The Faint

Published on April 21st, 2014


The Faint

The Faint | Credit: Bill Sitzmann

Mixing the cavernous atmosphere of goth with the synth-driven dance appeal of new wave, The Faint’s 2001 effort Dance Macabre was a pioneering album that forced indie and Goth kids alike onto the dance floor. Whirling their bodies to swarming, squiggly synthesizers over tunes dealing with suicide and “poison spilling from” one’s throat, The Faint became leaders of this new wave of punk-flavored electronic dance music. This sound coming from a band based in Omaha, Nebraska, coupled with the fact that their label, Saddle Creek, also peddled Bright Eye’s emotive indie country twang, made it all the more distinctive.

Two more records followed, ’04 Wet From Birth—a more ambitious and slightly more guitar driven record and ’08 Fasciinatiion—a sleeker-yet-more-erratic self-released effort. Then the group, out of nowhere, decided to go on an indefinite hiatus, leaving oodles of electro clash-dance fans in the lurch.

“I don’t think we had any plans to play anymore, but we didn’t have plans not to either, we weren’t ready to make a record, we didn’t feel it was worth it,” said Faint’s lead singer Todd Fink in an interview with PureHoney about the band’s 2008 abrupt breakup. Fink, the soft-spoken, affable Faint vocalist was on his cell phone in-between industry shindigs at SXSW in Austin, Texas while gearing up to performing with one of his side projects Digital Leather.

the faint doom abuseAccording to Fink, the recording of Fasciinatiion proved to be an arduous process, resulting in members formulating their own headstrong opinions so extreme that it was hard for the band to agree on anything. “We weren’t on the same page,” said Fink about the recording process. The four-year recording journey of Fasciinatiion broke the camel’s back and changed the dynamic of the gang. “I worried that if we made another record, it would feel watered down, “said Fink. Therefore, the band decided to take a break to pursue other options. “I felt like we all wanted to do something else, and together we didn’t know what we wanted to do artistically.” Fink moved from his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska to Los Angeles and then to Athens, Georgia– a city where he met his wife Orenda Fink (they married in 2005) member of defunct dream pop duo Azure Ray.

Why the move from Omaha to such polar opposite extremes such as L.A. and Athens, Georgia? “There is no sense in moving unless it’s going to be somewhere entirely different right?” affirmed Fink.

After a few years, the longing for family drove Fink and his wife back to Omaha, where Fink’s parents, grandparents and siblings reside. Additionally the couple already owned a home in the Midwest city, so the lure of not having rent to pay was rather pragmatic. Upon Fink’s return to his hometown, he started practicing music with his younger brother Clark Baechle, The Faint’s former drummer. Little by little, the original group began practicing together again, and the decision was made to go back into the studio and give it another crack.

the faint

This time around, the band decided to take a different approach than it did with Fasciinatiion. “When we came back together, we said this is going to be fun or it isn’t going to be anything at all”. The primary objective was for the entire troupe to have fun again and enjoy the process. Fink told us the sessions were extremely loose and easy-going.

While recording The Faint’s seventh full-length, Doom Abuse (out April 8), the band took a vastly different approach; they’d book studio time without a clear formulated plan of what would be recorded. “We really put ourselves on the spot,” says Fink. “We booked recording time before we had any songs really laid out, I think that pressure was good for us.”

During this process they learned that having a deadline was critical. Was their a chance they’d choke? “It was a possibility,” confirmed Fink, “but that wasn’t really an option, we all agreed that whatever we made of this record would be what we make of it, and we will be ok with it. People have asked if it’s an angry album, I think it’s more cathartic the anything else, kind of like primal scream therapy where you scream for your health.”

Doom Abuse is a raw, dark effort that seems to reference the group’s ’99 effort Blank Wave Arcade. Fink admits it is not a poppy number, but added, “We didn’t get back together to make catchy jingles, we got back together to have a blast.”

Fink, who turned 40 this year, is looking forward to the tour which begins mid-April and looks forward to enjoying a few cortaditos (Cuban coffee) during the group’s stop in South Florida on Tuesday, May 6 at Culture Room. “We were burned out after the last record, after doing it for more than a decade, but it wasn’t that we ever got tired of playing shows, or making music, that never gets old.” Download ‘Help in the Head’ from their new album for free on this months PureHoney Promo Compilation!

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~Alex Rendon