The following interview was broadcast on a Sunday evening at 7pm on BBC Radio 1 (after the UK music charts), in November 1993. I only have the first half, so if anybody has the rest I'd be willing to finish the transcription.

[I Got You playing in background]

Neil:
...you could be writing about an aging dancer living in Rome...but nevertheless I suppose I was wishing myself out of small town Te Awamutu. As it was, I did get out of Te Awamutu - my brother Tim asked me to join his band, Split Enz.

[I Got You plays]

Neil:
I had an idea of when I left Split Enz of what the band should be more like - a simpler kind of set-up, and more guitars - which has taken us a while to get to. I think this album's the first time I can honestly say there's more guitars than keyboards, definitively. And just a more kind of...cohesive approach. Split Enz was a schitzophrenic band, and we had some great moments but often songs went on lateral paths to what I imagined. So I think I wanted a more kind of organic approach to once the song was written - it's a much abused word, that word, "organic" - but a more sort of natural way of playing the songs which was directly like I wrote them, you know. The feel that was suggested at the time of writing which Paul and Nick are very good at doing - they slip into my groove very easily, and actually make them sound better than they actually are, often. I suppose I was aware of not being fake - I just didn't want there to be anything fake about what we do, and I'm prepared to be unfashionable.
Nick:
I think we're a-fashionable, yeah I think we're timeless and afashionable. And I hope that Crowded House doesn't date, although I've met a lot of kids that say to me, you know, "Don't Dream It's Over was when I first discovered girls", or other people are talking about Into Temptation referring to an infidelity that they'd had in their relationships and whatever, and then you realise that our songs can be dated to particular times. But I'd like to think we were a little more timeless in our aesthetic. Split Enz obviously had a...a thing that definately came from New Zealand and Neil's attitudes had possibly changed somewhat from living in Australia as long as he had before Crowded House started. And I'd been working with a lot of musicians that had particularly slack kind of lifestyles and getting nowhere I recognised this absolute conviction in Neil and I knew Paul quite well, a drummer - I'd never been in a band with him before but I knew that they really meant business when they said they were going to form a band, and here was an oppurtunity that I could work with a songwriter whose work I really liked, being Neil. But it was basically I think just my own attitude aswell. I wasn't a particularly good bass player at the time and it was really just coming down to sharing attitude, a similar sort of conviction.

[Now We're Getting Somewhere plays]

Paul:
The first album was a very weird process. We were also trying to figure out if we were a band. The record company's first indication was to sort of go for Neil, and there were moves in the record company which suggested that it could be called "Neil Finn and the..." something-or-others, so here was a lot of that going on which was underwriting the whole recording process - so we didn't really hit on, you know, things that we felt that was a real "band" sound until towards the end, I think. Let's see...maybe like Hole In The River was a good example of us stretching ourselves a bit.

[Hole In The River]

Neil:
I got that title from the movie "Irma La Douce", where at one point Shirley MacLaine says to...Jack Lemon, is it? I think..."Ah, it's no good, I'm gonna go to the bridge and make a hole in the river". And the same day I saw that I got a call from my dad, telling me about my auntie...committing suicide in New Zealand, and that line just came back to me straight away - and I just wrote down what he told me. And with that line in it aswell, it basically wrote itself in about five minutes, that song. So it was a direct response to some really disturbing news. Actually it caused quite a few problems back home for me, that one - it was a little close for some of the family to deal with, so...I've caused a few problems for myself at various points in my life. That was the most specific reference to any real event that I've ever written about, really - but sometimes they can get a bit close to the bone. People take songs a little too seriously, I think. For me it's sort of like I write them, and once they're written they're about somebody else's life, you know? But they follow me around, sometimes. I get all - almost all - my songs emerge initially from my subconcious, I kind of rely on lines falling into my head when I'm singing. Kind of get into a really dreamy state and melodies kind of swim around and something suddenly sticks and I find myself singing a line without having really conciously thought about it, and I'll write the line down and then I'll just try and free-form as many as I can that come from that, and I look at it then and then conciously think, "well, what's that about?" and, you know, rearrange them and...an analyst would have a field day and may be able to, you know, get glimpses of what's going on in my life - but in many ways it's also it's a combination of that and a fantasy kind of quotient, and it's a bit like documenting dreams - some people would have it that dreams are the clue to what you're really thinking, and other people would say it's like a rubbish tip, with all you're...you know, it's like the lowest form of thought process. There's elements of both in my songs, and I think, you know, some of it's just throw-away subconcious, you know, gibberish, and some of it probably contains quite acute insights into what's going on in my brain.

