Sunday 19 November 2017

Q&A: Charlie Fink

Ed Power

Ed Power

On the Kinks, Laura Marling and mandolins

Your new single L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N was just on the radio. To be honest, it reminded us a lot of Lola by the Kinks.

It's really funny. When we were recording that no one spotted it. The funny thing is, people name three or four different songs it reminds them of. I guess you are doing all right if it reminds them of something like [Lola].

The last we heard from Noah and the Whale you were poster boys for the London 'nu-folk' scene. But in your recent press shots you look as if you've just walked out of an Esquire cover shoot. Great hair -- and not a mandolin to be seen!

The reason we are dressing smarter is that our new album is about growing up. We've been in a band since we were quite young. People see you grow up in public, in a way. In the last three years we've changed quite a lot.

You were in a serious relationship with singer Laura Marling and even wrote an entire album about your break-up. It sounds as if you are trying to get away from all that on your new record.

I never feel shy about being candid. If you want a song to resonate, that's the best way to be. But part of me wanted to test myself. I was trying to write a third-person narrative. There's a real skill to be able to do something like that. Look at Tom Waits -- on Bone Machine he's duetting with himself. He has two different voices. That's a great thing to be able to do.

Of course, Laura is now stepping out with Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons. Previously regarded as understudies to Noah and the Whale, they've had huge success in the US this past year. You must be a little green at the gills, surely?

I think it's fantastic. Everyone is very surprised. I'm sure they are. None of us went into this thing expecting anything to happen. It's great for them. We are always pleased to see bands we know doing well.

Your brother Doug quit the band recently. A Gallagher-style bust-up, presumably ?

He's left to become a doctor. It's a pretty unique situation, it's very boring. Once you finish your six years of study, you need to do two years of shadowing, within two years of completing your course. Otherwise you would have to go back and study again. I know he is very conflicted about being either a drummer or a doctor.

The new album is extremely contemporary. Was the 'nu-folk' tag getting old?

It wasn't necessarily that I wanted to move away from people calling us nu-folk or whatever. When you are in a band and you tour a lot, it is easy to get in a bubble and act like a kid the whole time. People stay on the road and don't grow up. For us, this is a coming-of-age record. It's partly about taking your first step in the world and being a man.

The album Last Night On Earth is out today. Noah and the Whale play Whelan's, Dublin, on April 3 and Academy, Dublin, on May 8

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