The Wireless presents the premiere of Finn Johansson's new video 'Gregor Samsa'.
“My brain is an idiot now.”
Written at a point in time where he was trying to get over the fear of following up a release he was really proud of, the psychedelic country musician says that the process was all about trying to stretch himself as a songwriter. Plus, he says, it was all he needed to describe the situation he had found himself in.
“I'd just boarded a century-old wooden tall ship in the Republic of Ireland, bound for Liverpool, and realised that I'd left my passport 300km away. Those six words were my mantra for the next 24 hours.”
I'd just boarded a century-old wooden tall ship in the Republic of Ireland, bound for Liverpool, and realised that I'd left my passport 300km away.
So, how did all this come about? Well to start with, Finn thought he was getting kicked out of the house he was staying at in London, and says he “desperately emailed HelpX and WOOFing sites, trying to find an environment that would support me where I didn't have to make coffees or pull beers”.
He moved around a bit and then eventually he ended up on the boat.
“The owner Vicky had sold her house and bought it when she got a message from God telling her to go do missionary work in Papua New Guinea,” says Finn. “I stepped into the equation about seven years into her plan ... It was just me, her and Rich the firstmate, with an orbiting personnel of Spaniards and other miscellaneous rapscallions.”
And it was while he was living on the ship and that he wrote Two Thousand and Fourteen, his new album from which ‘Gregor Samsa’ is lifted from.
To knock out the record, Finn forced himself to write a song per day, and, to ensure he went through with it, he signed up to a website that would donate $100 of his money to a charity he hated if he failed. The self-bribe worked, and the 10 best songs made up the album, which he dropped back in July.
“I can picture vividly all the songs I think I have in me, and I'd assumed that they'd all just come out at some point. Totally not the case. So that was my 'extraction plan', if you will. 40 songs later, it's worked! It's just about time for another one, I think...”
I hope it makes people laugh slightly confusedly. I also hope it makes them go about their days in a more playful way for a couple of hours after they see it.
Back home, Finn’s just wrapped up a double headlining tour with theatre production The Things We Do. He says that the 18 solo performances taught him that he still has a long way to go, but his next step involves putting together a band for his official Wellington CD release party on December 12.
The video for ‘Gregor Samsa’ was made with the help of Neenah Dekkers-Reihana, Zoe Joblin and Courtney Rose Brown. Finn says they all raided Zoe’s sister’s wardrobe, dressed up as international detectives, and “spent the whole day pointing a handicam at each other all over Wellington”.
“The story we're telling in this video is of step-sibling duo Dusty Gale and Gabriel Fahrenheit, as they face family betrayals, international mayhem and centuries-old danger. Gabriel has delusions of efficacy. Dusty is the one actually at the reins most of the time.”
Now that it’s done, Finn intends on upping his skills as a video director, and he has plans to make clips for the other nine songs on the album to get some practice in. As for this one, he says his goal is simple.
“I hope it makes people laugh slightly confusedly. I also hope it makes them go about their days in a more playful way for a couple of hours after they see it.”
We hope so too.