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Liam Finn

Bio

Liam Finn has always followed his own path. From the adolescent guitar fireworks of his band Betchadupa, to his incendiary one-man performances (including spots on The Late Show with David Letterman and Later… With Jools Holland), he’s found ways to challenge and disrupt what you might expect from a singer-songwriter.

His latest project 'Hyperverse' finds him once again charting new territory, including fans in the writing and recording process in unprecedented ways, with even more ambitious plans to close the gap between artist and audience down the line.

Betchadupa burst onto the scene in Aotearoa New Zealand courtesy of acclaimed local label Flying Nun, with accompanying oodles of indie cred. The band folded around 2006 (although there was a rogue single in 2020), with Finn’s solo debut I’ll Be Lightning arriving in 2007 to much critical praise.

His strength of vision was immediately clear, helming most of the instruments himself, and serving as its producer, as he would do on follow ups FOMO and The Nihilist.

In support of the debut he began performing solo, using loop pedals to trigger guitar parts he could then sing along to, as well as accompany himself on drums. An early adopter of this performance mode, he set an incredibly high bar, with explosive shows that felt part-rock n’ roll, part-magic trick.

Since then there have been side-projects like BARB, which featured Connan Mockasin and James Milne of Lawrence Arabia, and Finn’s soundtrack work for the 2017 documentary Susanne Bartsch: On Top.

After 25 years of performing alongside his father Neil Finn and Crowded House, Liam and Neil released their first collaborative album Lightsleeper in 2018. This led to Liam and his brother Elroy officially joining Crowded House as core members and co-writers, releasing Dreamers Are Waiting in 2021, and touring extensively during recent years. There is also new Crowded House music on the way, and a global world tour is slated for 2024.

Based in America for the past twelve years, Finn still has strong ties to the country he grew up in. It was a show in Auckland, New Zealand that reminded him of the joy of playing solo with his loop pedal. “It reignited my flame,” he says, “And it also made me realize there's something about that energy that you never really capture in a studio, because you're not adrenalized, you're concentrating, whereas on stage you're trying to entertain and you've got one shot to do it all.”

Thus the 'Hyperverse' project was born, broadcasting the creation of Finn’s new album via Twitch, as he improvised, wrote, and bottled inspiration live to an online audience. Starting in an Auckland studio, moving to his father Neil’s Roundhead studios, and eventually his home set-up in L.A., the creative process was on full view.

“I wanted to see what would happen if I let people watch what would normally be incredibly solitary and intimate”, he says. Twitch’s chat function offered an added bonus, allowing fans to give feedback. Finn says the process felt like having a roster of “faceless, ageless, genderless producers”.

The result is a collection that crackles with innovation, harnessing the energy of those high-wire studio sessions, the results pared down to impeccably crafted guitar-pop gems.

Acting as mixer and producer at every step, Finn says he was emboldened by not having anyone to answer to: “I just thought, I want to see this through and have it sound exactly how I imagined.”

He describes 'Hyperverse' as “A composite of almost everything I've ever made as a musician.”

It’s as well-rounded a portrait of an artist as you’re likely to find, an album its creator describes as “a journey”.

First single I Just Want You To Be So Happy pairs scrappy guitar chugs with a remarkable, nimble vocal melody, building to a cathartic climax of ecstatic chords and passionate drum fills.

Finn says, “Every once in a while you write a song that just kind of comes out well, even words and all, without much effort. Pretty much the whole of I Just Want You To Be So Happy came out in 10 minutes”.

The album has been gestating for years, as have plans around it, Finn enigmatically saying “I'm catering this project towards a new idea of how to release music”.

What stands out most is the creative verve on display, resulting from laying the process bare and involving fans the whole way. Finn can now look back on his career with a sense of perspective, but also acknowledge that not much has changed.

“It feels like a record for my teenage self. I'm reflecting on actually feeling the same as I ever have since I was a teenager. But with some, I guess, wisdom.”

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Comments (Newest First)

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Liam Finn breaks his own record
Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:46 pm
Liam Finn + Eliza Jane

Long Way To Go 7 weeks at #1

‘Long Way To Go’, the first single from their highly anticipated new EP ‘Champagne In Seashells’ has dominated the NZ Alternative Charts at #1 for a record 7 weeks in a row! Making further waves is Liam + EJ’s single collaboration with Connan Mockasin and Lawrence Arabia ‘Having A Baby’ which follows very closely at #2.

‘Champagne In Seashells’ was released this Monday to commemorate the ‘Having A Baby’ tour which begins today in Dunedin.

Liam Finn + Eliza Jane, Connan Mockasin and Lawrence Arabia are having a baby!

Wednesday 26th August - Refuel – Dunedin (Ticketmaster, OUSA, Cosmic Corner and venue)

Thursday 27th August - The Bedford – Christchurch (Ticketmaster, Real Groovy and venue)

Friday 28th August - The Opera House – Wellington (Ticketek, Real Groovy and venue)

Saturday 29th August - Powerstation – Auckland (Ticketmaster, Real Groovy and venue)

Don’t miss out on history in the making!
 

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Liam Finn - Making headlines around the globe
Posted: Sat Sep 6, 2008 10:26 am
After a year of dazzling the northern hemisphere with his wildly unique live show, Liam Finn has announced his appearance at this New Years Eve’s Rhythm and Vines Festival.

Liam’s debut solo album 'I'll Be Lightning' (Liberation) has received rave reviews from critics and fans alike, with the material translating to maniacal performances on the The Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Later with Jools Holland.

