Fink

BIOGRAPHY

West of England-born, Berlin-based musician Fink has been an electronic artist and DJ on Ninja Tune. He’s been a collaborator: with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Ban...

West of England-born, Berlin-based musician Fink has been an electronic artist and DJ on Ninja Tune. He’s been a collaborator: with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Banks, John Legend and Professor Green, with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and multi-award-winning Director Ava DuVernay. He’s been happily, imaginatively remixed, by everyone from Justin Vernon and Colin Stetson to Ricardo Villalobos. His music and unmistakable voice have been heard everywhere – enriching landmark films and TV shows like DuVernay’s Selma, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, and Vince Gilligan’s Better Call Saul, to name but a few of literally hundreds of culture-defining soundtrack appearances.

In a long, thrilling maze of a career, the man has done club tunes (2000’s classic trip-hop debut Fresh Produce), blues records (2017’s Fink’s Sunday Night Blues Club, Vol. 1) and orchestral recordings (2013’s Fink meets RCO).  He’s released a brace of seven envelope-pushing studio albums. He’s produced himself, and he’s produced in tandem with other sonic visionaries – most recently Flood (Depeche Mode, U2, The Killers).  

So, after you’ve done all that, what do you do next? 

You soar – musically, vocally, lyrically.

Presenting Bloom Innocent, the gravity-defying, sky-scraping, stars-reaching sound of a man on a mission: to excite himself, to escape expectations, to thrust clear of all his previous achievements. It’s a spacious, capacious, eight-track wonder glowing with delicate piano, ear-tingling guitar and Fink’s soulful, woody vocal. His seventh studio album, it was largely recorded in the Englishman’s home studio in Berlin, aided and abetted by his regular touring musicians, with an ally available to him back in London: the aforesaid Flood, one of the world’s all-time great record producers.

“This album is a reaction against the thought process I had,” says Fink, offering something of a statement of intent. “That means I have an obligation to do eight-minute tracks or ridiculous four-minute solos at the end of a track if I want to. Because if I was a young artist signed to Polymer Records I'd be told I needed to do a two-minute-forty seconds focus track that was ‘uptempo’ and ‘universal’ to get radio play... I remember what those compromises felt like when I started out on this journey, and now I feel obligated to be the one who isn't shackled by expectations or compromised into a corner."

“So when you get a bit deeper in your career, you almost have an obligation to do what you want. That gives you an attitude of: what do you want to happen next?" 

This no-holds-barred approach didn’t mean going Off On One and recording with the kitchen sink (and using the plughole for percussion). It usually meant the opposite: Fink using a confidence born of years in music – born of a lifelong love of music – to take his time and keep things vulnerable and simple, but emotionally and musically complex in equal measure. 

So, a track like “I Just Want A Yes” comes slowly, the electronics building in the background as the strings coalesce before, as he puts it, “I wanted a three-minute drum solo and brass to kick in with a guitar solo, and I wanted a massive crescendo of sonic… soup! And whatever the consequences are, I’m OK with that.” 

In a way, his last album, Resurgam (2017), was the jump-off point. 

“That was a ‘living-the-dream’ album, because we got to work with Flood and spend two months in his studio. I got to feel like we were The Chili Peppers, in a fuck-off studio, with the best producer in the world, and we get to write a masterpiece!” he laughs. “His studio is marvellous and historic, and so is he." 

“He’s an artist,” he continues of a producer who, like Fink, views the studio as a playground. “Honestly, giving him a production credit on any album undersells the work he does. He becomes an embedded member of the band. With Resurgam we went to his house, moved in and he produced us like we were U2 or Depeche Mode. Now I’m so proud to have those songs in our arsenal.” 

But after a typically lengthy international tour in support of Resurgam, for his next musical output, Fink decided to dream it all up again. 

“I wanted to have that no-compromise policy with myself, so I didn’t need a time-constraint on me, an invoice hanging over me for the time. I’ve got my own studio in Berlin that I do all my writing in, so I thought: you don’t need 200 grand’s worth of microphones to make a record, I’ve got a couple of mics, let’s just do it – and I barely know what I’m doing!” he says cheerfully. 

He set to work, writing, tinkering, playing – and holidaying in a cabin in Jamaica. But to be clear, “It wasn’t fancy. There were no windows, and a lot of dogs barking most nights. It was very real! Me and my wife were there, and I found a guitar, and I restrung it, and we started writing a few tracks. Just hanging out, on a porch, in a tropical kind of environment. From that little session came “Rocking Chair” and “Once You Get A Taste”." 

