Fink: A DJ Changes Track

swap the wheels of steel and the adoration of the club crowd for a guitar and some 'songs'?<br/>

Feature by Caroline Hurley | 15 Jul 2006
DJs; is there anyone cooler? They get to hide in a box making other people listen to their music, like well-dressed wizards of Oz, and they are worshipped for it. So what would make a successful, respected DJ signed to Ninjatune swap the wheels of steel and the adoration of the club crowd for a guitar and some 'songs'?

As I posed this question to Fink, he was on his way to the Norwich Travel Inn, on the next leg of the tour supporting Zero 7. From playing some of the best known club venues in Europe, to residing at the former home of Alan Partridge, how did it happen?

"Well when I started college, I started a band but then one of my mates bought a computer…" The first of the bedroom DJs were born, and Fink seems glad to have been caught up in the excitement of the early trip-hop scene. "When we started, DJ Krush and DJ Shadow were the vanguard, but gradually, all of the ninjas have gotten into real music."

By "real music", he means singer-songwriters, and lists those of a previous generation's scene, such as John Martyn and Joni Mitchell. When asked who features as influences in his current semi-acoustic work with it's laid-back bluesy approach, folk pop features more heavily than hip hop or electronica.

The anonymity of the DJ booth seems to have lost it's appeal also, and the lyrics featured on latest album 'Biscuits for Breakfast' are undeniably personal, occasionally even confessional; "Yeah, Kamlyn is about a real girl, I had to call up my ex and say listen, I've written this song about us, is that cool?" The lyrics were "the hardest thing to learn, I wanted to keep them as real and as raw as possible and not be cheesy."

His vernacular is still peppered with dance music slang, talking about "the ninjas" like a family, and apparently very aware that without the label's support, it would have been much harder to get this sort of record off the ground. "They just said, 'so long as it's decent, we'll put it out.'"

So has he turned his back on DJing for good, or is this more of a hiatus? "No, this is it man, this is what I want to be doing now, I still play the occasional set at Fabric or sometimes in Brighton of whatever but really, I'd rather go to a gig and drink a beer now than go to a club and take drugs."

As the first ninja to branch out in this way, Fink says that he does feel the pressure, yet the fact that this new material differs so much from his previous releases "exonerates me from judgement really, a lot of the ninjas don't like it but now my fan base isn't your average Ninjatune fanbase either, the guys have Ammoncontact and it's more likely to be their girlfriends who listen to my stuff now really. It's quite liberating."

The next album is "about forty percent written" and should begin recording in October, after a summer playing the festival circuit in the UK and Europe. There seems to be no end to what Fink might turn their hands to, following the Alison Moyet cover on the current album with a possible "System Of A Down bluegrass version" on the next release.

At the time we spoke, just a couple of hours before going on stage, the plan was to get to the venue and find a rehearsal space to "change things around." And then Fink the DJ returns with nervous excitement; "we only have ten or so songs now, instead of a whole bag of records."
Fink plays with Zero 7 at Glasgow ABC on June 7
'Biscuits For Breakfast' is out now on Ninjatune.