England - Full Moon 89 - 01/07/04
- an interview with Finn Andrews
"Democracy is for chumps"
Yes, it's true, The Veils' front man Finn Andrews is the son of erstwhile XTC member Barry,
but that doesn't necessarily mean that his music sounds anything like his father's or that his
dad's protection made it any easier for him to get a foot in the door of the music biz. In fact
The Veils had to struggle quite a bit before they could release their debut album The Runaway
Found, out early in 2004 on Rough Trade. Recently, 20 year old Finn took time out to explain
to us how it feels to finally have the album released and why he doesn't like to be thrown into
the same category as bands like Muse or Coldplay.
LK: What's it like to be in The Veils at the end of the year 2003?
Finn: "Like eating nothing but salt for three years and finally eating a strawberry. It's
LK: You've had some bad luck with your first record contract and thus the album's
release has been delayed for quite a while. What was bigger in the end, the pressure to come up
with something that's worth two years of work/preparation or the relief to finally have the album
Finn: "I just wanted the album out really. There was no real pressure, it was more just
trying to make something great happen, I don't think two years is that long either, I would have
spent five more if they'd let me."
LK: Then again, I guess it could be an advantage to not being forced to rush your first
album. So what would have been missing if you would've made this album a couple of years ago?
Finn: "Nothing would have been missing at all, it just wouldn't have had that same sense of
time passing as this one does, and that's what I liked best."
LK: You've worked with various producers (Bernard Butler or Kenny Jones) on this album.
What did you hope they would bring to the music and did they meet your expecations?
Finn: "Producers are fine, I don't like the idea of them particularly, we just didn't have
a very good knowledge of the studio so we needed someone who did and could offer a fresh pair of
LK: How important is an outsider's opinion to you, especially since this is your first
album? Do you still feel like a rookie, who wants to learn or do you find it difficult at times to
Finn: "I think the thing that scared me most about the music industry when I first got near
it was how much people expect you to compromise what you are doing, especially as I had just turned
seventeen when we got signed and didn't really have the confidence to tell these Rich yuppy music
biz fascists just to get fucked and leave me alone."
LK: To my ears, a lot of the songs sound quite grand or even epic, without being
over-produced - do you hear them in your head like that the minute you write them or how do they
arrangements come about?
Finn: "I don't know, they just come out like that."
LK: Do you find it easy to determine the point where you have to stop and a song is
done or do you go to far sometimes?
Finn: "We've never spent more than two days working on a track and we only ever allow ourselves
that amount of time no matter what the song is. We spend months rehearsing things, but I don't know
how you know when to stop working on something, though when someone suggests a bass solo it's usually
a good time to call it a day."
LK: The songs on the record sound quite diverse - apart from your voice, what do you
think holds the album together, what's the red thread running through the record?
Finn: "The songs are all about the same three people so there is something that unifies them
I guess. There's a lot of death and love and light and fire in it, they all have that in them."
LK: How democratic are The Veils at this point?
Finn: "Democracy is for chumps, long live the belligerent dictator."
LK: I guess every new band will be compared to other bands (and mots of them hate it),
BUT: are there any comparisons that you thought were pretty fitting and what are the ones that you
thought were the most off?
Finn: "A critic in Holland said my voice was like a cross between Eartha Kitt and a vacuum
cleaner. That's pretty accurate. If we get compared to anyone from the last 10 years that usually
tends to piss me off. Anything pre-1992 is probably safer."
LK: From an outsider's point of view, Rough Trade seems like an excellent choice of
a label these days - did you put a lot of thought into that or was is more or less obvious or even
inevitable, due to the Geoff Travis connection (who initially helped the band to sign the ill-fated
contract with Blanco Y Negro)?
Finn: "It was just Geoff really, and Jeannette Lee, we just wanted be around them, they'd
been with us right from the start and it just felt right to keep it that way."
LK: Any famous last words?
Finn: "If you can't talk about it, point to it." (Laurie Anderson)
Copyright © 2004 Carsten Wohlfeld