Poet Finn O'Bryan: Let It Out | TEN OF CLUBS

Poet Finn O'Bryan: Let it Out

We’ve recently discovered the work of young poet Finn O’Bryan, with the release of his new book: PLEASURE. This latest volume is a thoughtful, raw, sometimes challenging, and ultimately uplifting collection drawn from life.

A modern renaissance man, O’Bryan is more than just a poet. An accomplished musician, he has released an EP and a string of genre-spanning singles, under his own name and with assorted musical projects.

O’Bryan, 27, is a mercurial, playful figure: gentle, enthusiastic, yet also somehow world-weary. What's more, he's blessed with the most incredible voice: soothing, lilting, comforting. It’s an ASMR-lover’s wet dream!

To discover more, we met the multi-talented creator and self-confessed nature boy for a walk in the woods near his Berkshire home.


Is creator the right way to introduce you?

I guess creator is most suitable as it's multi-faceted, but poet always sounds the most romantic.

Poet Finn O'Bryan


When did you start writing poetry?

I'd read poetry in drama classes as a kid but never really understood it. When I was 19 or so, I heard the wonderful Levi The Poet and really connected with him.

I realised he was talking to me, rather than just using clever words and trickery. I thought I’d try to do the same and I started writing. 

I wrote a love letter to my then girlfriend and recorded it as a spoken word poem. People seem to really enjoy the tone and cadence of my voice, so I kept writing and recording. I'm still figuring it all out though.


You do have a great voice. Very relaxing. Your poetry is really honest. Does it make you nervous, exposing so much of yourself?

It's still absolutely terrifying releasing any of my work. It's always felt that way. When you put art, clothing, design, or anything ‘out there’ it's an exposure of who you are personally – especially with poetry.

I think I sometimes make people uncomfortable with how truthful I am in my work.

My Blood is Clean by Finn O'Bryan


You talk candidly about mental health and addiction. Is it helpful to express your feelings through your poetry?

For me the writing process is absolutely cathartic. I hate to say it but I really do write for myself. If other people can connect to it, that's a beautiful added prize. I find it's the most literate way for me to communicate how I feel.

I think it's almost like a therapist and patient situation with me: myself being the patient and the therapist. I'm five and a half years into recovery, which is a pretty big part of my life.

I realise so many things about myself when I write: things that often lay dormant till they're on paper. 

Mental health is something I struggle with daily and have done since childhood. Talking is good though, man. Gotta let it out however you can, with positive outlets.


So true. Tell us about your new book: PLEASURE.

It’s a collection of 45 or so poems and pieces about topics from love, to lust, to grief. I think it's my most honest body of work. The book before – Mouth Like A Halfway House – was very rushed and had so much filler. I'm proud of every piece in this one. 

I had accumulated folders and folders of poems that I'd written during last year, so it was a case of drawing out the best and filing it all together in a way that made sense. 

There are also photos in there taken by my wonderful cousin and best friend: Beth Mills. You should definitely check her out. She’s an amazing photographer.


Poet Finn O'Bryan


How does a poet come to release an EP of techno music?

BUNNIEBOY came about because I was listening to a lot of breakcore and techno. It completely reignited my lust for music - made things fresh and interesting again. It's a lot of fun experimenting with sampling and noise. 

The idea for the EP – ‘I HEART VIOLENT CRIME’ – came from a dream I had of being chased by police for graffitiing ‘I heart violent crime’ on rooftops. The title doesn't really mean anything. It just looked cool on paper.

There's more to come from BUNNIEBOY very soon.



Have you always been musical?

I guess. Both my parents were and are musicians or involved in the music business. They met playing in the band Strange Nature.

My mum went on to solo stuff, and my dad formed Dub Pistols, which was really cool. He now teaches music production at Abbey Road, which is an absolute trip.

As a kid, my dad would show me how to use recording software, and my mum used to teach me guitar chords and we'd play and sing together. I still play guitar. It's the only instrument I feel comfortable with.


BUNNIEBOY is not your only musical project. 

No, I've released music under my own name, and I also have a single coming up with my project MELONWEED. It's the product of some slow stoner doom riffs I’d written in my bedroom a few winters ago.I really wanted to play them in a practice space with a live drummer, as apposed to the drum machine I’m used to.

