Interview // THE FAIM
“Don’t expect us to stay the same. Expect the unexpected”, Aussie rockers The Faim explore a whole new state of mind with their debut album.
It is a cold summer day when I find myself wandering around the empty streets of Norwich. With not a single soul in sight and howling wind as the only accompaniment, the city reminds me somewhat of a ghost town. That mood, however, drastically changes as I arrive at Epic Studios. Full of bubbly conversations and lively spirits, The Faim‘s crowd is here and ready for the night.
Dubbed the hottest new band from day one, The Faim have become quite the phenomenon. Emerging onto the scene with their debut single, Saints Of The Sinners, in February 2018, they’ve gone from strength to strength, winning hearts around the world. Their critically acclaimed EP, Summer Is A Curse, saw them play well over 180 shows spanning from Australia to Europe to the United States. They graced the stages of Download Festival, Slam Dunk Festival, and Reading & Leeds, and performed alongside artists such as PVRIS, Sleeping With Sirens, and Andy Black. Heading out on their first headline tour earlier this year and selling out shows in cities like London, Sydney, Amsterdam, and Hamburg, they have further cemented their status as one of the most exciting acts.
The release of their debut album, State Of Mind, that followed in September 2019, marked a new chapter for the band. Reflecting on their past experiences, vocalist Josh Raven shares: “The album is a journey over the three years of us really learning about the music industry, learning about ourselves, embracing the changes, and letting it define the album and define us as people. It’s the first step in The Faim, moving forward is really going to be an exciting time because it’s just been such a journey so far.”
The journey that they speak of is vividly mirrored in the songs that comprise the album. Coming from a real place, State Of Mind is an eclectic record that sheds light on the band’s ability to create arena-sized pop-rock anthems, whilst standing up to the restrictions of a specific genre. Open to new styles and new sonic solutions, The Faim continued to push their creative boundaries with this body of work, taking both risks and chances with an aim to embrace life in 10 polished tracks.
Elaborating on the themes that lie at the core of the album, Josh says: “The main thing we were trying to convey is life in general, the way you react to the obstacles that you face, the emotions that you feel, the stories that you hear from other people, the inspiration that pushes you to go create and think outside of the box. I feel like we’ve taken a mature step in a lot of the songs on the album.”
We’ve taken a mature step in a lot of the songs on the album
The relatable aspect of their music is unmistakable. Never ones to shy away from exposing their vulnerable side, The Faim radiate with palpable authenticity, the kind that permeates every endeavour and effort they make. No wonder they’ve given such a strong sense of belonging to their fans, building a community that is not like any other. After all, they’re called Faimily for a reason.
Opening up about the creation of the album, Josh further reveals: “All songs represent different emotions, a different place in time, a different mindset. I feel the most exciting song on the album for us personally is definitely State Of Mind. That is a song that conceptually, sonically, and lyrically has taken again steps of maturity and steps of taking armour off in a way. That’s exciting and interesting to delve into because we all put ourselves in a perspective of just being natural in the room and we ended up creating something that was different. It was the 7-mintue song that we condensed into four and a half minutes, and for us, just in that time frame is something completely different, and playing it live will be completely different.”
With a busy touring schedule, including 100 shows across three continents and 13 countries in 2018 alone, it comes as no surprise that the band was put under a lot of pressure whilst working on the record. When discussing the whole process, drummer Linden Marissen admits: “One of the difficulties was the time pressure. Towards the end we had such a short time to get everything done and tracked and written.”
In spite of the obstacles, it seems like the positive outcome has overshadowed the hardships. Sometimes the best things transpire when you least expect them, as bassist/keyboardist Stephen Beerkens ponders: “I think some of the biggest surprises happen during the days off when you’re recording, when you’re going into a session not knowing what’s gonna come out of it. Especially for a song like Tongue Tied, it was a huge surprise for us as we went into the studio with planning to record a different idea. We went against what we thought we’d gonna be doing and came out with one of our favourite songs off the record.”
I think we found doors within ourselves
In the short history of the band, The Faim have gone through some vital changes already, one of which is the line-up. Naturally, it is an important matter in the existence of any group, but as I sit down and chat with the guys, I can’t help but notice the comfort and ease they exude. It is also refreshing to see that they can distance themselves from the past and look forward to the future with hope and determination. “Well, the biggest change I would say is the line-up”, Stephen laughs when asked about the transition. But going into details, he then opens up: “The album wouldn’t have been the album without Sam [guitarist] and Linden. The half of the album was written in the last couple of months with these guys and they completely changed the trajectory of where this band is going in the best way possible. This is best change this band could’ve ever had.”
