By Tommy Johnson
In June of 2014, the members of Fingers resided in a one bedroom apartment in the vicinity of Bloomington, Indiana. Having been given a place to crash from a friend of the band, the temperature in the small living quarters rose to levels that were teetered on the edge of unbearable and extremely uncomfortable on most nights.
Lead vocalist/guitar/piano/reed organ Yashi Bellomy, Maxwell Slater on drums/ percussion/vocals, and lead vocalist/bassist Vincent Valentino were joined by Chris Heidel on synthesizer/reed organ/piano/vocals throughout the stay in Bloomington as they began recording Fingers debut EP Little Waves. What was an 80-plus year old church converted to a recording facility at Primary Sound Studios gave the troupe relief from the heat with cooler temps inside the rooms.
Throughout the recording process for Little Waves, the band allow themselves to explore and touch on a variety of different elements into their music; hopeful that they were working towards reaching that sweet spot within themselves sonically. That was in part to having producer/engineer Albert Sigman directing Fingers from start to finish at Primary Sound. During the opening track of Little Waves (and one of the strongest songs) “She Said”, Bellomy unleashes a ferocious aggression and growl. Immediately following that comes the slowed-down “Blue Bird” that picks up momentum as it progresses, giving way to a smoldering concoction of various sounds, hazy percussion that are unleashed without mercy. The smooth, jazzy soul that incorporates “Medicine Man” is a nice way to wrap things up for the EP that fully embodies Fingers. From the moment they would wake up in the morning to leaving the studio in the late hours at night overcoming with exhaustion, Fingers don’t look at their time in Bloomington as a horrible experience. They instead view their five day excursion with joy and excitement.
“We finally found ourselves in a situation where we had all of this gear. We were able to experiment,” Valentino mentioned. “When we got there, we felt that we all this time in the world.”
Having been involved individually in other projects around their home base at Columbus, Ohio, the current lineup meet through what Valentino said in “random different ways”. After being introduced from a mutual friend, Valentino and Slater started playing together in a six to seven piece folksy/country band The Glen Echoes for a couple years. At the same time, Slater jumped onboard with the folk band William Reach, which also featured Bellomy. When both the Glen Echoes and William Reach started to fizzle out, Valentino and Slater have been living with each other for some time. Bellomy became a permanent visitor to the roommates; spending hours with Slater jamming on material as Valentino would hop in.
“We started discovering that we had a good thing going, so we started to cultivate it a little bit,” Valentino says. “We started on working on things on stuff.”
From the time the jam sessions started to grow some legs into something special, over three years have passed since Fingers officially formed. During this time, the troupe have been slowly mapping out their vision. Going with over two years of playing the music for the EP and older stuff, the prep time of Little Waves alone took Fingers over eight months before they released it in late May; carefully editing and mixing each of the tracks.
“We wanted to put it out and really make something to show what our live show is really like and give us room to experiment,” Valentino explained.
For those who have been tuned into the vigorous schedule that Fingers maintains; primarily performing in various venues on most weekends. The chance came to knock off another first for the group in early spring this year- embarking on their first full-length tour ranging across parts of the Midwest and included a stop in New York City.
“The first stage is really excited, really crazy. The middle is kinda non-stop and you wonder when it’s going to boil over. By the end of it, you come to peace with the craziness that is world with touring,” Valentino described. “You kinda get into this meditative state of mind by the end.”
The love from the people who attend the shows along with support from those who are involved in the Columbus music scene pushes the group to strive to stay close to the city, but the itch to explore new terrain is becoming of a presence. Valentino explained that there is some chatter within the band to possibly begin formulating a likely move to another city. Some of the cities being tossed around to move to have included some in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Chicago, or New York.
In the meantime, though, Fingers are staying put; finally attempting to lay low for a small period of time to collect themselves after their daunting schedule as of late. Valentino indicated that the evolution of Fingers involve going on a different direction; trying something fresh within their writing process. Tweaking the sound is also on the agenda with the new material that’s still in the early stages.
“I think we more or less maybe need to take this back and look at some old school music,” Valentino says. “Old school rock, soul and jazz. We want to think about kinda incorporating some of those elements. We don’t want to repeat ourselves. So once we figure out to do next, I think we are going to start hitting it hard.”
(To get a copy of Little Waves, go to Fingers Bandcamp site: https://fingers5.bandcamp.com/.
To keep in touch with Fingers, visit their website: http://www.fingerstheband.com/.)