Why do all the best interviews take place on park benches? Christ knows. But I shared a glorious, if slightly chilly, afternoon on a park bench outside the Railway Pub, just down the steps out of Waterloo Station, with Finlay. Finlay, the band to whom the term ‘major label' means potential creative destruction, preferring instead to work at their own speed, in their own habitat of East London and gigging whenever they feel like it. Arty? No. Pretentious? No. Capable of rendering your bollocks internal organs after one show? Oh cripes, yes.
I met up with Anamik, Giles and later Chris from the band to talk in-depth about the perils of those major labels, Mariah Carey and old women falling over.
IW: According to Piccadillyrecords.com, readers should buy Finlay's new album if they like Sonic Youth, Pavement and Yo La Tengo. Reactions?
Anamik Saha (Drums): Yeah, that's fairly standard, lazy journalism! Obviously with the first record [2003's ‘I Dreams and Visions' on Fortuna Pop Records] that was made quite apparent. And yeah, we listened to all those bands when we were teenagers. We get that a lot, and it's correct, it's accurate, but I think with the second album [‘The Fall of Mary', released April 2006 on Fortuna Pop] we've developed something we feel comfortable with, something unique to us.
IW: How else do you think you've progressed between the two albums, apart from being much bigger in sound?
AS: With the first one we weren't really that experienced in the studio, and it was a whole mish-mash of styles. Basically, that was a mix of stuff we did at Truck Studios in Oxfordshire and stuff we recorded at home as well.
Giles Littleford (Bass): On the eight-track, was it? Or the four-track?
AS: Yeah, really tinny four-track stuff. Fortuna Pop got in touch with us while we were recording, and we didn't have the resources to go into a proper studio. Then we pretty much pieced it all together, songs we were working on, songs we already had. With this album, we became really interested in production. So after ‘I Dreams And Visions' we stopped gigging and started thinking about recording techniques and where we could do it. We started recording it at home, but then we met this great guy called Simon Trought, from Tompaulin and various other bands. His studio, Soup Studios, was ideal because it was cheap and it was round the corner from where we lived. He was on exactly the same wavelength as us. We'd been burning studios, we'd experienced recording in a fucking shed with two nutters. One time these two guys approached us after a gig and said ‘can we record you', and it was a fucking plush studio, fucking awesome place if you're Embrace! It just made us sound like Genesis. Anyways, I found this amazing book called Tape Op [edited by Larry Crane]. Do you know it?
AS: This is really sad (laughs)! It's dedicated to music production, but more experimental, innovative, interesting stuff as opposed to the usual ‘high-end' kind of stuff. Check it out on Amazon! It's got interviews with Sonic Youth…
GL: Built To Spill…
AS: …and all these weird bedroom-type producers. And they talk about Steve Albini, of course. So we decided we were going to take our time recording this album, we're not particularly ambitious, we just wanted to do something… yeah… bigger.
GL: It's made the recording sound a bit more coherent, in that we recorded it all in the same place.
AS: It was a really cool space and that totally, totally helped. If we hadn't have found that place it wouldn't have sounded the same. And it was fucking cheap!
IW: Were you frightened by the heritage of Simon Trought, seeing as he produced Television Personalities and Comet Gain, among others?
AS: Man, you should meet him! He's the least intimidating guy, he's just a really sound bloke.
GL: He was really sweet. I think he'd heard our records before and was a bit scared. He said he really liked what we were doing, and we were like, ‘oh shit!'
AS: ‘Cos we didn't like what we were doing! (laughs)
IW: So you didn't like the sound of the first record?
AS: Oh God, man, I really love the first album! I would have changed it. If I could go back, I would do it differently. I think it's definitely poppier than the new one. But the thing with Simon was that he was just starting out as well, so we learnt a lot of stuff from each other as well. And Adam [singer/songwriter/guitarist, doesn't like doing interviews] is pretty much the crucial factor here. Obviously we all contribute but he is, for want of a better word, the leader. But at the same time, he's the most disorganised and probably the most aloof about the music! Me and Giles probably daydream about it, about the band and the record, but you get the impression that Adam's like '…shit, yeah, the record'! I think he was really reluctant to go into the studio because…
IW: He has a four-track ethic?
