Album Walkthrough: The Faim break down their debut album, State of Mind
Wasting no time since their break-out 2018 EP, the Perth-raised pop-punk band get to work on a debut album.
The Faim are a band that haven't been around for the longest time, but you'd probably guess otherwise looking at their list of accomplishments. Formed in the summer of 2016, the Perth-raised band have quickly catapulted into local favourites amongst the punk-pop-rock intersection, working with some of the genre's biggest names - Blink-182's Mark Hoppus, Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz - while developing an audience of their own which today, stands out as one of Australia's most loyal, dedicated and die-hard.
Their 2018-released debut EP, Summer Is A Curse, is a six-track introduction that proved to be the band's break-out. Within, its catchy hooks and guitar-laden rhythms - often thick with power and rushing spirit - occupy a distinct space which stands out for its uniqueness and craft, and this is something they've been rewarded for. The time since, while working on what's next. they've played Download Festival and UK institutions Reading/Leeds Festivals, toured with some of punk-rock's biggest, most-adored names, and grown into an unexpected Australian heavyweight in the streaming world - something you wouldn't see coming from a band with their sound, let alone one that only formed two years prior.
Now, however, we're celebrating their debut album, State of Mind. Spanning ten tracks and a short, yet punchy thirty-minute duration, State of Mind tracks the evolution and growth of The Faim following their Summer Is A Curse introduction; their melodies grown and their choruses more earworming and catchy as their punk-pop sound gets taken to the next level, experimented upon and worked with as they deepen their sound and re-introduce their craft as a multi-faceted band with something special going on.
Opening with the explosive and distortion-ridden Tongue Tied, the album then moves into tracks that double-down on the sound they introduced with Summer Is A Curse while showcasing how experimentation and growth have seen them evolve as a band. Humans, for example, marries a downbeat with assuring and empowering lyrics that offer something new, while conversely, Summer Is A Curse - the track on the album, not the name of the EP before it - is a nod to their past work and the familiar sounds it captures, repurposing the track from their debut EP to better showcase the growth that lays around it.
Beautiful Drama and Buying Time, meanwhile, take their distinct pop-punk sound into new directions; the former a catchy anthem built heavily on its hooks, while the latter opens with soft guitars and twinkling keys, before a launching chorus takes it to the next level as the track completely opens up. Elsewhere, there are stripped-away ballads (Where The River Runs) and contrasting light/heavy comparisons (Amelie), before State of Mind, the album's closing title-track, ends with a finale worthy of an album like the one its named after; a rich and bold ending for an album spotlighting exactly that.
"We write from an honest place, and that’s something we always want to stay true to," says lead singer Josh Raven on the album. "It has to resonate with us for it to be relatable to our fans. On this album, it was about connecting with ourselves and exploring our influences and our own talent. If we stick to who we are and what we feel, hopefully everyone else will find something in the music too."
Now, with the album's release behind us, dive into State of Mind with a track-by-track walkthrough from the band themselves, dissecting their debut album and its creation one song at a time. Grab it HERE.
1 – Tongue Tied
The first song, Tongue Tied, is a bit of an enigma amongst the album. Not in the sense that it doesn’t fit, but more that it was really a step outside of the box for us. We came into the studio with a mentality where we really wanted to try something different. We were with a producer called Drew Fulk, incredible guy, incredibly talented, and he instantly took us off guard by basically saying “we need to do something different”, basically agreeing with us, without having any previous conversation, saying that we needed to do something outside the box.
Something we wanted to try was getting that opening song for the album in a way that shows our diversity and shows the view that we have of doing things differently, while also keeping true to the sentiment of the album. It really comes out with a lot of energy, and we all got to experiment a lot in general with this song. Stephen with his bass tones, Linden with his drums and his rhythms, and of course Sam with his guitar being able to try different things, and Drew was essentially pushing us outside of the box, plugging guitars in and plugging them out just for a sound in the song.
A lot of the vocals and lyrics we used just straight off the bat, nothing was really pre-possessed, it was all quite natural and fluid, and it all came together quite quick. The chorus was essentially an impulse, out of the verse. We sorted out what we wanted with the verse, and I kind of sang something into the chorus, and we ended up using something among those lines. It was a really powerful song for us and we felt like it was the perfect one to open up the album.
2 – Humans
The second song on the album, Humans, was a song that we kind of did in different places in the world. We did it at home, on tour, and in the studio in Los Angeles. It was something that took a lot of time, and we were very particular about what we wanted the song to put out.
