This Music Made Me

This Music Made Me: Fink



Fink Fink‘s new album Hard Believer, out this summer through Ninja Tune, is their sixth and features the single Looking Too Closely.

Fin Greenhall, together with Tim Thornton (drums/guitar) and Guy Whittaker (bass), recorded the new record in 17 days at Hollywood’s Sound Factory studios with producer Billy Bush (Garbage, Beck, Foster the People). The resulting collection is shot through with rawness and controlled aggression.

Main man Greenhall’s selections for his This Music Made Me are a little different to what’s gone before; while this series covers albums that have most influenced the subject artists, Greenhall chose a mix of albums and singles.

Herewith, his picks…

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I know you’re supposed to write about key albums that shaped your sound, drop some super niche stuff to prove how deep you go, and I could go on about Joni Mitchell, John Martyn and Bob Dylan til I’m blue in the face to be honest – but that’s the music that made me kinda AFTER the music that began my journey… so I hope you don’t mind – but I’ve kinda gone back, way back, to when I was a kid…

When I was 8 or 10 or something my Mum and Dad gave me my Grandmother’s ’50s record player – it was more of a sideboard really – a giant wooden box with a radio in it and speakers, and a little rack for putting your records in… on the radio were places like Luxembourg and Hilversum, places that to me sounded as exotic as Fiji or Mauritius… I’ve been to Hilversum now and in reality it isn’t as exotic as Fiji, but I was fascinated by it… my Mum and Dad also gave me all their old 7”s to “play with”, and I think I’ve been “playing with” records literally ever since… immediately I had favourites, and would make charts, and it’s always fascinated me that the records I picked from this giant pile of scratched old 7”s, even as 10 year old, kinda reflect what I’m into now…

So – sorry if this is gonna be a very weird selection of songs… blame my parents… I still have these 7”s, but this music really did make me – and when I hear them back today I know every… single… note… of these tracks…

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Chuck Berry - No Particular Place To Go Chuck Berry – No Particular Place To Go

I loved this strange record from the first bar… girls, and cars, and innuendos all over it – all of which were right over my head… but the lyrics are so visceral and real, and it’s so cheeky, I just really digged it… the B-side, Liverpool Drive, is a straight instrumental jam – it’s so on point – Chuck Berry, say what you like about the guy, but he did practically invent walking on the wildside… and yes, this song did require a tennis racquet to air guitar with, it was a Dunlop McEnroe, it had green stripes on it… I think this is where I get my love of instrumental music from…

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The Rolling Stones - The Last Time Rolling Stones – The Last Time

The B-side to this 7” was the classic, classic, classic Little Red Rooster – which I obviously loved because, quite frankly, it’s a song about a lazy rooster, which is kinda awesome.

It was raw blues, raw, powerful, genre defining blues – and definitely gave me my love of blues, it was so unrefined – I loved it so much… – however – the A-side, The Last Time, I think the very first song that Jagger and Richards wrote together, is as classic a slice of UK Rhythm and Blues as you can get – in terms of cool – they were knocking the Beatles out of the park at this point – at the end of the track Mick just lets rip… I think this is where my love of kind shouty indy punk comes from… this also needed a tennis racquet…

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The Beatles - I Am The Walrus The Beatles – I Am The Walrus

I dare anyone to hear this track and not totally KNOW these guys were seminal musicians – I hated all the Love Me Do shit… but this song has words like cornflakes, and knickers, strings, arrangements, again it’s so English… but it really is a masterpiece… it pre-dates sampling, these guys were inventing this shit… John Lennon has such swagger…

