WRITING and recording songs in a New Zealand beach cottage in the summer – sounds like an idyllic escape, right?
Not so for Liam Finn, the former Betchadupa front man and son of muso Neil Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House).
On the back of tours around the world with Pearl Jam, The Black Keys and Wilco, Finn was cast adrift by his sudden sea change.
“I didn't realise how accustomed I'd grown to the touring lifestyle,” he said.
“I love the adrenaline of performing live. It's very much like a drug and I was addicted to it. Not having that rush of adrenaline every night, I was wandering around and being fidgety. I had to figure out how to replace that.
“With hindsight, last year seems like the most beautifully paradise-like year of my life, but it is nice to be moving around again.”
FOMO, the title of Finn's follow up to his debut solo album I'll Be Lightning, is an acronym that sums it up perfectly: fear of missing out.
“Every day I went into the studio it was gorgeous outside,” he said.
“Friends would be calling, saying 'Come to this great party….come out and play'.”
Avoiding temptation, Finn locked himself in the studio with Canadian-born guitarist Burke Reid, who helped Finn out of his “funk”.
“I think it was really important to me to have someone who had a strong opinion,” he said.
“I was stuck in a bit of a funk. I didn't know what my objective was anymore.
“This one (album) had so many options and ideas that went in so many different directions. I needed someone to rein it in and listen to it from a different perspective. It would have been a very different record without him.”
Lyrically, Finn started fresh with FOMO.
“I didn't want to involve any songs written on the road in years prior,” he said.
“I wanted it to be current for myself so I could believe it. It pushed me to write in the studio. I was still finishing off lyrics in the last week. I hadn't done it in that way before. You've got to make each record feel like you're making the first record all over again.”
One listen to FOMO and it's clear Finn was in a very different place in his life compared to the melancholic sounds and themes on I'll Be Lightning.
His current single Cold Feet is a good example of FOMO's more upbeat vibe.
“The song gave me an immediate summertime feeling, like at the end of summer when you've met someone on holiday and you don't know where you're going to end up,” he said.
“I've recently entered into a new relationship and that's been the most amazing things that I've ever felt, so I wanted to write something that told the story of that excitement when you first meet the person who makes you feel like you've never felt before.”
Finn plays at Splendour in the Grass before touring his home country of New Zealand. He then returns to Australia in mid August for a six-date tour.
“Splendour is going to be my first kind of Australian debut of a lot of the songs,” he said.
“It's exciting for me how songs evolve as you perform them live. When you write them in the studio they have this relatively undeveloped character about them.”
FOMO is in stores now. Splendour in the Grass plays Woodford July 29-31.