I felt excited about the internet when it was in its infancy, but this feeling has gone because a lot of the content is just either commercial or information-based. Nevertheless, there was a site that guided me, superbad.com, because it is funny and the graphic images and animation are arresting. I hope that I've created an inspirational website.
My website offers more than just my songs – it's an interactive experience. I could have offered my records for downloading, but I've gone one step further by offering individual samples – melody, chords or instruments – from each song. You hear the samples by moving your mouse over icons. Then you can plot a new song from my samples – and some people have posted their remixes on the site.
I feel that the website's graphics are fantastic: dark, mysterious, humorous and slightly disturbing. The graphics represent the brain as it makes music. There are a number of heads and skulls. My favourite is a real CAT scan of a brain; when your mouse moves over it, sound effects are prompted. So these heads contain fragments of melodies – like my head in reality is filled with snippets of sound. There is also a series of coordinates that change when you move the mouse. It isn't obvious what the numbers represent, and I don't even know myself!
I have discovered that a website is a very dynamic medium. I would often ask my programmer to create something and he would say, I don't know if that's possible. Ultimately, we would then compromise between my original, non-technical idea and the final technical solution. In one instance, I wanted to have a gallery of faces that each answered differently to the same question. But it was only possible to use voices – the software couldn't cope with running a moving video clip.
The internet is so new that everyone – whether they're a beginner, like myself, or experienced like my programmer – has almost the same chances of creating something brilliant. I ended up spending a day a week on the website for a whole year because I had so many ideas. I've learned that it is quite easy to revise and change a website, but you still need to answer some very practical questions. We wanted to have five zones related to the five senses, but how long would we be able to think of relevant information to fill each section? We had a lot of information, but did the user want to see this on the front page or on an archive section?
I find the internet to be an intimate environment. I have seen some wonderful exchanges between people via my website. Ultimately, it's a brilliant way of sharing cultures without being in the same room as someone. My favourite story in defining this is an e-mail I recently got from a man in Spain telling me that he was having girlfriend trouble, and because she is a really big Crowded House fan would I send her a note expressing his love? His note was written in Spanish and the computer translated his very romantic adjectives in to rather clumsy syntax. I wrote back and I heard nothing more – but I suspect that they didn't get back together.
Interview by Jennifer Rodger
Neil Finn's new single, 'Hole in the Ice' is out now (Parlophone). For more information, visit www.nilfun.netReuse content