[Don't Dream It's Over]

Neil:
I remember the demo I did of it at home - a little home demo I did. It sounded really good and I thought, "Yeah, that's come out really well, you know". But it always seems there's always like things to conspire against you're success, and it did happen. It took a while, and it was great - it got us off the mark in a big way, and in many ways it created quite a few difficulties for us too as we suddenly had to grow up very quickly and become a mature band after only one record. But I think most of the people that get into Crowded House ultimately get into the tunes and that's what attracts them more than the image or than anything else, it's kind of the spirit of the band, and the tunes and...so they come along and they say, "Well, I wanna have a sing", you know? And of course we give them ample oppurtunity to. But it's really great to hear the whole audience singing you're songs...it makes you all warm inside, it really does. And we're committed on stage to looseness. We actually relish the mistakes, because basically the mistakes and the flaws and the idiosynchrosies of what you do, whether on stage or on the record, is what gives you personality and character - it's where your true character comes out - and so we're looking for those all the time on stage. I mean, sometimes the mistakes are embarrasing, but they lead you on somewhere - and hopefully somebody'll yell out from the audience, if you make a mistake somebody'll call you on it, and you'll get some interaction with the audience. And they'll give you some abuse and you'll give them a bit of abuse, and it's a healthy thing, and at times people are infuriated by it and I think people come along and they want to hear the songs and all the talking and stupidity kind of really...annoys people sometimes but...we're quite happy to annoy people because ultimately it makes every night different for us and I think the majority of people are prepared to put up with a bit of waffle for the odd transcendent moment where something new or totally unique happens.

[World Where You Live plays, live from London]

Nick:
You know the first album, it almost felt...when we finished that album, it almost felt like we didn't know who we were any better than when we'd started, and it wasn't until we'd gone on the road, I think, touring the pubs in Australia and then doing these promotional tours of America - you know, just trying to vibe the record company up - that we realised that we actually had this other thing, this kind of "busk" style that was...you know, like what they're calling you're "unplugged" style now...and that was our...the saving grace for the band - the fact that we could do that, and relate on such a...a much more...simple level to each other - because the first album, even though it has very simple arrangemnts, was still complex for us - it wasn't like you garage album, it was still quite produced by Mitchell Froom - a very strictly arranged and so on...and it wasn't until we got out and actually did those busks, as we called them, that we realised that we were really a band - you know? All we knew, we had a similar attitude but we didn't realise we had such a strong chemistry until possibly about two years into the equation. I...I think it was Into Temptation - when we recorded that track, I realised that was the harnessing of the "busk" style, the "unplugged" style, the melancholia of the melody and the counter-melody of the bass...and just an overall atmosphere that was really something that fell really easily - it became really easy for us, you know it was just something that just fell out. I still believe it's one of our best moments on record.

[Into Temptation]

Neil:
It's a pretty fully-rounded song, that one. I've got a suspicion it might be one of the better songs I've ever written, that one. And it really started off, as a lot of them do, from very mundane circumstances. I was staying in a motel in Timaru in New Zealand, and I was at the bar and there was a whole bunch of rugby players and a whole bunch of netballers who started off sitting at either side of the bar - all the rugby players against one wall, all the netball players against the other wall - and as the night wore on and the drink started to flow they started to sing, and pretty soon they were all paired off - almost the whole lot of them paired off with one another, kind of canoodling in the corners and I spent the entire night with them walking up and down the hallway to go into each others' rooms and it was just a massive night, and I got the first line of the song: "You opened up your door, I couldn't believe my luck". From that..it's not exactly a romantic little story, but that's where it came from...and then I just tried to give it as much as possible the feeling of a...dangerous encounter. But I really love it, I love that song too, and I love singing it. We were under more scrutiny the second time round, and I think we chose to deal with that by making an album which was very moody, and we loved...we'd really enjoyed making it, and it was an easy album to make, and we look back and it's probably one of the most satisfying records we've made - but it wasn't your effervescent pop record like the first one, so...harder to convince people of...but I'm glad we did that instead of feeling the need to repeat the first album in any way. And we're on our path, you know? And we'll get there in the end, too - it's very easy to listen to pressure and people to say to you "This has to be the one, this is gonna be the record", you know - "We've got to have the lead cut, we've got to have that first single to get us away and we'll sell two million records" - as they do - and as much as it would be nice just to have it explode out of the bag I'd rather make the record that we think is appropriate and stand by it, and then maybe learn - if we've made a mistake - learn by it, than make somebody else's mistakes for them.

[Better Be Home Soon]





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