There's been times where we've been under pressure to write music

Vor ihrem lebhaften Gig am Frequency Festival 2019 sprachen The Faim Gitarrist Sam Tye und Bassist/Keyboarder Stephen Beerkins im Interview über ihre Zusammenarbeit mit John Feldmann, Pete Wentz und Josh Dun, Schreibblockaden, das Touren und gaben Tipps für junge MusikerInnen.

Am dritten und letzten Tag des legendären Frequency Festivals 2019 in St. Pölten trafen wir Stephen Beerkins und Sam Tye von der australischen Band The Faim zum Interview. Vor ihrem energiegeladenen Set am Frequency Festival in St. Pölten sprachen wir mit Gitarristen Sam Tye und Bassist/Keyboarder Stephen Beerkins, der Band The Faim. 2018 veröffentlichte die Band ihr EP „Summer Is A Curse“, wessen Title Track in den ein oder anderen Radiosendern weltweit eingefunden hat. Am 13. September dürfen wir uns auf das Debütalbum des Quartetts aus Perth, Australien, „State Of Mind“ freuen!  

fm5: Since you’re in Europe again and you’ve been here a couple of months ago – how do European crowd differ from the Australian crowd?

Sam: The EU crowds are very enthusiastic about music – not to say that Australian crowds aren’t . we were here in Austria a few months ago for our first show ever and the crowd was amazing. It was a small show, but it felt like we were in a stadium. It was crazy and the crowds are loud and they’re dancing and they’re enthusiastic. I think there’s a really good energy about crowds in Europe, everyone’s a music lover here, I feel and you can really feel that when you’re on stage – when people are singing songs back at you. It’s a great feeling.

Stephen: I feel like in Europe the people at festivals are definitely much more there for the music instead just being at a festival for the sake of being at a festival, which definitely happens a lot more in Australia where people would go to festivals and not even know any of the bands that are playing, they’re just there to hang out with their friends. But, here everyone is there for the music and there to listen to new bands, you know – to experience musicians they’ve never heard before and there’s people even looking up bands that are playing beforehand to get to know their music. Everyone here is really there for the music and just in love with what a festival should be about.

When we’re speaking of travelling, what’s the first thing you absolutely have to do when you arrive in a new city/country?

Stephen: For me it’s WiFi, I gotta on with WiFi. We really have to rely on that just with everything to keep up to date with our social media accounts, to stay in contact with our friends, families and loved ones back home. That’s really important to help us stay connected in case we get lost somewhere around the world we can make sure that we find our way back home.

Sam: Yeah, I agree  

And since for your EP and for your Album you were working with big names like John Feldmann (Producer), Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) and Josh Dun (Twenty One Pilots) what did you learn from them?

Stephen: We learned something new from everybody’s session – like each writer and producer has their own unique way of tackling a song. From where it starts to the way that you grow an idea to finishing the final product. Each person that you write or just work with has a different mindset on how that’s done and learning from different each person’s style is a big thing that we took from that. All those guys taught us something new about the birth of songs, the way that they song write just the way that they perceive some of it in general, so that was great to be able to take in – you know, each idea and then we applied that to each session going forward.

Speaking of creating songs and art in general there’s this really hard thing you have to do – stepping out of your own comfort zone. How do work past that? Do you need more of an outside push or does that come from within?

Stephen: I think one of the things helping me get out of my comfort zone is this guy right here, Sam. (laughs)

Sam: Stop it!

Stephen: But you know, the guys are super helpful in the band. We all try to push each other outside of our own comfort zones. We each have a very different style of playing and writing and that’s really great when the four guys in the band are all there for the common goal of writing their best song possible and it can be bad sometimes – there are four different opinions and four different styles that clash, but helping each other learn from each different member of the band and using these different styles when playing and writing to come together to create something great. That’s I think the biggest thing that personally tell me to get out of my little comfort zone of where I’m comfortable in playing and writing – the guys that help me push into new territories.

When you deal with writer’s block – how do you get past it?

Sam: Get angry, bite my guitar and run away. I’m kidding. I think it’s kind of the same. You look to the other guys in the band and see what they can bring to the table. It’s no fun writing by yourself – I mean, sometimes it is, that’s not all cases, but in a band I feel like when you have an idea, it always just opens it up – just give it to someone else and see what they can do, like if I have an idea, I go to Stephen and see what he thinks about it, what he’s hearing from it, which can be something completely different and usually is something completely different to what I’m hearing and then I go “Oh that’s a thing, I was trying to think of, but I just couldn’t get there” and that’s the first thing someone else thinks. I think we all trust each other with song writing abilities and the way each different person hears something, so I think it’s good to turn to someone when you’re dealing with writer’s block.

It can go two ways – you can either not do anything and forget about music for a bit and go do something you enjoy, go for a walk, go to the park and come back to it or you can force yourself to sit down and get through it.

