Finish Flag dive into the making of ‘Swimming Pools’
May 29, 2020

Finish Flag dive into the making of ‘Swimming Pools’

The triumph of reaching your destination, if the land snail can do it, so can you. Ah yes music (not that I have all that much experience of making it), is an unfathomably long process, and any band that serves up two albums in a year is clearly cheating, and should consider summarising how they went about it. One of those dubious one-page PDFs you find in the pits of the internet, buried among that folder you said you ‘accidentally’ downloaded might be a good starting point.

Time flies, it being 2020, and 4-years since Finish Flag released their last full-length. A long enough stretch where outsiders will believe a band has taken a considered approach, sought an acoustically pleasing recording studio, not rushed over that chord progression or what harmony sits where. A marker of quality. An 8+ score on Sputnikmusic if you’re friends with the moderator.

Dishing out the top quality slabs of gut-punching indie-rock are members Dexter Bush (vocals, guitar), Sophie Mackenzie (vocal, guitar), Nathan Haynes (bass, vocals) and Robert Malinowski (drums). Despite everything being closed, they press on. We caught up with Dexter to talk Swimming Pools, their new release coming soon via Keroleen Records (Doe, Supermilk, The Hippaes).

Greetings! How did Finish Flag come to be a band and what’s London like for playing shows?
Finish Flag started as a little bedroom pop solo project of mine in 2015, and has slowly morphed into a proper band over time. This album is the first thing we’ve ever made in full band mode. Playing live is maybe the most fun you can have as a band, and we’re all from London originally, so getting to tick our favourite London venues off of our ‘we-played-there’ list has been awesome.


How have you been keeping your mind occupied and sane during lockdown?
Obviously building up to the album release has been taking up some time – it’s obviously not an ideal time to be putting out an album really, but we’ve been busy – we shot and edited 2 videos, and a third is on the way, we’ve been fiddling with the record sleeve design, designing a new T-shirt, lots of fun stuff. I’m also a key worker so I haven’t been forced into learning how to cope with working from home as much as a lot of people.


As it’s the time we’re living in, have you been watching any streamed shows during lockdown, and if so do you have any highlights?
I’ve probably done more than I’ve watched, but I’ve seen some great ones! Supermilk, Happy Accidents, Fresh, Me Rex, and Ratboys have all been great!


Artwork by the immensely talented Antonia Stringer.


‘Swimming Pools’ you say, what’s the story behind that?
Without wanting to sound too overly lofty and philosophical, ‘Swimming Pools’ has always felt like an apt metaphor for someone’s internal headspace – it’s warm and comfortable, but it gently distorts and ripples around objective truths. Also the words look nice written down.


If you could choose a favourite song on the new album what would it be?
The third song, ‘Still Life’ is my favourite. I’m particularly pleased with the combination of vibey and abstract and also mundane and every day stuff in the lyrics, and I love Sophie’s guitar part. The second half is loud and has brass and falsetto and it feels cathartic and exciting the few times I’ve listened back.

Where did you dream up the idea for video, Swing Those Voters to The Left?
We definitely just wanted to make something stupid and funny and involve our friends. It’s got multiple finish flag dads, friends in bands, old school friends. Everyone was very game to look stupid and be given a stupid name.


Top-4 dream-line-up, post-lockdown, when everything is safe. Who’d it be?
Supermilk. Frank Ocean. Sandy Alex G. Phoebe Bridgers. That’d be a pretty weird show.


Well done, you made it.