Comfortably numb

FINN is chill with wintry Winnipeg

Derek Martens

“I got back from Cuba this past week,” says Daniel Baron, frontman, guitarist and eldest member of Winnipeg’s Industrial Revolution-inspired folk band FINN. He says the frigidity of this prairie locale satisfies his sense of home.

“I did escape for a little bit, but I found there was comfort in coming back to this city. I was kind of craving a cold burst of wind in my face… It’s too hot and sticky there. There’s no place like home.”

Speaking of such, FINN records in a cold, unfinished basement belonging to members of Royal Canoe.  

Baron is one of three regal FINN members, the other Barons being his younger brothers Matthew (keyboards) and John (bass). The siblings are joined in FINN by drummer Cody Iwasiuk and guitarist Darren Hebner. 

All the members, except Baron, are classically trained musicians, composers, vocalists and producers, but that hasn’t prevented the frontman from amazing his colleagues. In fact, he wrote all the parts of FINN’s first five songs. 

“Dan writes stuff easily, and we don’t always get it,” says Matt, who is currently studying music at the Canadian Mennonite University.

“You’ll [Daniel] end up writing something and for you, that felt really natural in that spot and then we try to play it and we’re like ‘Whoa! That’s so hard! How did you just come up with that?’” says Iwasiuk, who studied music at the University of Brandon with John and Hebner.

Songwriting is now done by the entire group, with lyrics by the Barons. The brothers agree there is a strong storytelling component to their lyrical style.

Asked about their name, the band gets silent as everyone looks to Daniel for a response.

“It’s a classic Irish name,” says the history buff. “There were lots of Irish immigrants that came to Canada during the Industrial Revolution escaping the potato famine.

“Also, it is the last name of one of my favourite literary characters, Huckleberry Finn.”

So why is FINN spelled in all capital letters?  

“That just happened. I have no idea why that happened,” says Daniel, inciting laughter.

“And Darren likes to make puns,” adds John. 

The rest of the group chimes in. 

“That was a lot of FINN. FINNtastic.”

Part of the series: The Uniter Fiver

Published in Volume 68, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 15, 2014)

Related Reads