Neil Finn is a songwriter. He was born in Te Awamutu, a small New Zealand town on May 27, 1958, the youngest child to accountant, Richard Finn, and Irish immigrant, Mary Finn (nee Mullane). Neil's happy childhood included parties in the family home, complete with wine and song, catholic priests in attendance, and an obligatory performance from Neil and older brother Tim. Mother, Mary, was known for her enthusiastic songs on the piano...all in the same key, while their father, Richard, though a music enthusiast, was tone deaf. The boys both took music lessons, beginning with piano, and their mother taught them to sing in harmony.
Though Tim was the more reluctant performer of the two, in 1972 he went on to form one of the most successful bands to ever originate from New Zealand, Split Enz. Neil was too young to join the band initially, as he was still in school, but sometimes opened for Split Enz as a solo artist in the band's early years. When Neil left school, because they would not let him major in music, he took a job as a hospital orderly and formed a band called After Hours.
One day, Neil's unexpectedly got a call from older brother Tim, asking him to join Split Enz as lead guitarist. Though Neil only was proficient on acoustic guitar, not electric, he agreed to join...eventually. As the story goes, Tim was surprised when Neil said he would have to think about it....after all, he had his current band to consider. Split Enz was taking a big leap of faith, trusting in his talent and ability to learn, and after a period of keeping his guitar playing low in the mix, and band members refusing to play on the same side of the stage as him (he was that bad) eventually Neil grew into his role. And then some. Not only is Neil a skilled and respected guitarist today, but some of Split Enz's biggest hits are Neil's originals, including "Message to My Girl" and "I Got You". Not long prior to joining Split Enz in 1977, Neil was introduced to Sharon Johnson, who he married in 1982, and with whom he had two children, Liam (1983) and Elroy (1989).
After Split Enz broke up in 1984, Neil and Australian Enz drummer, Paul Hester, formed a band called The Mullanes with Australians Nick Seymour and Craig Hooper. Craig soon left the band, and the name changed to Crowded House, reflecting the cramped quarters in which they lived while in Los Angeles, recording their self titled debut album,. Crowded House managed to break the US market with #2 hit song, "Don't Dream It's Over", something Split Enz had been unable to accomplish. However, in the US, their success was short lived, and they were known as one-hit-wonders, while in the rest of the world, they were just getting started. Crowded House went on to record 3 more albums, "Temple of Low Men", "Woodface" and "Together Alone", which, despite increasing success in Europe, Australia and elsewhere, had little success in North America. Elsewhere in the world, the band continued to have success, their fourth album receiving high critical acclaim. Also, multi-instrumentalist, Mark Hart, who had toured with the band for years, joined as an official member for their fourth album. During the tour for "Together Alone", Paul Hester, after years of suffering with bouts of depression, reached a breaking point and felt the need to leave the band. He was replaced by drummer, Peter Jones for the remainder of the tour, but the band broke up shortly after. Their final concert, entitled Farewell to the World, took place on the steps of they Sydney Opera House in 1996, before an audience of an estimated 150 thousand people.
Neil went on to release two solo albums, "Try Whistling" This and "One Nil" (known in some parts of the world as "One All", which has an alternate track listing). Both albums, fan favorites, received higher critical acclaim than commercial success. The same is true for the two Finn Brothers albums with brother Tim, "Finn" and "Everyone is Here". Neil's other projects include a soundtrack for New Zealand movie, Rain, and various collaborations. Of particular note is the 7 World Collide projects, which featured Neil and friends in a super band of sorts, and including Johnny Marr, Eddie Vedder, Phil Selway, Ed O'Brien, Lisa Germano, Sebastian Steinburg and others. The second project did not include Eddie Veddier, but saw the addition of Wilco, including Jeff Tweedy, KT Tunstall, and New Zealanders Don McGlashan and Bic Runga. Both projects saw the involvement of Neil's brother Tim and Son, Liam, with the second involving, as well, Neil's younger son, Elroy, and wife, Sharon. In fact, the second project was a family affair all around with other band members' families getting involved.
After the suicide of drummer Paul Hester in 2004, Neil felt drawn to rekindle his musical and personal relationships with Nick Seymour and Mark Hart, and the result was a new Crowded House album, "Time on Earth", with Beck drummer, Matt Sherrod. The album is laden with echos of the grief and loss regarding the death of their former band-mate. The second album from reformed Crowded House, "Intriguer", showed a new band, carving a new identity. Both albums included world tours.
After the second reformed Crowded house tour, Neil and Sharon Finn found themselves dealing with the new experience of "empty nest", and began having late night jams in their pyjamas. Sharon was a novice on bass guitar, and, so, Neil, so as not to place himself as the "superior" musician in the duo, chose an instrument where he was not proficient, the drums. The recording that came out of these jams evolved, with the the help of friend, Sean Donnelly, into tracks for an album under the name Pajama Club, the spelling reflecting the origin of the band: Pa and Ma having a jam...in their pyjamas! The original name was to be Pajama Party, but the name was already taken. The band did little touring, with drummer Alana Skyring, before it's current hiatus, with no word on whether it may reemerge.
