and long story short we all found our passion through music and our instruments when we were young, each of us moving towards a different instrument that complemented us as a group. We’ve all been playing music ever since we were all around 10, starting in the all-family band called The Knukcleheads. A little while later my sister and I found a love for doing some acoustic stuff separately and a year later, here we are. We also play as a trio with our younger sister Edmee, who plays bass and keyboard, under the name Circus Trees. We’re writing this while at a gig in Worcester for it 🙂

What inspired you to start making music?
Our oldest brother Eoghan picked up the bass 7 years back and we thought it was just the coolest thing ever so we all looked into finding our own musical instruments. Our brother will always be the biggest inspiration and heart behind everything we do. He plays in a progressive rock band called Company One that is super cool and popular. Going to his shows we get to see tons of great bands play, and we’re always amazed at what these bands do together. A lot of times we work the shows doing different things for the label, like Giuls runs the light shows, Fin does the merch tables, stuff like that.

How would you describe your sound to people who have never listened to you?
Our main sound is very heavy/ambient and even at points can be considered gloomy and depressing(haha). We just think there is a lot more emotion in sadness than happiness

What artists did you look up to when you were just getting started?
Many people who have inspired our start include bands and artists such as Julien Baker, the Counting Crows, Foxing, Caspian, the Cranberries, Rise Against etc. We saw Erica Russo open up for Grey Season in a free show at Fanuiel Hall a couple of years ago and we were like “yes, we want to do that.” When Grey Season broke up and Honeysuckle formed it was a huge inspiration for our acoustic work, that you could make such amazing music with such a stripped down set of equipment.

You all are part of the Five By Two Records roster. It’s SO cool that they provide support to youth artists. That’s something you rarely see nowadays. Can you tell me a bit about what it’s like to work with the label?
It is so amazing to be a part of the record label Five By Two Records especially because our dad, Robert, runs and manages it. He is the one who has truly exposed us to the music life and the management aspect of the music scene. He started the label to give us, and all the kids like us, a fighting chance at being able to understand how to work in the local scene, and record and play shows and not get lost. This record label has really opened our eyes to all of the *fantastic* people/artists who are just looking to play and have fun. Through the years, being on the label, has really opened up another world for us in the industry.

Earlier this year, you released a new album titled ‘What’s Inside Of Me.’ Congrats! What was your inspiration behind the album?
What’s Inside of Me was the name of our first original song so Giuls and I decided it was fitting for the name of our first acoustic album. That song will forever be near and dear to our hearts and is the true inspiration to keep us going at it. The songs on that album mean the world to us because they are the foundation to all of our joy in doing our acoustic songs for everyone and anyone. We wanted to capture that moment so we grabbed the songs we were most comfortable with and wrapped them around our original song. We recorded it at the same time we recorded the farewell EP for The Knukcleheads called “Goat Dealer”, which really marked the time we knew we couldn’t play with our brother anymore and had to strike out on our own (sad).

What’s your favorite part about playing music in the Boston area?
Boston is such an open and accepting place to just take a breath in and play for hours. We love all of the people who walk by and stop and listen and talk to us. We love the atmosphere of everything and Boston is the perfect place for any artist with music in their hearts and minds.

What drew you to Make Music Boston festival?
The Make Music Boston Festival really caught our eyes about a year ago. We had been teaching some basic music stuff to a Boys&Girls Club group through a summer music organization, and they asked us to join in the festival. Our dad brought us to play and we had a blast so we decided to do it all over again this year. We are so excited we got to play again this year!

What do you hope people get out of your performance at Make Music Boston?
I hope people walk away with sheer enjoyment and the lasting effect of our words, and we hope they don’t just hear the music, but that they feel it. We write and sing and strum and pick to get people to feel. We want people to be moved and to find joy in what we love doing.