Producer Finneas says that he and Billie Eilish ‘don’t let music theory inform how we write a song’

(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

With the Producer of the Year Grammy Award and a Bond theme, No Time To Die, already under his belt, 2020 is shaping up to be as successful as 2019 for Finneas, Billie Eilish’s brother and creative partner.

He recently spoke to GQ about his workflow, shedding more light on his decision to record at home rather than in a commercial studio and giving his thoughts on the pros and cons of learning music theory, taking the view that a knowledge of it won’t necessarily make you a better musician.

“I am just fascinated by music and I want to know how to identify all the things I love about it; to me music theory is like learning another language and then being able to explain how much you love something more clearly,” he says.

“I’m just obsessed with music I guess. I don't analyze songs because I think it will make me a better songwriter, I just do it out of sheer curiosity. Billie and I, for example, don't let theory inform how we write a song.” 

Discussing why he and Eilish didn’t get on with working in a commercial studio space, meanwhile, Finneas said: “I think it was the clock in, clock out, mentality of those places; this didn’t work for us. I'm a big believer in the benefit of a home studio. You're sitting there and maybe you don’t know the next line. So you go outside for a second, maybe. Make a sandwich. Play with the dog. Or watch an episode of The Office, whatever. And then it clicks, you run back into the room, and you’ve got it. It’s not like your creativity is on the clock.”

You can read the full interview on the GQ website. 

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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