He describes “Rocking Chair” – strung out, meditative, like Talk Talk on a moody beach – as “my attempt to write an indie-blues record. It was one of those tracks that just flew out. It was really cloudy, I was literally sitting on a rocking chair on a porch, and it was a magical moment. It might be ominous or pensive, but it isn’t sad.” 

In counterpoint, the completed, recorded version of “Once You Get A Taste” wasn’t so much flown out as wrestled out. 

“That sounds like a pretty simple track,” he begins, “but the back and forth between me and Flood took us to 28 versions.”  

It was worth the grind. The spectral guitar, in particular, is jaw-dropping, the work of new player Tomer Moked. “He can play anything with strings. That sound he calls a banjouki, which I think is a bouzouki he was playing like a banjo, because we were getting a little bit obsessed with country and western at that time.” 

On the glorious, heavenly ambience of “We Watch The Stars”, Moked had another challenge from Fink: “How are we going to represent the galaxies within a chord structure?” It’s testament to the musical skills of a man who also contributes piano, viola, violin, Prophet 6, Kamancheh and Moroccan cymbals to Bloom Innocent that we can say to Moked: job done, mate. Released earlier this month as the first single, “We Watch The Stars” has already been Track of the Day on Lauren Laverne’s BBC 6 Music show. 

Then there’s the title track, the gorgeous, heartfelt album opener, a spectral piano ballad scheduled to be the second single. 

“ “Bloom Innocent”, man,” Fink sighs with another laugh, “that was a really long and difficult experience. But I enjoyed every minute, every note. It’s another one that went through so many incarnations. I just wanted to write a piece that was about a moment in my life where I wanted to be not this guy, but that guy from a few years back. I wanted to see again the look in my partner’s face that we had in the early days – innocence and beauty and not tied down with life’s bullshit."

“And actually, Flood was the one that guided it home. He took the parts, told me the grooves he liked, reassured me he knew what he I was going for, and he came up with this really ethereal vibe, which gave the journey a lovely strange vibe. Then at the end of the track, when you need it, you get a nice, solid, traditional kick with Seventies references and cool backing vocals. 

“It’s just really nice,” he exhales with palpable relief. “As soon as Flood made it unique, I was like, 'thank you, got it', then I finished it in Berlin." 

It was, he notes, another moment where he had cause to thank his producer wingman for his guiding mantra: “It’s finished when it’s awesome.” 

Bloom Innocent is a classic album from the future. That is, Fink has dug deep into the idea of the studio as instrument, of the album as artwork. So, yes, only eight tracks, and, yes, some of them were recorded live, if the moment and the feeling and the ambience were just right. 

“The sonics have been lost a little bit these days,” he muses. “Think of the great Pink Floyd records or classic Radiohead records. I yearn for that time, for that attention to detail, for that sonic landscape. It’s not just about guitar, bass, drums and keys. It’s about creating an atmosphere." 

“So we tried not to use any plug-ins or any laptop bullshit. And here’s a reason it’s eight tracks and not 10,” he adds. “And that’s because we wanted it to be all good. There are other tracks but they weren’t up to it, didn’t fit with this world we’re trying to create sonically." 

It’s a beautifully crafted world that reaches its apotheosis, its climax, in “My Love’s Already There”, an eight-minute-plus heart-song that suggests an airborne Bon Iver, the melody, delicate piano and emotional longing floating high on the thermals. 

“I wanted my voice to be somewhere else. That was written with a really simple intent at a really deep moment in my life last year, when I wanted to be somewhere I couldn’t be.” 

A massive, sprawling, super-heavy ballad as the perfect goodbye? For this record, by this talent, at this time, for sure. 

“It’s hyper-real, just me and a crap piano, an exercise in being honest,” shrugs Fink. As he says, he has “a freedom that comes from having been around for a little while. And I wanted to use that.” 

Bloom Innocent is released October 25 on R’COUP’D via Ninja Tune.


