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Making music, not spinning it


Greenall with singer/actress Monica Dogra.

Fin Greenall likes bucking the trend. In today's age, musicians are increasingly enmeshing themselves in the synth-sounds of electronic music, but Greenall, who used to be a DJ and producer, chose to ditch that life to make emotional, honest, acoustic music. It was after watching Amy Winehouse write songs and make music that Greenall decided to swap the decks for guitar. 

"Dance music was about being cool, " says Greenall, 40, who was born and brought up in Bristol. In 1999, he released an electronic music album Fresh Produce. "But I got bored of that shit - trendy label, cool DJ, girlfriend. When you're a DJ, you party a lot and there comes a point when you realise that DJs are not the healthiest people on the planet, and for a good reason too. "

But it wasn't just concerns about his health that made Greenall stop spinning and start writing songs. "I wanted to express myself, I wanted to make music that would last longer than the summer, " he says. "I wanted to be like the artists I listened to, you know. "

Greenall got the chance to work with the charmingly, if fatally messed up, Winehouse, when she first started putting her demos together. "She was an incredible talent, even at 16/17. The fact that a girl like Amy could sing with an amazing voice and get signed really inspired me to sing myself, to be honest, because we wrote some songs together and I just thought, 'I should make music. '" With Winehouse, who died aged 27 in 2011, he co-wrote the song Half Time, which appears on Winehouse's posthumous collection Lioness: Hidden Treasures.

It was this feeling which resulted in 2006's Biscuits for Breakfast. It will feature current collaborators Guy Whittaker and Tim Thornton, whom Greenall had been friends with for a few years, but has never worked with before. Built around his bluesy, soothing voice, his band - the trio calls themselves Fink - has crafted soft-spoken acoustics that have a fledgling pop sensibility with massive indie overtones. The album, along with the single Pretty Little Thing, helped define his style and extend his reach to a wider and more high-profile, audience, notably Zero 7, who invited Fink to support them on their UK tour. Since then the band has released three more albums: Distance and Time (2007), Sort of Revolution (2009) and Perfect Darkness (2011), which is being currently promoted on a world tour which ends in Bangalore in December 2012 when they perform at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender.

Indian audiences will not have to wait till December to hear the magical potency of Greenall's emotionally charged lyrics and honest voice. The second season of the Dewarists, the television show that combined music and travel, kicked off with a collaboration between Greenall, Bollywood music directors Salim-Sulaiman and Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali titled Let's go in the maximum city of Mumbai.

"India was hardcore, " he sighs. "I saw Mumbai from the inside, from real grimy situation to the opulence of the hotel. Pretty full on, you know. The sights, smells, colour, it was a lot to take in," he adds. "I never thought my music would take me to India. I always thought I would travel to India once I'm done with my music."

Even though neither Fink nor Greenall had heard of the show, he googled it and liked what he saw. "It was a great opportunity to work with Indian/ Asian musicians, different rhythms, melodies. A real challenge."

Although he wasn't sure of how the pairing with the Bollywood duo would work out, Greenall, who has collaborated with rap acts like Professor Green in the past, had an open mind. "I'm indie, underground. Salim-Sulaiman have a big, mainstream sound. There are situations where you realise you have to leave your ego at the door. There's no room for it in the studio."

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