Eve Parker Finley interview In the End

Photo by Stacy Lee

Eve Parker Finley balances pop bangers and ambient introspection on her new album

An interview with the Montreal singer-songwriter about her second album, In the End.

When one metaphorical door closes, another opens. This could nicely sum up the journey Eve Parker Finley took to complete her new LP In the End.

Having grown up playing classical music (her parents are both classical musicians themselves), the multi-hyphenate Montrealer moved here from the 3,300-population town of Campbellford, ON (near Peterborough) in 2011 to study sociology and gender studies at McGill. Since then, she’s accomplished a whole lot in the worlds of music, comedy, social media and beyond.

When I met with Finley at a Rosemont café in January, she was clearly in disbelief that release time was finally around the corner. She even let out a scream when asked how she feels about the album’s impending release, considering she’d begun writing it back in March 2020.

“I can’t believe it’s the start of so many people’s journey with it, and it feels like it’s the end of mine!” she said, laughing. 

Finley began work on In the End within the first couple of days of the pandemic, and also moved into her first apartment alone while on burnout leave from work.

After quitting her job, Eve found herself with plenty of time on her hands, which she spent making improvisational loops for her music — loops that would later evolve into songs heard on In the End

One day, she got a text from friend/fellow musician Nick Schofield, who thought some of the loops were good enough for a new album. “We started talking about it. We got a grant together,” she continued. “He came on as producer. We had these phone calls every week for a year sending stuff back and forth, working on the songs.” 

Later recorded at Hotel2Tango and a complex in the Laurentians (the latter arranged by PHI Centre as a residency), In the End is finally ready to be unleashed — four years later. The album — which she describes as “fun indie pop songs, introspective mid-tempo bangers… and a few more contemporary classical ambient moments” — was even in the back of Finley’s mind while making its predecessor, Chrysalia, released in December 2020. Still, Finley feels she’s experienced a tremendous amount of artistic growth between albums. 

“I feel like I’ve learned so many things about what I want my sound to be. I worked on singing a lot, which I was super nervous about doing for that first album. Also, bringing a producer in this time and letting go of that role a little bit was so scary, but so generative. I really feel like we went in a new direction, and found some new sounds.”

“Fall Into Me” by Eve Parker Finley

In the End’s lead single is “The Mirror,” a swirling introduction to the album that, funnily enough, Finley says doesn’t feel like a “classic” single compared with other tracks. Still, it’s a special song for her in that it bridges her past work with this new era.

Though “The Mirror” is heavily tied to classical music, Finley also drew inspiration from Hans Zimmer-esque film and TV scores while making it. She’s done a series on her socials pairing the track with various TV show openings. “I just really want to create this cinematic, melancholic, optimistic world,” she says.

Part of why the song exists in the first place is thanks to Finley’s therapist, whom she credits in the album’s liner notes. “We were having a session that was really exploring difficulties with dysphoria, and the stress and anxiety of it. She was like, ‘Have you ever tried writing this down?’ Right after that therapy session, I pulled out a notebook and wrote the words to this whole song in two seconds.” 

Adding those lyrics to a chord progression she was already working on fit like a glove, forming the song’s core before adding orchestral violins (“I wanted that moody, introspective, safe texture,” she explained).

Therapy has impacted Finley’s music-making in a number of ways, most directly in terms of both content and her approach to performing. “I still struggle a lot with feelings of inadequacy,” she admitted. 

“It’s so hard to be like, ‘Yes, I can be an artist, and I want to make things and share them with people, and ask them to engage with it.’ My work with her really helped me figure out how to do that in a way that doesn’t feel like you’re feeding an evil ego, or not getting stuck on the ‘Who am I?’ question.”

While first writing the album, Eve figured it would be about pandemic isolation, given the global situation at the time. But as months of staying home and social distancing passed by with no foreseeable end, she knew people wouldn’t want to be reminded of it, and neither did she. 

Three and a half years is plenty of time for one to make some breakthroughs with self-discovery. For Finley, that included discovering she could pursue an interest in comedy. She started browsing TikTok during the pandemic’s onset and that scrolling habit snowballed into creating her own hilarious content. She now boasts more than 75,000 monthly views on the platform.

Finley is someone who wears many hats in general: aside from music, comedy and TikTok, she’s the symposium director at POP Montreal and hosts Ten-Minute Topline on CBC Music. All of this sounds like it could be a recipe for eventual burnout — she does, after all, have a song called “Anthem for a Burnt Out Girl” — but Finley manages it by not focusing on the same thing for too long.

“The way my brain works, a day in the life when I’m working is I’ll be working on the computer on something, and then 20 minutes later, I’ll need to play the piano and sing. Then 20 minutes later, I’ll work on a comedy thing or a TikTok, and then cycle through those things. I’ve never been someone who enjoys doing one thing and concentrating on it. I love having a mix of stuff.”

As for whether In the End has brought Finley closer to where she wants to be in her music career, she says there’s still a way to go. “There’s so much left to do. Being a musician is exhausting!

“I’m a person who’s very ambitious and chronically disappointed. (laughs) I always want to figure out what the next level is. It’s very hard, especially right now… There are definitely lots of things left on my career bucket list; a bunch of things I’ve checked off these past couple of years. But there’s lots left I want to do, and am excited to try.” ■

For more on Eve Parker Finley, please visit her website.

This article was originally published in the Feb. 2024 issue of Cult MTL.

For more Montreal music coverage, please visit the Music section.