A few hours before stepping on the stage of the Trabendo for their parisian gig, singer Josh Raven and drummer Linden Marissen from The Faim sat down with RockUrLife to answser a few questions. They tell us everything from their new album Talk Talk, their creative process and their tour.
Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. So, first things first, who’s who?
Josh Raven (vocals): I’ll start off. Hi, I’m Josh, and I’m the lead singer of The Faim.
Linden Marissen (drums): Hey. And I’m Linden, and I play drums in The Faim.
The first question is the same question we ask everyone these days: how have been those last two years with COVID and all this?
Linden: It’s been obviously, pretty tumultuous, pretty interesting, as most people in the music industry have found out. For us in The Faim, we’ve spent most of our time in Australia writing our second album. That pretty much took the whole two and a half years to finish and that’s mainly what we were doing in those two years because we couldn’t tour.
Now that you can tour again and as the new album Talk Talk is released next month, how do you feel?
Josh: I think we feel incredibly grateful and I think we’re very happy to be here. For a long time we weren’t sure we were going to end up in this position because of how hard it was to travel and how difficult the last two years has been for everyone and every industry all over the world. But I think we’re just incredibly happy to be here and be playing festivals, to be playing shows and just seeing live music come back to life again. It’s very, very exciting.
So as a French media, we have to ask you about the band’s name. You pronounce it “the fame“.
But it also means hunger in French.
Linden: You guys say “la faim“, don’t you?
Yeah. “La faim“, it’s pronounced like the French word for the end. The play on words is pretty funny. How did you come to choose this on ? What does it inspire to you now?
Josh: We kind of stumbled into it. We didn’t decide the name intentionally. At first we just liked how it looked on paper because we like the word fame, but we didn’t like the English connotation to it. And then we were playing with some words around and didn’t know that it was actually a French word until a bit later. And then finding out that it meant hunger really solidified what we wanted this band to be about. And for us, it represents the never ending journey within music, the hunger to constantly keep progressing and explore and experience different things and then express that through our music. I think it still means the same thing. It’s just the constant evolution of what music is for us.
Would you like to be called the “faim“, as it’s pronounced in French?
Josh: People can call us whenever they feel comfortable. Yeah. Like I’m okay.
Linden: It’ll help me with learning my French, so. (laughs) Whatever people want to do!
As French it can be confusing, having to choose between saying the “faim” or the “fame“. But let’s change subject, about the new album now. What were your inspirations writing it? Books, movies etc.
Linden: The album was inspired. A lot of it was done from within the band. In the past we worked a lot with co-writers, and that’s something we did on this album as well, but a lot of it came from within us, which was really exciting to do more extensively this time around. Everyone in the band has such different influences. So Talk Talk is like a melting pot of the four of us and then some co-writers all jammed into one. And then at the end comes the album I guess.
By co-writers do you mean the producers who worked on the album or is it really something else?
Linden: In some cases, the co-writer or the producers co-wrote songs. I know Matt Pauling wrote “The Alchemist” with Steven [ndlr: Beerkens, bass and keyboards] but producers are ultimately so critical and so valuable to the songwriting process because they add so much to the song.
Since you worked with multiple producers, how did that help in making the album? Do you feel it makes it more cohesive or actually just the opposite?
Josh: I think having producers, and in this case having less producers, actually really helped us hone in on more of an overall sound. The way that we’ve done it in the past, because we were touring so much, everything was happening so quickly. We didn’t have time to really sit down in one space and do a lot of it. And truthfully, in this position, I think we would have loved to do more with one [producer] if it was possible. But we’re lucky enough that we got to do a big chunk with someone that Linden just mentioned, Matt Pauling. We did six songs with him, which has really shaped the overall sound. And just reiterating what Linden said as well, I think producers add so much to an album. Having someone to come in who can understand the vision and understand the process, understand the song, and just help lift that and also help push us and get ourselves out of our own heads or each other’s heads and kind of approach the song or the album in a different way. So I think it’s incredibly important for the creative process.
Yeah because producers can also change really radically the sound of an album. Did you want that or did you want to stay true to the initial ideas you had when writing the songs?
Linden: Basically, we got it to a level that we were all pretty happy with when we were demoing them out. The ones that end up on the album were at varying stages of completion. Like some were pretty much done, like “Flowers” and some others were only like half done. But yeah, we usually try and get as much as we could on our own and then a producer would come in and change a couple of things out a few things, shape the sound and ultimately just make the song a little bit better.
