MetalHeart Posted September 6, 2004 Share Posted September 6, 2004 [iN THE BEGINNING. . .] ten years ago, in a town very, very similar to every town in the united states, we started a band. it was 1994 and joel, clark and i (todd), and our friend conor (oberst) were sitting around on the cement outside of a slowdown virginia show. still glowing from the experience, we decided to start our own group. a couple of days later conor told us that we had a show in two weeks at kilgore's (the folky songwriter coffee shop where he usually played). of course at this time, we had still never played any music together. but by show time we had accumulated the 9 songs we thought we needed in order to perform. with those songs we continued to play coffee shops and basements, punk clubs and bars while we tried to figure out what we wanted our band to sound like. we loved slowdown virginia and a couple of other local omaha bands, but we wanted to find a sound that was our own. a lot of what we listened to in those days was quite aggressive, so, in a heavy handed attempt at being different, we chose "lite rock" (not the cool kind). we wanted to put ourselves in a genre that we thought was ehrrr. . .whack. i guess we were hoping that something interesting might happen. a couple of years went by, and conor quit/got kicked out of the band. lots of other people also joined and left over the following few years. [MEDIA] our first studio album, MEDIA, was a collection of songs from 1996-1998 (the post "lite rock" era). it was a mix of a bunch of different styles of indie rock. that was when we started playing out of town and being matched up with similar bands each night. well, not really that similar, but close enough to where we recognized that the audience saw us the same way we were seeing these bands. you know - four or five dudes with guitars standing still for 45 minutes. we would watch the show and think "i don't like the guitar style that guy's playing" and then think, "you know, i don't like MY guitar style much either." that's when we decided that keyboards had to be the answer. [bLANK-WAVE ARCADE] eventually joel and i quit playing guitars. he moved to bass, i switched to keys (and still sang), and jacob joined the band as our full time keyboard player. from our point of view, synthesizers seemed to have a limitless and almost magical quality to them. magical in the sense that you could create a keyboard sound out of almost nothing, and have it perfectly fit your musical disposition. a keyboard or two had been a part of the band since the first days of NORMAN BAILER (which was what we were originally called in the lo-fi, folky noise days), but it wasn't until 1998 or so that we really started to explore synthesizers. i stopped writing songs on guitar and shifted to making them up in my head, or sometimes to the beat of my feet walking, or to the sound of windshield wiper blades. the songs started sounding different and a bit more upbeat, which went well with our vision of a more active live show (at the time, that meant fog and strobed garden lighting). the keyboards we had access to were pretty crappy and from the early 1980's. in hindsight, i think that our concept of what keyboards were and what you could do with them was probably very similar to the ideas bands had when those instruments were new. with no electronic music experience, we just played what came naturally to us, which was keyboard music from when we were youngsters in the music video age of the 1980's. the new songs felt good and right with our newfound, dancy, keyboard sound, but we were careful to make sure that our more current 90's influences were evident in every song. it was important to us that we made some new combination of styles rather than making 80's music in the 90's. after playing what seemed like hundreds of basements, kitchens, living rooms, and small clubs in support of BLANK-WAVE ARCADE, all the work (fun) had paid off. at this point we had met the only real goal we had, which was to be able to play music the way we wanted it to sound, and to know that a group of people would be there, in whichever city, to see us. [DANSE MACABRE] it was time to make a new record. all of us had quit our jobs and school in order to accommodate our touring schedule. for the first time, we were all doing something with our lives that we could believe in, rather than working toward someone else's goal. we realized that the best days of the band might be over, but we figured that even if THE FAINT went away, we'd rather be creating things and surviving off of peanut butter crackers than spending all day wasting away at a boring job. and, i suppose, this ultimately became the main lyrical theme for DANSE MACABRE. by this time, the live show had grown into a dance party. electronic music (even house) became more interesting to us. we heard it differently after having attempted it ourselves. we started to fantasize about real dance clubs playing our songs. when we began writing we had this type of environment in mind rather than the basement show feel on BLANK-WAVE ARCADE. when it was time to write the songs for DANSE MACABRE, we had this type of environment in mind, rather than the basement show feel on BLANK-WAVE ARCADE. this time around there was no preconceived new wave theme. mentally we were over that, but our BLANK-WAVE sound was already totally ingrained into who we were. we had played those songs so many times that the new songs were bound to have similarities. instead of fighting this, we just let our sound progress naturally. Dapose joined us part way through the writing process. his death metal band LEAD had recently broken up and we wanted his help with visual design and guitar. after finishing the album as a five piece, we toured. and toured. and toured. DANSE MACABRE did surprisingly well, which helped us buy the video projection equipment we'd been wanting to add to the live show. before we knew it, we had fallen behind on the song writing process. new faint songs seemed impossible to write. i think we were all feeling a little stuck. a renewed interest in 80's inspired music had hit the mainstream. we were starting to feel trapped in some sort of bad fad or something. but once we got our practice schedule back in effect, everything began to come together. [WET FROM BIRTH (out Sept. 14th '04)] we rented a warehouse full of stacked up and broken washers and dryers in order to have a place to write the songs, practice, and make videos for our live show. we met there every weekday for about a year, kind of like a normal office job. we named it "the orifice" and threw a few parties to break up what could have become a rather monotonous schedule. what about the album? is it good? what does it sound like? well, i just heard the mixed and mastered version for the first time today and, ummm. . . yes, it's good - at least in comparison to our other records. i think it's more adventurous, more dancy, less dancy, and it rocks a bit harder. i think overall WET FROM BIRTH is more song-oriented. i'm not exactly sure what that's supposed to mean, but i've opened up a bit with my lyrics. this is also the first time we have done one of clark's songs (phone call). mike mogis (of bright eyes) produced the album with us and made tons of excellent contributions. he also had a baby named stella with his girlfriend while we were recording. WET FROM BIRTH isn't a direct reference to stella, but it was awesome to have a real live person created during our recording session. the title actually comes from the song BIRTH that i wrote about myself being born. WET FROM BIRTH is also a play on the phrase "wet behind the ears" which is usually said of people who are naive or immature. we thought that this seemed to fit an album of genre jumping and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. by the way, i was proud to have found a spot on the album for a raccoon penis bone-on-muffler solo. can you find it? anyways, the album cover art is due tomorrow, so i gotta go. ---The Faint [THE FAINT] clark baechle todd baechle dapose joel petersen jacob thiele [sELECT TOUR DATES] 10.22 FRI Miami, FL @ Polish American Club W/ Beep Beep, TV on the Radio 10.23 SAT Orlando, FL @ Social Pavillion W/ Beep Beep, TV on the Radio 11.19 FRI Fort Worth, TX @ Ridglea Theatre W/ Beep Beep, TV on the Radio (BUT TICKETS!) 11.20 SAT Austin, TX @La Zona Rosa W/ Beep Beep, TV on the Radio 11.21 SUN Houston, TX @ Numbers W/ Beep Beep, TV on the Radio Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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