AS: Exactly! And he's got everything in his head, he knows how he wants it to sound and he's never really had the chance to explore that. We had a great time in Truck Studios in Oxfordshire [where the band's debut was recorded], but at the same time I got the impression that Adam wasn't that happy. But this time, Simon allowed him to have that space. There were some really surreal moments. The middle bit on Mary IV [nine-minute epic from the new album], Adam had conceived the whole theme. I would have liked to have thought that it would be improvised, but it wasn't at all. He knew specifically how it was going to go, there was this surreal moment where we had about five tracks of feedback and he was really meticulously pulling them in and out. And I'm like, 'what the hell? I can't even hear it!' But Adam was there for hours…
GL: Conducting white noise!
AS: It's funny because, out of all of us, he probably has the least ambition. I mean, we at least daydream about it, but Adam's never had that interest in being a star.
IW: So in that respect, would you say that Fortuna Pop is the perfect label for you?
IW: Do you feel at home there? There are some alt-rock bands on there, but it is famed for being a bit twee…
AS: Yeah… I had this conversation with Sean [Fortuna Pop boss], and he thinks he has quite an eclectic roster. And it's true – if you look at stuff like Butterflies of Love and Cannonball Jane, and then it goes all the way to the indie-pop end. And in that sense he's right, it is pretty diverse. We have such a great relationship with Sean, I wish we could sell him some more records! But he really is doing it from the heart. He doesn't make money from it, he doesn't put records out to make money, which is kind of stupid! (laughs). You've got to admire him for it.
GL: I don't know if he's running at a loss, or just breaking even…
AS: I think certain things have done really well for him. Butterflies of Love really helped out. We kind of harboured ambitions of being on a slightly bigger label, and we even had a brief meeting with City Slang records, which didn't work out. But they were really into it, which makes you feel really positive about everything. I don't know what would have happened of we'd signed to City Slang, because I don't think we could really have committed. I mean, you'd give up your day job to do it, wouldn't you Giles?
GL: Yeah. I think at that stage we would have. We were in a really good position.
AS: Right now, I wouldn't. All of us are involved in stuff we really enjoy outside the band.
IW: What do you all do for a living?
AS: Giles is a designer, I'm doing a PhD at Goldsmiths College. Lorna's got an amazing job, she works for a photography archive. Adam's a lawyer! (laughs) And Chris works in the city (laughs even more). I think Chris is the other person who would drop everything to go on tour.
GL: We're all a bit grown-up, we've all got quite decent jobs.
AS: I've got a nice little life, man!
GL: And I don't really want to spend too much time away from home.
IW: I read that you supported Death Cab For Cutie?
AS: Yeah, they played at the fucking Dublin Castle [tiny Camden venue]!
GL: It was one of their first shows when Fierce Panda, brought them over. I like to think it was them supporting us!
AS: That was probably one of the best gigs we ever played. There was a queue going all the way to the end of the street. That was our most packed gig ever!
GL: Probably not for us…
AS: Back then we were between controlled chaos and just… absolute chaos.
IW: So you've gotten more controlled as you've gone on?
AS: Yeah, you see, it's because we don't practice! But with the last few gigs that we've done something's clicked with us all. We're playing so much better, which is ironic because we're not gigging as much.
GL: Maybe because we actually focus, we play a bit slower! And we're slightly podgier…
AS: Exactly, we can't bounce off the walls like we used to!
IW: I saw you play in Chichester a couple of years back, and one of your guitar players used the curvature of the ceiling to play his guitar…
Both: That was Adam!
AS: He did that at the Brixton Windmill the other day, kinda climbed on the PA… Yeah, I don't know where he gets it from! He confuses me, just because he clearly loves doing it when you see him on stage… this isn't an issue, by the way! It's just that he clearly really fucking enjoys it, he puts everything into it. The last gig we played, he was so enigmatic. Basically me and Farmboy [Giles] organise the gigs and everything else so that Adam can just turn up. And even then, sometimes he doesn't! (laughter).
