Coachella You've heard all the rumors, seen all of the fake hand bills, and…
- Posted on Nov 9th 2012 4:30PM by Shauna Farnell
"Danse Macabre was kind of the record where most people heard of us first," frontman Todd Fink tells Spinner during a session break. "We've always played a lot of songs from that record live. We're putting in long days. We've been practicing noon to 8. We've had two solid years of not playing any live shows. We just do the same -- we make a record and go play it for a long time. It takes a long time to make the record, then to go around the world a couple times to play it, by the time we're done with the tour, it's time to make new music. It's usually something we're looking forward to. But last time we were like, 'Ah, we need a break.' So we just took time off until we were sitting around thinking, 'We want to do this, don't we?'"
Obviously, the consensus was "yes." In the time away from the Faint, Fink and a couple other band members explored side projects and did some DJing, endeavors that nurtured an enlightened perspective now that everyone is refocused on the main act.
"We've learned some skills that are just technical things and also to be more expressive with the music," Fink says. "Time has given us the gift of inspiration. Being away from it has refueled what it is that we do, what we want it to be and what we don't want it to be. I feel on the last record or two -- we like those records -- but we know where we're going and it's kind of where we were for the earlier records. After taking a break from things, I can hear what's good about each of the records or not and have a true vision of what the Faint is in my mind. It's not like we're trying to go back and do more of a certain era, it's just good to have perspective and now know what we're after."
So what exactly is it that they're after? It's really quite simple.
"The Faint is fun and dark. Upbeat but moody," Fink says. "I think my vocal style, if I had to describe it, it's New Wave influenced. I was really impressionable when we got MTV. I grew up on Depeche Mode, the Cure and the Clash. I use a lot of different things for different songs. It's hard to use distortion on vocals so I kind of cheated. There is a light kind of distortion called saturation. I use a little saturation and some delay."
The new 12-inch is something the band managed to knock out simultaneously with its day-long Danse Macabre sessions and was really just a quick experiment -- a reminder of the sound that the Faint is all about.
"The 12-inch project came together pretty fast. We put four songs on it and we'll play three on the tour," Fink says. "We decided, 'Well, fuck it. It doesn't have to be the most amazing thing we've ever done. We just really want to make music together. Whatever happens, happens.' We put it out on a 12-inch. No MP3. Old school. We didn't really need a label to do it. It's almost just a merch item. We don't want distribution for it. We figured if we end up liking the songs enough to put on a next record, we'd re-record them. They'll probably develop a lot on the tour."
The famed Saddle Creek Records -- the indie label launched when Omaha's music scene was gelling at a furious rate in the '90s with the likes of Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst was actually an original member of the Faint) and Cursive -- is distributing the Danse Macabre remastered deluxe edition.
"It was probably time to have records re-pressed," Fink says. "We want our records to sound as good as current music."
Thanks to those original albums, Omaha has transformed into a city where many a progressive artist is born and embraced. But Fink is reluctant to admit that he was one of the city's musical pioneers.
"A lot of the music at that time came from friendship and inspiration, a group of friends. That probably happens all the time, all over the place. As far as the music scene in Omaha, I think it's great here. There are tons of good bands. The art scene, the whole city has gotten so much better since the surprise of, 'hey, there are several bands doing well from this small place.' There wasn't really a scene for what we were doing here at that point. Still, there was great support. Now there is kind of a scene."
Look for the Faint on tour through Dec. 14.