As a matter of fact, did you write the whole album before going into recording sessions or are there songs that came in late, like a spur of the moment?
Josh: Yeah, there was a few songs that came late. The album itself really has been written over the last two years. Some at the start of the process, some in the middle and some at the very, very end. Literally at the last day of writing, one of our songs, “ERA”, was written. It was the last song we wrote and it was finished right at the end. So yeah, it really has been spanned over such a long period of time, which again is great for us as well. Especially seeing songs like “Flowers” and “Ease My Mind”, which were one of the first songs we’ve we had ever written just us four together in a room in Perth, make this album and really shine in their own way. It’s interesting how much it spans over time for us.
About “ERA” actually, in the chorus you say “it’s the end of an era and and the start of another“. Is it how you’d describe the song, the album? And do you feel this is effectively the closing of a chapter?
Josh: I do, yeah. I think we all do. I definitely think this second album has really opened a door for us to really approach things moving forward differently. And how we approach our creative process, how we want to get the best out of each other moving forward as well, and how we want this band to be and operate and how we want people to view us and what we want people to kind of, I guess, experience with us as we keep going. So it very much is that process.
Is there a meaning to it being put at the end of the album?
Linden: We thought it was just a fitting spot for it, to be honest.
Josh: Yeah. I like the lyrical aspect of it. That was why I like the end of it, but it also was a really good closer for the way the song ended. And it also does make sense as well with like the concept of where the album is going. It just makes sense.
Right, and that’s actually one of our questions, is there a theme, a concept around this album?
Josh: I think the overall concept for the album. It’s hard to gauge it all into one thing, but the biggest thing is the experiences within us for the last two years. Even though it was written during the pandemic, it’s not a pandemic album. It’s very much highlighting some more positives than we’ve done in the past. The first album was quite dark and also had very varying contrasts of sound and concept, but this one was much more honed in. And we wanted to highlight the different attributes. Everyone in the band as well, like Sam and Steve, have become very great producers and Linden is an incredible drummer and we wanted to really kind of start showcasing those things more since we had more time, more than ever.
And for the overarching concept, I think we wanted people to view this as The Faim, more than like seeing a list of names or seeing people we’ve worked with or seeing all these things going on. We just wanted to start showcasing what we had within us. And even though the album itself overall is quite positive, there’s still a lot of dark elements in there because the last two years were incredibly difficult, personally and for us as a band. Even though we’ve written two albums, it was the hardest process we’ve had so far. And yeah, it’s funny because we never really predict how these things are going to go. I think overall, we want people to feel a positivity from this album and understand what the last two years was within this band.
Yeah and if we remember correctly, you were apart from each other when recording the album, during the pandemic.
Linden: Yeah. I mean every song was sort of recorded under different circumstances. Like “Ease My Mind” and “Flowers” were recorded in Perth when all four of us were there. But then other ones like “You (And My Addiction)” and “madly, badly, fixed”, Josh and Stephen were in L.A., Sam was in Melbourne and I was in Perth. So we all had to try and make that work over Zoom and like voice memos back and forth. It was, it was quite intense, you know. So no, no song on the album is recorded in the same way. They’re all very different, with very different circumstances. And that’s kind of a good and bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
Do you feel that it has helped you grow as musicians and producers?
Linden: It definitely helps you grow because like you get put in new situations which you just have to adapt to, you know. And once you do that, you can learn from that and take the things you’ve learnt and apply them to other things that you do in the future, which is really handy.
Talk Talk is your second album. We often hear about the so-called sophomore album, the pressure to deliver something as strong as the debut. Did you feel pressure when recording?
Linden: Honestly, the main thing that we’re feeling is just we’re just mainly excited because, with the amount of uncertainty that’s been in the world and in the music industry over the last two and a half years, it kind of felt like this album was never going to get finished. There were so many different talks and conversations and plans that we made and got cancelled. And then, so we’re just really happy that it’s finally here. It’s going to get released in about a month now.
A month almost to the day yeah.
Linden: Pretty much a month!
Josh: A month and 12 hours! (laughs)
Linden: We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. (laughs) But yeah we just, we’re just really excited and we hope people enjoy it.
We definitely enjoyed it.
Linden: Oh, thank you.
Josh: Thanks, man. There’ll be more, I hope. (laughs)
You gained a huge success with “Summer Is A Curse”. Did you feel a pressure to write something on the same level as this one?
