Elroy Finn is the son of one of New Zealand's most beloved musicians, Neil Finn. He's also a musician in his own right and has just released his debut album, Elroy. He spoke to RNZ Music's Tony Stamp about his musical journey and performed his single, 'Worth the Wait' live at the RNZ studios.
Elroy Finn is the youngest member of one of New Zealand’s most famous musical families.
He’s the son of Neil, and the younger brother of Liam, but his debut album - a collection of slightly psychedelic, slightly melancholy indie pop tunes - has been released under his first name only.
“I’m not going to shy away from my family history. I just thought ‘there’s already a few [first name] Finns out there making music, so maybe just [first name] will be fine”, he tells me with a twinkle in his eye.
“People will write ‘Elroy’, then maybe (Finn) just to give context.”
Meeting Elroy I can see a resemblance to Liam, and he sports, it must be said, a very Finn-esque head of hair. I guess he’s in his early thirties (he’s actually twenty nine), and wonder why we’re just hearing his music for the first time.
“I’d been writing songs since I was a teenager, and wasn’t super happy with the overall vibe of them. I enjoyed making them, I just didn’t really want to release that sort of music - more straightforward singer-songwriter sort of songs”.
Instead, he spent ten years playing drums in various bands - Liam’s as well as Connan Mockasin’s, Cut Off your Hands and others - which led to time living in London and New York, while he worked on his songwriting, and crucially, learned the technical skills to record them.
“Growing up there was always music around, and I was always encouraged to pick up instruments and be part of it all, but the art of recording is quite a different beast. It seemed like I’d never be able to grasp that as well as the creative side.
“As time’s gone on it’s been possible to learn a bit about that crazy sonic world, and I feel like I’m getting better at it.”
Elroy enthuses to me about the advances in home recording technology, like how he can make drum beats with ease on his iPhone. I suggest it’s enabled a lot of introverts to create without the pressure of dealing with studios and sound engineers.
It’s also allowed him to make music outside his dad’s studio, and create a sound that’s distinctly his own (although it has to be said his voice is instantly recognisable as a Finn’s).
I tell him so.
“That’s good. I’m happy with that.
“I just wanted to make something that wouldn’t be comparable to a lot of stuff. I don’t know if I’ve done that necessarily, but I just tried to make it as much like me as I could," he says with the twinkle back in his eye, "because it’s my record.”