Bringin’ it Backwards: Interview with The Faim

We had the opportunity to interview The Faim at SOMA San Diego!

Videos by American Songwriter

“For The Faim, an album is not only about showing what you can do now, but what you want to do in the future. The Perth four-piece went into the making of State of Mind, the band’s debut full-length, with the goal of expanding their range and getting out of their comfort zone. Over the course of two years, the musicians worked with numerous songwriters and producers to craft a collection of songs that showcase a vast range of styles and tones.

“We wanted to the show the variety of skills between the four of us,” says Stephen. “But we also want to write and record the music we want to hear. We asked ourselves, ‘What is missing? What do we want to be hearing?’ And then we decided, ‘Why don’t we just write that?’”

“We wanted to stick true to our roots and where we came from, which is essentially just us being able to explore the passion and love we have for music,” Josh adds. “But we also wanted to experiment and to have fun with the songs.”

The Faim (French for “the hunger”) have been building to this moment since they performed their first show at Stephen’s 18th birthday party, then known as Small Town Heroes. Josh and Stephen grew up together, playing together on various sports teams, and began writing music together after an assignment in Stephen’s music class. Soon the musicians were penning their own songs, inspired by bands like Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, and Metallica, and each brought in an array of musical influences, from indie rock to jazz to pop-punk. Sam and Linden, who met working at The Hen House Rehearsal Studios in Perth, rounded out the band’s lineup after they changed their name to The Faim.

For several years, The Faim hustled to build a following in Perth, regularly handing out flyers and posters outside Perth Arena and recording 30-second covers of their favorite tracks to post online. That motivation was important in the isolated community’s small music scene, and the band was dedicated and willing to sacrifice everything to follow their dream. That hard work paid off when the band got the attention of producer John Feldmann in the summer of 2016. They noticed that Feldmann had posted a call on Instagram for unsigned bands with touring experience, and although The Faim had no real touring experience, they messaged him anyway. The producer wrote back a few weeks later and everything instantly went from zero to a hundred.

The musicians brought 30 half-written ideas to Feldmann’s studio in Los Angeles the following year, where they enlisted the help of several co-writers, including Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy), Mark Hoppus (Blink 182), Josh Dun (Twenty One Pilots) and Ashton Irwin (5 Seconds of Summer). Their debut EP, Summer Is a Curse, dropped in the fall of 2018, hinting at the potential for a full-length album. The title track, “Summer Is A Curse,” an anthemic song the band wrote with Irwin about realizing that you have to follow your dreams even if it requires a sacrifice, became an immediate hit, with over 15 million streams worldwide to date.

The songs on State of Mind encapsulate nearly four years, ranging from an old favorite called “Infamous” to “Summer Is a Curse” to a brand new track “Humans,” the first single off the album. The songs, recorded mostly in Los Angeles in various studios with a collection of different producers, reveal how The Faim has evolved since their inception. Co-created with Patrick Morrissey and David Dahlquist while the band was writing songs in New York, “Humans” is an epic rock anthem with a massive, resonant chorus that reflects on how connected we all actually are. “Tongue Tied,” produced by Drew Fulk, takes the band even further out of their comfort zone, as does “State of Mind,” which was created with the purpose of testing new waters.

“We wanted to shake up our mindset and our way of doing things,” Stephen says. “For ‘State of Mind,’ I picked a chord I never play and that’s how the song starts. That song was originally five or six minutes long and it comes from the idea of doing something we’ve never done before. We wanted to go to a place we’d never gone to. Sometimes you have to do the complete opposite of what you think you should do to make sure that’s very much yourself. It came together really well.”

Overall, the songs contain a variety of influences. The musicians looked both to artists they grew up with like Red Hot Chili Peppers to newer bands like The 1975. The lyrics come from emotions or experiences personal to the band members as a whole, with each song centering on an idea that’s relatable to both themselves and their listeners.

“We write from an honest place,” explains Josh. “That’s something we always want to stay true to. If you write songs that are real, people will be able to connect to them, especially during the live performances. It has to resonate with us for it be relatable to our fans as well. On this album it was about connecting with ourselves and explore our influences and our own talent. If we stick to who we are and what we feel hopefully everyone else will find something in the music too.”

Over the past year, The Faim has built up a strong following around the world, from Australia to Europe to the States. They’ve performed at Download Festival, Slam Dunk, and Reading & Leeds, and toured with PVRIS, Against the Current, Sleeping With Sirens, and Andy Black. In 2018, The Faim performed 100 shows across three continents and 13 countries, while in 2019 the band embarked on their first headlining tour, selling out shows in cities like London, Sydney, Amsterdam and Hamburg. “Summer Is A Curse” has become a bona fide hit Germany, hitting No. 12 on the airplay charts after being played 24,000 times on German radio in 2018. The track, which appears in a Jeep commercial in France, hit No. 2 at radio in the Czech Republic. The band also scored the soundtrack to Coca-Cola’s global advertising campaign for Coke Zero, which was shown in 18 countries worldwide. Overall, The Faim have racked up over 26 million streams globally – and that’s just the beginning.

State of Mind reveals a band on the rise, a group of musicians who are all about making genuine songs that bring people together and create a community.

“You’ll never get anything fake from us,” Stephen says. “Our hearts and souls are on our sleeves 100 percent of the time. We want to keep things true to how we started. We do this because we love music and we want to play music and that’s it. There are no ulterior motives. The goal is to play music and that will be the goal for our entire career.”

Josh Raven – Lead Vocals
Stephen Beerkens – Bass/Keyboard
Samuel Tye – Guitar
Linden Marissen – Drums

[email protected]

Theme Song: Scott Russo
Design: Oscar Rodriguez
Photo: Michelle Grace Hunder Show Contributors Linden MarissenAdam LisickyBMGThe FaimTera Lisicky

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