Interview Finn Andrews

15 maart brengt frontman Finn Andrews van The Veils zijn wonderschone soloalbum One Piece at a Time uit.De muzikale genen erfde hij van vader Barry, die ooit deel uitmaakte van de legendarische groep XTC en maakt anno 2019 nog steeds deel uit van het moeilijk in een hokje te stoppen, fascinerende groep Shriekback. Zelf heeft Finn Andrews intussen ook zijn sporen in de muziek ruimschoots verdiend. Met zijn band The Veils bracht hij een vijftal albums van hoogstaand niveau uit. Met zijn solodebuut zal hij volgens mij hoge ogen gaan gooien, reden genoeg dus om wat meer over het album te weten te komen.  
In the seventies and eighties I regularly listened to XTC, the band your dad played in, and to Shriekback your dad still plays in. I am curious what you think of their music.
I am, of course, a big fan. I particularly love the Shriekback album 'Care' - it was made around the time I was born and feels like it has a lot of my family in it in a strange way. 
The song 'Evaporation' is about an old watch collector that my parents lived above in their squat in Kings Cross. That song is enormous for me. Michael Mann used some great Shriekback songs in the soundtrack of his film Manhunter too which I think is a perfect pairing.
What did you musically learn from your dad and is he still an inspiration for you?
I learned that words are the key and to never take yourself too seriously. My mother inspired me just as much though. 
I received a promo of One Piece at a Time without the credits, can you tell me who produced it and tell me a bit about the wonderful musicians you worked with?
Sure. It was produced Tom Healy. Double bass by Cass Basil. Drums by Alex Freer. Backing vocals by Reb Fountain and Nina Siegler. String arrangements by Victoria Kelly.
Who made the beautiful photo of you when you were nine at the cover?
That was taken by Maya Goldstein, a friend of my father's, when I was about 9 years old. I'd been sent back to London from New Zealand to live with my dad. That photo has a particular resonance to me, though I'm not entirely sure why. I think in some way I am communicating to that boy with this album. Music can sometimes give the feeling of time falling away. It's so strange how it does that. 
Were you already interested in music at that time?
Not at all - I think I resented music quite a lot for taking my dad away. And it never seemed to make anyone all that happy. I remember being very young and seeing David Bowie and thinking "why is he doing this? He doesn't look like he's having a very nice time. He looks so sick." It's funny how things turn out. I think I probably wanted to make movies, or to draw. That was more my thing back then.
My favourite song is One by the Venom, especially the strings I like a lot. But I have no clue at all what the song is about, can you perhaps tell me?
Well, it really is just a list of ways to die - there isn't much more to it than that. I love lists, and list songs are heaven for me. I started writing this list on the train, and it became quite obsessive adding to it. I edited out another 15 or so verses. I wanted it to be simultaneous rambling but very concise and not go on too long. 
Two song titles are Al Pacino and Hollywood Forever. Are movies a huge inspiration for you?
'Al Pacino' were my first words, dad used to apparently say that around me a lot until I said it. I may have said mama first. Hollywood Forever is the excellent name of a cemetery in Los Angeles that Soph from The Veils and I used to say we'd very much like to someday end up in. 
Are all songs autobiographical?
Mine are, absolutely. Though I don't think that means you can't be someone else in them. The characters I make up are all part of me too.
Were all songs written after your relationship was over?
I suppose they are charting the end of that relationship, and the aftermath.Though they're about a great deal of other things too. The songs are certainly preoccupied with love and belonging, and time. 
I think most songs are a couple of years old, because you are already playing several of them live. Why did it take so long before One Piece at a Time was released?
The label wanted to wait, I was ready to go, but their schedule was full. It's a very frustrating part of this -  there's sometimes a great deal of waiting around.
Three years ago The Veils released Total Depravity and it was one of my favourite albums of that year. Is their still a future for The Veils or are you going solo in the coming years?
I'll be returning to The Veils soon, I promise! This was just important for me to do, but I miss that world. I've grown rather fond of it over the years. 
You wrote all songs for The Veils, in which way is this band a collective?
We're a family I suppose, and music is so transparent a medium. I think you can hear all those complicated relationships within it and it's all the better for it.
Are there already shows planned in the Netherlands to promote the album?
For sure, we're looking at a tour there in May. The Netherlands are so important to me and I can't wait for everyone there to hear these songs. I played a few of them there when I first wrote them so this feels like a nice, circular process. I can't wait.
Foto: Jan Mulders
Theo Volk