Sunday, October 14, 2018

Interview with FAIM

Faim are a relatively new band based out of Denver (with one member in Seattle) who play ripping hardcore punk. I don't even remember how I discovered them but I'm very glad I did, because they are one of the best bands I've come across recently. Their new 7" will be out very soon on Convulse Records, be sure to pick it up once it drops and keep your ears to the ground; I hope we all hear lots more from these folks.

Editor's Note: All questions answered collectively by the band except where a specific individual is identified.

So I gather y'all are split between Seattle and Denver. How did you all meet, and what inspired you to roll the dice and try to start a band where you knew you'd all be separated by hundreds of miles?

I think we all found each other from being older and Denver transplants from similar hardcore scenes on the East and West coasts. When we all met, it wasn’t hard to realize we all know a lot of the same people. Matt and Nick’s old bands had played together too. Kat had mentioned really wanting to start a band, and it resonated with the rest of us so we just sort of jumped in - we were just angry and anxious and wanted to express ourselves the only way we really knew how. We honestly didn’t have any expectations beyond that. Kat moving to Seattle was a recent thing - which was a bummer, but we like playing music together and are at a point in our lives where we can make the distance work.
I'm assuming the writing process involves trading ideas online...up to this point, what's it been like taking rough ideas which have been swapped digitally and bringing them to life when you are physically together?  Do you wind up making a lot of adjustments or do things generally stay true to their original conception?

We all were in Denver when we wrote the last record - most of those songs began as acoustic recordings on a phone that were later fine tuned in practice, and vocals were written from those recordings. Even with Kat living in Seattle - we’ll probably continue to do it this way.
I read in the New Noise interview that corresponded with "It Follows" that the song is about Jim Hesketh (and people like him)....when I first read about that a few years ago my initial thoughts were A) How did the other guys in the band not know about this? and B) How did nobody in the wider punk/hc scene not know about this? They were such a big band and toured so hard for so long. I have no idea how close you all were to that situation or to the people involved,  but being that some of you are from Seattle, had you heard rumblings, what it an open secret, or did it truly come out of nowhere?

Kat: So, I originally lived in Seattle from 1999-2003, and the main reason I left was because of my own incident with Jim Hesketh.  When I spoke out about it back then no one believed me and Jim just told everyone I was obsessed with him. It made me hate Seattle for a long time because of how I was treated by him and others. 

This most definitely didn’t come from out of nowhere, and I strongly believe that everyone in the band knew what he was doing. This is still a very touchy subject for me, and it takes a lot for me to not get very upset over how Jim treated so many girls, and everyone close to him turned a blind eye. 

This behavior was all too common amongst many guys in the hardcore scene, and nothing was done about it. When it finally came out what he did, it was a relief, and of course I had people apologizing for not believing me in the first place (ugh). I think now that this is all out in the open, it has allowed for hardcore to finally not allow this behavior.

"Midlife Crisis" seems to address the topic of aging and the inevitable self-doubt/self-reflection that comes along with it....I'm turning 40 in a couple of months so those issues have definitely been swirling around in my head as of a little bit more about what you were trying to capture with that song, specifically as it relates to growing older while maintaining a connection to the punk and hardcore community.

Kat: Yeah so this song is pretty much about how as hardcore punk kids we are stuck in this limbo of not wanting to be like all the normies out there, but we also kind of want to.  I think a lot of older people in this scene are well-educated with good jobs, yet I think we feel like if we end up like everyone else we aren’t “fighting the system.” So this song was about how now that I am 37, I do want to buy a house, I do want to be an “adult” but I also want to stay a hardcore kid forever. It’s finding a balance between the two worlds.  

