American actor, musician, and music producer, FINNEAS talks us through his artistic approach, creative process, and musical background.
Finneas O’Connell grew up in Los Angeles with a musical family and began writing and producing songs at 12-years-old, singing in choirs he taught himself how to produce on logic. And in 2011, he found his breakthrough moment when he realised music was something he definitely wanted to pursue career-wise when he attended a Green Day concert. Noting, “I was standing side stage at the concert with my friend Ruby. I was like “This is it!” What could be better than this? And I still haven’t found anything better.”
During his teenage years, he was the lead singer and songwriter of the band The Slightlys, winning awards and competitions in the Los Angeles area. Fast forward to today, rising star, FINNEAS, is a master of all things creative with producing music, writing for other artists, to acting. He’s a man of many talents – starring in independent film Life Inside Out, TV appearances in the series’ Glee and The Modern Family, alongside a part in the film Bad Teacher. – When asked about which is more on his radar these days between music and acting, he responded, “Music for certain. I love acting too but I just don’t have the time for both right now.”
His music is truly emotional and heartfelt as he captures his rawest moments turning them into something beyond perfection. Writing for other artists, even lead him to writing for his younger sister Billie Eilish on her debut EP ‘don’t smile at me’, he has a powerful touch to embody their voice while collaborating, making each release honest to the particular individual.
When discussing his production background, he talked on, as he put it ‘still trying to figure it out’. Although his listener’s may disagree. And after hearing his released tracks, he truly has an effortless touch and signature genre in music. Nothing sounds cliché, each song is diverse, creating something different and original in each song. Combining romanticism and vulnerability in his storytelling, he mentioned, “Since I write and produce so much for other people, if it’s going to be for myself, I feel like it has to be so honest and real for me to really feel attached. Which is SUPER important to me.”
Talking through his musical influences, he classed “The Beatles, Ben Folds, Leonard Cohen, Rob Dickinson, My Chemical Romance, and Noah Gundersen,” as ones who influenced his music, production and lyrics. He continued, “Great lyrics and production that gets out of the way of great songs.” From a young age, he has produced music in his bedroom at his parents’ house and still keeps up this routine to this day. But he said, “I rent out studios sometimes to work with artists I don’t know well enough to invite over but I still prefer my room.”
He has an incredible production sound that is defining from the first note as a FINNEAS song. When questioned how he approaches the production to his songs, he replied, “I guess I just write about my life and my life has been a lot of falling in love and broken hearts. I try to draw production inspiration from lyrics and moods. If I say something about the heat of a summer night in a song, I’ll make sure to record the sound of crickets and include them in the background. If my songs are going to have a beat, it has to really mean something too. If I’m writing with or for someone else, I’m just trying to make sure they feel completely expressed.”
Finally in a place where he feels that he can tour with his original material, when asked how the notion of this made him feel he responded, “ it is life changing. It’s been so informative seeing how crowds respond to certain songs. What works and what doesn’t. It’s helped me as a writer and as a performer.”
The end of 2018 will see FINNEAS touring Asia and finishing Bille’s debut album as well as his own material and when asked about any new music or an album on the way, he replied “New singles and a new album on the way very soon.“ Before finishing his interview with us reminded us that his mission as a music artist is, to just let himself enjoy life and art and try to be loving to the people around him. Something that a lot of us could learn to do more often.