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Fink: ‘Going independent is about expressing yourself’

PUBLISHED: 11:50 09 October 2015

Fin Greenall of Fink. Picture: Tommy Lance

Fin Greenall of Fink. Picture: Tommy Lance

Hasselblad H4D

Fin Greenall tells Alex Bellotti about the three-piece’s upcoming Forum show, why they won’t go down the Kings of Leon songwriting route and his experience working with Amy Winehouse.

Having built his career as an international DJ and as a music producer for the likes of Amy Winehouse, Fin Greenall has long been a busy worker. Over the last eight years or so though, his three piece band, Fink – also consisting of Tim Thornton and Guy Whittaker – have released seven albums, and since early summer 2014, have been touring their most successful record to date, Hard Believer.

Crossing the lines between thoughtful, delicate folk, soaring rock and brooding electro, the album has picked up fans across Europe with songs such as Pilgrim and Shakespeare. As a result, UK gigs have been seldom, but on October 16 Fink will play the Kentish Town Forum, and Greenall is looking forward to giving Hard Believer one more outing before the end of its long tour.

“We didn’t write the album for the stage, but when we were putting the tracks together, we were probably thinking, ‘We’re going to play this at Paradiso or Shepherd’s Bush, so how’s that going to feel?’” he says. “On a few of the tracks we were definitely thinking, ‘I can’t wait to play this live’. But it’s not like a dodgy Kings of Leon stadium album with handclap moments and all that s***. You can tell a mile off a record where a band has been doing really big gigs and just need a record which is big gig-tastic.”

Earlier this year, Greenall took inspiration from groups like Radiohead and Massive Attack, remixing tracks from Hard Believer for a sister record, Horizontalism.

The musician, who originates from Cornwall but now lives in Berlin, is keen to ensure his songs retain an expressive, emotional core, and relishes the benefits of releasing music on his independent label, R’COUP’D records.

He explains: “If you’ve made the decision as we did to be independent, you do that so you can express yourself and don’t have to worry about not getting Radio 1 C-list because of this lyric, or if this song is too depressing to be a 6music track.

“Playing the guitar, having drums, bass guitar and a vocalist is not unique at all, therefore the more you can be yourself – and that goes for everyone in the band – the more unique your sound’s going to be.”

Live shows continue to form the main source of revenue for Fink; while Greenall notes that Spotify plays, YouTube hits and album sales all contribute to their income “pool”, touring still proves the most profitable.

Yet he recalls his early work with Amy Winehouse as a situation that broke the mould. Greenall recorded some tracks with the late soul singer before her first album – one of which, entitled Half Time, made it onto her posthumous rarities record, Lioness.He believes she was proof that records can still sell in the digital age.

“They were great times, and we felt vindicated when she became as huge as she did. It was kind of like, ‘If she doesn’t sell a million records, then we’re all going to quit, because it’s just not fair if Amy Winehouse doesn’t work’.

“It was at a time when everyone was talking about how downloading was going to kill the music business, and we just thought, ‘Well if Nina Simone arrived on the scene now, would she not be signed?’ And it was kind of like that with Amy.”

Fink play the Kentish Town Forum on October 16. Visit theforumlondon.com

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