Interview by Sarah Williams.
Fabled Mind released their debut album Passenger on Lockjaw Records on 22 November 2019. Formed in Copenhagen earlier in 2019, the band have landed onto the scene fully formed, and have event completed their first UK tour. They’re a fresh Danish response to bands like RX Bandits, Millencolin and Rise Against – combining irresistible melodies with technical skate-punk composition and meaningful lyrics.
Fabled Mind is the brain child of Dion Finne, who wrote the album before going on to form the full band with Leo Wallin, Brian Brinksby and Søren Olsen. We were keen to find out why Dion chose to approach the new project that way, how he goes about writing songs, and what their future plans are.
Fabled Mind will be returning to the UK in January to play our weekender Do It Together Fest at New Cross Inn, London. Find out more here.
Fabled Mind is a brand new project. It’s unusual for a group to record a full album before even announcing that they’re band. What motivated you to take that approach?
I wrote this album as a personal ’challenge’ since my other band Stream City went on a break. I’ve always wanted to write punk rock songs, but SC quickly developed into something else – more experimental and progressive. So I took a couple of steps back and focused on writing directly from the heart. That’s how the album took shape.
Was Fabled Mind more of a creative challenge or an emotional outlet for you?
I would say both. It was a relief to write songs within a genre that I love, and the lyrics came easy to me. I spent many hours on them, but the album’s theme revolves around more personal stuff than I’m used to writing, so it felt easier and more sincere. I kept my song writing style from SC, but the tracks are more focused and streamlined on Passenger.
There’s a real melee of influences present in the album. Did you set out to create a new sound?
I did that with Stream City, but it was never the ‘goal’ with this album. I restricted myself to writing more straightforward songs and often stopped myself in the process from writing a super weird off-beat riff or creating odd song structures that I’m used to.
It was a fun challenge and I think the ‘new sound’ is a reflection of wanting to write simple, catchy and recognisable songs. I guess the album landed somewhere in between that and the weird DNA of SC.
As I understand it, you wrote a lot of Fabled Mind’s material yourself, then pulled on other musicians to help create the band. How much of the writing did you have control over?
I did all the writing myself – mostly in my boxers. I wrote 12-14 demos in my little home studio and sent them to my friend Mattias (bassist in Stream City and Co-Producer / Engineer on Passenger). He’s not really into punk rock, but he has an opinion on my writing and voicing if it’s good or hideous. He would write something like “nice” or “yuck” and I would know if/how to continue from there. He would also give me constructive criticism.
In any creative process, it’s important to have someone to ‘take out the thrash’ – at least to me. I’m constantly seeking approval when I write songs. I would send 20 seconds clips and expect people to have an opinion about it (since, at the time, I didn’t have a band). I’ve undoubtedly annoyed all of friends and family members.
What do you find best about that approach?
100% control over the process; which was both nice and an absolute pain in the ass. It also means that the album is a direct reflection of my inner thoughts and my take on punk rock.
It should be noted that I am the king of procrastination- sometimes I didn’t work on the album for months and almost quit the whole thing. There was no one anxiously awaiting the album’s release and no one to pull me out of my writer’s block. It still felt right to deliver a finished product.
How did you go about recording the album?
We recorded the guitars, vocals and bass at Mattias’ studio (Driftwood Studios), then Leo and myself recorded the drums in his practice room. For the bass and guitars we used an Axe FX and I recorded the vocals while Mattias played Hearthstone in the background. But he was there through the whole process to help when I fucked up the electronics.
You’ve previously said that Entangled is your attempt at writing an uplifting song, incorporating some of your experiences from social work. What do you find most inspiring when you’re writing?
I’m inspired by the stories of the people that I meet in my everyday life; friends, family and coworkers. The young people I meet through my work as a teacher / social worker often live an unjust life in many ways, where the “best social system in the world” fails them in every imaginable way.
Denmark’s social administration is frightened biocratically and has some extremely damaging mechanisms. There are too many young people who are lost in the system and left to fend for themselves. They are often left with loneliness, emptiness, depression and anxiety, some choose to self-medicate, while others deteriorate at home without any network to help them.
