MUSIC INTERVIEW: The Faim
The Faim are one of those bands that have absolutely exploded onto the scene in a short space of time, but it’s not too late to say that you were there from the beginning. After their incredible performance at this year’s Download Festival, we were lucky enough to catch up with Mike and Stevie from the band. You’re going to want to sit up and take note – these guys are going to be huge.
Welcome to Download! The festival is huge in the rock world, so what does it mean to you to be playing here today?
Oh it’s crazy! For a band our size… we’ve only released three songs. And to be here on the other side of the world, like to be playing this massive festival, it’s absolutely insane. It’s like a real privilege to be here. Not only playing, but just seeing the response that people have to our music, people singing our lyrics back to us in the crowd – it’s absolutely phenomenal.
Yeah, we feel very lucky to be here, a lot of the bands that are playing today we’ve looked up to and they’ve shaped us as musicians as well, so it’s super cool being here. We’re stoked.
That’s awesome. How does the crowd today compare to others that you’ve played for previously?
Oh wow. This was awesome, yeah. This crowd was like the biggest crowd that we’ve ever played to. And it was just awesome! Seeing everyone going off, in our Faim T-shirts… it’s just like… really something special.
That’s awesome. So we’ve heard that Perth is the most isolated city in the world, as in there’s nothing else for ages, so how does a band like yourselves break out of a place like that? And do you have any tips for other bands that are in similar situations to do what you’ve done?
Yeah. Well, money is always the issue, to tour when starting off. What we did, we reached out to a lot of our fan base via social media, and we found that like you know, we did covers of our favourite bands, and people would “like” it and tag their friends in it, and we just engaged a lot with all our fans on social media. We feel like that’s the best way to put your name out there globally, when unsigned obviously. We’ve been just touring for the last ten weeks now, I guess that’s another way of putting your name out, but it is very hard starting off, especially these days – you know, in 2018 – you need to just be crushing it on social media and doing everything you can to get your name out there.
So how do you think the scene here and touring here compares to back in Australia? Obviously it’s very, very different…
Oh yeah, very different!
What would you say about that?
Well firstly you can actually drive to the next city. Like in Australia, if you want to drive to the next city – actually, if you want to drive from Perth to Melbourne, give yourself a week! A week!!! Literally!! So like, it’s very different here.
Well… some of the drives here are long. Just today, no, yesterday, we drove from Germany – and we had breakfast in Germany, we had lunch in France, and then we had dinner in England. It was a 17 hour drive just to get here from our last show, which is absolutely nuts, but we made it here in the end! But like the crowds are so awesome here in the UK and in Europe, it’s just like this collection of music lovers. So they’ll get there for the opening band and they’ll look up all the songs on their drive. Some people drove like three hours to come see us! And like they weren’t even seeing just us, but on their massive drive they’re listening to the opening bands, so you know they’re learning the songs, so when they get there they’re like “hey, I didn’t even know who you were until this morning but I’ve already learned your songs” – and they’re singing it back. It’s incredible.
Especially in mainland Europe, they’re arguably really big on that.
Absolutely. So true.
So your sound is very reminiscent of mid-2000s bands, Panic At The Disco, Fall Out Boy… did you grow up listening to those bands? And if so did they really influence your sound?
Oh. Of course! I think Infinity on High was my album – I think it was one of my first!
How old are you guys if you don’t mind us asking?
21, yeah, both 21.
Okay. So cool. So those bands definitely influenced you!
Yeah, well that’s exactly it. And we’ve been privileged enough to actually work with Pete Wentz. That was just such an awesome experience. Not only writing a song with him but like sitting down with him. He gave us so much insight about all of his experience in the music industry, like it really helped set us up for what we’ve done. Because he told us like…there are sooo many artists in the world. What’s going to make you guys special? Like out of everyone in the world, why are people going to want to listen to you? And like, that’s not something that everyone else has to figure out. That’s what you have to figure out. And then bring to them!
And it’s hard you know! Coming up with your own unique sound. It’s definitely a challenge, and it did take us a while to find our own unique sound. We wrote um… for about five months straight. Wake up; write, go to sleep – five months straight. And you know, it is hard, finding your own sound. And like we think we’ve finally found it. And like you hear a lot of our influences but we’re all very versatile with what we listen to and that’s very evident in the music that you’ll hear.
We agree! That was one of the next things we were going to get to – you’ve touched on the Pete Wentz thing – so how does a band from Perth end up connecting with him? You’ve mentioned the power of social media, do you think that’s what’s happened?
Well what actually happened was John Feldmann did an Instagram post one day and he said “looking for bands with touring experience” – and we weren’t obviously a band with touring experience, we’d never toured ever – but he was looking for an unsigned band and we thought you know what? Let’s just send an email in, you never know what can happen, and it would be an absolute dream to work with him. And we forgot about that and then it was literally one or two months later – so we had completely forgot – we got an email back and the subject header was “potential work with John Feldmann”. I was flipping out! I was in bed. It was just another day, looking at my emails, and I was like oh my god! For a second I thought it was fake. So I rang Mike – and I was like “Miiiike!” and Mike’s like “dude, it’s probably spam, as if this is going to happen!”
