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Finneas Reveals Everyday Sounds Hidden in "Bury a Friend" and "Bad Guy"

Finneas Reveals Everyday Sounds Hidden in
-Welcome to the show and thanks for talking with me. -Thanks for having me. -For those who don't know, you are a songwriter, a performer, a producer as well. And you've worked with Selena Gomez, Camila Cabello, Halsey, and most famously, I think, is probably your number-one collaborator is Billie Eilish, your sister. -That's right. -When did you guys first realize that you would be good working together, you and Billie? -Well, I always knew she had an incredibly beautiful voice. But I didn't want to force her into child labor. So I kind of waited until she wanted to. You know? -How much older are you than Billie? -Four years. -Four years. And you saw it when you were a kid. You were like, "Oh, she's got something." -Her voice was always so much better than mine. And it's just like one of those where you're like, "Oh, yeah. That's just the way it is, huh?" And then when she seemed interested in recording, I was like, "Well, let's try some stuff out." -And what did you do? You just put something -- Like, where did you perform and what did you put out? -Well, the first couple things we did just lived on the website SoundCloud. -Oh, yeah. -We did one song that hopefully people don't know very well because we're not super pumped on it. And then we did another one that, hopefully, people also don't know very well. -You don't have to say the names. -And the third one we did was "Ocean Eyes,"...
finneas reveals everyday sounds hidden in bury a friend and bad guy
which people heard. -And how many people -- When did you realize, "Oh, we got something here"? -Well, we put it out because we had no schedule. We weren't on a label or anything. We just put it out one night and then went to bed and then woke up the next morning and it had like 1,000 plays and we were like, "I don't know 1,000 people. Do you know 1,000 people?" But it was really -- Looking back, it was so gradual in terms of that. But that was what made it so fun. You know what I mean? I always feel kind of bad for someone who wakes up with like 10 million views on their yodeling in a Walmart. -Yeah, yeah, I understand what you're saying. -It just seems like it goes so fast that you don't get time to appreciate little -- Like, a thousand's a ton. If you had 1,000 people in your house, you'd be like, "Please, leave." -This is true. But look at what you end up doing. Your debut album, "When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?" debuted at number one, has been streamed over 15 billion times worldwide. 15 billion times. But the way you put a song together is very interesting. I was asking you about this. You told me that you would record different

sounds

and Billie would record different

sounds

. And you'd go, "Hey, can we use this in the song?" -Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, because computers and everything have gotten so much cheaper and more accessible, I feel like a lot of music producers have the same...
finneas reveals everyday sounds hidden in bury a friend and bad guy
toolbox. And I think, like, to me, as a producer, I always want something to set my stuff apart. And so I'll walk around with just an iPhone will work, but sometimes I'll bring a little mobile recorder. And if I hear an interesting sound, I'll just record it, and then later I'll listen through them and I'll go like, "I wonder how I can use that." So, like, there's a song of Billie's called "

Bury

a

Friend

." And we both have Invisalign, dental teeth straighteners. And she was at the dentist, and they were grinding down -- They put these attachments on your teeth, and they were grinding down of hers with that horrible, like -- Like, whatever ASMR is, it's the opposite of that. The most unpleasant -- -Oh, yeah. -Like... Like, that sound. -Yeah. It's in your head. -She came home from one of those appointments and was like, "I recorded it," and I was like, "Great." And we put it right in "

Bury

a

Friend

." -Let me show you guys. So, here's the sound that Billie recorded. This is the drill. Ready? -When it's in your brain, that kind of feeling. -Just playing that really hurt my head. It hurt my teeth. Alright, so that was that. And this is "

Bury

a

Friend

," and you can see if you can hear it. ♪ -Calling security, keepin' my head held down ♪ ♪

Bury

the hatchet ♪ -Wow. -Just a little textural thing. -Wow, that's awesome. Now, I have one here, that says...
finneas reveals everyday sounds hidden in bury a friend and bad guy
"crosswalk." What is "crosswalk"? -So, we've toured Australia a couple times, which is really beautiful, and in Sydney and Melbourne, when you stand at a street light and you press the button to cross the street, which -- Here's my poll that I'm conducting. Do you think those buttons -- -First of all, you're not conducting a poll. -I'm conducting a poll. You're the first person that I'm polling. Do you think the buttons -- -I'm sorry, I'm busy right now. -Yeah, sorry. -Do you think the buttons on street corners do anything or do you think they're just for us? -They're just for us. It's almost like the door close in the elevator. That doesn't do anything. -Right, absolutely. -It's not attached to anything. Press it as much as you want. And then eventually the door will close. -The superintendent's like, "Yeah, I put those -- I count them every day to see how many idiots there are." Anyway. -But I do press the button all the time. -Oh, yeah, me too. You press it over and over. So, when you're on a street corner in Australia, you press the button, and when the walk sign turns on, you hear this rhythmic sound that I love and that Billie loved. And so we recorded it, and it

sounds

like this. It's got, like, a groove. ♪ -Feels like the white-winged dove ♪ ♪ Sings a song,

sounds

like she's singing ♪ ♪ Ooh, baby, ooh-ooh ♪ -Perfect. -Wait. That's bizarre. Wait. That...
happens in Australia? -That's just every time you cross a street in Australia, you hear that. -Wow. Alright. So then you use that for the song "Bad Guy." -Yeah, the thing people think are high hats in "Bad Guy" is actually just that. ♪ -Duh ♪ -Here's the -- -Wow. Wow! -Here's the bonus round, is that we then went back to Australia after the album came out. And we brought our dad for the first time. The first couple tours, we couldn't, like, bring our -- We just didn't have enough crew to bring 'cause we have our dad on our crew, and we brought our dad with us, and we were bringing him around Australia. It was his first time. And he goes, "Check out these crosswalk

sounds

." He goes, "How cool are these

sounds

?" And I was like, "Yep. Yep." And I was like, "Check this out." I played him "Bad Guy" and he was like, "Wha?" -And you go -- -Yeah, it was great. It was a good revelation for Pops. -You're like, "Duh." Come on. -That's why he has a show.