Bio: Findlay Brown’s debut album Separated By The Sea was released in the UK on Peacefrog Records in February 2007. It received critical acclaim across the board including a 5 ... (more)
Bio: Findlay Brown’s debut album Separated By The Sea was released in the UK on Peacefrog Records in February 2007. It received critical acclaim across the board including a 5* review in the Guardian who’s Dave Simpson described it as the most unlikely classic of the year.
Findlay gives the singer-songwriter back the edge that’s sadly lacking these days. His songs are intimate and sensitive yet, as evidenced by his return to the recording studio with producer Bernard Butler, also ambitious and as influenced by Phil Spector and Ennio Morricone as by Roy Orbison or The Beatles. Vitally his music is also courageous, triumphant, challenging and otherworldly. Whereas his debut album showcased a series of emotionally-driven love songs written for his girlfriend Marie Nielsen, occasionally psychedelic, spiked with wit, foiled with subtle, yet contrastingly modern, production from Simian’s and Black Ghosts’ Simon Lord, Findlay’s new album (set for release in early 09) is truly a blend of acoustic classic pop and a modern take on country soul.
Growing up in a very small village in rural Yorkshire Findlay’s plan was to join the army and as a child he even took part in Gypsy bare-knuckle boxing contests. One of his friends’ dad was a blacksmith who did a lot of work for the local gypsies and fought with them as well, so they’d put the kids in the ring too.
It was around that time Findlay started getting into music. Hanging out at someone’s house when they were playing Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix. That was a kick in the head – he didn’t even know it was a guitar making those noises. He and his friends went from having a few Pet Shop Boys singles to listening to Iron Butterfly, Love, Spirit, Family, Kaleidoscope… really trippy bands alongside lots of krautrock.
Findlay decided at this time to give singing a go and learn to play the guitar. His granddad, a successful chef who’d lived through Swinging London, had bequeathed him a set of the Beatles’ autographs. He sold them to buy guitars. His first guitar was a Gibson 335 with a Fender Twin, copying John Lennon’s set-up.
He then made the move to London and after stints in various experimental bands including Boedekka he soon realised that he could write a ‘Blackbird’-type song in a day, whereas a ripping upbeat Stooges number would take him a month. So he thought he’d play to his strengths and do something really personal from the forefront of his mind.
Inspiration for his debut solo record came from the tempestuous relationship with his long-term Danish girlfriend Marie. He started writing songs to finally win her back after distance had rendered them apart, and he dispatched the songs to Denmark in CD cases packed with dried flowers. Marie has been Findlay’s muse ever since.
His second album, “Love Will Find You” is a very different type of album. For a start it’s not folk influenced. He’s moved away from that and has been working on the craft of songwriting. The biggest turning point for Findlay was when he broke his leg earlier this year, after the taxi driver who dropped him home accidentally ran over him. “I’d already started going back and listening to a lot of records I’d grown up on. Elvis Presley, soul music, doo wop, Phil Spector, The Righteous Brothers and the like. I had an idea about making a modern record which was influenced by the songwriting of the late 50’s and early 60’s. I was cooped up at my sister’s house in London for over a month with my broken leg and I just started writing, trying to work out what made a universally great song, like ‘Stand By Me’. In my first band Boedekka we’d written some fairly melodic pop songs but we covered up the songs with abstract weirdness and noise to try to avoid being too pop. ‘Separated by the Sea’ was all about one voice and a guitar but it gave me the confidence to write the sort of songs I loved. These new songs are the first part of that process.”
I had a dream closes off his new album and the full orchestral production can be heard on his myspace page. Prior to the recording session with Bernard Butler Fin made two demo recordings, the first solo acoustic and one further with his band. The solo acoustic version is available exclusively on RCRD LBL and the full band demo is a free download from his myspace page.
In an age where vapid sentimental balladeers and robotic manufactured pop represent two overwhelmingly prevalent but distinctly unappealing extremes, Findlay Brown is a defiantly unorthodox presence.