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Interview: 2018 Must-Know - FINNEAS

Interview: 2018 Must-Know - FINNEAS

Having spent last year busy producing music for his sister Billie Eilish, as well as touring the globe playing sold-out shows with her as an on-stage duo, it's now time for the world to become better familiar with Finneas O'Connell and his own personal musical stories.  

Finneas promises that 2018 will be a year of "a lot of singles" and we can't wait to hear what he has in store for us...

MUST-LISTEN: 'I'm In Love Without You', 'New Girl'.
YOU WILL LIKE, IF YOU LIKE: LANY, Tom Odell, James Bay, Rhodes, Bastille, Hozier, Years & Years, Jack Garratt, Sigrid, Rae Morris... and searching Netflix for romantic comedies.

COUP DE MAIN: What can you tell us about your new single coming out on February 9th?
Almost every lyric in it was a text first. That doesn’t mean it’s full of “lols and wtfs”, but it does mean it’s entirely true for me and I love singing it every time.

CDM: Do you have an update for us on your debut EP?
I love EPs and albums and I can’t wait to put out both, but first I really want people to get to know individual songs of mine. This year, I’m focusing on singles. A lot of singles.

CDM: How have you found multi-tasking between your own music and your commitments to Billie? 
Really fun!! Any time I get stuck on either, I change gears and switch to the other! Billie’s a genius and I love writing with her and for her about things she’s feeling or going through. When I’m working on my own stuff, I just try to be honest with myself.

CDM: How do you have time to do all this stuff?
<laughs> It’s weird, it’s an ongoing discussion. I have a pretty imbalanced work/life balance, but the way I’ve always thought about it since I was 11 or 12 was that really all I wanted to be doing was making music. For me, writing songs, and producing songs, that’s the way I think a lot of my friends growing up felt about video games. They’d come home from school and they’d want to get their game on. And now that they’re all working, they’ll come home from Panera Bread and want to play video games, which is great, I think you should do what you really like doing. I acted when I was younger and I’d be on the set of a movie, which I think to someone else is probably their dream, but for me, I’d be in my trailer trying to finish a song. Or I’d be leaving the set to go home and write a song. Anytime I made any money making a movie, or being on a TV show, I would buy studio time and just go live in studios, and just record as much as I possibly could. I pretty much broke even, anytime I made any money when I was younger.

CDM: And you have your own studio set-up now?
Still a bedroom in our parent's house, which because Billie and I work together, has been more and more convenient as we’ve gotten older. I go work with other people in their studios at their houses, but with Billie and I it’s so great to be centralised. And like in the case of ‘I’m In Love Without You’ and a bunch of other stuff she’s put out, a lot of that comes from me playing something in my bedroom, and her actually shouting out ‘what’s that?’ from her room. Then I’m like, ‘Come in, come check this out.’

CDM: You don’t have egg-cartons and soundproofing?
Oh my god, it’s so not soundproofed. In fact, our neighbours are so chill about it. When they do complain, we're like, 'I can’t believe you didn’t complain sooner.' They’ll complain at like 3 in the morning, they’ll be like, ‘You’ve been making music for like 18 hours, stop.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, this is crazy, where were you at 11pm?’ It’s so nice of them. Billie and I have ordered them all vinyl of her EP, we want to bring it over - we can be like, ‘This is the song that you heard 600 times last month. You’ve heard every bad version of it before it was okay.’

CDM: How did you learn to produce your own music?
It was pretty self-taught. I can’t speak to every programme, Ableton or Pro Tools, but I learned on Logic, and it’s pretty intuitive. I felt like I was young enough when I started that it did feel video-game-esque, you’d just figure it out. And I remember talking to a friend of mine’s Dad, who was a mastering engineer when I was younger - I wanted the song to be louder or something, and he sort of was like, ‘You know, there’s no right or wrong thing as long as you like the way it sounds. As long as you like the way it sounds, that’s good, and other people will like it too.’ I remember that being such a game-changing idea because then you can stop comparing yourself to other things, you can stop feeling inferior to other things, and you just have to go, ‘Do I love this?’ And I think a lot of the time you find out that you do, and then you’ve created something really unique. Obviously, as far as production, so many people are trying to chase a thing they’ve heard, and that’s really fun to learn, the way you might study Shakespeare or great literature. You might go, 'Wow, that’s so poetic, and what a great reference point…'

CDM: But you don’t want to recreate Shakespeare.
The whole point is originality, and I think if there’s any reason for people to pay attention to you at all with so much music out, is the reason that you’re unique, and that your viewpoint is unique, and that people should listen to that. If you’re just trying to emulate an artist you love, it’s harder to do that. You should just really think about what you have to say and what you think is amazing.

CDM: Have you been having fun playing some of your own shows in Los Angeles?
SO much fun. 75% of the songs I’ve been playing at these shows no-one has ever heard before since they haven’t been released yet, but I love that. When people hear songs for the very first time, you really learn a lot from how they react.

CDM: If F.I.N.N.E.A.S. were an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
Good one! Following Instincts Never Negates Elegance And Solidity. Friendly Investigators Never Negotiate Anything After Seinfeld. But that doesn’t mean anything.

CDM: You’re one of our 'must-know’ artist picks for 2018... who are yours? 
Gabrielle Current, Phil Good and Phoebe Bridgers.

Watch the 'I'm In Love Without You' music video below...

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