Lyrically, that song unintentionally became quite universal. The sentiment that I want people to think about when listening to this song is that everyone is essentially the same scientific human being, but the things that make us all unique, and make every individual person different, are the ways we react to life and the react to the obstacles in life. Those are the things that make up an identity. Before that, you’re kind of a blank canvas, and that’s where the artwork kind of came into it as well. We want people to gain the perspective that it doesn’t matter if you look, dress, or act the same as anyone else, you’re always going to be your own unique person, no matter what.
3 – Summer Is A Curse
Summer Is A Curse, the third song on the album. It was previously on our EP, and I guess the reasoning we wanted to keep this on the album was because it was such a big part of our band progressing into an international band. This song opened up a lot of doors for us, and we felt like it was an important part of the journey within this album. It let us gain the perspective and knowledge we’ve used to put into the songs we’ve written later. This album has been in the making for years, songs like Infamous have been in the making for a long time, and it’s a really important sentiment for us to keep true to the past and keep true to the future that we’re so passionate about. Again, we just felt it was important to keep it on there to remind people where we came from, but also about where we’re stepping and growing as a band.
4 – Beautiful Drama
The fourth song, Beautiful Drama, well, there’s a common misconception with this song. It’s always seen as a dramatic thing or there’s something wrong or there’s something going on that’s bad. It’s not necessarily that, it’s more the fact that certain events and relationship can really shape you. I feel there’s a negative light that’s put into something like a bad relationship or bad friendship or a bad interaction with anybody. There’s always a negative light shone on that straight away, but I feel like underneath the surface when you dig a little deeper, those are the things you truly learn and gain an identity from. At the end of the day, pain really teaches you the lessons of life. It’s those lessons that you carry throughout your entire childhood, adulthood, wherever it may hit you. That’s why there’s that juxtaposition of it being beautiful and also being drama because it may not be a great thing that’s happened, but at the end of the day, there’s always a beautiful thing that comes out of it.
5 – Buying Time
The fifth song on the album is actually quite an emotional song, probably the most intense for me in the sense of writing lyrics and melodies. It was quite confronting because Sam came to us with a riff and melody idea for the chorus, and straight away I had a connection to the song. I felt like I needed to say something about a friend of mine who had passed, and those emotions and stories you carry with that. It’s funny cause at first light, the song doesn’t seem that deep and doesn’t seem like it’s got that much of a weight of emotional reliance on it, but this song was very much a therapy session in the sense that I look at it and I really see the emotions that I felt and still feel to this day when you lose someone very close to you. That’s where that sentiment comes from: buying time. Because when you’re in that limbo state of mind, you can get yourself caught between trying to get through the day or get through the years, or you can use it in a way that makes you the better person today.
I’m a big believer that you carry those people that affect your life so strongly in your soul forever, so you never really lose them, but you carry them as a part of your identity.
6 – Infamous
A song that has been in the works for forever. It’s been a huge part of our journey, we’ve been playing it live for a very long time, and it’s one of the songs we’ve been working on slowly as we’ve been playing it live through all the touring that we’ve done. It really started out as ‘Idea 2’ a long time ago when we sent a bunch of demos to John Feldmann. This song has progressed and grown so much over the years, especially with the live perspective, seeing people connect with it so much, we felt we needed to give it the time and attention, and give it a place on the album.
It’s funny that a song can carry through so much, especially through an incredible journey like ours, being so intense with touring and being away from families, when we play this song live, I personally find that space in my mind and feel very comfortable and feel at home because I can see the amount of people that connect with it. I feel like home isn’t really a place or something you can manifest. It’s people. It’s people that make the home at the end of the day. Infamous is that little home that we carry with us everywhere we go.
7 – Amelie
This song isn’t necessarily about a specific person, it’s actually about a character that I’ve essentially created. It’s about someone who’s in a world of complete negativity and complete disarray, and kind of faced with every confronting obstacle that life can give you, especially at such a young age. I feel like everyone has those little pieces of life that they’re confronted with, but at the end of the day, I feel like people forget that it can always be better, and it can always be worse. There’s always that push and pull when it comes to facing anything in life, and I feel like you need to have the mentality of understanding that some people never really get out of that, and they consume themselves with that negative mindset.
So, Amelie is that acknowledgement to the fact that it’s easy to get consumed by it, and also those other people in the world are consumed by it more than you can possibly know. So, you should be thankful and grateful for what you have, because it’s people like Amelie who never get out of that and face the dearest of consequences. Playing that song live is a very energetic and powerful thing, and it’s a song that I feel really helped open us up in a more mature light.