When I hear their stories and their thoughts, I often get ideas to write from a dystopian perspective. So many people are oblivious to this, especially in Denmark. I like to feel like I’m giving them a voice through some of the songs. Erwing Goffman, among others, inspired me a lot.
You’ve incorporated a lot of political or social themes into the lyrics, but they’re quite metaphorical. Are there any messages you’re keen to convey?
In general Passenger is an invitation to reflect. The lyrics are open to interpretation and l’d like to keep it that way for now. Every track has it’s own story or message and I’ve always been a fan of the ‘showing not telling’ way of writing songs.
What are you hoping for listeners to get from the album? What can we expect?
Fast, melodic and catchy tunes with some heart. I think the songs grow on you and it’s going take a couple of listens before you’re in tune with the FM universe. I hope listeners have the patience to listen through and appreciate the details.
What inspired the name Fabled Mind?
Same with the lyrics – I like to keep it open for interpretation. To me, it’s a reference to our subjective perception of reality. Fabled can mean fictitious or non-existing and we all have our own ‘right’ view on how the world works, but the truth is that reality is subjective.
Tell us a bit about your musical career – what brought you to Fabled Mind?
I started Stream City 12 years ago, as a punk rock band. The band developed into something completely different, but my love and interest for punk rock never did. I went to as many punk shows as I could in Copenhagen and really connected with the people there.
I went on a European Tour with Stars Burn Stripes (ex-Forever Unclean) as a stand-in guitarist before the band dismantled. We also played Punk Rock Holiday, which really made me want to play in a band again. I’m so proud of the one album Stream City did (HOAX), but when people started to leave the band I had to look elsewhere.
Since there’s no real punk scene in Denmark- I decided to start a new project. It was never my intention to make the songs public –I just wanted to share them with my friends and family. And here we are two years later.
What did you grow up listening to?
My parents played in a band called Love Explosion with my mom as the singer and my dad on guitar in the 70’s. They were hippies – I vividly remember my dad rocking out to Queen, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and a few legendary Danish singers. My brother introduced me to Metallica, System of a Down, Defones, KoRn and Slipknot. He had an amazing CD collection, so I would often steal one, listen to it and get beaten up for stealing it.
The first album I ever bought was Dookie. I had heard someone play the album at ‘Skater House’ in Bornholm, Rønne where I’m from. The next record I bought was Americana. I loved everything about it: the pace, the melodies, the lyrics, the vocals. Those albums really got me interested in the genre and from there I was searching for punk bands on Google with my dad’s high tech 56k internet connection. Obviously I discovered NOFX, Bad Religion, Anti-flag, Pennywise, Rise Against, Satanic Surfers, etc. The bands we all love.
How has your taste developed now? Do you listen to a variety to help improve your own songwriting?
I’ve been listening to a lot of progressive rock and metal earlier in my life hence the crazy Stream City universe. I still listen to classical music from time to time when I need to escape from reality. For the past couple of years, I’ve mainly focused on punk music because it seems like there’s quality bands popping up everywhere. I really love the wave of techy brilliant bands from the UK (The Human Project, Dead Neck, Fair Do’s, Darko, etc.).
I’m looking forward to writing songs again, I’ll always move in a different direction for each album. I’m going to stick to the core concept, but it will be very different with a fair amount of new inspirations.
What are your ambitions for Fabled Mind in future?
I’m stoked to be associated with many of my favourite bands at the moment. I really love a lot of the Lockjaw bands and what a great start this project has gotten. Just being able to play in the UK after three months of existing is amazing!
I see this album as the beginning of a new journey and sort of a stepping-stone for me and the rest of Fabled Mind. It’s my ambition to improve my songwriting and take people by surprise on every release. I’m really looking forward to meeting like-minded people around the world and share stages with awesome bands! It’s always scary to put out music and be the ‘new kid in school’, so I’m anxious to see what people will think about the album…
Be sure to listen to Fabled Mind’s full album Passenger. Fabled Mind will be returning to the UK in January to play our weekender Do It Together Fest at New Cross Inn, London, alongside bands like Lightyear, The JB Conspiracy and Forever Unclean. Find out more here.
Interview by Sarah Williams.