"Bought and Sold" and "Beatty" both seem to deal with economic issues, gaps between rich and poor, etc. We are obviously living in a moment with GOP control across the board in our country, which generally means pro-corporate, pro-rich policies. To what extent do you see the Dems as offering solutions to these problems, and how (if at all), can they offer a progressive alternative on one hand, but still appeal to enough people to win elections?  
Kat: “Beatty” is based on the novel Fahrenheit 451 which I think is very relatable to what we are going through in our current state in the United States.  We have too many people in our country who are drones and believe everything our current administration tells them. We also have so many people in this country who avoid anything politically related because they want to stay in their la la land.  
Chris: At best, Democrats slow down or mitigate the harm that the GOP has caused but they don’t solve issues of wealth inequality -it can’t be solved until we start dismantling capitalism. Wealth inequality isn’t a side effect or symptom of capitalism, it is necessary for its survival.
Voting won’t solve the fundamental crisis we find ourselves in, nor will the Democratic Party (fuck the GOP, but also fuck the Democratic Party). On the other hand, it is so simple to do and there is a concerted effort to deprive people (disproportionately poor people of color) of their right to do it (barring felons from voting, Voter ID, etc.) that it feels stubborn and privileged to say “I’m not going to do this thing that will take me less than an hour to do”. Voting isn’t the end all be all of political participation - it shouldn’t be the only thing people have faith in and it certainly shouldn’t be the *only* thing that people do. To reference an old anarchist campaign from 2004, “Don’t Just Vote, Get Active”.
That brings us to the latter part of your question - how do you balance electoral success against progressive policies. The answer isn’t relying on a politician or political party - it is from building a mass movement from below. Anything except that dooms us to continue to swing left to right to left to right, treading water. At the end of the day - the goal is far beyond votes, it is freedom which requires dismantling all the terrible systems that make our world unjust - capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, etc. Systems that mostly benefit us, but got to go.
Speaking of the 7", how did you hook up with Convulse Records, and what else can you share about the release in terms of the writing process, artwork, etc?

Faim: Convulse is our friend Adam - who drums for so many amazing bands that we’ve played with (Product Lust, Euth). In terms of DIY punk (the ethics, the politics) we speak the same language so it was a no brainer when he asked to put out our next recording. He let us do our own thing (from recording to artwork) and we’re really happy with everything. Adam is the best.
I know the metal scene in Denver has been blowing up quite a bit lately with bands like Primitive Man, Blood Incantation, etc. What can you tell us about the punk and hardcore scene?  What venues and bands should people be aware of?

Faim:  Denver has a really diverse scene - which cuts both ways. There is so much talent and really interesting things happening under the broad umbrella of punk, but also at times it feels really fractured. With a city that has been inundated with so many transplants (us included), I think it just takes time for the new to settle in with the old. There certainly has been more awareness and steps to try to bringing together the different parts of Denver’s scene. Some of our favorite bands from here are Raw Breed, Product Lust, Cadaver Dog, and Soul Vice.
Denver is also lucky enough to have its own DIY venue - 7th Circle, that has been able to sustain itself with volunteers in spite of Denver’s rising costs and growth. A local bookstore/coffeeshop called Mutiny Information Cafe also lets people book DIY shows there pretty frequently.
It seems like you've been getting out and doing as many weekends and small runs as possible, who are some of the best bands, promoters, and venues you've encountered thus far?

Faim: We’ve all had our fair share of complete and utter disaster tours in our early 20’s - but we’ve been fortunate enough that the few times we’ve gone out have gone smoothly. Some of our best shows have been in the smaller towns, like Redding where we played a generator show in a gazebo (the punkest show ever) or a small basement in Iowa City. There’s something special about those small towns whose DIY scenes don’t have the luxury of being fractured - everyone’s got to support it for it to survive.
We love playing with Discourage, and are so excited to go back out with them. Our favorite band to ever watch play is Drain from Santa Cruz. Some other highlights have been playing with Enemy in LA; D-FY in Redding; Beyond Peace from Iowa City; our show in Santa Cruz at Subrosa with Jawstruck and Bottled Up. Our collective mind was most blown playing with Faded Prisms in a house in Las Vegas.
What are the plans going forward in terms of writing and touring once the 7" drops?
Faim: The 7” will come out in early October and we’re doing a tour in the Pacific Northwest in November with Discourage. Since Kat is a teacher and Nick, our drummer, is in school we are trying to do some stuff over their spring and summer breaks - the West Coast again and then Europe in late summer. In terms of writing - we had been so focused on this new 7” we haven’t really thought about what we want to do next but are going to start working on stuff this winter.

All photos by Jackie Vitetta

1 comment:

  1. I was simply amazed at the architecture of this absolutely beautiful venue!! The environment was unbelievable. I was fortunate enough to visit event space San Francisco like this, we found awesome things one after another after another.