In 2001, the Faint established themselves with the momentous record, Danse Macabre, chalked full of distorted bass lines, blasting synthesizers, danceable drums and angst ridden anti-suburban vocals that challenged listeners to not only to flail their limbs to a beat, but to think.
Six years after their last record, Fascination, the Nebraska five piece are back with a new record, Doom Abuse, and a new tour. Picking up where they left off, lead singer Todd Fink uses ambient vocal melodies layered with their signature synthesizers, moralizing, “If judgment day comes, we’ll hide behind the sun” on the thrilling opening track “Help in the Head.”
We caught up with drummer Clark Baechle to talk about their new album, what kept them busy during their absence and skateboarding.
The Faint play three shows at the Independent, June 1-3.
Welcome back. Although, it’s not like youcompletely disappeared while you performed under the name Depressed Buttons. What else kept you busy?
Todd, Jacob and I started Depressed Buttons. We also DJ’d around and experimented with some electronic tracks and a more dance style, and then Todd moved to Los Angeles and Athens for a bit.
We were able to work on music by sending things back and forth. It was a more fun thing to get away from what we had been doing and try something new. All of us kept busy doing other things; Depose made a noise record under his name. I did some touring with Bright Eyes in 2011—most of that year I was touring with him. We kept busy doing stuff but the Faint wasn’t really active.
What propelled you to go under the radar?
I think after working on Fascination, that record took a long time. We built our own studio and worked on it really slowly and it became not so fun. We were like, “we just have to finish this.” We liked the songs but the process wasn’t exciting, and then we toured and couldn’t wait to finish it.
When we got back from touring, normally we can’t wait to get back into the studio, but we just didn’t feel that way. We didn’t want to start that way with the same mindset, it seemed like a bad reason to start a record.
What was the energy like when you got back together for Doom Abuse?
It was great. It was really fun to be back working on stuff again. We’re all really excited. We kind of setup a deadline and knew we wanted to work fast and have fun and not overanalyze things. If we liked a take the first time then we’d just used it. If you have your own studio you can record something 10 times and then you end up with some compromised version of something you’re not that happy with.
This one took us like three months total from writing. I think it comes across on the record of us being in a room and rocking out and trying new things.
The music scene has changed a bit in the past six years. Do you think people are more responsive to your music now due to a more electronic driven scene?
I don’t notice a change personally, but it does seem like the way music has gone there’s more electronic stuff in every genre, so I don’t think our music seems weird or crazy to people. We already had the hype of being a new band years ago, so maybe if this record had been put out by a new band there might be hype. So far it’s been a pretty mixed reaction of people being excited and people wanting something completely different.
Do you foresee the Faint sticking around for a bit?
We’re definitely planning on continuing. We’re already talking about new material and tours. We aren’t the most prolific band when it comes to pumping out records, but we made this one fast.
San Francisco is welcoming you back with three shows at the Independent. How endearing is that?
We love playing San Francisco. We’ve always had good shows whether they were small shows at the Bottom of the Hill or bigger shows at the Fillmore. It feels good to know that there is still that excitement for us there. We haven’t played at that venue so it will be an exciting and new experience for us.
Well, there are tons of good skating spots here. Are you still skating these days?
I haven’t in a long time, mainly because every time I do I get hurt. If I have tour coming up and I hurt my foot or my wrist, being a drummer, it kind of screws the whole band, so I try to stay away from it.