Neil's third solo album, due out mid to late 2013, which involves his wife and both sons - a true family affair. Also, Neil has co-written and performed the song for the closing credits for the movie "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", due for release December, 2012.
Reynold Tagore comes from the small city of Jakarta, Indonesia. He first wanted to become a graphic designer ever since he was a child. By the time he finished university, Reynold moved out to New Zealand to pursue his newfound career.
Now he has succeeded by becoming the texture artist of multiple movies such as Happy Feet 2, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey/ Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and much more to come.
Ra Vincent is a Production Designer and Set Decorator working in and out of New Zealand. Nominated for an Oscar in 2013 as set decorator for his work on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Ra has had his work added to the Academy Library and published in the companion books: The Art Of The Hobbit. With his various skills Ra involves himself in every aspect of the design process, from creating conceptual art to set design and set decoration. With a strong background in sculpture and painting Ra has in the past worked as a Sculpting Supervisor, Scenic Artist, Construction Forman and an Art Director on numerous New Zealand and International films.
|Daniel Clive McCallum
Daniel Clive McCallum is an internationally awarded composer for film, advertisement and concert music. Daniel has worked on a number of large feature length films including, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", "Hyde Park on Hudson", and currently "The Smoke". Daniel has also scored a large number of short films and online episodes. Born in Melbourne, Australia, Daniel studied performance & composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School for 5 years before taking up his studies in composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London with the assistance of the ABRSM scholarship. His Teachers have included head of R.A.M. composition Dr. Phillip Cashien, film composer Luis Bacalov, film composer James Brett and orchestrator Christopher Austin. In 2006, Daniel received the Fellowship of Australian Composers award, giving him recognition for his musical work. This eventually led to performances of of his work by such ensembles as: the Philharmonia Orchestra (U.K.), the Sydney Sinfionetta (AUS), and the London Contemporary Orchestra (U.K.) amongst others. His natural musical voice and flexibility of style has allowed him to write for many different events and occasions, resulting in several prominent commissions both national and internationally. Daniel's music has been recorded and performed at numerous venues including; Abbey Road Studios, NYU Music Hall (USA), the South Bank Center (U.K.), the Sydney Opera House, and many more.
Nicole hails from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia. After graduating high school, she attended Enmore Design Centre, earning her Certificate IV and Diploma in '3D Animation and Visual Effects' in 2007. In 2008 she joined Sydney's Fuel VFX as a Production Assistant before joining their tracking team in 2009, which led to the development of her niche skills. Since then she has worked on a variety of high profile films, in roles including motion capture and camera tracking both mono and stereo projects. After traveling interstate to work with Rising Sun Pictures in Adelaide, she returned to Sydney in 2012, to join the tracking team at Animal Logic for 9 months. Soon after this, Nicole left Australia for New Zealand to achieve one of her biggest life goals to date, to work with Weta Digital on "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"! Now, armed with new experiences and with new goals in place, she seeks more triumph and adventure in her profession. As ever, she searches for future film opportunities both locally and abroad.
Isaac Miller was born in Wellington, New Zealand as the last born child of screenwriter Philippa Boyens and actor Paul Gittins and the younger brother of actor and actress Calum and Phoebe Gittins.
Isaac had his film debut in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as a young Hobbit boy in a flashback of little Bilbo during the Old Took's party, but his scenes were cut from the theatrical version of the film but were included in the extended edition.
Michael Pärt was born in Tallinn, Estonia, on August 17, 1977. In the late 1970s he went with his parents when they emigrated through Austria to Germany. Michael was exposed to music from a very young age, and having grown up in a musical family where everyone was always actively involved in creating music, studying music was a natural route for him to take. After graduating top of his class, Michael Pärt holds a Masters in Music with distinction from Kingston University in London.
Music has taken Michael Pärt around the globe many times over. Since around 2000 he has been using his creativity to structure work-flows and lead and motivate production in music and film, while also contributing directly as producer, editor and more. He has experience of both classical music, with orchestral and ensemble-work, and of contemporary and popular music.
Michael Pärt has gained renown in the music and film communities by working closely with Oscar- and Grammy-winning artists, and with Icelandic mega-star Björk, film directors Peter Jackson, Francis Ford Coppola, composer Howard Shore, and film director and Prince of Thailand Chatrichalerm Yukol among others. He has contributed to award-winning projects such as the BAFTA-winning LazyTown and the Grammy-nominated albums Volta by Björk and Neon Bible by Arcade Fire. Away from production he has exhibited a music installation at the Stanley Picker Gallery and established the International Arvo Pärt Centre, a foundation to preserve his father's heritage.
In 2008 he returned to Estonia, the homeland of his father and the country where he was born, to establish the International Arvo Pärt Centre, which he chairs. The foundation preserves Arvo Pärt's creative contribution to the arts for future generations and ensures that they can learn from him.
Michael Pärt's most recent work took him to New Zealand, where he worked as Music Editor for Howard Shore on Peter Jackson's Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
A freelance photographer specialising in performing arts and live events, Robert is originally from Toronto, Canada and now based in Sydney, Australia. His work has included the short film, Dead Letters, as well as covering the premieres of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, King Kong, The Lovely Bones and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Wellington for a variety of clients around the globe.