8 – Words Apart
Words Apart is an interesting song on the album, because this is one of the songs that is blatantly about a specific person, in a specific place and time. It’s that feeling when you’re in a relationship and you’re drifting apart. Not by any fault of anyone personally, just the natural selection where you have your own journey and someone else has theirs. That separation is a hard thing to go through, and it’s a hard thing to be mature enough to say, “Hey, I need to take this step and grow out with this,” because you end up creating something that’s very toxic. That’s why when most people look at it, people think it’s called Worlds Apart, which is something that’s intended because that’s what the sentiment is.
It’s funny because in the reality of it, especially our situation, being away from relationships and it feels like you’re aching and yearning to find right words or right sentence to fix everything, but you’re never going to find it. You’re constantly digging in this stream of consciousness to find some form of security, but it’s something you never really find because the problem is within each other’s journey. That’s just a part of life, and that’s where I feel that song stems from.
9 – Where The River Runs
This song was the first time we got to the point of being really personal and really intimate, in the sense of taking the armour off and being okay with being vulnerable. There’s a lot of things that have happened in my life that I don’t talk about. I wouldn’t say my past is interesting, I wouldn’t give it that sort of positive output. Everyone has their ups and downs and everyone’s pain is their own, but sometimes when events confront you in life, the only thing you can do is express it. It took me a long time to figure that out and understand it, and I’m still figuring it out today.
I feel this song sticks out on the album because it’s not overly produced and there’s no crazy instrumentals or anything like that, it’s just the song and I feel that the focus is on the concept and on the words. I feel like it’s something people can resonate and connect with, because it’s hard to talk about things like that. It’s hard to open up about anything, especially to a world of more than just ten people, or five people, or even one person. It’s never easy to open up about something you feel has affected your life. This is something I want people to understand, that it’s okay to do that, and it’s okay to feel pain or regret or anything really as long as you express it.
One thing I want to mention is that my family are the biggest motivators and inspiration in my entire life and in no way, shape or form, have they been a negative influence in my life at all. My mum and dad are incredible people. All the relationships I have, I am incredibly fond of, but at the end of the day, everyone’s human and everyone has their trials and tribulations, and I feel like it’s the way that you react to them that really defines you. My parents have been a big part in shaping that. I hope that out there, somewhere in the world, someone can connect with this. That’s what this song is for. It’s for people to listen to and hopefully find some level of understanding that they are not alone when they hear something like that. It doesn’t have to be the same experience or event, but I want people to really understand that you need to express yourself if you going to find any form of safety again.
10 – State of Mind
Last, but definitely not least. This song has a special place in our hearts because the way this song came about was just from us four, in a room, at the hen house back home, which is a place where we constantly rehearsed and have a lot of memories and history with. It was the first time we had properly written together, and it was funny because I really wanted everyone to be taken off guard, so I said, “Alright everybody, before we write this song, we’re going to take our clothes off.” Stephen and I did, Sam took most of his clothes off, and Linden took off barely any. It was more just about giving each other the sense of breaking the mindset and breaking the routine. We’d been rehearsing every day, coming in at the same time, and I feel like subconsciously you can put yourself in a routine. With this song, I felt like it was important for us all to be in the most creative mindset possible. I said to Stephen, “play a chord you’d never play”. That was the first chord of the first verse. I feel like the story and sentiment of this song resonated with all of us.
The lyrics and melody came about really quickly, which is why I feel so strongly about it because it’s a very accurate representation of the stream of consciousness that I access when it comes to writing songs. When it comes to approaching, or creating in any way, shape or form, you put yourself in a perspective where you can look at things in a third person, first person, or even inward at yourself with a magnifying glass. That’s something that takes a lot of understanding to put yourself in those shoes, but everyone got to put their perspective in this song. Whether it was Sam’s guitar, Stephen’s keys and bass, Linden’s drums or my vocals and melodies, it was something that we all knew needed to be on the album, and it needed to be the focus in a way.
It’s such an important part of where we’re going to go as a band, and where we want to step towards to. It was originally a seven-minute song, and we had to strip it down to four and a half minutes. Even a four-and-a-half-minute song is not something you see in today’s day and age. Songs are usually two or three songs and then put into radio and they have to be a certain way sometimes. This song was an expression, and however long that took was however long that song is. It’s very important to us, and I hope people can connect to it as much as we have.
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