GL: It's not a case of him relaxing… I don't know if any of it would happen unless we arranged it so he could just turn up and do it.
AS: I think he's a fucking genius, but at the same time… (laughter).
IW: The other live element that people seem to talk about is Lorna, your keyboardist, and how bored she looks on stage.
AS: Yeah, that's quite a funny contrast… I think she genuinely is bored! When we first gigged as a three-piece, we were about eighteen I think. We realised when we gigged that we should try and fill out our sound. So I literally just called a couple of mates, like Lorna, who we hung out with. And she was playing with us a couple of weeks later. I don't think she ever had any aspirations to be in a band. But I'm guessing she has fun. And at the same time looks really bored!
IW: So half your band can't be bothered to be there?
AS: It's a perfect dynamic, because we've never had any stress from it, and we've put out two albums, we've played a show in the states, we've toured around here, it's fucking brilliant! When I started I always said I just want to be able to release a 7-inch single, and we've done it! So everything else has been a bonus.
IW: You played in America?
AS: Yeah, it was a show in Boston through some bands we know out there. It was great.
GL: Kind of like a holiday with a gig in the middle.
AS: They seemed to like to like our English stylings…
GL: We would have liked to have played in New York.
IW: Explain what you mean when your press release says you have 'minimal commitment'.
AS: Not spending any time away from home.
Guitarist Chris telephones Anamik at this point…
AS: …what was I saying? Oh yeah. The thing about The Fall Of Mary was that we, without sounding pretentious…
GL: Well, we're all getting a bit more involved in our jobs and stuff.
AS: Yeah. I think right at the beginning, gigging excited us. Developing that element of the bad was the most exciting and most natural to us. We felt that we could do it well. But then, when you've got the kind of commitment we have, you can be quite selfish about what we like doing and what we don't like doing. We haven't got a label saying 'oh, you've got to go and promote yourselves'. Which is cool. The Fall Of Mary came at precisely the point where we were kind of like, the live thing's great, but this way we can explore this other thing, actually produce some music. Before, it was just about going into the studio and trying to capture the live sound. But we've got more depth than that, I think. So this recording, we took our time over it. It was great being able to do it at our own pace. We weren't burdened by other stuff that comes from being in a band. We're going to be gigging more this summer… it's nice, the way things are going at the moment.
GL: It isn't a full-time thing. We can still kind of get shows when we want to play, so I guess it's just not having that pressure to do something. It makes it more enjoyable.
AS: To be honest, I really want to work this album. I'm really proud of it and I want people to hear it. I think we've gone off the radar a bit because we took a year and a half off. But it's been getting brilliant reviews. Some of those songs were recorded about two years ago, so I've got no perspective on it!
IW: Do you think it'll be the same for any further albums? Are you going to take more time off?
AS: I don't know, I'm kind of inspired by the way all the Fortuna Pop guys go about things, because…
GL: No-one seems to stress about taking two years off.
AS: It really is… this sounds incredibly pretentious… it really is for the art. And I don't know, if we took three years off and did a gig… I wouldn't expect anything! (laughter) I expect Sean's sick of having boxes of Finlay CDs.
GL: I went to his birthday party on Friday, had a few beers with him and a chat with his Fortuna Pop entourage. Sean was actually feeling quite guilty about not doing more, press-wise, not pushing it as much. Previously we had our mate, now good friend, Emma Hogan who works at Stone Immaculate and has done press for Sonic Youth and Belle and Sebastien. She really liked it, she gave the impression that it was a bit of a pleasure for her. I don't know whether they would have formally taken us on.
AS: I don't think we made her much money. I think that sort of thing sums up our relationship with the label, where the label manager is apologising to us and we're apologising to him!
IW: Would you say that you're better off being in an independent band nowadays, so you can have that freedom?