We researched it to make sure that like – well it was the assistant that got in touch with us so we searched the name and everything to make sure it was legit – and it was! It was legit! And that’s when we freaked out. And then about a month after that we were emailing a few times. We were a different band back then. We were a pop-punk band and he was like “look, I see potential in you guys. But you need to make me want to work with you”. Basically what Pete Wentz was telling us. And this was like a year later. So there was like a whole year between the very start and when we got there, and it’s like “you need to make me think WOW, this is a band I want to work with, so I want you to keep writing songs until you’re at that point”. So we just locked ourselves in the studio, we were like going full blast at it… this was the opportunity of a lifetime, so we didn’t want to screw it up because we wanted it so badly, so we were just pushing ourselves to our absolute limits. We wrote 30 songs for John. And he wouldn’t even respond for like a month! Because he was like pushing us. So if we sent him something that wasn’t working, it was like a whole mind game thing! He was making us do it for ourselves. He was building us into what we are now. And so we were grinding so hard, and he was giving us little clues here and there, but he was making us do it all ourselves which is what we needed to really find ourselves and find our sound, and then it was April 2017 when we finally got to go to the studio and work with John and you know, make these songs come to life, write a whole bunch more songs and that’s about it! And now we’re here, playing for you guys and chatting here!
That’s cool! Seems like it’s gone really fast, but you’ve put in the work!
Lots of little steps, but yeah, it’s gone very fast!
So obviously you’ve seen the crowds grow and grow and grow, how do you deal with what? And how has the response generally been from fans, both back at home and also here? How has that been?
It’s been growing! It’s been growing really well like, we always get to the merch desk after each show, we hang out there, we talk with everyone, every single person that wants to come up to us, and I think that’s something that we think is very important for us to do because we need to connect with the fans, the people that are supporting us. That’s something that we really feel very strongly about, because people put a lot of time – time and effort – into listening to us. People are driving like six hours to come to our shows! A few people flew to Germany to see us, just to see us play! We don’t take that lightly – we really appreciate everything the fans do. And to see it grow with time – and it seems like a lifetime for us when we tour – but it’s only been like ten weeks. And to see it grow from basically no one knowing who we were to now and having people singing our lyrics back and seeing this strong movement, it’s an amazing feeling.
To be honest – we came to this festival back in 2007 – and we don’t mean this lightly, but the parallels we’re seeing between when we first saw Paramore – seriously – the way the crowd was reacting compared to when we saw you guys today, it was exactly the same! And we got goosebumps. And what you said about the merch table? The first time we saw them in 2006 they were like “if you want to meet us by the merch table, we’re worried nobody will come…”, but look at them now… we see great things for you guys. So where do you see yourselves in five years? We guess that’s the final question.
I see myself in somewhere I can’t even imagine now. Like in some place that we can’t even pronounce yet. I want to be anywhere just playing these songs. If we’re still doing this five years from now? Stoked. That’s the aim. It doesn’t matter how many people we’re playing to. If we are playing to dedicated fans anywhere around the world in five years’ time, stoked. Because that means I’ve spent the last five years doing what I love.
That’s awesome. And you guys do love what you do.
Fantastic. Thank you so much, really appreciate that. All the best!
Interview by: Claire Louise Sheridan
See The Faim live at Reading & Leeds Festival as well as one of the following dates:
w/ Sum 41 and Waterparks
Tue 21st – WURZBURG, DE – Posthalle
Wed 22nd – LEIPZIG, DE – Parkbuhne
Tue 28th – OBERHAUSEN, DE – Turbinenhalle
Thu 30th – EMPOLI, IT – Beat Festival
Fri 31st – RIMINI, IT – Rimini Park Rock Festival
w/ Against The Current
Sat 15th – DUBLIN, IE – The Academy
Mon 17th – BRISTOL, UK – SWX
Tue 18th – SOUTHAMPTON, UK – Engine Rooms
Wed 19th – NORWICH, UK – Waterfront
Fri 21st – BIRMINGHAM, UK – O2 Institute
Sat 22nd – LEEDS, UK – Stylus
Sun 23rd – MANCHESTER, UK – O2 Ritz
Tue 25th – GLASGOW, UK – Garage
Thu 27th – NEWCASTLE, UK – Riverside
Sat 29th – LONDON – O2 Forum
Tue 2nd – ANTWERP, BE – Trix Club
Wed 3rd – AMSTERDAM, NL – Melkweg
Fri 5th – COLOGNE, DE – Kantine
Sat 6th – BERLIN, DE – Gretchen
Sun 7th – HAMBURG, DE – Uebel & Gefaehrlich
Tue 9th – MUNICH, DE – Ampere
Wed 10th – FRANKFURT, DE – Batschkapp
Thu 11th – PARIS, FR – Yoyo