King Finn. Photo: Misa Constante
For most bands, the tough times don’t really come until they’ve been together for over a decade. However, earlier this year Houston’s King Finn was dealt a devastating blow when founding member and guitarist Alan Huynh passed away just shy of the band’s three year anniversary. As anyone who knew Huynh, and his overwhelming support of the Houston music scene, would tell you — the thought of the band disappearing would never be an option, even if he wasn’t along for the ride. Last year the band released their debut As Part Of Me, that showcased their pop hooks and driving rock sound with ease. Now on the heels of dropping a new EP later this year, and a new single with “The Flow,” the first since Huynh’s passing, the four piece is set to take the band into a new chapter. The largest step in that new beginning will see them taking the stage at this year’s Free Press Summer Festival. FPH caught up with the band to hear how they began, how they’ve dealt with losing a brother, and where they plan on going in the future.
FPH: How did the band get its start and how long have you guys been together?
KING FINN: We became the band fans recognize some time around May of 2013. Prior to that, Alan, Toph, and Mike were writing and performing in The Bermuda Triangle of Exploding Snails, where some of King Finn’s pop/progressive instrumentation took its roots. Alan wanted a bigger, more powerful sound, and felt adding a guitar would do the trick. Initially, with long-time friend Freddy Trejo on guitar, we were looking for bassists, and knew of Jakub and Jeremy as potential players, so we thought to have them try out by each playing one show with us. Shortly after the shows, however, Freddy decided to leave the band on personal reasons, and the opportunity for us to include both Jeremy and Jakub in the band, on guitar and bass, respectively, became available. Our first show in that format was at Fitzgerald’s in August of 2013.
FPH: You guys have become well known for catchy melodies and pop hooks, does the band write songs as a unit or is there one principal songwriter in the band?
KING FINN: What usually happens is one of us will present an idea, a skeleton and a vision, to the group, and we collectively work on fleshing it out to make the vision a reality. We all have different musical tastes and backgrounds, and that is part of what makes our chemistry so great. As for vocal melodies and lyrical content, Toph typically takes the feelings and emotions conjured up, sonically, to then create a verbal representation of the landscape provided.
FPH: This year, you lost founding member, guitarist, and champion of all things Houston music when Alan Huynh passed away. How has the band been since we lost him, and though I know that Alan would’ve wanted the band to continue on; can you explain what made you decide to go on after his death?
KING FINN: It hit us hard. For most of us, this was the first big loss we’d experienced and the fact that it was our brother and close friend wrenched at us all the more. The question on the state and future of the band was slated during the week we spent at his wake and preparing for the formal funeral. In that time, however, we stood in absolute awe his mother’s strength and composure. Near the end of it all, she pulled us to the side and told us she sees her son in us, in our music, and that we shouldn’t stop now and that Alan planted the seed that was King Finn. She trusted us to continue growing. We understood it would be a difficult ordeal, but to abandon all of our hard work and dedication would be a disservice to the blood, sweat, and tears we, including Alan, poured into the band. Since then we have been fortunate enough to receive a pleasantly overwhelming amount of love and encouragement from friends, family, and other local musicians, which has solidified our comfort in deciding to continue.
FPH: You guys are working on a new album, can you let us in on what’s in store and do you have a release date yet?
KING FINN: Our next EP will feature 5 songs; each track representing an idea that one of us, including Alan, brought to the table. With the new lineup, which now features Jakub on guitar instead of bass, and Toph on bass alongside vocals, as well as the addition of an occasional bass synth, this album will definitely be a much more dynamic collection of tunes than As Part of Me. We plan on taking it to a whole new level compositionally and sonically as we continue to refine and hone in on the King Finn sound. Be prepared to hear some of these new songs at our Free Press set!
FPH: Your live shows are full of energy and passion, what do you have planned for the big stages at this year’s FPSF?
KING FINN: We’re shooting for the tightest and most exciting set we’ve ever played. Without giving too much away, we want to engage everyone in the audience and have them be a part of our set. We wouldn’t have gotten to where we are without the love and support from so many amazing people all around Houston so we want our performance at FPSF to serve as King Finn’s open love letter to this incredible city.
A lot can be said about band’s who can soldier on after losing someone that they grew together with. While the band starts recording their next release, you can catch King Finn bring their highly energetic live show to life when they perform on Saturday June 4 at Free Press Summer Festival. Single-day passes run between $92.50 and $119.50 and can be found here, while two-day passes run between $157.50 and $999 and can be found here.