AS: Man, we knew from the outset! I read too much Steve Albini! But in the first year there was a real buzz about us, we had Universal and Parlophone calling us up. I can understand how that sell-out attitude can be a bit naïve, but seriously, we could have done whatever the fuck we wanted. Like I said, we were doing it just because we really loved doing it. Maybe Adam's indifference is the reason why we're still here, ironically!
GL: Quite a few people comment about Adam and the way that he sings, the way he can be compared to the Pavement lo-fi thing. He sometimes kind of deliberately screws up some of the tunes. The way he does stuff in the first take, deliberately veers off.
AS: Yeah, you could do some really bad cod-psychotherapy on him, because it is kind of a front. The thing with the new album, I don't know if people have picked up on it, is that he's definitely thought more about the words. He's expressed them and articulated them properly. But even then, he'll do that and have a really annoying guitar part in the background. Chris's guitar parts in Mary IV, God man! I had to listen to that over and over again while we were mixing it. But the guitar part is deliberately really atonal off-notes. I think that was Adam feeling a little uneasy with the sugariness of the melody, and wanting to fuck it up. Before, he would have done it by singing off-key and hiding the words.
GL: He does that a lot, he does smudge the edges, roughs it up a bit, deliberately chucks in a few bum notes. There are some vocals on there that possibly could have been done again…
AS: This is a bit of a sore point for Giles!
GL: No, not at all! But if he's happy with it…
AS: Good soldier, Giles.
IW: There's an unreleased instrumental track on your website called Club Series. It's much more textured and clean-sounding than most of your other work. Care to discuss?
AS: There are two versions of it, actually. The one you heard, Giles really loves it, but Adam didn't like it. We did an alternative version which was much more stripped-down. There were a lot of effects on the other one.
IW: There's some mad screaming at the end, I recall…
GL: That's a case in point for Adam, have a really lovely instrumental melody, then he has to scream over it.
AS: We did that live few times… I don't know why we didn't do anything with it. Why wasn't it a B-Side to Home [single from I Dreams And Visions]? Have you heard the B-Side to Home? I think Sean said it's pretty much the worst thing he'd ever heard in his entire life.
GL: Sean wanted a B-Side for the single and kind of trusted us, thinking we must have something.
AS: And we didn't have anything. Adam literally wrote it as he recorded it [performs explanatory mime, to much laughter].
GL: It is the worst thing ever. Sean didn't hear it until he got it back from the pressing plant.
AS: I think Club Series suggests where we were going, because The Fall Of Mary has kind of got that big, ambitious…
GL: I think it's kind of different, almost like a post-rock experiment. And it sounds a lot lusher than anything we've recorded. Maybe that's just because of the instruments. When we add the vocals, everything tends to get… mushed up. But when it's just the raw guitars, it actually sounds really nice.
AS: It's interesting you say that, I'd honestly forgotten about it. Adam has said actually, I don't know if he means with Finlay, but he wants to do something a lot looser, more experimental…
IW: Do you think it's fair to say that Theme (penultimate track on I Dreams And Visions) might as well have been put on The Fall Of Mary?
AS: Yeah, that's absolutely true.
GL: That was kind of a live favourite.
AS: Obviously Adam's into a lot of post-rock, but we also really dig the straight-up pop. We try to fuse the two. I think on the first album it doesn't work – please don't get me wrong, I really like it! But I think you'll have a song that follows that style, then a song that follows the other style. I think the new album is more successful at fusing them. Like on Phantasmagoria, it's quite poppy, but then there's a mental ending. We had to pull ourselves back a bit from mental endings.
IW: Are you writing new material at the moment?
AS: We wrote a song the other day actually, we did it live. It was really good. We could give Adam a call now… At the moment we're concentrating… just concentrating! (much laughter).
GL: I remember that Chichester gig now, and the drive down. There was this beautiful stretch of road, winding down beautifully. And Chris wanted to stop to take a piss. It was really scenic, this sweeping valley, and there's Chris having a piss.