Forthcoming Events

September 2019
October 2019
November 2019

Fink

Popular Tracks

  1. Looking Too Closely
  2. Yesterday Was Hard On All Of Us
  3. This Isn’t A Mistake (A&B Acoustic Version) (A&B Acoustic Version)
  4. Too Late (Radio Edit) (Radio Edit)
  5. Not Everything Was Better In The Past
  6. Play All (5)

Latest News

BIOGRAPHY

West of England-born, Berlin-based musician Fink has been an electronic artist and DJ on Ninja Tune. He’s been a collaborator: with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Banks, John Legend and ...

West of England-born, Berlin-based musician Fink has been an electronic artist and DJ on Ninja Tune. He’s been a collaborator: with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Banks, John Legend and Professor Green, with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and multi-award-winning Director Ava DuVernay. He’s been happily, imaginatively remixed, by everyone from Justin Vernon and Colin Stetson to Ricardo Villalobos. His music and unmistakable voice have been heard everywhere – enriching landmark films and TV shows like DuVernay’s Selma, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, and Vince Gilligan’s Better Call Saul, to name but a few of literally hundreds of culture-defining soundtrack appearances.

In a long, thrilling maze of a career, the man has done club tunes (2000’s classic trip-hop debut Fresh Produce), blues records (2017’s Fink’s Sunday Night Blues Club, Vol. 1) and orchestral recordings (2013’s Fink meets RCO).  He’s released a brace of seven envelope-pushing studio albums. He’s produced himself, and he’s produced in tandem with other sonic visionaries – most recently Flood (Depeche Mode, U2, The Killers).  

So, after you’ve done all that, what do you do next? 

You soar – musically, vocally, lyrically.

Presenting Bloom Innocent, the gravity-defying, sky-scraping, stars-reaching sound of a man on a mission: to excite himself, to escape expectations, to thrust clear of all his previous achievements. It’s a spacious, capacious, eight-track wonder glowing with delicate piano, ear-tingling guitar and Fink’s soulful, woody vocal. His seventh studio album, it was largely recorded in the Englishman’s home studio in Berlin, aided and abetted by his regular touring musicians, with an ally available to him back in London: the aforesaid Flood, one of the world’s all-time great record producers.

“This album is a reaction against the thought process I had,” says Fink, offering something of a statement of intent. “That means I have an obligation to do eight-minute tracks or ridiculous four-minute solos at the end of a track if I want to. Because if I was a young artist signed to Polymer Records I'd be told I needed to do a two-minute-forty seconds focus track that was ‘uptempo’ and ‘universal’ to get radio play... I remember what those compromises felt like when I started out on this journey, and now I feel obligated to be the one who isn't shackled by expectations or compromised into a corner."

“So when you get a bit deeper in your career, you almost have an obligation to do what you want. That gives you an attitude of: what do you want to happen next?" 

This no-holds-barred approach didn’t mean going Off On One and recording with the kitchen sink (and using the plughole for percussion). It usually meant the opposite: Fink using a confidence born of years in music – born of a lifelong love of music – to take his time and keep things vulnerable and simple, but emotionally and musically complex in equal measure. 

So, a track like “I Just Want A Yes” comes slowly, the electronics building in the background as the strings coalesce before, as he puts it, “I wanted a three-minute drum solo and brass to kick in with a guitar solo, and I wanted a massive crescendo of sonic… soup! And whatever the consequences are, I’m OK with that.” 

In a way, his last album, Resurgam (2017), was the jump-off point. 

“That was a ‘living-the-dream’ album, because we got to work with Flood and spend two months in his studio. I got to feel like we were The Chili Peppers, in a fuck-off studio, with the best producer in the world, and we get to write a masterpiece!” he laughs. “His studio is marvellous and historic, and so is he." 

“He’s an artist,” he continues of a producer who, like Fink, views the studio as a playground. “Honestly, giving him a production credit on any album undersells the work he does. He becomes an embedded member of the band. With Resurgam we went to his house, moved in and he produced us like we were U2 or Depeche Mode. Now I’m so proud to have those songs in our arsenal.” 

But after a typically lengthy international tour in support of Resurgam, for his next musical output, Fink decided to dream it all up again. 

“I wanted to have that no-compromise policy with myself, so I didn’t need a time-constraint on me, an invoice hanging over me for the time. I’ve got my own studio in Berlin that I do all my writing in, so I thought: you don’t need 200 grand’s worth of microphones to make a record, I’ve got a couple of mics, let’s just do it – and I barely know what I’m doing!” he says cheerfully. 

