"To create a story, Martin Amis said that you can easily create believable theoretical standpoints and arguments for characters that aren't your own…"
Incendiary interview Finn Andrews from The Veils
A dank miserable day in Amsterdam; in fact, bloody miserable for the time of year, its supposed to be sunny and hot and all that – still as Incendiary's editorial team has spent the previous three hours gazing at the Rembrandt and Caravaggio double header exhibition, we couldn't give a stuff. Heads full of chiaroscuro and scumbling techniques we soggily decamp to the wonderful Hotel Filosoof (just behind the Vondelpark, fact finders) in order to shake a few words from Finn Andrews, lead singer and guiding light behind the Veils. Everything's running late, Finn - polite, bemused and increasingly weary - is currently being filmed, recorded, interviewed and generally fussed over for about the twentieth time, and as he's supposed to be singing at the 3voor12 studios later that evening we agree that we won't harangue him too much. We take our place overlooking the beautiful and very wet Filosoof garden. After some chat about Rembrandt, we settle down to the matter in hand.
IN: So, I believe that you originally set out to be a painter
FA: Slightly, it's been made a bit of a meal of since that fact appeared in my biography. It was really just a childish enjoyment... I still get that from painting, but since the music took over... the other thing with painting is the technical aspect, you do need to know how to do certain things technically, and if you don't, well, you can't really express yourself the way you really want to.
IN: So to paraphrase Brian Sewel, you'd have to bring your argument to your art...
FA: Yeah, exactly, (laughs). I mean you always start off so confident, and you have all these ideas, and you think, this is it and then it ends up some big splodgy mess. I just can't do it.
IN: These artistic ideas, are these the things that you bring into your music?
FA: I feel that they are very different; they come from a very different place but there are always things floating around anyway, it's certainly very different from staring at a blank canvas. It feels as if you are just re-arranging things in yourself and building it up into some kind of shape that will be appealing to someone.
IN: Onto the new LP -Nux Vomica. With a lot of the songs I've noticed in the lyric's content and structure that you always seem to be having a conversation with someone offstage... take the song Pan for example. Is there any reason for this?
FA: You know, I dunno... I suppose it's a recent thing, my first record wasn't so much like that. I suppose it's like writing novels. You know, setting the scene. To create a story, Martin Amis said that you can easily create believable theoretical standpoints and arguments for characters that aren't your own...
IN: His dad said "its fucking fiction, stupid" or words to that effect!
FA: That sounds like his dad (the late great Sir Kingsley Amis). Finn laughs a great deal at this point.
IN: Your songs themselves seem to be vignettes, very lurid in colour, very dramatic in its settings – it is very theatrical music. Was theatre an interest for you?
FA: Yeah, well I love all that (theatre) I mean there was a brief flirtation with making films at one point, but then music came first.
IN: Another thing that struck me is that you don't seem to make music like a band. It is very much you, talking about your concerns with a musical backdrop.
FA: You mean I start with the words? Hmm... well it doesn't really work like that in that, but I know what you mean, I do begin the process with a phrase or line that I'll build up and try to find an appropriate sound or chord to accompany it. I mean it is very much the way I built up the first record, but now with this new band, we are looking to build up stuff from scratch as a band and it's a really refreshing and empowering way to do it.
IN: I thought your band sounded great when you played TENT at Rotterdam...
Finn looks at me in despair, blankly.
IN: You can't remember at all can you?
IN: Okay then, well, I have to say the new LP sounds very much like The Triffids...
FA: Do you know you're the second person to tell me that today. I have honestly never heard of them till today. Apparently they were Australian? And linked into the Bad Seeds at some point?
IN: Yes, Australian. I'm not sure about the Bad Seeds connection, but as most of those "Inner City Sound" bands were at some point interchangeable as regards personnel, it wouldn't surprise me in the least. I believe they are just re-releasing their back catalogue at present.
FA: Yeah, I really like the Bad Seeds. A lot, so I'll have a listen to The Triffids. There then ensues a detailed discussion of Triffids LPs. Mr Andrews, as his meticulous wont, takes copious, careful notes.
IN: Okay as time is fast running out, I am going to ask you two rather off-beat questions; the first of these is what is your favourite biscuit?
FA: (giggling) it has to be... The Chit Chat! Similar to the Kit Kat, but it's a mint (the word mint pronounced with emphasis and decision, readers...). You get then in New Zealand, and it reminds me of home.
IN: And could you furnish us with an eccentric image to delight our readership?
FA: Well, in one of my dad's songs there's a line which I love, which could certainly summon up an eccentric image! There's a line which goes "The sea was hot it hummed, it cowled, Anges brings the jelly over and we deny it"...
Cue general, startled laughter.
IN: We shall therefore end this interview on Agness bringing the jelly over.
Words: Richard Foster.
To read the review of new Veils LP, simply click here playmates...