Liam Finn
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Liam Finn


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Sydney Morning Herald"

Liam Finn has not been having a normal life recently. Not even by the standards of someone who grew up in a family where your uncle Tim is one of your country's favourite sons and your father Neil a musical superstar.

Two nights ago he was onstage at the Coachella music festival in the Colorado Desert, California, in front of about 50,000 people, an auxiliary member of the re-formed Crowded House. Last night he played solo in a low-rent bar in the bohemian-roughneck Silver Lake district of downtown Los Angeles.

Today, even though it is grey and cool, he is conducting interviews by the pool of the Sunset Marquis Hotel, the favoured haunt of well-heeled musicians in LA.

Tomorrow night he expects to be "sleeping on a friend's floor again" when he is back travelling on his own coin.

"I won't be staying at the Sunset Marquis next time I'm in town, so I've got to make the most of it," he grins behind a luxurious, almost biblical beard. "I wear the bathrobe as much as I can."

The hotel is a familiar corner for the amiable 23-year-old Finn. He has been staying here since he was little, whenever the family joined his father on tour. While Finn the younger was touring with his own group, Betchadupa, and more recently while recording his first solo album, the digs have been far less luxurious than the Marquis and the gigs much smaller than Coachella.

"The most stimulating thing about my life in the past year is the sort of strange experiences of all different types of living: the good and the bad, the fortunate and the unfortunate," Finn says, sipping on some hair of the dog after last night's post-show celebrations. "That is part of what's made me who I am today and I wouldn't give it up for the world."

Strange experiences? Possibly few more odd than appearing with Crowded House shortly before Rage Against the Machine played their own re-formation set at Coachella. The front rows of bodies were made up of thousands of surly faced Rage fans who had been waiting in incredible heat for up to nine hours. And they weren't friendly.

"It was incredibly surreal," Finn says. "It was a tough spot, a couple of bands before Rage, but dad's a true showman, really. He can entertain when he needs to and not let things faze him. Which is a really inspiring thing to watch. He's my hero."

Watching the politely quiet Finn jnr on stage during a solo set - where he constantly and inventively loops his guitar parts before jumping on to a drum kit and flails away with manic energy and skill - it's obvious he can find his inner showman when necessary. - Fairfax Digital


2001 - 'The 3D EP' - Flying Nun Records
2002 - 'Alphabetchdupa' - Flying Nun Records (Betchadupa)
2004 - 'Aiming For Your Head' - Liberation Music (Betchadupa)
2007 - 'I'll Be Lightning' - Liberation Music / Yep Roc
(Liam Finn Solo)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Theres more than one way to skin a cat. And there are many, many ways to make good music. But, as musician Liam Finn, member of Betchadupa and heir apparent to the Finn familys musical talent, has discovered, theres really only one way to make your first solo album. And thats completely alone.

So first, naturally, you form a one man band. This involves knowing how to play several instruments, sometimes all at once. This hasn't been a problem for Finn, who has recently given live audiences a bit of a thrill by singing, playing guitar lines, bass lines and the drums onstage at his solo gigs, with only a looping effects pedal for company. You what? Well, there were always a lot of instruments around when I was growing up so I guess playing lots of different things just became second nature really, Finn explains, modestly shrugging off any suggestion that this must be pretty difficult.

Then secondly, you gather a bunch of suitably solitary compositions together. Finn has been writing the songs that will appear on this album, Ill Be Lighting, for the past few years while he and his band have been resident in Australia and the UK. Initially he imagined some of the songs being used by Betchadupa the group are currently taking a break but will record together again but, as Finn says, the stuff I was writing was very personal and pretty intimate. These songs are very honest, theyre like the story of my life over the past few years and I think theyre some of the best songs Ive ever written. But, he laughs, because of that I guess I was a bit more sensitive about them. So I didnt take them to band immediately because I felt a bit self conscious about it.

Then finally, once youve gathered twenty ditties together, you record them. Also alone. Finn spent two months at the beginning of this year in a central Auckland studio, Roundhead, playing, recording, engineering and producing his own album.
Mainly because I didnt want to compromise or collaborate, he acknowledges. I wanted to record these songs the way I heard them in my head. And I had a very clear idea of how I wanted them.

Part of this had to do with what Finn describes as the sort of passion and raw enthusiasm musicians get when theyre recording demo tracks - that is, when theyre recording a new song - for the first time. It’s a pretty special feeling. But usually you don’t record them well enough to convince anyone to release them. So I wanted to get myself into a situation where I could translate that special mood into a recording.

To do this, Finn also stayed away from anything digital or computerized, instead opting for old fashioned analog gear, including an neve recording desk that The Who had once owned and a bunch of two inch tape. Its like the difference between digital video and film, Finn explains. Theres just something you cant capture on computers.

But thats not to say this album of what Finn calls unique pop songs” was without a fair few rocknroll moments. For instance, at one stage during the recording process, Finns father, Neil, Betchadupa bandmate, Matt Eccles, and guitar virtuoso Connan Hosford of New Zealand band, Connan and the Mockasins, had all been out to dinner. Inspired by the fine food and lashings of wine, the quartet all went back to the studio and recorded a song Connan and he had written that day. Recorded in one take, this number appears on the album too complete with live, you-feel-like-you’re-there flaws.