I've had the pleasure of chatting with Neil Finn, one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters, a few times in the past (for the albums "Together Alone," "Finn," "One Nil" & "7 Worlds Collide"). This interview was also illuminating. Here are more excerpts...
In the bonus DVD that comes with the new album, for “Either Side of the World” live in Auckland, there was a pair of ballroom dancers behind the band. Was that exclusive to that one performance or are you employing dancers during each show?
That was just the one off at the show. It being a hometown show, we put a couple special things together for that. And as you would have seen, the organ was lit up in a rather spectacular fashion.
You’ve been working on a new music video for “Either Side.” On the band’s website, you solicited fans to send in videos of them dancing to it. Were there any bizarre ones?
It will be all done [soon]. It’s going to be a real lively, fun video. There have been some good ones. I haven’t even seen them all because there’s been quite a few now. They are a component of the new video. There are other things we filmed of ourselves. It’s a pretty fun video, actually.
How did recording these songs evolve?
It’s always been a process of seeing what day you’re in and making music that seems to suit it. That leads you to a direction...You kind of end up recognizing things about the sound you’re making and going, ‘that’s what we should be doing.’ It comes from that really. Keeping your ears open and having a good presence like Jim Scott in the studio. Just sort of recognizing when the performance is going well.
Aren't planning on doing an album with your wife Sharon?
[pause] There are things that started off as a way to spend time together and have become a body of work that I think is going to be coming out at some point.
Weren’t you playing drums and she was on bass and you thought there was something worthwhile in what you played?
That’s the way it started, which is quite a fresh way to approach anything. I’ve never done it that way before. We’re really even matched on drums and bass, so it’s working out real well.
Your son Liam added guitar to two tracks on the new album. As a father, what has it been like to see his solo career blossom?
Oh, I’m really proud because he’s become a very individual and quite adventurous performer. He writes a good tune; he always did. He takes it totally seriously and is in it for life.
Keeping with previous Crowded House covers, Nick designed another memorable one this time. Was it his idea to have the band’s names used as anagrams and crossing out song titles to add other words?
He and Sharon Chai, an art designer in London, came up with some really good notions. It was kind of keeping with the idea of The Intriguer and screwing around with things, causing trouble.
How has the popularity of Facebook and Twitter in recent years affected how you interact with fans?
I’m not really active on either of those fronts, but we wanted to create a [fan friendly] website. We have a wonderful and capable guy with us on the road who is keeping an eye on everything.
What’s on the horizon for you when the touring cycle for this album ends?
This will take us to the end of the year. I’m making music on a couple fronts. [As we discussed,] the album from my wife and I is called "Pajama Party" and will be out sometime early next year [likely Down Under]. There will be another album with Tim at some point; we just have to work out the right timing.