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Liam Finn Interview July 2011

Catherine May


Between his two headline UK gigs, we caught up with New Zealander Liam Finn to talk about his new album, his instruments and why Manchester impressed him on a Tuesday night.

MTTM: How did the Manchester gig go last night?

Liam Finn: It was awesome. It’s been a while since I was last in Manchester and I’d never played at The Deaf Institute before.

MTTM: Ah yes, it’s a great venue that. Small and intimate, with crazy wallpaper.

LF: Yes! Overall I was impressed at the great atmosphere that there was for a Tuesday night in Manchester.

MTTM: And you’re playing XOYO in London tonight. I hear that’s sold out now, how are you feeling about it?

LF: I’m not sure if it’s actually sold out – I haven’t kept on top of that really – but I’m excited. I’ve played all the other equivalent venues in London but it’ll be good to play in this newer one I’ve never performed in before.

MTTM: And are you excited for Truck and Secret Garden Party this weekend?

LF: Totally. I went to Truck about five years ago to film some performances so it’ll be great to actually go back and perform there.

MTTM: Can you tell us a bit more about the reasoning behind the album name FOMO?

LF: It stands for ‘Fear of Missing Out’. I guess it just seemed relevant at the time. I’d moved back to New Zealand for six months near this isolated beach. It’s half tongue in cheek, but half serious. I think going there for that time was a mistake. All my musician friends were always away touring and I genuinely felt like I was missing out. Especially with the instant notifications we now get on Twitter and Facebook where I’d see photos of their awesome nights out and I’d wish I was there.

MTTM: You’re releasing some special editions of the album with extra tracks from your old band BARB. What’s that all about?

LF: It was recorded just over a year ago, though it was something we’d been talking about making for years. I’m really proud of that record.

MTTM: So would you record with them again or was it a one off?

LF: Well the idea is to make more music in between our own stuff. I’d love to make more and we’ve already discussed it. I organized the last one so it’s someone else’s turn for the next one. Hopefully each member will take a turn at choosing how and where we make it so it’s always quite different.

MTTM: With your Dad’s [Crowded House and Split Enz artist Neil Finn] success as a musician as you were growing up, were you always planning to be a musician?

LF: I guess I always had a lot of opportunities to play instruments and I saw how playing music could put smiles on people’s faces. My brother [who now plays in Liam’s band] shied away from music until the age of about 15/16 but for me it was something I always wanted to end up being.

MTTM: I love the video for Cold Feet. How did you go about making it?

LF: I actually found the director, Matt Bloom, after tweeting that I was looking for someone to help me make a new video as an experiment. We met up in Manchester and we made it in this church hall with white sheets and fake snow. Actually, the snow is supposedly second hand snow from the Harry Potter film.

MTTM: You’ve made music as a band with Betchadupa but also now as a solo artist. Are there many differences between the process?

LF: Yeah, I guess it’s just to do with the different people who you’re around. With a band you can bounce ideas off each other and it’s definitely quicker. You get the brutal honesty from one another and working alone can be quite arduous.  That’s why I worked with a producer on FOMO. He offered the collaborative aspect which I didn’t get so much on my debut.

MTTM: So would you want to work with a producer on your third album?

LF: I like it being different every time. I still played all my own instruments on the last record so maybe I’ll get the band to be on the recording next time.

MTTM: You play so many instruments, do you have a favourite or is it a case of them being like children you can’t choose between?

LF: Haha, no. I love the drums. They’re so great to play live and they’re great exercise! I also love playing the theremin too.

MTTM: Your shows are always said to be very energetic, is that something you enjoy?

LF: Well, I just let the adrenalin take over me and feel completely in the moment. I sweat a lot, too.

MTTM: So what’s next for Liam Finn?

LF: I’ve got another six months of touring. After this weekend I’m off to Australia to play at Splendour in the Grass then after that a New Zealand tour. Then we’re off to America for another tour…

MTTM: Wow, do you ever stop? Where do you consider home then?

LF: Well my band and I have an apartment in Brooklyn where we keep our stuff but really we enjoy being on the road.