Fine Animal
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Fine Animal

Portland, OR | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Portland, OR | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Duo Electronic Alternative




"Album Premiere: ‘Before the Glow’ by Fine Animal"

Weaving together a slew of soft, breezy textures, Before the Glow, the debut album from Columbus, Ohio's Fine Animal sparkles, shuffles and whips around you.

The duo (vocalist/keyboardist Lucy Oaks and guitarist/vocalist Kelan Gilbert) boldly explores the limits of electronic expression, taking cues from Air, Bonobo and St. Vincent. - Culture Collide


Heavenly. Angelic. Complete and total inner peace. That’s what this tune evokes in me. The whispers and the simple back beat draw you in and it’s off to the races from there. Fine Animal comes to us from Columbus Ohio and they are brining a fresh sound that is exactly what I need right now. Their production has their own stamp and I’m just loving it. The track is from their LP, Before The Glow, set for release tomorrow, 6/16. Be sure to catch them at Cameo Gallery on July 31! - The Most Definitely


If the description, “chill wave music for ice skating” sounds as awesome and appealing to you as it did to me, then read on to discover some seriously dreamy and futuristic tunes from your new favorite indie electronic duo, Fine Animal. Members KC Wilder, Lucy Oaks, and Kelan Gilbert formed their band out of Columbus, OH in 2013, and are already creating some well-deserved buzz with their moody atmospheric sound and breathy male/female vocals. If you’re into artists like Phantogram or Sigur Ros but want something a bit more edgy and dynamic, then Fine Animal is one band you wont want to pass up. - BitCandy

"INTERVIEW: Indie-Electronic Band Fine Animal"

How was the recording and writing process?

We’ve never approached two songs exactly the same way but in the instance of “Perpetually Waking Up” we actually “recycled” a drum part from an older song that never made it over the finish line. Once we had that foundation in place, Kelan demoed the rest of the track and passed it on to the rest of the band for them to examine and make their own contributions. Lucy’s vocals were an essential part of how the song took shape and really tied it together. As far as recording is concerned, we certainly subscribe to the DIY approach. We have a self-made home studio in which the majority of work is done. Vocals are typically tracked in Kelan’s bedroom. After it was recorded, we passed it on to Joey Gurwin of Oranjudio (recording studio Columbus, OH) to apply his mixing and mastering magic.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

We feel “Perpetually Waking Up” came together as we ourselves were waking up to our own identity as a band. As we said before, the concept of the song mostly centers around our own experiences of seizing second chances. Something I [Kelan] am no stranger to having at one point fought a long battle with drug addiction. After a lot of pain and hardship the outcome of that experience offered me a lot of new and wonderful perspectives. I’m fortunate to now have an amazing life, a direct result of the insights I gained during that struggle. - Vents Magazine

"Dream pop band’s sound ‘a refreshing glass of clouds’"

