FiNE is the next big name in Progressive Afro House, and they dropped by to talk about their come-up around the world and more!
Twin brothers, Craig and Darren Fine, grew up with music at the center of their lives. After coming into existence in Johannesburg, South Africa, the boys moved to Botswana where they soaked up the soundwaves of their culture, quickly falling in love with the uplifting art form as they made magic on steel pans, marimbas, keyboards, and more. But this was merely just the beginning of what would blossom into a full-time career in the music industry.
Ultimately as teenagers, the twins moved to Australia, and it was here that they were submerged in the colorful world of electronic dance music. It didn’t take long before they were hooked. As adults, the Fine brothers had a deep itch to chase their dreams, so they plucked themselves from Australia and landed in Tel Aviv, Israel, to take the underground nightlife by storm. The rest is history! After returning to Australia for a short stint, FiNE now resides in Los Angeles today, spreading their rich progressive afro house beats to the US masses and beyond.
FiNE is currently hard at work expanding their discography, which includes a solid handful of divine body movers like “Samba,” “Malori,” Forbidden Fruit, “San Man,” and their most recent offering, “Cloud 9.” But, before you head off to explore, press play on their exclusive guest mix on SoundCloud and read on for our chat to get to know the men behind the music.
Stream EDMID Guest Mix 376 || FiNE on SoundCloud:
Hi FiNE, thanks so much for sitting down with us today. Before we dig into the present, let’s first explore your past! Your roots are in Botswana. Can you share how your home country impacted your early influences musically? What was it like growing up there?
It was the best upbringing we could have asked for! A small landlocked country with a population of less than 2.5 million and 70% desert… but one of the wealthiest and safest countries in Africa, and thus an abundance of opportunity. We moved there as a family and traveled to South Africa about 20 times a year. Our primary school in Botswana was a melting pot of diversity, with over 52 nationalities, a renowned Marimba band, and a really high standard of education.
From an early age, we immersed ourselves in music, playing the recorder, steel pans, and various African percussion instruments at school. One of our most cherished memories is a visit to a local orphanage, where a large group of children, grateful for our contribution, burst into song and dance, using only their hands to clap and their voices to sing. To this day, we’re inspired by this memory to show the world what’s possible when two brothers from Africa think big and aren’t afraid to take on the craziness of the music world.
Both Botswana and South Africa were our foundations, and one particular artist that has always stood out is Black Coffee. We watched many of his early performances in Cape Town over the summer holidays. We will be forever grateful for our upbringing in Africa.
We touched on early influences, but let’s compare that with who you’re listening to today. Is there anyone that is acting as a mentor in your career or someone you find yourself gravitating to? If so, give us the scoop on their influence.
We’re huge fans of Keinemusik! We love the nostalgic, organic vibes that they create at their shows, with melodies that really warm the heart. We’re also big fans of Moojo. His music is epic, with a great groove, beautiful melodies, and really catchy vocals. Both artists are doing a great job of commercializing Afro House whilst still keeping it authentic.
Throughout your life, you made moves to Australia, Israel, and the US, all the while honing your craft in each local scene. Can you give us some insight into the professional lessons you learned along the way in relation to each location you’ve called home?
To put it simply, our rhythm and groove, and a lot of the ‘warmth’ in our music originates from Africa. Israel is where we first experienced a world-class nightlife scene. We started as club promoters and quickly grew as DJs due to our ability to bring large crowds to the venues. We saw firsthand the politics at play in the scene and resented the fact that promoters often book artists based on their ability to bring heads versus the quality of their sets.
Australia was our home for two years during the pandemic. Whilst we got a lot of playtime, we were largely stuck in lockdown and spent most of our time producing music. When the world opened up, we quickly realized that the Australian music scene was limited and that no one was really growing overseas despite playing several local gigs a week. Fortunately, by this point, we had already produced a lot of originals, and this is when we planned our move to the US.
As twins, you share a unique bond that allows you to be deeply in tune with one another psychologically. Give us some examples of how this translates in the studio and the DJ booth.
Honestly, we don’t think we have any kind of twin telepathy. [Laughs] We think our special bond and why we’re so often in sync comes down to the fact that we’ve literally done life together. We know the way we think, we grew up performing and learning instruments together, and we’ve spent a lot of time in the studio and the DJ booth together. Craig gravitates towards anything percussion-related, and Darren gravitates towards anything melodic. We’re subconsciously always on the same page, and we operate like a well-oiled machine.
I’m sure you don’t always see eye to eye, so how do you work through your creative differences when they arise?
At the end of the day, we do what we do because we’re passionate. When we disagree, we try to be objective and know that, ultimately, we have the same goal at heart, which is making great records and creating memorable moments for the world.
You had a solid release schedule in 2022, but you have yet to release anything this year. Can you give us some insight into what you may have in the works in the near future?
2023 is really exciting! We have a ton of unreleased records, with upcoming releases on some really prominent labels. Whilst at this stage we can’t share the details of the labels, we can share that we have remixes from some of our favorite Afro House artists, plus we’ve collaborated with the amazing Lizwi and Idd Aziz, and have some really special tracks coming out with them. Our gig schedule is growing rapidly here in the US, and we’re planning our first international tour for the end of the year.
Since we’re on the topic of studio work, talk to us about what makes your style of Progressive Afro House stand out from other types of house music. What are some of the production elements that you simply can’t get enough of?
To us, we’ve defined it as Progressive Afro House because we’ve essentially taken the big driving bass lines and huge synth melodies from Melodic and Progressive Techno and combined it with Afro-House. Traditionally, Afro-House features pretty soft kicks, with not that much low end, and the songs themselves are not as hard-hitting. Our style is more high energy, with a much more prominent low end and very transient percussion.
Before I let you go, I have to mention your recent set at Ephimera Tulum. It was here that your Dad witnessed you perform for the very first time. Tell us all about the evening, your relationship with your father, and how it felt to have him there.
The Ephimera Tulum set was magical. Such a beautiful location and the sunset was perfect! We actually had our parents with us as we met in Mexico for a family vacation. We’re very close with our dad, and it meant the world that, for the first time, he could witness firsthand the musical dream we’ve been tirelessly pursuing for the past few years. Whilst we’ve told him all about the records we’ve produced and the shows we’ve played, there is an indescribable power in him actually hearing the music and watching us perform live.
FiNE, thanks again for your time. We look forward to standing beside you as you continue to grow in this industry.