The band aims to top their previous albums with Hard Believer
Fink is a three-piece band from Brighton, United Kingdom, that formed in London in the ‘90s. The trio is composed of frontman Fin Greenall ̶ a Bristol born singer-songwriter ̶ accompanied by Guy Whittaker on bass and Tim Thornton on drums. The band’s genre is an ingenious blend of contemporary folk with a surge of blues and dub. Back in the early 2000s, Ninja Tune Records picked up the trio as the label’s first band in the folk category. Soon after their debut album, Biscuits for Breakfast (2006), they hit the ground running. Unlike most contemporary bands, Fink’s beginnings resembled a kicked-back jam-sesh turned into something truly special.
“I was a trip hop kinda electronica guy for many years,” Greenall said. “The boys were in a myriad of pop, metal and indie – our paths crossed when I changed direction and needed some mates for the ride. Five studio albums, two live albums later, world tours, and a lot of bus time….happy days.”
After collaborating with the likes of John Legend, Amy Winehouse and Phillip Phillips, and over 300 live shows, it’s a wonder that Fink has stayed under the radar. Greenall told The Concordian about their collaborations in the past couple of years, and about how exciting it is for the songwriters to come together despite their backgrounds.
“John [Legend] is awesome. Our work on the ‘12 Years a Slave’ soundtrack was extremely epic. It’s a pleasure to work with pure talent of any genre. For example, I really also loved working with Phillip Phillips for his record too. Amy was sensational, but totally raw,” he explained.
They’ve built an incredible presence, which has been paying off in the past couple of years.They’ve entered British charts with recent albums Perfect Darkness (2011) and Hard Believer (2014).
When asked what their vision was for Fink before all the touring, Greenall replied: “pretty much what we’re doing now. Writing music we like, recording in fancy studios and living the dream, then touring the world and living the nightmare.” Touring has become part of the band’s repertoire but they are still “in it for the music,” Greenall added, and rejoice every time they release something new.
That’s exactly what you will find on their new album released this summer — it’s a breath of fresh air. Stylistically, Hard Believer is different from previous records as it features a more mature ensemble.
“The new record is bigger, more ambitious, maybe more international,” Greenall explained. The record was made “in response to the live shows and the tours,” and was meant to show the aptitudes of each of the members, and to demonstrate their new confidence. We can hear it, loud and clear.
Greenall started off as a DJ in the club scene in London, putting on a strictly electronic show. After ten years of “shopping for records, hangovers, and synthesizers,” Greenall finally had enough and wanted something new. “It took a few lost albums, and a lot of artistic soul searching to turn into the very thing I was antithesis [of] for so many years,” he explains. The current sound of the band resonates well with the indie crowd, but is interesting in comparison to the previous discography of the group.
Hard Believer is an interesting name, just like the music it holds. It represents the challenge to their faith that the band members faced in the past years. Greenall said that “it’s talking about not needing proof.” That you have to “just do it, just believe in yourself and get it done.” Despite the difficulty of tackling new ground, the aim of the record was “to make a better record than the last one.” Greenall clarified: “It’s the focus of every record, track, song and gig.”
The recording process for the new album began backstage in London, Brighton and Amsterdam, in “too many places to remember.” Once they had the demo down, they took to LA for 17 days of intense recording.
Fink will start their North American tour at the end of this month. The band loves that people want to see them live and are filled with joy when they see their music cross seas. “The live thing is just how you do it. If you don’t gig, you don’t grow artistically or professionally.”
Fink performed in Montreal two years ago to promote their last album, Perfect Darkness, to a small and intimate crowd at La Sala Rossa. This year, the venue has been upscaled a couple clicks. Fink explains that the band has no idea what they’re going to play when they go onstage for a show. “Every night is different for us and [the audience], so hopefully it will be Hard Believer heavy with a few of the oldies that we’ve just toured in the festival set,” Greenall said.
Greenall ends the interview by adding jubilantly, “that and a shit load of lights that we’re shipping over!”
If rare displays of seasoned talent interest you or you are looking for something new, head over to Café Campus on Sept. 29 for a little perspective.