Lucy Oaks, at the time a second-year in public health on the pre-med track, was studying one night at Thompson Library when she and a friend decided on a whim to go to Ladies 80’s Night at Skully’s Music-Diner on High Street. It was there that she met Kelan Gilbert and KC Wilder, who had recently decided to form a new band after a previous project dissolved.
After discovering that she played keyboard and sang, they invited her to audition for their band.
Given the context of the meeting, Gilbert doubted that it would work out.
“It was one of the most pleasant surprises of my life to be proven wrong on that,” he said. “Because not only did she show up to actually audition to be in this band, she kind of knocked our socks off.”
The trio known as Fine Animal started playing together in 2012, but didn’t become active on the Internet or release music until May 2014.
“I had come up with the name ‘Fine Animal’ based on a little dog that my girlfriend and I got. I would always say, ‘Oh he’s just a fine, fine animal,’ and so I’d written it on the list of like, 50 options,” said Wilder, the band’s drummer. “The lack of ‘s’ implies a collective unit. Our sound blends together and feels like one set of sound rather than a bunch of individuals on stage.”
Wilder and Gilbert found themselves as a duo temporarily when Oaks left to work at a summer camp for the past two summers. They spent the time experimenting with their sound, developing it from conventional indie rock into electronic-based “dream-pop” that uses heavy reverb to give it an ethereal sound.
“When I came back from the first summer, they had written all of this music that was electronic and different from what we had played when I left in the spring, and I was like ‘This is awesome,’” Oaks said.
Before they all came together, Wilder and Gilbert crisscrossed the country.
Wilder grew up in Southern California before coming to Ohio State for his degree in finance.
“When I moved here, actually all I did was put everything I could in my car and just drove out here. I had never even been to Columbus. So I’m either really stupid or really adventurous — probably both,” Wilder said.
Gilbert, originally from Akron, moved to California for four years for college before moving to Columbus with his then-girlfriend.
“It’s certainly pleasantly surprising. I’m not gonna lie, I moved down here with this idea that it was going to be awful. I was just under the impression that it was this glorified college town and there wasn’t going to be anything for me here, especially in terms of music,” Gilbert said. “There’s a thriving music scene here and this really awesome community of artists and musicians who are all engaged and active and interested in each other’s work. It’s a lot more of a cultural mecca, especially in the Midwest, than people give it credit for.”
Growing up in Worthington, Ohio, Oaks started taking piano lessons when she was 6, adding to her vocal lessons that she started at age three.
“I really loved ‘Pocahontas’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ and I really wanted to sing like them,” said Oaks, who begged her parents to let her take music lessons.
Gilbert’s life is centered in the music industry as he teaches guitar and writes music for a publishing company in addition to playing with Fine Animal. But both Oaks and Wilder live a life outside of the band that contrasts the music world.
“When I started school, I actually thought I was going to study voice and then I got really worried about job security, but now I realize that I don’t really want to be a doctor, at least not right now,” said Oaks, who is now a fourth-year, but no longer pre-med. “I kind of feel like I’m living a double life sometimes so I am excited to graduate and be able to fully commit myself to the band.”
“I also live a double life. I’ll be in a meeting negotiating with a supplier over tens of millions of dollars and then I leave that and I’m playing with these guys in a bar downtown,” Wilder said about balancing his finance job and the band.
Fine Animal has gotten feedback from both friends and strangers.
Joey Gurwin, an audio engineer who helped with early mixes at Oranjudio Recording Studio in Grandview, said the band’s sound has been described as “like drinking a refreshing glass of clouds.” The band liked the phrase so much that it put it on its T-shirt, and features it on its social media platforms.
“That was the most f—ing poetic thing I’d ever heard, obviously,” Gilbert said. “It’s crazy because we’ll get these props from people across the world. Some dude in Scotland is writing a really heartfelt, warm, thoughtful review of our music … having that ability to brighten someone’s day even just for a millisecond is definitely a powerful thing.”
A simple message from a young fan continues to make the band think about their purpose.
“We got this message that said ‘hey, I listen to your music on the bus to school in the morning.’ I just think how music has impacted my life and all of our lives and just knowing that, even if it’s 100 people out there and who connected with it and had it color part of their life even for a few months, is really powerful,” Wilder said.
“I think about that kid every time we play a show,” Oaks said. - The Lantern

"Local Music: Spring Spotlight - Fine Animal"

Fine Animal has approached the road less traveled by in regards to the local music scene. The three-piece has created sounds very unfamiliar and untouched by the Columbus scene, reflecting ambient-chill-wave, bedroom-pop and indi-electro dream-pop. Similar to the lush female vocals of Mr. Twin Sister, textural layers of Hundred Waters, and the distorted yet, relaxed chords on Aphex Twin’s Syro, Fine Animal has progressed amongst various genres. I had the opportunity to sit down with Lucy, KC and Kelan and discuss the history of Fine Animal and their future intentions as a group. - Columbus Underground

"Fine Animal – “When It Happens (it all happens at once)”"

For those who like: Dreamboat, Porcelain Raft, FURS

Our take: We are huge fans of the dream-pop and psychedelic-pop scene, so to discover a new band that makes the ethereal sound even more beautiful gets us awfully excited. Fine Animal is a new arrival to the genre, but they sound like they’ve been creating dream-pop for decades. “When It Happens (it all happens at once)” is sublime. It has the haunting yet alluring qualities you want to hear in the genre but at the same time the lush melodies that have you holding your breath for an extra second or two. Simply fantastic.

What’s next: “When It Happens (it all happens at once) is from Fine Animal’s debut album, Before the Glow. The album extends from dream-pop to electro-pop to ambient-electronic. It’s a cinematic album that is a stunning listen. Before the Glow can be purchased on Fine Animal’s Bandcamp site, where you can name your own price (we suggest leaving a small tip if you can). Alternatively, stream it on SoundCloud and hear a couple of other tracks below. - The Revue

"Fine Animal little by little becoming more machine than human"

Like the Lawnmower Man or Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix,” Fine Animal’s sound is steadily morphing, becoming little by little more machine than human.

