Since his acting debut in the 2011 hit comedy Bad Teacher, starring alongside Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake, actor and musician Finneas O’Connell has had the sort of career that most performers dream of. In 2013, he had a recurring role on Modern Family, and in 2015, he was cast as Alistair on FOX’s Glee.
Aside from acting, however, music has long been one of O’Connell’s true loves, and in 2012, when O’Connell joined forces with other Los Angeles-area musicians, The Slightlys were born. Consisting of O’Connell as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist, along with Robby Fitzpatrick (lead guitar), Darius Dudley (bass) and David Marinelli (drums), the band has played both the Warped Tour and the Santa Monica Pier Twilight Concert series, and their song “Is There Anybody There” appeared in an episode of ABC Family’s Switched At Birth.
The Slightlys recently teamed up with acclaimed producer/engineer Eric Palmquist (Bad Suns, Night Riots, HUNNY) to record their upcoming EP, a collection of power pop anthems with melodic guitar riffs, catchy choruses and a driving rhythm section rarely heard in rock music today. To learn more about the band, follow them online on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or visit their website at www.theslightlys.com.
Growing up, who were your biggest musical influences?
The Beatles was easily the most prominent band in my childhood and remains my favorite band ever. I think the first two albums I ever bought with my own money though were Move Along by The All-American Rejects and Viva La Vida by Coldplay.
You auditioned for Glee several times before eventually getting cast. Was there ever a point when you thought it might be time to stop trying to get on the show, and how did it feel to finally land the part?
I’m represented by the fantastic people over at CESD for film and television and I really trust them in their judgement of what I should be auditioning for and what I should keep trying get on, I’d do anything for them. That being said, after auditioning for Glee four times already, the fifth time, I definitely didn’t think I would get the part. Funny how that works.
How did the members of The Slightlys initially meet?
We actually met each other in a battle of the bands a couple years ago while we were all playing in separate bands. None of us won that year or even placed, but a couple years later, we formed The Slightlys together and went back and won that same competition.
What is your songwriting process?
It’s a melange of lots of different approaches. Sometimes I’ll start with a phrase that I like, sometimes it’ll be a melody I think is pretty, I love to write with a lot of vivid imagery so hopefully you can kind of see what I’m singing about in your head. And I love writing songs that understand how I’m feeling.
What goes through your mind in the moments before you walk out on stage?
I just try to think about what kind of show I would want to see if I was an audience member and then I put on that show.
What’s the best song or album you’ve listened to recently?
I pretty much listen to music every minute of every day so it’s always changing. This week, it’s been a lot of Wiped Out! by The Neighbourhood and I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty. Both are really awesome albums.
Do you consider yourself to be lucky?
Oh my god yes! I think almost everything I have is lucky. To be able to do the things I love, to always have food on the table, to have a family and a girlfriend and friends that I love, those are all worth more than anything to me.
Aside from music and acting, what are you most passionate about?