The FAIM started out in 2014 in Perth, Australia, when their members were still just teenagers in high school. They’ve come a long way since then. Now, they’re on the cusp of releasing their debut album, State of Mind next month. The FAIM’s new album might be the album to be most excited about from an up and coming act. Everything that The FAIM has accomplished over the past two years has led to a buzz surrounding their upcoming album. Alternative Addiction recently chatted with The FAIM’s frontman Josh Raven about the band’s beginnings, how they got their big break, and the creation of their upcoming debut album that will be a huge indicator if they’re the real deal or not.
“Stephen [Beerkens] and I started the band out of high school together” said Raven in the interview with AA. “We’d been playing a lot of local charity gigs and things like that. We never thought too much about it. We just enjoyed playing together. Then, one day after music class we decided to go after music and start an actual band. The name The FAIM and all of that came around a lot later. I’ve known Sam [Tye], our guitarist, the longest. We’d been playing cricket together since we were twelve. He’s always been a good friend and he’s always been talented at guitar. We felt like he was the perfect piece of the puzzle. We’d known Linden [Marissen] for a long time as well. He was working at The Hen House rehearsal studios where we had written our songs and worked on our sound early on. We’d always heard him drumming. He was always a nice guy and it all fit perfectly together. That’s essentially how The FAIM came together.”
Their inception is one thing, but how The FAIM became more of a known commodity is thanks in large part to John Feldmann. A couple of years ago, the Goldfinger frontman and music producer extraordinaire wrote a post that he was looking for unsigned touring bands to work with. Raven and his band responded to that inquiry and Feldmann wrote back, that was the first big break for The FAIM.
“It was like this perfect cocktail of being terrified and being excited,” explained Raven on his feelings when Feldmann responded to the email they sent to the producer. “That’s the nicest way to put it. We’re from Perth. It’s one of the most isolated capital cities in the world. For us, writing music has always been something we’ve enjoyed and fell into naturally. To kind of go out on a limb and email somebody of that caliber was a long shot. This was somebody who is responsible for a lot of our favorite works over the years.”
“That really smacked us in the face and showed us that anything can happen. We sent this random email. It was about us, who we are as a band, what we want to do as songwriters. We also wrote about how we were willing to learn, willing to grow, and we just wanted his collaboration,” added Raven.
Despite not really being a touring band, Feldmann wrote the guys back and the relationship started.
“He came back to us and said, ‘What can you do to be different? What can you do to make an identity? What’s your message? What’s a message that’s going to be strong within the band?’ We really had to think about that, and those questions helped us grow. When we connect with something strongly, I feel like it resonates with other people. That process with John was discovering that and opening those doors and finding out who we are and where we stand in the world of music.”
Anybody who has chased a dream and achieved it, or even has come close to it will tell you that there are moments where things get real. It’s one thing to think about something and wonder what will happen once you do it. Its another thing altogether to take a giant leap towards it. The reality of what could happen slaps you right in the face. That’s what happened to The FAIM when John Feldmann wrote them back.
“It’s good, but it’s also terrifying,” said Raven of what it’s like to face that level of reality in a pursuit. “We were working so hard. We had quit our jobs and we created a business, that was the band. Being in Perth is hard. You can’t play that many shows and when you do its hard to get people to show up. We had to utilize social media. We had to hit the streets and hand out posters. We had to wait outside of big shows that would rarely come to Perth and hand out posters to everyone in line. Our big break was John Feldmann, that was the door opening.”
“But looking back, we didn’t realize what hard work was then. When we went to L.A. and worked with John for the first time, that really opened our eyes. The hard work really started then. We were committed, but we didn’t know where we wanted to be musically. John helped us discover what we wanted to say. That’s really come through with this album. Other people we worked with helped with that too, obviously.”
Working with Feldman led to the band signing a record deal which led them to share the stage with the likes of PVRIS, Against The Current, Sleeping With Sirens and others. It also led them to a level of notoriety that every new band wants. Every band wants their shot – legitimately – and that’s where the FAIM was. That led to the release of their Summer is a Curse EP last year. The EP, the upcoming album, the tours, the songwriting sessions, the studio sessions… life’s been a blur for Raven and The FAIM the past couple of years.
