It’s been twenty-two years since The Faint’s debut album, Sine Sierra was released and since then few bands bands have mastered the electronic rock synth-pop sound like The Faint. And no one has mastered crowd surfing with a keyboard like the band’s singer Todd Fink. The Faint’s music can rip your heart right open, then suture it up while you’re dancing unawares. When 2001’s Danse Macabre came out, it sounded like the future, it took everybody else awhile to catch up and it still sounds like it came out two months from now. With a new record coming in early 2018, the dance-punk patriarchs are set to unleash some more of their dark, atmospheric dance-rock that blurs boundaries and binaries. We caught up with the band [Todd Fink, Graham Ulicny, Dapose, and Clark Baechle] at FYF 2017 to share a shot of rum in their trailer.
ROGUE: What’s one of the most memorable shows you guys played?
Ulicny: I always think of Clemson where we played in a kitchen and we had to do the dishes in order to all fit in because we had to put our keyboards over the sink. It was back in beginning, in some college kid’s house and there was all types of crap in the sink, there was an animal cage in there. And we had to move the dirty dishes out of the way and put one of our speakers on top of the fridge, the keyboard on the counter, and I think we even had to open the door of the fridge so we could move back a littler farther. We had someone filming the tour with us and he was filming through the kitchen window from the outside because there was no way into the room. The drums were in front of the fridge, but all the audience members had to watch through the kitchen door because all the outside was fogged up. The good ole days.
How has the band evolved after more than 2 decades together, there’s still a firm solidarity?
Fink: We’ve kinda been through it all and it feels like we’re in a new chapter now. We’ve know each other so well now. Of course, I’ve learned about what elements balance out others. Originally, we always had ideas for things that didn't exist yet, but finally technology has caught up, that’s one evolution for the band.
The cool thing about a festival is you get to introduce yourself to a plethora of potential new fans who have maybe heard of you along with entertaining those that have. How do you curate your set list for a festival crowd?
Fink: Kind of like bangers and no bullshit. There’s not enough time to have a whole architecture to the set. You can't bring it down to a lull and then build it back up very much because you don’t get as much time. So we sort of put all the songs on that we really want to play the most and make sure there is new stuff also, but it's mostly a couple new songs when we play a new festival. We are grateful to be playing at night this time because a lot of times festivals are during the day and our type of music isn’t... during the day type music… it sounds fine when it's mid tempo, but I don’t think our band is flashy enough in the day, it doesn’t translate. We will still be happy to do it, but we prefer smaller and darker.
Ulicny: We will play your barbeque that’s the take-away from this. Birthday parties, Bar mitzvahs, BBQs! [laughs]
Most of you guys have been together since you were in college, what were you most passionate about at back then? What was driving you guys at that age?
Baechle: Probably sex and not much else. [laughs] I was touring in a van so I guess that was it.
Dapose: I was about to quit college to do this indefinitely. After I went for two semesters I traded in college for touring. Never looked back.
Did you think you would still be doing it now?
Baechle: No way. I mean I hoped I guess, but I never near thought past people are letting us play in their basement and they like it. We should keep doing this until they won't let us play in their basement. We should keep playing these barbecues.
Fink: My passion was skateboarding. I was pursuing that as a career I guess at that point. Then I had some surgery so I couldn’t walk for a year and that was kind of the end of it. And so I decided would shoot pool for a living and here I am. Success except I got distracted by music, which was my third career choice and ended up being successful.
Written by Heather Seidler
Photography by Sam Ramirez