Backstage at this year's ACL Music Festival, Billboard’s Jordyn Rolling caught up with Finneas to chat about how he came up with the concept for his latest music video “Shelter,” what his process was like writing and recording his debut EP, Blood Harmony, and how performing solo differs from being on stage with his sister, Billie Eilish.
Asked to explain the meaning behind the visuals for “Shelter,” Finneas told Billboard that he always knew that he wanted the video to be choreography-based, since the song has a lot of energy.
Working with director Sam Bennett, the pair had been brainstorming ideas for a while. One idea Bennett had suggested involved Eyes Wide Shut masks, which Finneas wasn’t very into. Then, Bennett wrote a premise that involved Finneas running, 24 dancers and filming at the basin of an L.A. river.
The singer recalled that on the day of filming, he had a horrible fever. “I thought I was gonna die shooting that video,” he confessed. “But it was really fun, and I'm really happy with the way it turned out.”
Finneas also chatted about his new EP Blood Harmony, which dropped last week. He told Billboard that he wrote most of the project in hotel rooms, green rooms and other locations while he was on tour over the past 12 months.
“Sometimes I'd put a blanket over my head to get it to be a little quieter,” he remembered. “I like listening to it and knowing that I was in Dublin, recording those vocals, and in Russia, recording those vocals, and that just makes it a cool time capsule thing.”
In the interview, Finneas also discussed the difference between making music for himself versus with his sister and frequent collaborator Billie Eilish.
“I try to approach both kind of the same way in their own respects,” he shared. “If I'm making a song with Billie, then it's for Billie…She has to want to wear that song every day. And I think I try to do the same thing when I'm making a song for myself… I try to treat them both that way, like I'm sort of A&R-ing her and then A&R-ing myself.”
When it comes to performing live, Finneas admits that he is much more comfortable being on stage with his sister than alone.
“My job is so easy with Billie,” he said. “I just get to play cool bass lines and play keys, and jam out with our incredible drummer Andrew. When I'm on stage right now, I'm the only person on stage, I don't have a band or anything, so it's just me and I'm sweating, and wearing a suit, and tripping over myself. It's super nerve-wracking.”
“I've also performed way more with Billie than on my own, so maybe in two years I'll feel differently,” he added. “But today, I've already done my show today and I'm doing Billie's in three hours. And I'm not nervous at all, I'm just excited.”
Check out the full video interview with Finneas above.