“It was nuts,” said Raven about the work that they did in 2018. “For us, it was this process of learning and growing and understanding the world we’re in. It was understanding the music industry, but it was more about understanding the dynamics between each other and understanding each other as songwriters. We had to figure out what we wanted to add to the band and how we wanted to put our own footprint into each song. Last year, touring was a big part of that. That really helped us grow. It’s emotionally and physically taxing, and you learn a lot about yourself as a musician and as a songwriter. You’re put into these places where you can’t help but be honest with yourself. It all leads you to be vulnerable. That opened a lot of doors for this album. Towards the end of the touring schedule last year we wrote almost half of the album. Those are songs we’re super proud of. This album is a nod to our future, but it’s also stories of where we came from. It’s nice to show people that level of progression.”
John Feldmann wasn’t the only elite talent that The FAIM got to work with. They also worked with Pete Wentz, Mark Hoppus, and Josh Dun. Those are three names that have dominated modern alternative music for the past 19 years.
“As an artist and as a music fan, you put these people on a pedestal, consciously and sub-consciously. To meet these people, then to get to know them and be creative with them and show them your perspective, it was really exciting to learn and tap into that. All these people have one thing in common; they worked hard. They all had different perspectives on how they approach music. We learned something from all those sessions. It’s nice to see people of that caliber be so humble, so hard-working, and so true to their art. That shows hard work pays off, and it was really encouraging in the writing process. We’re honest songwriters. I can’t sing something that I don’t have a piece of my heart in. Those guys are the same way and they all talked about that being a big part of their music too.”
Last year, “Summer is a Curse” became the band’s introduction to the world. It was their real lead single and the song they became most known for. Now, they’ve released the new single from their upcoming album. It’s called “Humans” that’s how to resonate with an audience with its message.
“We worked with a few different people on that song,” said Raven talking about the band’s most recent single. “The producers were Patrick Morrisey and David Dahlquist. Working with those guys was different than working with John because it was a different process and a different perspective. That song came about from an idea that was sent to us. It was very much in infancy when we took it to Patrick and David. It was stripped back. It was a rough idea, but we really liked the verse line. While we were touring, we wrote down a few ideas for lyrics and pieced together what we wanted to do with it. Working with Patrick and David and getting their perspective on things, was great. They helped us turn that song into something that says something.”
“That song is special to me lyrically because it speaks to everyone. It can mean something to anyone, whether they’re in a relationship, in a career, or just life in general. We all face obstacles where we have to look inside and figure out how we need to develop. We’re all confused, unpredictable, intense creatures. We’re all human and we’re all the same, but the little things that make us different are the intricacies of our lives and how we react to things happening to us. How we grow up and the way we face circumstances; that’s how we create an identity. It’s like that juxtaposition where everyone’s the same, but everyone’s unique.”
“Humans” is a big song for the band, but it’s just a small part of the album that Raven and co. are trying to show the rest of the world. Talking with Raven there are a couple of things that are important to him, he’s talks about perspective and identity. State of Mind is a huge spot for The FAIM with both of those themes. They get to share their perspective with the world and they’re hoping to form an identity in this era’s musical landscape. They want to share a piece of themselves with someone. That’s the main mission for most musicians but it’s really the big thing that Raven wants people to takeaway from State of Mind when they listen to it.
“I want people to create their own perspective of it. Obviously, it’s a reflection of the stories of my life and the emotions I’ve gone through and the emotions we’ve all gone through over the past year or so. With these songs it’s been nice to push out those emotions and show people the lives we lead and what we feel. I’m excited for people to hear it and I’m excited for people to hear the honesty and the vulnerability in the music and the lyrics, to have them be able to connect to it. If anyone walks away and finds something positive or something that they can reflect on in a good way, that’s what I want. Even if it’s one person, that’s good enough for me.” - aa