I think sometimes both can be the case. There’s been a lot of times where we’ve been under pressure to write music or write songs and being like “ugh, we need to do this this week cause we’re going to the studio next week”, you know. We’re touring all the time so we don’t get that much time to write. When we do have the time to write, so usually in one or two weeks we have to do it, so we are kind of forced to sit down and do it. That was the case for “State Of Mind”, the title track of our upcoming debut album. That song came on the second week of two weeks of writing and before that we were just kind of writing and like “what can we do? We need something else” and we had this massive talk with each other and the talk was for an hour and then started straight after that. I think Josh said to Stephen, “play a chord that you never play.” Stephen played this chord and that’s kind of like the origin of the song and then we always went in and all wrote our individual pieces over that and you can really hear the identity of each individual member of the band and that’s that song and yeah that’s what happened. That song came out of being under pressure and having “writer’s block”. Sometimes it can be a good thing. That was really long; I’m sorry (laughs)

No, it’s fine, it’s fine!! (laughs) yeah it can really help having others give their input on something, because as you said there’s ideas you’d never think of on your own..
So; since you EP Summer Is A Curse came out, it’s been a massive success for you. You got radio play – even the biggest radio stations here in Austria still play it from time to time – I actually heard it the other day again.

No way!! Amazing!

And the EP basically gives a taste of what the upcoming album is like, which is highly anticipated. You have a lot of things coming up – as mentioned before, your debut album State Of Mind on September 13th, you’re on the cover of Rock Sound magazine and after the Europe tour you’re headed on a co-headliner tour in the US with fellow Australians Stand Atlantic. What are you most excited for on this upcoming album cycle?

Stephen: Personally, I’m very excited for the upcoming Stand Atlantic tour in the US because we’re going to be playing the album in full and it’s going to be great – playing the new songs off the record, the live show is going to be absolutely pumping. It’s going to be fun for us, because we can’t wait to jam these new songs for everyone. This is going to be the first time all of the songs are going to be heard in the one show, so it’s going to be great.

That sounds amazing wish I could fly over there!

Stephen: Do it! (laughs)

Don’t have enough money, I’m a broke photographer (laughs)

Stephen/Sam: Same. (laugh) 

Which one of the new songs are you most excited to put on the setlist?

Stephen: I think – one that we’re playing today (17/08 – Frequency) “Tongue Tied” is very fun to play live. That’s actually the opening track on the album!

I heard that one, I have a press copy for reviewing purposes and that one is actually my favourite judging from the first listen!

Stephen: Thank you, it’s got a really fun rave section at the end! We actually added a little breakdown for playing it live because you know, why not. Rock out section at the end, so that’s really fun!

Sam: Yeah, man, “Tongue Tied” is super fun! I can’t wait to play “State Of Mind” and another song called “Words Apart” I can’t wait to play that live, cause that one is fun to play! It’s tasty!!

Stephen: It’s tasty. It’s like a nice dessert with a glass of wine.

Sam: Red or white?

Stephen: Red wine.

What’s a story behind a song you haven’t told yet?

Sam: Let me think… "Tongue Tied". We were planning on working on a different song, we were in the studio that day. We went into work with this amazing producer. So we go in there and we were planning to work on the song and he says to us “do you guys have an opening track of the album yet? Do you have a song that you know is going to be the opening track” and we said no and he felt like the best songs are written at the start or the end of a writing cycle, so he said, “let’s write a brand new song and let’s make it something that catches the listeners attention and let’s write the opening track.” So, we went in there with that mindset doing something quirky, to make something different that will not only be different, but breaking our own boundaries of what we’ve done before and that’s how our song “Tongue Tied” was born.

Yeah sometimes title tracks can make or break an album...

Stephen: Absolutely. It is the first song you hear unless you’re on shuffle play. The opening track is really important and we wanted it to be one of our favourite songs off the record as well, so you know, “Tongue Tied” is definitely one of our favourites and we know it’s going to kick arse.

Yeah, you know what they say about first impressions – they are the most important.

Is there anything you want to tell our readers, whether it is advice for starting out in music or just about your band?

Sam: There are so many things that I wish I knew when I was starting out. I think having a voice and things that make you different are your strengths. The things that make you unique are your strengths. Pick up an instrument or learn playing the piano or just get behind a computer and download an audio software thing and just record stuff. You don’t have to show anyone, just start doing it and start piecing things together and I think over time that will help you understand the big picture. When I was 13, I would just sit there and write stuff and do an acoustic guitar and write a really shitty drum track into the midi, mini drums and write other guitar to top that and all of it was pretty bad – almost awful, but doing that it kind of enabled me now to be able to see the big picture when I’m writing a song and I think that’s really important and Stephen will probably approve, I don’t play piano necessarily, but I think it is a really important instrument and a really great one to learn on, if you want to be a musician. You kind of have everything on your fingertips, which is great. Whether it’s for melodies or for chord progressions or whatever, I think familiarising yourself with the piano is a great thing.

Yeah it’s also the best to learn music theory with.

Stephen: Yeah music theory, love the stuff.

Sam: Stephen loves music theory.

Any last words you want to add, before we end this interview?

Sam: Our album is coming out on September 13th!

Stephen: Big day in the life of The Faim. Probably going to be celebrating, we’re going to be pumping up for our flight from London to America and overjoyed that the album is going to be out! So we hope that everyone enjoys it as much as we do, because we love it and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

Julia Wagner