Findlay Brown

Findlay Brown

BandPop

50's and 60's influenced classic songs with nods to Roy Orbison & Phil Spector - a soulful mixture of country, rock & roll and folk.

Biography

FINDLAY BROWN – A BIOGRAPHY

Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
These things are sent to try us.
No pain, no gain.

Normally, we journalists are taught to avoid cliché like the plague, but to wheel out another one, they’re clichés because they’re true. And just as Findlay Brown has shown on his new album that oft-used musical phrases are nothing to be scared of, he must have considered a few frequently heard pearls of wisdom when he spent several months all but housebound after a serious road accident in October 2007.

All was going well at the time for the 28 year-old from York. His debut album Separated By The Sea had been widely hailed as the work of a major new singer-songwriting talent, and he was on his way back from another sold-out gig in London when he stopped the cab to get some money from a cash point. The driver accidentally reversed over his leg, breaking his ankle in two places and shattering his tibia.

“In a weird way, it felt like it had to happen,” he reflects, slowly sipping a Guinness in an East London pub. “I needed to slow down, stop working, and get some perspective on what I wanted to do for the next album.” You’d have thought he could have managed that without being run over by a taxi, but the more you know about Findlay Brown, the more you realise that his career path has always been anything but conventional.

As an aspiring teenage army cadet and part-time aerosol sniffer, he looked more likely to end up with a criminal record than a musical one until he heard Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland whilst tripping aged 16, and began getting into ‘60s psych and krautrock. His head comprehensively turned, he sold some old Beatles autographs his grandfather had given him in order to buy a guitar, and moved to London at 18.
Another well-worn romantic story, then. And there’s more where that came from, so you might as well suspend your disbelief for good already.

After spending his early 20s singing with several bands including the electro and krautrock influenced Boedekka, his priorities changed in 2005 when his relationship with Danish girlfriend Marie Nielsen began to suffer due to the drink and drug-fuelled lifestyle he was leading. She moved back to Copenhagen, and in an attempt to woo her back, he wrote a collection of love songs on acoustic guitar, and sent them to her. Heavily influenced by his new-found love of ‘60s folk artists such as Bert Jansch and Jackson C. Frank, they had the desired effect, and others who heard them encouraged him to seek a label to release them. Separated By The Sea was the result, a record whose immediacy and melodic charm earned it a rare 5 star rating in The Guardian, among many other critical plaudits.

Yet when it came to considering what to do next, he wasn’t content to continue ploughing the same acoustic furrow.
Laid up at his sister’s house after the accident, without his beloved vinyl collection, he began buying up music on itunes, and having already become increasingly interested in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s era of Elvis, Dion and Roy Orbison, he began to delve deeper into that era of classic pop songwriting, immersing himself in the perfect pop symphonies of Motown, Joe Meek and Phil Spector.

“I started listening to a lot of stuff which I knew so well but almost took for granted - songs you never paid serious attention to because they are so well known. Songs like My Girl, Be My Baby, Stand By Me. I start listening to them in a different way, and working out what was so great about them. I’m not saying the songs I’ve written as a result can stand up next to them, but I’m not ashamed to try and aspire to those standards.”

He made a fine start on that journey when he hooked up with producer Bernard Butler. The former Suede guitarist was most recently in the spotlight for producing Duffy’s debut album, but it was an earlier work that suggested to Findlay that they might be kindred spirits.

“I loved the stuff he did with McAlmont and Butler, and that’s why I thought he would understand what I was trying to achieve with this record.”

As it turned out, there was one important aspect which both felt the same about.
“We both agreed that we wouldn’t be worried about clichés, or doing the obvious thing at any point. If the song suggested a way to go, we went with that flow, instead of turning it on its head to make it cool in an indie kind of way. It was a case of ‘this wants to be massive, and if we want a huge horn section coming in here, let’s go for it. If it’s overblown, or if it sounds self indulgent, who gives a shit?”

That’s why it may take a while for the indie kid or folk fan’s ear to tune itself into the smoother sounds of Love Will Find You. This is an unashamedly traditional, mainstream, even middle-of-the-road record, featuring the kind of effortless, unpretentious, love songs that are all too rarely heard in the 21st century.

The booming echoes of the Ronettes in the drums of t

Discography

Don't You Know I Love You - EP (Peacefrog Records)
Come Home - single (Peacefrog Records
Separated By The Sea - album (Peacefrog Records)
Losing The Will To Survive - single (Peacefrog Records)
All That I Have - single (This Is Music Ltd)

Set List

love will find you
teardrops lost in the rain
separated by the sea
come home
if i could do it again
the loneliness i fear
i had a dream
everybody needs love