My dear friend Ben Taylor plays drums in a local hardcore punk band - G.Y.B. - filled with my oldest mates. I just asked him if he wanted to jam in their practice space sometime.

We ended up writing two or three really cool songs, and recording them a few months ago. We’re putting out two of them on Halloween. No plans for shows yet, as much as I’ve been asked, though that suits me fine. I prefer writing to performing.


Who are your musical heroes?

Oh man! It has to be Ozzy Osbourne, above all else. Without a doubt. Though I grew up on a lot of Slipknot, Korn, etc, but also Beastie Boys, Wu-Tang Clan, The Clash. It's a pretty big cesspool.

At the moment I'm listening to a lot of ambient and jazz, but I'm sure that'll change soon, as it always does. My interests are intense and then they burn out pretty fast too.


That’s a mixed bag of influences. What’s the album you return to most often?

Probably ‘Slipknot’. As a kid that record really opened my eyes to a community of being ‘different’ but having a place to be accepted within that.

I guess that's where a lot of the hip-hop, breakcore elements come into my taste too. Sid Wilson is such a great DJ. 

I actually saw Slipknot for the first time a few years ago, and Corey Taylor did a big section on them being a big family of freaks. I cried my eyes out, man: the theatrics, the imagery, the samples. Flawless band back then.


Poet Finn O'Bryan


At this point we like to ask some random questions, to get to know the real you. Here goes. What’s the best way to start the day?

More sleep. But when that’s not available, hydration and music. I’ve noticed how much my day is shaped by how I spend my first waking hours.


What’s something everyone should do at least once in their life?

Release something creative. That's the key to belonging, man. It gives you direction and purpose, and I think that's what we're all after.


Couldn’t agree more. What’s something you’ll NEVER do again?

Watch that shitty Adam Sandler film Jack and Jill – where he plays both a brother and sister. Have you seen that shit?


Sandler’s like herpes: best avoided. Tell us three surprising facts about yourself.

Oh man, nitty gritty. Erm, I’m really scared of heights – like to the point where I almost pass out. It’s so irrational. I can't swim. And I sleep with socks on. Terrible, I know.


Nothing wrong with warm feet. How do you like to relax?

I buy a lot of ambient records. I don't spend a lot of time with other people these days, but I'm never bored. There's always something new to write, read, or listen to.

I've been playing a lot of Zelda recently and watching a bunch of old love films. I also love walking and foraging, here in the woods. Nature’s really important for me, especially in the later months of the year. 

You seem in a pretty good place.

Thank you, that’s such a great compliment. Things seem to be falling into place. Being approached by Ten of Clubs was really cool, man. Great things you guys are doing, and I think we're building a pretty solid relationship together.

The way you give artists a space to showcase their work is beautiful. So many pieces on your site I love. God's work!

My Jaws Tee is so sick. I get compliments on it every time I wear it. Would be sick to see an inverted colour version, with white print on black too.

Jaws Tee 100% cotton graphic t-shirt


Good shout! We may just do that. Knowing what you know now, having released books and singles, do you have any advice for someone starting out, either as a musician or a poet? 

Just create everything and anything. I had so much fear to begin with - fear of letting someone down if I tried and failed at creating something. But, at the end of the day, you have no idea until you try. Create everything you can.


Absolutely. Grab life by the plums! And what’s next for you?

I'm working on another book: my first try at fiction. Storytelling has always fascinated me, be it cinema, lyricism, folklore. It's a beautifully immersive escape. 

And there’s more music coming soon too. If you want to keep up to date, I post everything, as and when, on my Instagram. I'm also now on Twitter.


Where else can people go to support you?

BUNNIEBOY and MELONWEED are on all streaming sites, and you can check my website. You might still be able to buy PLEASURE on there. The first print run has almost sold out, but there’s plenty new things coming soon.

PLEASURE by Finn O'Bryan


Thanks for your time today. It’s been great getting to know you. Any final words?

Shout out to everyone who reads, listens to, or hates on my work. You're such a reassurance to me. It's all love. And big shout out to Ten of Clubs.


► PLEASURE by Finn O'Bryan is available to buy now. The audiobook is streaming now on Spotify.

► ‘I HEART VIOLENT CRIME’ by BUNNIEBOY is streaming now on Spotify.

📸 Photography by bmused.


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