AS: That was a good gig though. Help She Can't Swim [support band now signed to Fantastic Plastic Records] were genius. They're great, fucking brilliant. Really nice guys. They were first on the bill, man!
GL: How things change!
AS: But that suits us. I like to be one of those bands that people discover. You can create a stronger relationship with people.
GL: I always like bands to look older, actually. Who look about thirty! (laughter)
AS: That's the exact opposite to the ideology of rock! I like my bands the younger the better.
GL: But older bands feel more comfortable in their own skin...
AS: Yeah, I was thinking about this the other day, about over-exposure. Of course, the whole guitar thing's coming back, Bloc Party and all those guys. They tour for about ten months in the year, and when they're not touring here they're playing in the states. I saw the Killers on TV today. They've only got, like, four songs! That can't be good for the artistic process. They're all regimented into this schedule that is not conducive to making good music. I feel sorry for all those boys.
GL: They're a lot richer than you! A lot of bands, like Supergrass after their first album, write in the studio.
AS: And even doing that, forcing yourself to write because you only have that much time… But that's the way labels operate nowadays. These aren't even majors, either.
GL: In that sense I don't really feel like we deserve the 'fame'. Because we don't put the effort in!
AS: That's the reason we're still together and haven't got disillusioned with it. Because we haven't invested anything in it! Don't get me wrong, obviously we take our music very seriously. We're not a bunch of jokers, we're really proud of what we do. Honestly, we really rate ourselves! We think we're really great!
IW: What other London bands have you been gigging with?
AS: Giles excluded, he grew up on a farm somewhere, we all grew up in East London. We're still London, but a little bit more suburban. There's an amazing… not scene, but there's a few of us. Very different, actually, there's a band called Father of Boon who we've played with for years and years. They do this mental art/jazz/punk… and out of that has come two bands. One's called the Bleeps and the other's called Dark Captain Light Captain. They're fucking great.
GL: There's another band called Nosferatu D2… At this point, Chris Allison (guitarist) finally arrives, only to pop inside to buy another round of Kronenbourgs.
AS: I kind of like that little scene. We're kind of different to them.
IW: How does the song-writing process go in Finlay?
GL: Ninety-Five percent of them come out of Adam's brain, relatively fully-formed. He'll turn up to practice with a pretty good idea of structure, how the drums might sound, a vague idea about keyboards. Then we'll jam on it, we might change bits.
AS: I think Adam would be more open to jamming and stuff, but we just don't have a chance. And we're not very good! I think he especially enjoys playing with Chris, because Adam can play and Chris can't! I know that he gets a lot out of it.
GL: Some songs are born out of white-noise wig-outs.
Chris Allison (guitar): Yeah, bits and bobs. It's all Adam and me, of course! (laughter)
AS: You wrote Theme and that was it! That's all you've contributed!
CA: It's a good tune.
AS: I've got to go! Anamik leaves to meet someone…
GL: I've been trying to get rid of that drummer. (laughter)
IW: Is that the band's dynamic? The drummer says all?
CA: That's basically how it works!
GL: Anamik's very good at talking… and drumming…
CA: Well, he's alright at drumming.
GL: I guess Adam's reluctant. Anamik's the one who speaks to all the promoters and organises the gigs. He's a lot more media-savvy, I guess.
CA: I don't do anything. When we started, y'know, I wanted to be in a rock band. You obviously like the music, but you also get the girls, you look cool on TV. But Adam's never been about that at all. Which, in some ways, is quite irritating!
IW: What do you each bring to the band individually?
CA: Err… (long silence descends) I don't really bring a great deal.
GL: You bring the rock 'n' roll!
CA: Well, I'm the only single member. And I can't play the guitar very well… Maybe I'm like the band totty.
GL: I bring the… (more silence)
GL: Yeah, I bring the middle-England. I guess I bring the bass.
CA: When we first started out, we were a lot younger. Me and Adam were very much the stupid idiots throwing ourselves on the floor, going crazy. Adam still does that, I think I'm a bit too old! That's how it used to be.
GL: But now it's just Adam doing it, we just stand back!