The duo’s warm, inviting debut, Before the Glow, arrives awash in an assortment of electronic textures, layered with airy synthesizers and padded digital blips and beats. Even the vocals contributed by bandmates Kelan Gilbert and Lucy Oaks have evolved into fodder for these computerized experimentations, occasionally appearing pitch-shifted or smeared across the track in pixelated form, scattered like so many digital Legos. - Columbus Alive

"Local Limelight: Fine Animal"

If one creature could represent the sound and spirit of the duo Fine Animal, what would it be?

“I feel like it isn’t any traditional animal; it’s this weird cocktail of different beasts,” said Kelan Gilbert, 27, who, beyond vocals, plays guitar and runs a drum machine.

Still, he added: “Our first run of T-shirts had a red-tail fox, a peacock and a giant blue whale — that kind of covered all the bases.”

The Short North twosome, also including 21-year-old singer-pianist Lucy Oaks, offers delicate layers of digital beats and whispery voices that bear shades of melodic dream-pop acts such as Phantogram. - The Columbus Dispatch

"Fine Animals let loose on Cbus"

Breathy voices drenched in reverb, deep basslines, and an undeniable onstage chemistry define the sound of Columbus’ own Fine Animal, all wrapped up in a sleek electronic aesthetic.

The band enveloped the audience in a set of delicate, dreamy soundscapes at its last Columbus show, supporting Brooklyn, New York, act Mr Twin Sister at the intimate Rumba Cafe July 14.

“When I’m writing, I’m always thinking about Lucy’s voice,” multi-instrumentalist and producer Kelan Gilbert said about songwriting partner Lucy Oaks. “To make a comparison, when a painter paints, he has a selection of colors, and I have Lucy’s voice as a color to paint with when I’m writing.”

Emblazoned on the band’s equipment was the slogan “music for ice skating,” an apt description for the chilled, flowing textures of the duo’s music, which could serve as the backing track for a figure skater in the spotlight.

A backdrop of changing leaves, agricultural scenes, and surreal film clips was projected on the back wall of the stage at the duo’s most recent show, carefully synced up with the progression of the music.

“We feel that our songs have a very cinematic quality at times, and some of the songs are begging for a visual element,” said Gilbert, who composed the visuals himself from creative commons materials.

The band’s recent release, “Before The Glow,” is a compelling snapshot of Fine Animal’s sound and attitude.

“Sometimes it’s reality, sometimes it’s fantasy, but I think overall, especially for ‘Before The Glow,’ when I was writing a lot of the lyrics for the songs, they were based on things from my past,” Gilbert said. - Uweekly

"Fine Animal: Like a modern ballet, like a royal-blooded babe"

Fine Animal’s debut album, Before the Glow, could orchestrate a modern ballet. The duo has created something spiritual–combining harp-like vocals with minimalist electronic that puts the ‘dream’ in ‘dream pop.’

“When It All Happens (it happens all at once)” was like listening to Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” for the first time–only instead of riding shotgun in my dad’s ‘92 Honda Civic and asking him if we can cut my hair that short, I was sitting on my balcony feeling exceptionally euphoric. Lucy Oaks’ repeated lyric, “It’s so good when you know,” distorts itself, weaving in and out, until a simple techno beat drops, and one of the most fragile pieces of electronica I’ve ever heard launches this album off.

The delicateness continues throughout, especially on “Riser,” which combines high-pitched female vocals and trancey instrumentation, all sweating over sexual, ambient groove. “Portal” builds on that dreamy quality, bringing in an Irish countryside raininess, sweater-wrapped warmth. And “Lay Awake,” with its surprising energetic vibe, melts right into “Boarding Area,” where tasteful trippiness takes hold.

For as minimalist as Before the Glow may seem, tracks like “Perpetually Waking Up” and “Old Dollar” add depth. “Perpetually Waking Up” carries angelic vocals that mist over a thunder-warped soundscape, and Oaks’ ending lyrics, “Like a Pharaoh, sinking in his chair/Let’s test our devotion, while completely unaware,” surprised me with their gravity. “Old Dollar” zips like a racecar across a deserted soundscape, with hollowed vocals and a desperate, beautiful energy to match. Try thinking of “Old Dollar” as a remake of the plastic-bag-blowing-in-the-wind scene from American Beauty, except replace the bag with an old dollar and all-of-a-sudden it’s even deeper.

Before the Glow embodies the kind of mystery that makes you keen on listening for every moment; it’s a startling vessel of strength and beauty, a royal-blooded babe.—Rachel Haney - Independent Clauses

"Fine Animal"

With a sound that melts into the room Fine Animal have an underlying calmness that can’t help but engross the mind as wave upon wave of electronics fold gently over each other, as almost imperceptible guitars give an immediacy, whilst a captivating vocal fascinates the ears.

