27 Feb 2021

INTERVIEW: Neil, Liam and Elroy Finn 

From Music 101, 12:15 pm on 27 February 2021

The reincarnated Crowded House are set to tour New Zealand this month and to release a new album in June after last year's planned worldwide tour had to be cancelled due to Covid-19.

Crowded house tour 2021

Crowded House tour 2021. Photo: supplied

Neil Finn told Music 101's Charlotte Ryan that at this time last year they were recording in a Los Angeles studio as they were getting the news of the unfolding pandemic.

"And eventually we actually cancelled our session about a week out from when we were to start to rehearse for touring."

Neil says the group is now poised to do a tour of New Zealand and he is optimistic that it will continue "but we're still navigating the pandemic".

Crowded House is also set to release a new album, Dream is Awaiting, on 4 June.

Neil says the album was started last February, but because of Covid-19 they ended up working on it individually in their own home studios.

But he says the songs benefitted from having the extra time to spend on them.

"Some of the songs that came to be in that time, you know, we didn't expect to be some of the best songs on the record."

The last official Crowded House show was at the Sydney Opera house on 27 November 2016, after the band was inducted into the Australian Hall of Fame.

But Crowded House has never been inducted into the New Zealand Hall of Fame, and Neil says it's proven to be quite tricky.

"Mostly based around the idea that it wouldn't be right for Crowded House to be inducted into the New Zealand Hall of Fame until Split Enz had been inducted 'cause there's a certain historical sequence of events there."

Neil says there was an opportunity for Split Enz to be inducted in New Zealand's very first Hall of Fame but they were touring that year.

"And from then on, it's been impossible," Neil says.

Neil says his sons Liam and Elroy, who are both now in the band, sometimes mention the way the songs have evolved, saying "you've never really done that song like it's supposed to be done on the record".

Liam says Crowded House never played the songs live exactly how they sounded on the record.

"You know when you hear a song that you really love or that you know really well and there's that part coming up, sometimes it's a really simple little nuance of ... a vocal inflexion or a guitar lick or something like that and then the band that you're watching doesn't do it cause they forgot that that's a part on the record.

"I'm always a little bit bummed when I see bands do that, so I think we've kind of taken it upon ourselves to make sure that those little bits that, you know for us, would be noticeable if they were missing, happen somehow."

Asked what Crowded House's philosophy has been over the years, Neil says the band always has an unusual approach to playing live in that they want accidents to happen.

"We wanted to make the audience feel like they didn't quite know what was going to happen next, there's an element of humour that permeates even the serious moments, there's just a little underlying element of humour, I think that's some of the ethos of the band."

Neil says he is not comfortable sticking exclusively to any one musical genre but the band has been influenced by soul, pop and rock.

He says it has been great to have his sons in the band.

"Family connections are just invaluable in terms of keeping in simpatico and instincts and intuition, you can't get that from hiring somebody in off the street."

Mitchell Froom, who produced the first three Crowded House albums, has also joined the band.

Neil says he has had a signature sound in quite a lot of Crowded House songs, including doing the organ solo in 'Don't Dream It's Over'.

"So it feels like we've really dug back into the true nature and the true soul of Crowded House in putting this line-up together, it feels the most integrated and vital.

"It feels like a real substantial and soulful line-up."

Click here for tickets



HAMILTON                  CLAUDELANDS ARENA          will be rescheduled

NAPIER                        CHURCH ROAD WINERY         will be rescheduled

NELSON                      TRAFALGAR CENTRE             TUESDAY, 9 MARCH – NEW SHOW DATE


DUNEDIN                     TOWN HALL                            THURSDAY, 11 MARCH – SOLD OUT


WELLINGTON              TSB BANK ARENA                  MONDAY, 15 MARCH


AUCKLAND                  SPARK ARENA                        FRIDAY, 19 MARCH – SOLD OUT


AUCKLAND                  SPARK ARENA                        SUNDAY, 21 MARCH – NEW SHOW