The path to Billie Eilish and Finneas getting the “yes” to compose a song for the upcoming James Bond film was almost as thrilling and exhilarating as watching the action-packed movie on screen.
“We said to our team, ‘If anyone has anyone who knows anyone, just convey that we would love to do this,'” Finneas explained. “We’ve always been trying to write a Bond song.”
The siblings eventually met with a producer on the film who let them read some of the script. And while in Texas for Austin City Limits for live shows, Finneas and Eilish wrote and recorded “No Time to Die” just in time to meet the deadline.
“I have a mobile studio and I started playing that piano part, like, well that’s really pretty. Over a couple of days, we wrote the whole song and recorded the whole vocal and sent it in. That was October 2019. We were waiting with bated breath for a while. They deliberate. A lot of people have to say yes.”
Then came a phone call from the icon Hans Zimmer, who invited Finneas and Eilish to London to see the film and record the track with an orchestra.
“I was like, ‘Done. Let’s go,’” Finneas exclaimed. “It was a pretty intense week. We were in London. We had (film producer) Barbara (Broccoli). We had the director, Cary (Joji Fukunaga), who’s become a friend of mine. We had Hans. We had Stephen Lipson. We had a 70-piece orchestra at AIR Studios, and I was still like, ‘Do we have the job? Is it going to be our song?’ I don’t think we knew if it was going to be our song or not until basically when it was announced that it was going to be our song.”
“I don’t fault them for at all, I think that they want what’s best for the film,” Finneas continued. “They want to make sure that everyone is totally happy with it. I think that’s a good way to make sure that everything’s good. It was definitely last minute and pretty stressful. It was a long process.”
“No Time to Die” was released in February though the film has been pushed back until April 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The song, which has reached gold status, has peaked at No. 16 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and is nominated for best song written for visual media at the 2021 Grammy Awards, to take place on Jan. 31.
Finneas and Eilish also picked up Grammy nominations for song and record of the year for “Everything I Wanted,” a song about their relationship as siblings and being there for one another. The new nominations come almost a year after the duo won 11 Grammys at the 2020 show.
“So gratifying and wonderful and hard to articulate how meaningful it is to me,” Finneas said of their nominations. “In the aftermath of it, I’ve felt a couple of things. I’ve talked about this a bit — being nominated is really wonderful on its own. In some ways, winning, although very humbling and a huge honor, is not even as good as being nominated because of the peer group. Album of the year last year, there were so many albums in that category that I personally loved. Being nominated among them was like, ‘Wow, what an incredible team to be on.’ Winning is like, ‘I’m not better. I love these albums. Any of them deserve this award to me’ is the kind of feeling that I had. It also is a huge honor. One that I’ll be grateful for the rest of my life.
“At its essence, we’re seeing it this year with The Weeknd — every year there’s some artist or two, or a bunch, who are not recognized in the way that they probably by rights deservedly would be recognized,” he continued. “It’s tricky. I think by that metric, the Grammys and all award shows — the Oscars, AMAs — they all should be taken with a grain of salt in that direction because the fact that (The Weeknd’s) ‘After Hours’ wasn’t nominated for album of the year doesn’t make it any less of an impressive album.”