This is music to listen to whilst unwinding in the chill-room as the ambient beats undulate around the brain. Fine Animal is able to titrate senses of tribal sounds, which gives the resulting pieces a mesmerically haunting temper into which the mind can draw its own images.

Just over year into their existence the trio have been able to provide a ‘must have’ collection of compositions (available on bandcamp) which have been well thought through and delivered. What I particularly like about Fine Animal is the way that they are able to take complex ideas and deliver them in a way that doesn’t leave the audience perplexed, rather, hypnotised, whilst retaining the natural instinct that I always look for in bands who I think add value to the world for their very existence.

Whilst there is a decent catalogue of material building, I look forward to much more, whilst, lounging, listening to an hour or two of Fine Animal.

-Tim Whale - Emerging Indie Bands


Fine Animal describes their music as “music for ice skating.” The description feels gimmicky at first, but after talking to Lucy Oaks and Kelan Gilbert in person, it becomes apparent that this mission statement of sorts is a cross section of the vision of the band and the personalities. Kelan is personable and outgoing, Lucy a bit more reserved and focused. The band has a very definite vision for what they want to sound like, yet they know how to interject a bit of whimsy within to show that they don’t take themselves too seriously.

“When It Happens (It Happens All At Once)” feels like an introduction to the band, while “Perpetually Waking Up” feels like the band’s flagship track. The former feels safe (not in a bad way) and touches briefly on many different elements of Fine Animal’s musicianship, and the latter soars in a way that’s undeniable. I couldn’t think of a better title than “Perpetually Waking Up” for the theme it conveys.

“Portal” and “Lay Awake” take the ethereal nature of the band to the extreme, scaling back on the bells and whistles and focusing mostly on Oaks’ voice. The volume seems to go up and down, but I’m not complaining. The latter track reminds me of a mellow number from Beacon, the band I saw open for Tycho this past spring. Dark, yet poetic and cathartic. “Portal” is the longest track on the album, for the most part sticking with one repetitive, hypnotic melody.

Fine Animal have found their sound, but they’re still working on being polished. This is something that will come with time. Being a DIY band that finds their home in the dream pop and chill wave genres presents its share of challenges. Being a DIY band in garage rock or punk actually adds cred to the final product, while being in a more electronic-driven band doesn’t allow for that wiggle room, which is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it forces the artist to strive for excellence, a curse because every little nuance is noticed by critics like yours truly.

Well, I’m here to tell you that Fine Animal are on to something cool. Before the Glow is a significant step in what will hopefully be a long, successful run for the band.

Ryan Getz - Tuned Up


Fine Animal is a Columbus-based dreampop trio comprising of KC Wilder, Lucy Oaks, and Kelan Gilbert. They formed in 2013.

Describing themselves as “indie electro, dream pop, glo-fi, chill wave music for ice skating”, we would agree. Although new track ‘Old Dollar’ was a creation based on a traditional work song ‘Old Dollar Mamie’ (which was recorded in 1947 at Lambert Camp at the Mississippi State Penitentiary), it is deep electro full of futuristic beats and halo vocals. - Indietronica

"Quick Picks: 5 Tasty Jams You MUST Hear"

Happy Monday, folks! To kick the week off, dive into our new Quick Picks: 5 Tasty Jams You MUST Hear playlist. Today we’re featuring five great songs by excellent artists, including Fine Animal, Meadowlark, Freddie Phoenix, Maybe Frank, and Jay Brown. Enjoy: - A music blog yea?

"Interview: Fine Animal"

It’s a double-edged sword – having a brand of sound so unique, the English language has yet to catch up with a proper description. Yet Fine Animal (Kelan Gilbert, Lucy Oaks) waited patiently for their hometown scene of Columbus, Ohio to catch on…and catch on, they certainly have. This musical mix of dream pop, indie, electro (what the duo playfully refers to as ultra lush music for ice skating) is absolutely ear catching, and what better proof than Fine Animal’s new LP: Before The Glow.

Fine AnimalunnamedWe asked the twosome to give us their input on the approach to the new music – Gilbert said “I feel that Before the Glow is the sum of everything that is Fine Animal. No two songs were written, recorded or produced in the same way. Really we were just trying to find our way as a band and while searching for this managed to write some songs. The result was this album. Hopefully people who listen to it will hear that we have found a sound that is uniquely our own.” We here at PEV have no doubt you certainly will; just click over to to sample Before the Glow and check their performance scheduled while there. Do all of this, right after you finish reading all of the answers to the XXQs below. - Pens Eye View





Fine Animal is a Columbus, OH based electronic, dream pop duo consisting of Kelan Gilbert and Lucy Oaks. 

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