Fintan McKahey finds revelation in bedroom studio producers alike, pulling names like Still Woozy as an inspiration. Primarily producing ambiance kissed pop orchestrations in his home studio, he has no quarrels formulating his emotions into a blend of acoustic instrumentation embellished with a distinguishing lo-fi ambiance. And while Fintan has seen his share of success with his preceding EP, his freshest offerings on "Goodbye" come decorated with the tantalizing textures of Ava Archbold's voice.
The song is about the waves and washes from the trailing ends of a relationship's conclusion, union and all, hanging on by its last thread of hope. Here, on "Goodbye," Fintan McKahey finds a vibey pocket and goes with it—unpacking silky vehemence with every word that transmits from his low-end register. "And in the cold, you and I find it easy to adore you and why, don't say goodbye we could try for the last time," they sing, voices blending like a steamy infusion, "maybe I was wrong, but I found it easier to fall for your lies." But, amongst the expansive storytelling and ambient reverbs and decays, we find placeholders in the groove that work overtime with subtle animation, never drawing attention away from Ava and Fintan's harmonization in the chorus. The crispy thwack of the snare and a rounded low-end escort the track with meticulous steadiness, giving room for the vocals to evolve and envelope within intimacy, until settling into a devoted closeness—as if swooning within inches of our ears.
How did you two manage to find each other and establish such an effortless connection both sonically and in writing together?
I actually wrote every aspect of the song myself. I had only gotten Ava in to record some verses that I had already put together myself and just got her singing in the foreground for these verses to create a more of duet type style to the song.
Ava Archbold is a young singer/songwriter who is also from West Cork, Ireland where I live. I first came across her, when she released a single called 'Mist' last year. I was very impressed with her vocal style, and she's only 16 years old! It's hard to find another vocalist that stylistically fits with my own and so I thought I have to seize the opportunity and get her in on a track asap. She was a pleasure to work with and I was blown away by her professionalism at such a young age.
Where do these productions start for you in the studio? Do you always find yourself drawn to lyrics and melody first, or do in hop right into your D.A.W. and get the instrumentation going?
I pretty much always start my songs on the guitar. I would usually write some chords that I think sound different and could have potential. Unlike most other people, at this stage, I usually jump straight into the studio and start trying to write all of the other arrangements before I progress too far with the initial idea. I like to try and not go too far with detail on any one instrument first as I feel that it often works better if you actually try filling out those details and gaps with another sonic element e.g. a keys melody/lead guitar etc. I basically write as I record in the studio. So I might have the entire first half of the song completely polished and recorded but not even have the rest of the song written. The pretty weird technique, but that's just me haha.
Has there been any critical milestone in your career that you feel you've inched closer to with the release of Goodbye?
Well for starters, it's the first time that I didn't hire someone to mix the track. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could complete the entirety of the recording process alone. So I'm pretty darn proud of that, I must say.
Also, I have been intending on getting a female vocalist on a song for years now. Til now, I've just never felt like I had found the right singer to pair with my voice. Because of the style that I adopt with my own vocals (soft approach to the performance & a lot of multi-tracking), it gives this really textured sound in the finished product. So in turn, it really needs to be a sensitive voice to pair with it. I was delighted when I saw Ava perform at a show in Debarra's Folk Club a few months back. She had this really unique delicate voice and such an immense range. I'm very excited to hear what you guys think. I have a lot of plans in the pipeline of getting Ava in on more tracks this year so stay tuned.
Is there any specific message or feeling you want to impart to your audience with the narrative and story surrounding Goodbye?
I feel like I've dipped my toes into another style of songwriting with this track. Usually, my lyrics are quite abstract and don't follow a narrative so to speak. However, with this track, it is definitely a more relatable theme. “Goodbye” is a love song, looking at things from the other side of the fence.
It’s an observation of the struggle at the end of a relationship when both sides are clinging on in hope of salvation.
What has been keeping you inspired throughout 2020?
My first love is the recording studio. Luckily I finished building my recording studio in the garden here at home, just before lock-down set in. So for the majority of the year so far, I have been extremely happy to have so much more time to focus on recording without any distractions. For the last 4 months, I have been in the studio basically every day experimenting with recording techniques & writing. It has kept me seriously inspired and motivated to have such a beautiful space to create in. I'm so so lucky to have this facility, literally at my doorstep. As a result, I have loads more songs in the works so keep your eyes open for more releases later this year.