Charlie Fink says the weeks leading up to a new album’s release are the most anxious.
Not that you’d know it from looking at him relaxing, cross-legged, in an armchair at home with a mug of Earl Grey on his knee.
But the Noah And The Whale frontman had something of a torrid time getting ready to pen the band’s fourth album, Heart Of Nowhere.
The group toured America with their third album, 2011’s Last Night On Earth, three or four times before trying to write their fourth.
“We were about a year into touring, and the band were quite eager to start on a new record. I just wasn’t in the right place to be doing it,” he says.
“We went back to the synagogue where we’d recorded Last Night On Earth and it just didn’t happen.
“It was quite frustrating, because there’s nothing you can do. I realised I was waiting for something in my life to happen. Being frustrated is just a waste of energy.”
He won’t be drawn on exactly what he was waiting for and the only other time he clams up is when asked if the Lisa that appears in Heart Of Nowhere’s Still After All These Years is the same Lisa mentioned in the previous album’s buoyant single L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. He won’t be drawn.
Certainly he laid himself bare for the band’s album First Days Of Spring. His relationship with Laura Marling had not long ended, and the album’s lyrics dealt with that.I’ve never regretted being so honest on that record, not at all,” he says. “I’ve always thought it was the right thing to do, although there have been occasional awkward repercussions, but it’s fine. It is what it is.
“If you’re going to dedicate your life to writing songs you should try to be honest and master the craft as best you can. I’m coming to learn there’s a difference between honest and autobiographical, too.”
To kickstart writing again, then, Fink thought long and hard about what themes he’d like to weave into Heart Of Nowhere. It’s a nostalgic record which is all the more startling given his age. Surely 26 is too young ?
“One of the main things that sparked off this album was a friend getting engaged,” he says. “We’ve been away a lot since releasing our first album five years ago.I was suddenly struck by this feeling I didn’t know what was going on in my friends’ lives any more, and there is a landmark moment which comes with that, that you’re getting older.”