IW: Speaking of the old days, you were a trio to begin with. What inspired you in the first place?
CA: There was a band called Cornet Joyce that Adam and Anamik were in with some other guy from their school. One of their guitarists dropped out, so I joined when I was about seventeen. I'd only been playing guitar for a few months. We did one gig, mainly covers, a few of our own songs. We did a gig at an all-girls high school. I think I got a groupie that night… she was really ugly.
IW: If you did sign to a major label, how do you think it would affect you?
GL: The City Slang thing was probably the closest we were to thinking this was genuinely going to happen. The single, Little Dancing Solos which we put out on our own vanity label, Growl Wow, got played by John Peel, and then repeated on the BBC World Service. It got heard by Christof, the head of City Slang in Germany. He contacted Wyndham Wallace, the head of City Slang in the UK. Then Anamik got an e-mail from him saying he wanted to come and see us play. As it transpires, it was the Deathcab For Cutie gig. He turned up with his press guy, they were obviously really interested. We played out of our socks, for once! I think we were the right side of wonky, in an entertaining way…
CA: You've totally not answered the question!
GL: …it was getting to a good stage, to the stage whereby he was asking us who we wanted to produce the album, who he could put us on tour round Europe with. From their roster, that would have been Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, which would have been awesome. But it fell through because of the whole Mariah Carey Butterfly thing! It lost people a lot of money, so City Slang had to fold their subsidiary label.
CA: Mariah Carey ruined my life!
GL: So if it had happened, I guess being on a major label would certainly have been interesting. At that point, we would have all definitely considered ditching our jobs and doing it. It would have been stupid not to have the experience.
CA: I think I'd be in rehab by now! Maybe three or four-day tours around the UK. It would be constant, no sleeping, drinking too much…
GL: That's nothing, really!
CA: That's what I mean. If I had to do that for a long time…
IW: With that in mind, would you say that you're at the happiest point of Finlay's life so far?
GL: I don't know, it kind of seems to be working. It was on the verge of fizzling out, but we've been able to make it work in a really stripped-down and infrequent capacity. We've been able to record without too much hassle. I guess it's the fact that we put in the leg-work, we've been at it for so long we've made contacts in and around London. And having a record out, you get a bit of kudos, I guess. If we're looking for a gig we can probably get a gig, so that makes it easier than when we were starting out. That's probably the only way it would work at the moment.
CA: It's always worked out, gig-wise. Our first ever gig was in the Laurel Tree, which doesn't exist anymore. It was fucking shit. It was really good fun, but it was shit. Our second one was at [seminal underground indie venue] the Bull & Gate, and they loved us there. They'll put us on whenever we want them to. I think our fourth ever gig was downstairs at the Garage [www.indieworkshop.com/articles.php?id=261].
GL: That's when Anamik started fielding calls from labels, there was a bit of a buzz.
IW: There are some references to I Dreams and Visions on The Fall of Mary. Can you talk about the intertextuality between the two albums?
CA: The thing is, the new album actually contains some songs that were written before the first album. The last track on the new album [which contains a spoken-word refrain referencing I Dreams And Visions] used to be the end of a song on our first EP. And the words were different then, we changed the words for the album. The old words used to be absolute nonsense. It was about walking in a park, getting mugged. It said 'I only want your money, didn't have any money…'
GL: 'So I ran!'
CA: 'I only have a cigarette'! Something like that, complete nonsense.
GL: The last track on I Dreams And Visions is called Falling… I think Adam draws, from what I can understand and he is quite vague, from the same lyrical pool. I think they cross over, and that inter-album contextuality refers back. I'd be quite surprised if that isn't a reference to The Fall Of Mary. The album's actually based around some incidents that I wasn't party to.