Showing true growth both as a band and individuals, Josh adds in: “I think we found doors within ourselves. We’re so friendly and comfortable with each other, we’ve all utilised personal influences and created something really cool that we can all connect to. Before it was all kind of wading through water, not really knowing where you are, what you’re doing, but now everything just feels so much more certain and we’re all so definite.”
Emphasising the strong bond between the members of the band, Linden further details: “Considering the number of things we have to do and the little amount of sleep we get, there’s surprisingly a small amount of arguments and even if it is, it’s over dumb things. We’ve got a bunk in our van, sometimes there’s little fights over who stays up there for a certain amount of time. But that’s the extent. That’s really as bad as it gets which is pretty good, and a bit of a testament to the chemistry of the band and the crew too.”
Touching upon more light-hearted topics, the band shares some more snippets and gives insights into what their life on the road looks like. Although Josh says: “We’re in bed by 9:30pm”, there are a couple of exciting stories to recall. Reminiscing about this year’s Reading & Leeds, Stephen utters: “Sam and I were about three metres away from Dave Grohl for about 10 seconds. We were trying get Linden, and were sending him texts ‘Dude, Dave Grohl is within multiple arms reach.’” To which Linden responds: “Oh yeah, I got a Foo Fighters setlist. It’s a bit of a story. I have my sources and my ways but I’m not willing to disclose them.”
Despite their warm and carefree demeanour, The Faim take their dreams seriously. “I’d like to buy my parents a house one day. Each. My family has given so much to me personally that I’d love to give back to them, in whichever way that would be”, Sam Tye allows himself for a deeper reflection.
“Giving back to your loved ones is a big thing”, Josh agrees with Sam. “On top of that, just being happy. We’re not really material people, just being happy and giving our loved ones the best thing we can. Especially since we get to follow our passion, that’s enough as it is but giving people we care about as much as we can is important too.” And although Stephen chuckles and says that “an All Saints endorsement would be nice. There’s really nice leather jackets and they’re way too pricy”, he ruminates on the future: “I think it’d be super, super sick if one day we played Madison Square Garden. Being able to fly the Perth folks, all the mates, parents and friends that have been supporting us the whole way, fly them out and just play a sick show. That would be a really great moment. Having everyone see us play outside of Perth.”
Music is like the universe, you’re never gonna understand it but it’s just there and you appreciate it all the same
With music playing the key role in their lives, the guys tackle the subject from a wider perspective, delving into its meaning. Stephen points out: “I think music is definitely a form of expression that is different to each person. It can come in all different forms. Even personally, that form of expression has changed for myself over the time. It evolves into a part of yourself that you want to let out but can’t do that in other means. It’s a form of creativity where you have all these things that you want to create, the inspiration that you can put into a sound.”
Carrying on, Sam expresses: “Music has been around for centuries, it’s so old. I think it’s a testament to how much it means to people, in whatever way, shape or form that is whether it’s a song that makes them feel happy, or a song that gets them out of bed in the morning and ready to go to work, a song that helps them reminisce. I think songs speak louder than… I want to say, words. Yeah, they connect people on a deeper level, whatever way that is.”
“For me personally, it feels like this sort of intangible energy that you can’t really understand most of the time”, Josh confesses. “Sometimes you write things down, sing something, play something that you’ve never thought of before because you’re tapping into a stream of consciousness that you’ve never really had before. Music is a way to step outside of yourself and really look at yourself and look at the world in a different light. Whether it’s the words or the sounds that are in it, you get to create a story and paint whatever picture you want. It doesn’t have to do anything, it doesn’t have to mean anything. But at the end of the day, it can still be something that’s really cool. It’s like the universe, you’re never gonna understand it but it’s just there and you appreciate it all the same.”
With clear objectives, pure dedication and persistence shown to this day, there is no doubt that The Faim are on a roller coaster that only goes up. Addressing what the future might hold for the band, Sam says: “We’re always gonna try something different, so if you think that we’re gonna stay in one world sonically it’s probably not the case.”
“We don’t want to do the same thing over and over again. I think the way we present ourselves will constantly change as well. That’s gonna develop over time. Don’t expect us to stay the same. Expect the unexpected”, Josh neatly rounds off the conversation, and frankly, I couldn’t have put it better myself.