Cian Finn is one of the most exciting reggae acts to emerge from Ireland in the past number of years. Cian has toured the world with his infectious reggae beats, taking in countries such as Czech Republic, China, Jamaica and Kenya. He has just released his critically acclaimed 'This Applies', which will see Cian and his band perform the album in its entirety for an exclusive performance at Trenchtown in September.
Read our interview below ahead of Cian's return to the tropical oasis that is Trenchtown.
You released your new album 'This Applies’ at the end of last year. Can you tell us a bit about the writing process for the album?
Making the ‘This Applies’ album came from a love of 1970s Jamaican and dub music, which has strongly influenced me over the past decade. I had been dreaming of making a record in this style for many years and I ended up playing at a reggae festival in Poland with Radikal Guru. After our set, Prince Fatty, Hollie Cooke and Horseman came on stage. I turned to the guy next to me, who I later learned was the legendary Adrian Sherwood (producer for Shane MacGowan and Sinead O'Connor) and said, 'Wow, this guy’s got multi-tracks of the old Jamaica tunes”. I talked to Fatty after the show and arranged to visit to his studio in Brighton. We raided his archives of unreleased instrumental songs and I picked 14 tracks that I resonated with and felt that the songs I had written would too. Then we scrapped everything except the drums and started bringing in different musicians and building original bass lines and melodies. I gathered together what I felt to be the best reggae songs I had written and stockpiled over the past few years and wrote a couple of new ones in the studio.
Do you have anything special planned for your performance this year? Will any guests from the album be joining you on stage in September?
Yes, this is the first time this album will be performed live with a band so we felt it was essential to fly in the original harpist, Catriona Cannon, and not use a recording. Also on stage will be an all-star line up of Irish-based musicians from groups I’ve admired from the scene here over the years. I’m very excited to play with these guys.â€‹
How does playing Electric Picnic differ from one of your own headline shows?
I’ve been to almost every Picnic since it began, excluding the second one, so for me going there is a completely surreal experience and different from any other gig I play. I meet people from all corners of the country and beyond that, as well as some people I’ve known for years but only cross paths with at the festival. I have so many memories and great experiences from Electric Picnic; it’s got a real festival family and community feel to it, which makes performing there an intimate and unique experience.
You’re a regular at Electric Picnic now, what sets Trenchtown apart from other areas at the festival?
Trenchtown has a multicultural, tropical feel and is a place to chill from the intensity and bright lights of the rest of the festival. During the day its nice and shady, while at night it builds up to a high-energy, up-tempo, heavy bass-line shakedown.
Do you have any festival tips for first-time goers to Electric Picnic?
First-timer wise, keep her cool and steady on day one. The weekend is long and you want to be in good nick to fully absorb the vast array of class music from all over the world. There are so many wicked gigs on in such a short space of time, you can either lucky dip it and wander from stage to stage, or research the line up beforehand and make a list of gigs you want to catch. Stay hydrated - there are free water refill stations at the festival. Sleep when you need to and have many random conversations with sound-heads that you encounter. There is no better place to observe the rare characteristics of contemporary Irish society than a massive festival in the midlands. Give and receive the good vibes - it’s our culture.â€‹
Who are your must-see acts on the Electric Picnic 2016 line up so far?
I’ll be magnetised to Nas, Toots and the Maytals, Mount Kimbie, Radikal Guru, Ajo Arkestra, whatever the Body&Soul main stage area throws at me and the late night Revelation Soundsystem sessions in Trenchtown after 2am.