CA: It wasn't a particularly remarkable incident, but we wrote a whole album about Mary. It was back when it was the three of us, pissing around in Anamik's living room. And all of us simultaneously looked out the window, we were sat on the floor, and we saw this old woman stuttering along. And all of a sudden, she just disappeared! We were like, 'where the fuck's she gone?!', so we went outside, she'd obviously fallen over, hence The Fall Of Mary. She'd cut up her head, she was really old and frail. So we asked if she wanted an ambulance, if she had any family around. She said she had a son round the corner, so me and Adam went round and knocked on this guy's door. 'Hi, are you Mary's son?', he said 'yeah', we told him that she'd fallen over and we'd called an ambulance. And he just said 'Cheers' and shut the door!
GL: Obviously he was writing about this bizarre social thing, and he kind of builds on that and adds a lot more personal stuff.
IW: Are the songs always experience-led?
CA: I think they generally are. They're very cryptic. I think if you asked Adam, depending on what sort of mood he's in, he'll say they don't mean anything. But sometimes if he's a bit drunk or something he'll try and explain what it's supposed to be about.
GL: Maybe it's easier for Adam to just say that the album is about a woman falling over. Something New, on the new album, is obviously pretty Leonard Cohen-esque, but it's got really great lyrics. And on the first album you couldn't really hear a lot of them.
CA: Our last gig, the first three songs we did were just quiet ones. I thought it went down really well. I really enjoyed playing them because it was quite a difference from what we normally do. You're sitting there playing guitar thinking, 'this sounds like it should mean something'. I'm sure it does, but I've no idea what it does mean.
IW: Has your sound calmed down?
CA: I think it's more matured than calmed down. When we started, it was good fun to play loud, be stupid, break shit-loads of strings every gig. Adam's always had that mature sort of song in him, but hasn't really wanted to do it until this stage of his life. It's more fun being a twat when you're 21, going crazy.
IW: What separates Finlay from other bands of your ilk?
CA: We have better songs. We do. That sounds arrogant, and I'm not taking credit for writing them, but I think we have better songs. We're more interesting to watch, we put on a good show. There's a lot of energy involved. Too many bands turn up, get their money and go home.
GL: I think our songs are very diverse, almost like different styles. We've got fast heavy ones, stupid dumb punk ones, long drawn-out post-rock epics… In that instance we're not a one-trick pony.
CA: If I wasn't in Finlay, I'd still listen to the records. It's impossible to be objective about this kind of thing. I genuinely think they're good songs.
GL: That's why I was chuffed to be in the band. When I saw you play in the Garage, albeit from the wings, there was something about the shows that made me have a slight grin on my face. It felt like I was visually engaged by all the members of the band, they all had their own characters.
CA: It's nice when bands are genuinely friends. You can see they're having a good time, enjoying what they're doing. Just having fun.
GL: When they play it's not just flippant, going to the other extreme.
CA: We used to be on the knife-edge between madness and genius!
GL: More often that not, it was a shambles. Not madness. Madness would at least be entertaining! The two recent gigs have had more character, probably a bit more sober. We were worried about our first gig after a year and a half off. Chris was obviously drunk from the moment he went on stage, it couldn't happen any other way, but the rest of us were more restrained. We had a meal beforehand, it might as well have been a cup of tea. I think we felt more nervous than we'd ever felt before.
IW: Let's wind it up, shall we? Imagine the scene – you've just had dinner, it's time to do the washing up. Who washes, who dries, who puts away?
CA: I'll dry.
GL: I quite enjoy washing up.
CA: Anamik won't do anything.
GL: I don't know whether Adam would do anything, he'd be on the phone. He'd agree to it, but he'd be on the phone. Lorna would help with the washing. Anamik would be on the phone as well, but sort of pretending.
CA: Anamik would just be breaking stuff. He's an absolute klutz.
GL: Anamik is the biggest klutz in rock 'n' roll. It's a good job he's behind the drums. When we swap instruments occasionally, he will stagger across the stage and unplug every single thing. Dislodge mics, unplug instruments… That's why he's behind the drums. Preferably behind a huge shield. But he's a very good drummer.
CA: He used to be shit! It's only in the last year or two that he's gotten good.
GL: He doesn't spin his sticks or anything…
- Daniel Ross | 2006-05-30