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“Hip hop, by its very nature, is all about where you’re from. If you’re chatting Dublin shit, but sound like you’re drowning in the mid-Atlantic, your lyrics are pointless, really.”
Full disclosure, FYNCH is on District Magazine’s label District Recordings and we are proud to release his latest project ‘MIXVAPE’ on June 28. Writing this intro I find myself struggling to be unbiased towards an artist we’ve worked so closely with. However, from the first time ‘burner.’ landed in our inbox it was clear FYNCH had all of the things we love about Irish hip hop, wrapped up neatly in a St. Patrick’s Athletic jersey.
Lacing laidback flows over cosy beats, his lyrics thematically stretch from allusions to obscure footballers to gauging the political temperature, all with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.
Since the last wave of Irish rap crashed on Dublin city there have been dozens of artists trying to squeeze through the door, but FYNCH’s nimble flow and nonchalant demeanour might just be enough to help him burst through.
‘Drimnagh’s Human Sacrifice’ is ready to be your new favourite rapper, if you’re ready to be saved. Click here for more information on how you can be at the launch of ‘MIXVAPE’ on Thursday June 28.
The last year or so has been pretty important on your trajectory as an artist. What was the most important step you made?
I think, in terms of where I am now, releasing ‘burner.’ as my first song. Of course, it being my first venture into making music, it’s going to hold significance, but it was more so me finally saying, ‘Fuck it!’ and doing something proactive and creative. I had just quit my job of two years, so making that change sort of allowed me to dive head-first into music.
What are you planning on doing differently going forward?
New sounds, new song structures, the introduction of real and tangible themes within works. I think ‘MIXVAPE’ can somewhat establish who I am as an artist, with aimless pomp and braggadocio, alongside some self-critique and self-doubt for good measure, but because it’s a mixtape, I kind of designed it to be a bit all over the camp. I’ve always found myself going back to projects that have consistent concepts and themes throughout, so it’s something I want to do myself.
You have a design background, is your eye for that important in establishing an act, image and sound?
In everything I do as an artist, I always try to look at it from the outside in. So, with how my merch looks, what my music sounds like, how I act on stage or at the bar in the aftermath, I always think about how I would view it from an outside perspective. If I saw an artist that was bringing out merchandise with a bastardised version of the Amber Leaf logo, I’d fuck with their vision. I’ve always been on a pursuit to be the artist that I always sought out when I was younger.
Do you find it difficult treading the balance between trying to establish a music career, but also trying to set up a safety net of alternative work?
Absolutely, I think that ‘Deli Daydreams’ by KOJAQUE exemplifies that, at least in my experiences anyway. It feels as though, unless you’ve gotten extremely lucky, you have to throw yourself into mundane employment in order to have enough coin to survive as you strive to give yourself a fighting chance in the creative world you desperately want to live in.
What gives you the confidence to continue making music?
Currently, it’s the amount of people that tell me how much they enjoy my tunes and their borderline impatience for new material. It’s genuinely mad to think that people that I have idolised for years are telling me how much they enjoy my work. I could never have envisioned that happening when I started rapping. Also, having District Recordings as a backer of me and what I do gives me a huge boost, and sometimes a desperately needed kick up the hole.
Who gave you the confidence originally to start making music?
I don’t think it was anyone in particular who gave me the confidence. When I originally began listening to Irish hip hop there was always the blind bravado of, ‘I can do that’, yet knowing deep down that I’ll never be Big Siyo, I’ll never be Nucentz, I’ll never be Lethal Dialect. But hearing those voices back when I was 16, the thought always stayed in my head.
Then I made a mock album cover for ‘MIXVAPE’ years ago and put it on Twitter and every so often I teased that I was going to release something. After a while my mates got bored of my empty promises, so releasing ‘burner.’ was almost like an ‘I told you so’ moment for me. Actually, as well, I remember seeing Sick Nanley in Workman’s about two or three months before I dropped ‘burner.’ and we were both out of it chatting about how we were going to start rapping during the summer. Look at us now, baby.
Did you ever rap in an accent other than your own?
Oh jaysis no, never, sure I’ve not even been rapping a year. It boils down to an authenticity and pride issue for me, really. As I talk to different people, my voice changes accordingly, I’ve no idea why, but you can still tell I’m from Dublin. Hip hop, by its very nature, is all about where you’re from. If you’re chatting Dublin shit, but sound like you’re drowning in the mid-Atlantic, your lyrics are pointless, really. Also, I couldn’t walk around town with my head up if I knew that I was selling out my accent. Ireland has a raft of great accents, especially given that it’s such a small island. Those accents sound unreal on hip hop tracks, utilise them.
Football is intertwined with your music, both aesthetically and sonically. Why is it such an important, culturally significant thing for you? It seems like it’s more than a passion that lives outside of music.
I think football is such a huge element of my music because it’s such a significant part of my make-up. I’ve been obsessed with football probably since I was five, I remember watching Ireland beat the Netherlands 2001 in a murky Portuguese bar because my parents thought the Irish bar was too packed. Sure I probably had no choice but become a football nerd, my oul fella put me in a Chelsea jersey at birth. As well, I think it may be the one subject that I can speak on and reference confidently. Much like music, its allowed me to experience things I’d never thought I’d experience. Football can be used as a storytelling tool because it’s so ubiquitous, just look at the World Cup, it’s everywhere. There are so many sub-sections of football which can turn into a great line in a song, and they resonate with people. Also, it’s just mad funny to reference obscure footballers, even those that are just on the periphery of the mainstream. Just wait until I start with the League of Ireland references, you definitely won’t be able to understand me.
FYNCH launches ‘MIXVAPE’ this Thursday June 28 in the laneway of Berlin D2 with support from Nonzus Magnus, Dicey, Marcus Woods & Eric Davidson.