INTERVIEW + REVIEW: The Faim on their Debut Album, State of Mind
By HEM Staff
For any up-and-coming band or artist, whether you have the support of an already-established artist or producer, or even a small, but vocal fanbase, getting your “start” is tough. Continued, it can become even tougher when the little-to-zero work behind your name is getting smaller traction and you begin to truly understand what it means to be “underground.” Sure, a good majority of the acts that start like this can defy the odds completely and escape out of that bubble, but, it’s especially notable when a band gains what can be called the “Cinderella Effect”—where it would be as if a fairy-godmother granted them the chance to achieve everything they could ever need. For The Faim (fka Small Town Heroes), they might as well get ready to put on their glass slippers.
A quartet based from Perth, Australia, the act named after the French term for “the hunger” has been on the scene for a while and surprisingly, they still had no “claim to fame” and only a small handful of shows to their name before signing to BMG Music in 2018. And yet, when you listen to their debut record State of Mind (released Friday, September 13), it truly feels like an album of day’s past, as if it was a seasoned band’s third or fourth album, even—their time under the radar is finally coming to an end.
Throughout this record, they take moves from the play books of their predecessors—from Fall Out Boy to Panic! at the Disco—regarding what it means to defy the term “underground” or “rising star,” creating an anthemic, monumental record that has as much energy as a set of stadium tour recordings. Songs like “Tongue Tied,” “Summer is a Curse,” and “Words Apart” read like victories for them, as if they are the tracks they would play at smaller venue shows after returning from a triumphant album run.
Lead singer Josh Raven’s ravenous vocal capabilities—joined by Stephen Beerkens (bass + keys), Samuel Tye (guitar) and Linden Marissen (drums + percussion)—packs a punch as he belts lyrics that read as not just the end of what they have known before, but the beginning of something new.
While, for some bands, this may read as cheesy, “after-school special” material, it comes off as sincere for a band like The Faim. After all, once you have worked with Josh Feldmann (top producer and lead singer/guitarist for the band Goldfinger) as well as your idols (Pete Wentz, Josh Dun, and Ashton Irwin—who co-wrote “Summer is a Curse” with the group), what else can you but celebrate?
This celebratory sentiment is also felt in softer songs on the album like “Where the River Runs,” a personal tale of hope that shines in its sincerity without losing its glow of that honesty. No matter what, as shown throughout near every aspect of their debut album, The Faim still haven’t lost touch with their roots or the nobility they stand hard by, despite their newfound fame.
The Faim may have garnered the “Cinderella Effect,” but now, we are left with a new question—will they be able to keep the momentum going?
Alongside the release of their debut album, State of Mind, we spoke with the band about their influences, their first hit song “Summer is a Curse,” and what’s next for them.
The album, though consistently keeping to its alternative roots, does include flavors of different genres—from the near-folk sounding chorus of "Summer is a Curse,” the R&B techniques of "Beautiful Drama," and the almost Green Day-esque "Buying Time.” How much did your personal influences mix into your process of experimenting with new styles? What did you take from those bands’ own experimentation when making your own album?
We drew upon many of our musical influences when writing this album. As individual musicians, we come from vastly different backgrounds when it comes to bands that we grew up listening to. What we did during the writing process was combine all of these different influences to come up with something that’s unique to us.
You have worked previously with artists such as Pete Wentz, Josh Dun, and Ashton Irwin (who helped you co-write your song, "Summer is a Curse"). What were those experiences like? What would you say you took from those experiences?
Each writing session is different in its own way, and with that, we take something different away from [them] each time. Working with artists with such different writing/collaboration styles taught us things that we apply in each session today.
State of Mind reminds the listener of an anthemic-sounding coming-of-age story, with lyrics talking about following your dreams, loved ones, and friendships. What amount, would you say, did your own coming-of-age and changes in your personal lives affect how the album lyrically plays out?
The lyrics from the album stems from a vast array of personal experiences, one of them definitely being the changes we go through and how we’ve developed ourselves over the years. It’s been a roller-coaster of an adventure leading up to this album, which is captured within the lyrics of the songs, especially in “State of Mind.”
Comparatively, however, your video for "Humans" aesthetically plays out almost completely different. With imagery of oppression, rebellion, and the lyrics, "Sometimes you gotta break just to know you’re human," echoing throughout. When envisioning the concept, what was the thought process behind such a music video?
We wanted to try something new with this video that we haven’t done before, aesthetically and conceptually. We worked with the amazing team behind the video to come up with something that shines light on a new perspective [of] the song that may not have been realized before. This being said, we also wanted to keep the video true to the overall message of the song at the same time.
The album takes a more somber note with the penultimate song "Where the River Runs," dealing with the pains of but growth that comes with coming from a broken family. Though the album is honest in all sense of the word, this is the one track with the most imagery. Is there a reason for this, or did it come more naturally?
This song is extremely honest, though as the song is personally related to Josh, it’s difficult for me to talk about the lyrics behind it. The song came around quite naturally and was a big step when it came to writing from an honest place.
"State of Mind" lyrically speaks on the struggles of mental illness and how it affects your state of mind, while also speaking on self-esteem, egocentric voices, etc. For a band growing by the day, how do you think this sudden shift in attention has affected your views and the hard-hitting truth in your lyrical matter?
I think the biggest thing that affects how we view our own lyrical matter is our personal growth as a band, as opposed to what’s viewed as popularity growth. We’re constantly learning and looking forward to what’s coming next when it comes to writing— hence, [we’re] always thinking about what the content of our songs means to us and where it will head in the future.
As the year goes on, after your headlining performance at Reading and Leeds, what do you think is next for The Faim? Creatively, for you as individuals, etc?
We have a lot more touring coming up: a co-headline tour with Stand Atlantic in the U.S., then another headline tour of the U.K. and Europe in November/December at the end of the year!
Their debut album State of Mind was released out this Friday, September 13, and check them out on their North American co-headlining tour with Stand Atlantic this fall!