I remember genuinely asking my Dad one day “Dad, what is I Am The Walrus about?”– he was like – “it’s not about anything, that’s the point” – I think that was my first philosophical debate with myself over music… having no point is the point… the fade out on the end of this record is also just madness, wall-of-noise avant-garde stuff that most modern, self-proclaimed “Avant Garde” electronic producers should listen to, and realise there is more effort and art in the final minute of I Am The Walrus than in their whole careers… and they made it 50 years ago without plug-ins… no shit… I Am The Walrus I think shaped pretty much everything I like – avant garde, challenging, classical, psyche… it has everything… the A-side Hello, Goodbye is everything I hate about The Beatles, saccharin, perfect, pointless – but I was more of a Lennonist, even at 10…

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Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe

Alright – I know you’re probably thinking I put this in here to be kinda cool or something – but it was genuinely in there, and genuinely the first song I ever heard that just compelled me to writhe around on the floor and solo like Hendrix, it’s also the first song I learned to play… I think I picked up the guitar just to play this song… it’s about shooting someone – which was intensely kinda dangerous for a 10 year old – I mean – it’s one of the greatest moments ever pressed onto vinyl… also – I was spoiled for life… the greatest guitar solo EVER in the history of the electric guitar, and it was kinda the first solo I ever learned in my head… cue a lifetime of disappointment…

Hendrix, untouchable, the greatest… it’s not because he died that he’s a legend… he was a legend within two weeks of arriving in London… I can totally imagine every guitarist in swinging London seeing Hendrix, and then having a total career melt-down!! … I mean… this 7” gave me my love of talent I think… great song, simple arrangement, blues ripping apart the speakers… Jimi wasn’t the best singer of his generation like technically… but that’s another part of what makes The Experience as a band like one of the greatest in history… the song is just a part of it… not even the most important part of it… it’s power, it’s intensity… it’s the key to art… I’m sure this record put me on a path….

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Dick Gaughan - Handful Of Earth Dick Gaughan – Handful Of Earth

My Dad loved this record, and played it all the time, and covered many of the songs off this record at his gigs in the west country’s resurgent folk revival scene in the early eighties… this song really does bring tears to my eyes – it’s what my childhood sounded like – there would always be gigs to go to, artists like Dougie MacLean would sometimes be staying on the couch, Dick may have even stayed over – I dunno, if they were gigging in Bristol, the music around the house was intensely Irish, or Scottish, or Celtic, jam sessions with mandolins and guitars with all the kids upstairs asleep head to feet in a spare room somewhere in suburbia… my Mum knitted my Dad a giant orange and brown chunky wool jumper, and he had a moustache… my father played the same guitar as Dick, which you can see in the video, and now so do I… a 1977 Martin D-35…

I saw Dick Gaughan many years ago in Brighton… it really reminded me of those years of being dragged around folk clubs, probably moaning all the way, but it was seeping in, something was seeping in, my little sister asleep on a chair, pubs and village halls, the smell of ale and beards and chunky wool knits, fiddle players, penny whistles… it was also the last time I went to a gig and cried my eyes out… not sadness, just overwhelming emotion… the night before this gig I saw System Of A Down in London… somehow these are connected to me… as mental as that might seem… I’m crying now as I write this and listen to the record… this record gave me something I don’t know what – something to rebel against, as I got into dance music and rap music as soon as I could, as soon as it was invented practically, to be the opposite of all this real folky stuff… something that connects me immediately to real emotions…

I don’t know, but this record is certainly a reflection of the environment that made me… a lot of people do think it’s weird that I became a singer-songwriter thing after my adventures in the electronic wonderland, and when we put our first album out in 2006 it was like the plot y’know – DJ turned singer songwriter – I bet you they put that exact line in the paragraph above this selection even though I “turned” over eight years ago…. I guess my rebellious phase was over, and I returned to something that was deeply ingrained in me… men with beards playing Martin D-35’s… although if I ever have a penny-whistle in my show I give every audience member permission to storm the stage and end it all….

See – I told you it would be a weird selection…

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Fink’s album Hard Believer is out now through Ninja Tune. Tour dates and further information can be found here.


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More on Fink
This Music Made Me: Fink
Fink – Hard Believer
Fink – Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet
Interview: Fink
Fink – Sort Of Revolution