His live sets remain the bedrock of Liam’s artistic identity with the The New
York Times describing him as a “multitasking madman,” while MTV News
declared a recent show “mesmerizing to watch.” Variety has applauded Finn’s
“roaring energy.” For a limited time if you head over to www.liamfinn.tv you can view an exclusive IMPROV set recorded LIVE in London four weeks ago.

Having just taken off a 28 date tour with NZ friends The Veils in the states and Canada, Liam will also head back to the UK to support The Black Keys on their UK and European tour!

Also coming in September will be the Re-Release of Liams album ‘I’ll Be Lightning’ featuring the bonus disc Live at the Wiltern, a live recording during the Eddie Vedder tour earlier this year.

AND to celebrate this new release and Liam’s recent NZ Music Award
nominations, Liberation Music will release a fourth radio single taken from the album, ‘Energy Spent’.

Liam Finn NZ DATE:

29th DECEMBER – Rhythm and Vines Festival, Gisborne NZ

Liam Finn Vodafone NZ Music Awards Nominations:

Album Of The Year
Best Male Solo Artist
Best Music Video (Gather To The Chapel)
Single Of The Year (Gather To The Chapel)
Best Rock Album
Best Album Cover Art

More touring details at www.liamfinn.tv
 

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Liam Finn New Video
Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:09 pm
Take a look at the brand new video from Liam Finn ‘Better To Be’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPFrElgr_p8

Keeping in line with the analogue recording of the 'I'll Be Lightning ' album, the clip for 'Better To Be' is more akin to 1968 than 2008!

Shot on location in Liam's childhood home, Director Marc Swadel and DOP Nick Mulder evoked the styles of David Lynch and Roman Polanski in this extremely dark, bad dream of murder, doppelgangers - and dying fish..

DOP Nick Mulder:

'It was classic - no video assist, slow speed black and white film, and hand cranked cameras...you couldn't get a more authentic 60's euro art film shoot if you tried!'

It was shot on 16mm film, using 30 year old Bolex motion picture cameras, and was cut shot for shot from an actual film print on an old flatbed editing machine - once owned by Federico Fellini!

Director Marc Swadel:

'We wanted to go end to end analogue, no one has done that on a clip for almost 2 decades now. In fact I got a call from the head of Peter Jacksons' Park Road Post, who were dealing with the film, asking why I needed a print of the footage - as they hadn't made one for a music video ever!'

The final hand cut reel was then projected on a wall and shot - and that is the clip you see today.

Marc Swadel:

'I left the black space around the image from when it was projected - I wanted to revert everyones cutting edge digital plasma tvs into a grungy 16mm viewing booth, injecting back a little character into an otherwise sterile digital world!'

More information at www.liamfinn.tv
 

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Liam Finn goes gold and appears on Letterman!
Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:49 pm
LIAM FINN TO APPEAR ON THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN AND ‘I’LL BE LIGHTNING’ GOES GOLD IN NZ!!

Liberation Music NZ are extremely proud to announce that Liam Finn’s debut album ‘I’ll Be Lightning’ has reached gold sales in NZ!

To coincide with this great achievement it is our pleasure to also inform you that NZ’s very own Liam will be appearing on The Late Show with Mr David Letterman. Liam Finn will perform his hit single ‘Second Chance’ which will screen in NZ on Tuesday 4th March. Make sure you’re watching!

On another note the release of Finn’s debut solo album in the United States is attracting all the right attention in one of the world’s most difficult-to-crack music markets with the album this week debuting at #13 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart!

Being heralded in U.S Rolling Stone’s coveted ’10 Artists To Watch in 2008’ list (plus the timely inclusion of ‘Second Chance’ as the 6th best song out of 100 as voted in Rolling Stone Australia), as well as Boston Globe’s ‘8 To Watch in 08’ and E! Online’s “Stars To Watch in 2008” lists were certainly a great start but getting the nod from David Letterman is really something to write home about!

Liam will appear on the Late Show with David Letterman at the end of this month performing ‘Second Chance’, before a much touted performance at this years ‘SxSW music festival as part of his U.S tour which runs from mid-February until the end of April.

And the accolades don’t stop there – check out what the rest of the world thinks of Liam Finn and I’ll Be Lightning!

"A splendid one man band..."Second Chance" [is] a tightly coiled low-fi tune that explodes into a psychedelic swirl of purring loops and frenzied drumming." ROLLING STONE

"Liam Finn...proves himself with a vengeance on this dazzling solo debut....irresistible ." PASTE

“"I'll Be Lightning" is a low-key charmer” BILLBOARD

“…he chops, blends, and twists his keyboards, guitars, electronics, and melodies into a shiny new beast that is both gentle and subtly feral.” 8 To Watch in 08 BOSTON GLOBE

“This Kiwi is fresh, and does not fall far from the tree.” GLOBE & MAIL (Canada).

“Liam never veers too far from a killer melody or winsome harmony, which he delivers with the fetching voice that would seem to be ingrained in the Finn DNA” LA TIMES

“Considering his lineage, it's no surprise Liam Finn…has built a pretty, catchy collection of imaginative songs that draw from The Beatles and the heyday of early '80s Aussie pop” NEWSDAY.COM

“…Lightning showcases a confident, evolving voice” SPIN

"...tinkers with an experimental flair that's tasteful and creative...I'll Be Lightning [is] a perfect little raw mess, rich in DIY ethos." CMJ NEW MUSIC MONTHLY
 

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