"I had to step outside of myself and my shell..." - The Faim frontman Josh Raven talks their debut LP State Of Mind
It's safe to say that when most unsigned bands reach out to super-producer John Feldmann, a man who has helped the likes of All Time Low, 5 Seconds Of Summer and Panic! At The Disco pen some of their biggest hits, with songs he has produced and co-written accounting for sales of more than 34 million albums worldwide, they probably get short shrift. But there was something about Perth foursome The Faim that made Feldmann pay attention.
Feldmann invited the band, who consist of singer Josh Raven, guitarist Michael Bono, bassist/keyboardist Stephen Beerkens and drummer Sean Tighe, over to Los Angeles and began to work with the band.
That set them on a path that has included collaborations with Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, Chris Cheney from The Living End and 5SOS drummer Ashton Irwin and tours with PVRIS and Against The Current.
Now they're ready to fully announce their arrival with debut album State Of Mind.
As it rides into stores, we spoke to Raven about how they put the album together...
When were the songs written for State Of Mind? Were some written years ago or are they all fairly recent?
"The songs themselves have been written all over the world. State of mind has been in the making for around three years, it's been living with us every day. It's been on tour with us, on holiday, on long drives, and longer flights. It's an honest reflection of the emotions, experiences and environments of our journey so far."
How did the experience of recording your debut album compare to the way you’d imagined it would be?
"I didn't have any false perspective on how hard it was going to be, I guess the only aspect they surprised me was the sheer amount of obstacles you have to face within yourself. It could be physical exhaustion, mental instability, personal problems and distance. Nobody can prepare themselves for every situation when your thrust into a world of uncertain creativity and impulse. Every experience we had was another way for us to learn how to be stronger for our passion."
As well as working with John Feldmann, you did the album with Patrick Morrisey and David Dahlquist, what did they give you as producers?
"They gave us the same thing we learn from anyone we have the pleasure of working with, an insight into their unique perspective towards music and songwriting. They have worked with very successful artists and their approach to working in a studio was incredibly polished and professional. It was exciting to learn from people who not only have undeniable talent, but a raw and honest way at tackling a song."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
"When it came to writing these songs, I didn't consciously try and create a conceptual theme to connect the album. When I look it at our songs, the theme I can see is an accurate reflection of my emotions and perspective towards certain concepts, experiences and events coming into my world. This album without any conscious effort became very honest, and a little confronting. I had to step outside of myself and my shell of thinking to grow and become comfortable with shedding certain details of my life."
"This is why we titled it State of Mind because it's truly a representation of the fact that every single person in the world is born the same until they're faced with an obstacle. It's those reactions to the intricacies of living that truly defines you, regardless if you act, dress, or look the same as somebody else."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"Every song presented its own challenges, but over a period of time, I'd have to say 'Infamous'. We had been making small changes to the song even though its genesis was over three years ago. Through touring, writing and just overall gathering perspective, there came a realisation that this song was a live song."
"What I mean by this is that the changes over the years were heavily influenced by playing this song night after night within months of touring. Seeing people all over the world connect so strongly and making a conscious effort to learn the song was really an eye-opener."
And which came together most quickly?
"Towards the end of our writing cycle, over half of the album came together quite quickly. Time constraints were definitely a factor into completing this album, but we're proud because we've still kept it true to ourselves and the direction we're taking as a band. In the end, there's a magnifying glass on anything we create because of the level of intimacy we have with our music but some times you need to find the middle ground of perfection and being pedantic."
When did you decide on State Of Mind for the album title? Were any other titles in contention?
"There were ideas flying around but nothing stuck out to us till we wrote the title track. It was really a pivotal moment because the idea of naming it after the title track came together so impulsively and as soon as the idea was brought up we were so so so definite about it."
"We had just finished writing the title track after a long day in the studio and we were discussing how much we enjoyed the session/the song as a whole. It's pretty rare for us to all agree on something straight away without any extensive thought like that, so we knew it was the perfect name for this album and the journey it represents."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"To really give people an insight into the emotion that's been poured into these songs in the most unique and natural way possible. I've always believed that a great band not only keeps somewhat true to the song in its studio form, but finds ways to keep the songs unique, compelling and different when it's performed live."
"People come for an experience, to step outside their world for a little while so it's vital for our set to stay intriguing, unpredictable, outrageous, and fun in the safest way possible. We love performing and we want other people to feel, see and share that love."
The Faim's debut album State Of Mind is out now in hmv stores.