Crowded House have had a massive 2022 touring the world in support of their recent release Dreamers Are Waiting which included a stadium tour in Australia earlier this year in April. Fantastic news for fans with Crowded House returning for an encore tour which starts at the end of October going through to the end of November. Included on the tour is a stop in Adelaide at the brand new festival Harvest Rock. Hi Fi Way spoke to Liam Finn about the tour and the new music they are working on for a 2023 album release.
Great to be talking to you, for me the Crowded House tour earlier in the year was one of this year’s best. It must be an awesome feeling which such strong demand to return for an encore tour?
Totally, that was a lot of fun. God, you just really appreciate getting to do any shows at the moment. So, the fact we get to come back to Australia to do eighteen or nineteen shows is really something.
Has that been a sort of real tough juggle since the touring has come back to try and dodge the Covid train and manage fatigue given that Elroy is recovering from injury?
The last tour had a really strict protocol of not seeing people and no one backstage. It was literally like the strictest that we could enforce, and we still ended up getting COVID then having to cancel the last week of our tour. It’s one of those things that is unpredictable and incredibly stressful. Everybody is learning how to navigate this new era, I guess in some ways people are slightly in denial that it even exists anymore. That’s what it looks like outside and no one’s really wearing masks and stuff. This is our livelihood and something that we need to stay safe to be able to do these tours. So yeah, it adds a real element of stress.
Our European tour that we just finished over the Northern hemisphere summer was really fun and a little bit more free to be able to make the right sorts of decisions. It’s a really hard thing to even articulate really, because it comes down to that feel and what feels okay to do and stuff like that. I hope that when we get to Australia, it’s got a bit more of that freedom to be able to actually see our friends down there and enjoy Australia like we normally do.
Have you been really pleased with how Dreamers Are Waiting has resonated with Australian crowds? Some of those songs on the album are incredible. It must be pleasing that seven albums later and fans are still digging new songs from Crowded House?
Yeah, it means the world to us. I think that was the main thing about putting Crowded House back together. For Dad and Nick, it wasn’t something to just keep touring and continuing the legacy, the old songs mean a lot to people, but to try and be a real band again and add to the legacy and see if we can put all of our experiences to make a new record. We’ve done our own thing for such a long time to bring songs to the table it feels like a high school band in that sense. It feels authentic and real. That’s what is exciting about making new music with these guys. It’s a very unique situation where we’ve got a 69-year-old in the band and a 32 year old in the band, but we’re all completely in tune with each other on a creative level and it it’s really fun.
It must be a huge buzz headlining the new festival in Adelaide – Harvest Rock? Do you think you’ll get a chance to check out some of the other bands on the bill?
It’s a great line up, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun! Like I said before we’re making it up as we go along and everyone’s on the same page of trying to keep it safe. In Europe at festivals, it is easy to stay outside and mask up and all that kind of stuff. I’m sure we’ll get to see a few things and hopefully catch up with a few friends.
Have the new songs you have been working on during the break been earmarked specifically for Crowded House or another project?
No, they they’re Crowded House. We started recording another record just before the Australian tour in March because we all came over a couple of weeks early with a kind of quarantining idea in mind, just in case somebody happened to catch it. I mean, I’m not sure if it’s still the case in Australia, but obviously back then, if anyone gets COVID, you have to cancel for a week. We were very conscious of protecting the tour. So we came over to Australia and thought, well, what are we going to do while we are quarantining for ten days or two weeks or whatever. We went up to a really great studio just out of Byron Bay and had about, I don’t know, seven or eight songs and got a lot more down on tape than we really anticipated. So, we’re picking up where we left off of that. Hopefully by the end of this year we’ll have a finished record.
Will that continue in a similar vein to Dreamers Are Waiting or does it continue to push ahead in a different direction?
It feels a bit different. Song wise it feels quite different, with Dreamers Are Waiting, we had that the fortuitous thing of recording the majority of every rhythm track together pre-COVID. We literally worked up until the day that everyone locked down over here and the new reality became clear. We got the majority of that band spirit in the studio, and then we tinkered away remotely for the next six months or so in our own studios. That was quite a particular way to make a record. Whereas with this one we were all together in the first instance. Dad’s always works maniacally on Pro-Tools whenever he’s got time. He’s obsessed! We will be picking it up from where we left off without it being too different. We’ll see it to its end with all of us in the room, which is kind of exciting. Nick’s coming over to this last part of the process. After the Australian tour, we’re going to do a couple more weeks back in New Zealand with all of us as well. I think you can circle it a lot and lose your mind a bit when you’re in your own studio working on stuff. There’s something quite good and having a bit of urgency and having everyone there while you’re finishing a record.
For the Finn’s is it constant twenty-four seven thinking about and creating music?
Not really, I’ve got two small kids, so my life is predominantly with my kids. It’s only since we’ve been back, we live here in LA, that my eldest has just started school and finally got my younger son into a pre-school at that. It’s the first time I’ve actually had some time to myself in a really long time. I’m slowly getting back into the workflow and stuff, but my Dad is pretty obsessive and apart from when he forces himself to take some time off, he’s always working. He’s got the fire in him to always be creating. Whether it’s stuff for this record or Crowded House, if it’s not that he’s working on random other things or helping other people out with their songs. He’s pretty constant. I think I used to be a lot more driven to work all the time because I enjoyed it, but certainly since having kids, it’s a very different reality for me now.
When writing new songs is it obvious that it will become a Crowded House song?
To be honest, I think that everything’s always laid out there, whether it be even with my songs or my brothers songs and stuff, the idea behind being a band again and trying to make the most of the Crowded House situation is that anything is possible. Even a song that I might be working on for my own record, it’s always worth trying out with the band and sometimes they really work and they take on a whole new life and the same goes for Dad’s songs. Some of them that he will have demoed up on his own and we will try might seem obvious that it’s not natural to the five of us and the way we play. So he puts that aside and he might revisit that down the line, but more often than not, there’s something about when I always attribute it to what happens when Dad and Nick play together because they’ve got such a history together. Nick is such a big part of the sound of Crowded House, whatever song Dad has there is something about when Nick plays his way of playing bass on it makes it really sound like crowded house to me. We like the idea of always bringing our best things to it. We always want to make the best album possible, but we certainly aren’t ever holding things close to our chest because we got to save this for my own project. Crowded House is supposed to be a thing that hopefully evolves in the coming years into being a really true collective collaborative process.
When you were working on Dreamers Are Waiting did you have that feeling that this is special group of songs?
That’s certainly something that we we’re hoping to make a true album. I think all of us in the band still appreciate what goes into making a great album and that is an art that maybe is a bit overlooked or lost these days because people are releasing individual songs one at a time. There’s nothing wrong with that but when you are writing an album there’s certainly a feeling of accomplishment when you hear it. How it’s intended to be listened to and how one song leads into the next one. Quite often when we’re making a record, we are even thinking about how the end of an outro of a song is going to work going into another one that we’ve got up our sleeves, and kind of getting excited about what we can do to make that as orally pleasing or strange. We really love that nerdy aspect of putting together a record. It’s always great to hear when people actually notice or appreciate that as well.
Is there a release date in mind for the new album?
All going well we are really hoping to have it all finished by the end of the year and I guess the early part of next year would be mixing it. I wouldn’t be surprised if a song comes out in the first quarter of next year.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Crowded House on the following dates, tickets from Live Nation…
And Harvest Rock in Adelaide