He set to work, writing, tinkering, playing – and holidaying in a cabin in Jamaica. But to be clear, “It wasn’t fancy. There were no windows, and a lot of dogs barking most nights. It was very real! Me and my wife were there, and I found a guitar, and I restrung it, and we started writing a few tracks. Just hanging out, on a porch, in a tropical kind of environment. From that little session came “Rocking Chair” and “Once You Get A Taste”." 

He describes “Rocking Chair” – strung out, meditative, like Talk Talk on a moody beach – as “my attempt to write an indie-blues record. It was one of those tracks that just flew out. It was really cloudy, I was literally sitting on a rocking chair on a porch, and it was a magical moment. It might be ominous or pensive, but it isn’t sad.” 

In counterpoint, the completed, recorded version of “Once You Get A Taste” wasn’t so much flown out as wrestled out. 

“That sounds like a pretty simple track,” he begins, “but the back and forth between me and Flood took us to 28 versions.”  

It was worth the grind. The spectral guitar, in particular, is jaw-dropping, the work of new player Tomer Moked. “He can play anything with strings. That sound he calls a banjouki, which I think is a bouzouki he was playing like a banjo, because we were getting a little bit obsessed with country and western at that time.” 

On the glorious, heavenly ambience of “We Watch The Stars”, Moked had another challenge from Fink: “How are we going to represent the galaxies within a chord structure?” It’s testament to the musical skills of a man who also contributes piano, viola, violin, Prophet 6, Kamancheh and Moroccan cymbals to Bloom Innocent that we can say to Moked: job done, mate. Released earlier this month as the first single, “We Watch The Stars” has already been Track of the Day on Lauren Laverne’s BBC 6 Music show. 

Then there’s the title track, the gorgeous, heartfelt album opener, a spectral piano ballad scheduled to be the second single. 

“ “Bloom Innocent”, man,” Fink sighs with another laugh, “that was a really long and difficult experience. But I enjoyed every minute, every note. It’s another one that went through so many incarnations. I just wanted to write a piece that was about a moment in my life where I wanted to be not this guy, but that guy from a few years back. I wanted to see again the look in my partner’s face that we had in the early days – innocence and beauty and not tied down with life’s bullshit."

“And actually, Flood was the one that guided it home. He took the parts, told me the grooves he liked, reassured me he knew what he I was going for, and he came up with this really ethereal vibe, which gave the journey a lovely strange vibe. Then at the end of the track, when you need it, you get a nice, solid, traditional kick with Seventies references and cool backing vocals. 

“It’s just really nice,” he exhales with palpable relief. “As soon as Flood made it unique, I was like, 'thank you, got it', then I finished it in Berlin." 

It was, he notes, another moment where he had cause to thank his producer wingman for his guiding mantra: “It’s finished when it’s awesome.” 

Bloom Innocent is a classic album from the future. That is, Fink has dug deep into the idea of the studio as instrument, of the album as artwork. So, yes, only eight tracks, and, yes, some of them were recorded live, if the moment and the feeling and the ambience were just right. 

“The sonics have been lost a little bit these days,” he muses. “Think of the great Pink Floyd records or classic Radiohead records. I yearn for that time, for that attention to detail, for that sonic landscape. It’s not just about guitar, bass, drums and keys. It’s about creating an atmosphere." 

“So we tried not to use any plug-ins or any laptop bullshit. And here’s a reason it’s eight tracks and not 10,” he adds. “And that’s because we wanted it to be all good. There are other tracks but they weren’t up to it, didn’t fit with this world we’re trying to create sonically." 

It’s a beautifully crafted world that reaches its apotheosis, its climax, in “My Love’s Already There”, an eight-minute-plus heart-song that suggests an airborne Bon Iver, the melody, delicate piano and emotional longing floating high on the thermals. 

“I wanted my voice to be somewhere else. That was written with a really simple intent at a really deep moment in my life last year, when I wanted to be somewhere I couldn’t be.” 

A massive, sprawling, super-heavy ballad as the perfect goodbye? For this record, by this talent, at this time, for sure. 

“It’s hyper-real, just me and a crap piano, an exercise in being honest,” shrugs Fink. As he says, he has “a freedom that comes from having been around for a little while. And I wanted to use that.” 

Bloom Innocent is released October 25 on R’COUP’D via Ninja Tune.

Forthcoming Events

September 2019
October 2019
November 2019