The Perth four-piece The Faim 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.”
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.
Learn more about The Faim in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
No problem at all, thanks for having me! We are currently on tour in Europe and today we’re heading to the Czech Republic for our first ever headline show there.
Now that we are into the 9th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 has treated this band? What have been some goals this group has had this year? How close are you to reaching them? What are you already excited about for 2020?
2019 has been the biggest year so far for the band. We’ve done a lot of touring and writing and finally we’re releasing our debut album, State of Mind, which we can’t wait for people to hear. I think one of the goals was definitely to release our album, so the fact that it’s happening is so surreal. We’re extremely excited. I think in 2020 we’re going to buckle down and write album #2, which seems crazy as we’re only just about to release our first album, but we’re constantly thinking about what’s next for The Faim, and I think album #2 is going to be a big step for us personally and musically.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? If not, what do you think does influence this group?
I think home and family have influenced us a lot as people and musicians. I grew up listening to a lot of music my dad listened to while watching him play in his own bands, which definitely inspired me as a kid. All of our families have taught us to be grounded, and we’re all very grateful for that and carry that with us while we’re on this journey.
Let’s talk about your upcoming and long-awaited debut album, State of Mind. What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? How will you celebrate the release on September 13th?
This record has been a long time in the making, but a lot of it was also written in the last three months. Personally, we’ve changed a lot over this last year and it’s been great going back into the studio and writing from the place we’re at now; it’s refreshing. I think every time we get into the studio we aim to write something surprising, and sometimes we surprise ourselves in that process. On the 13th of September we’ll be playing Soundcheck Festival in Göttingen, Germany, so we’ll be celebrating by playing music and hopefully seeing other bands play as well.
I know it’s hard to pick favorites but can you choose a few songs on this album and talk about how they were inspired and how they came to be on this collection?
Choosing favorites is really hard, but a song that is very special to us is the title track, “State Of Mind.” This was the first track we had all written together back in Australia and I remember us talking for an hour leading up to writing it, and then as soon as we started writing we just hit this stride and from that came the song.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? In other words, when you aren’t working on music, do you guys enjoy hanging out for fun?
To be honest we have been so busy touring, writing, and recording over the last year that we’ve had no time to just hang out socially unless it’s before a gig or something, but in saying that we are all really good friends and being on the road every day is like one big road trip. When we have time off, we’re usually in different parts of the world with our families and loved ones, so it can be difficult to get together and chill for fun, but I’m sure in the future that will change when our touring schedule isn’t as heavy.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
That’s a hard question and I think there are different types of happiness and that happiness can also be a combination of a few things. I think we find happiness in both recording and playing live and also being at home with loved ones.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for this band? What have been some of your favorite shows and venues over the years? You have toured with so many incredible bands this past year. Can you talk about some that really stand out? What have your learned from touring with them?
It sounds cliché, but I think an ideal show is a show where we all have fun. At the end of the day if you’re not enjoying it, there’s no point. We’ve played in some really awesome venues around the world with some great bands and I think we’ve learned something from each and every band. Touring with Hands Like Houses in the U.S. last year was extremely valuable for us. Those guys are just super down to earth and a prime example of hard workers; it was an inspiring tour to be a part of.
Do you have a Fall Tour scheduled yet? Where can fans see you perform next?
We do indeed! We’re in the United States for 25 co-headline shows with fellow Aussies, Stand Atlantic. Our tour just started on the 17th of September in Houston and finishes on 19th of October in Los Angeles. We’re super keen and would love to see everyone there!
What musicians have really been inspiring you all since you first started making music?
I think we all have different bands/musicians that have inspired us. Personally for me it would be bands like Audioslave, The Police, and Red Hot Chili Peppers just to name a few. When you’re a kid you get influenced by what your parents listen to and I always remember hearing those bands on the way to school or at home.