Josh: No. I mean, we had ideas in our mind. Once there’s that level of success, people obviously want to try and recreate it or there’s thoughts that get thrown into the mix. And again, you always have that pressure of wanting to reach this sort of thing. But I think we eventually reached a point where we were just done with that. We were just like: “okay, let’s just write music and let’s just see what happens“. Because as soon as you start putting parameters on things and putting these words around it and wanting it to be something, the song ultimately will never be as good and never be that song. The reason why “Summer Is A Curse”, I think, reached the level of success it did. No one predicted that, no one was sitting there being like: “Summer Is A Curse is THE hit song“. And I think that’s why it became so successful, because it just had its own natural growth. And I think the song came out in such a natural way when it was being written, probably the shortest song we’ve ever written. I mean, in in terms of how long it took to finish out.
And I think that’s a big part of it, too. I think the way we approach songwriting now is like if a song reaches a level of success, great. But as soon as you start trying to get a song to do that, which we have done to be completely honest, we’ve tried to do that thinking: “let’s try and do this and do that“, it just doesn’t work out. And then the song itself just doesn’t turn out as good. And I think the best thing is just to serve the song and serve what everyone thinks about the song in the moment.
Do you think there is a song that could be THE hit single of the album?
Josh: All of them. No, no, I’m kidding. (laughs)
Linden: I think “The Hills” is quite a special song. In terms of the the way it sits in the album. But I like all the songs for different reasons, but I don’t know. It’s all subjective at the end of the day, no one can really predict what people are going to like.
Linden: Personally, I think “The Hills” is one of my favorites. It gives you that same sort of emotion that “Summer” [Is A Curse] did.
Josh: And it seems to have that resonance live as well. Every time we play it live, people seem to really, really enjoy “The Hills” and songs like “Flowers” that no one really cared about at all. Except us. (laughs) Until we started putting it out there. That song is really starting to rise to the top because it’s a very special one for us as a band because again, writing it with just us for being back home in Perth, being in one room together, I think we hold a lot of fond memories within that song.
It’s interesting because when listening to the album we had the sensation “The Alchemist” was kind of the heart of the album. It’s almost at the middle point and it has that mellow, really sweet sounds, with great lyrics. How do you feel about this one?
Linden: Alchemist? Yeah, I personally really like “The Alchemist” as well. Like you said, it’s a different colour on the album, something we really haven’t done sonically as well. Stevie and Matt Pauling wrote that one together, so I don’t quite know the ins and outs of it, but I, I like it on the album. I wouldn’t like a whole album of that. (laughs) But it’s nice having that as a different sonic texture.
Josh: It’s like a palate cleanser.
There’s almost the full spectrum of what we can expect of pop music on this album. “Faith In Me” and “The Alchemist” have those sweet sounds and there’s also the edgier, grittier, rockier sounds. Is that what you wanted to deliver? Having something for everybody?
Linden: The Faim has always sort of covered a lot of ground sonically. There’s like the poppier edge, like you said, there’s old edge. And more recently, there’s been more of like a rock edge that’s coming in. But it’s not us setting out trying to do anything specifically. Most of the time it’s just what comes out with songs that the four of us write. We all pull from such different directions. We don’t all listen to just rock music. We all listen to it, but we listen to a lot of different other things. So it’s not going to just sound like one thing. That’s the biggest thing. We like to we like to have a bit of a mix in there as well just for ourselves. Because if you’ve got a whole album of a song that sounds the same, we get bored and you get bored and everyone gets bored. (laughs) That just hasn’t really worked for us. I don’t think. It just hasn’t really happened before.
Josh: And creatively as people, I think we just like to experiment. I think it’s in our blood and in our creative brains. We wrote similar vibes twice but I don’t think we could do a whole album of the same thing. It would just be hard because I think we all pull from such different places. I think naturally we always ebb and flow within different worlds. And I think that’s what’s actually the really special thing about the four of us within this band is because you’re never just going to always get like the same song or the same song again on an album, because I think we always just try to stray away from that. The creative process always tends to change, and the musical conversations within each other always tend to grow as we grow as musicians and our perspectives change.
And where would you want to experiment in terms of genres and styles?
Linden: I think going more in the alternative direction would be something that I’d want to push, whether that’s like pop, rock, heavier, whatever it is, just continuing to like push that realm of things.
Josh: Yeah, I think we’re all in that similar boat, the alternative world, whether it is that rock edge or the pop edge. I think that is where we’re leaning more towards as time progresses. Especially since alt lends itself to being able to do whatever really. It could be old pop, it could be old rock. And I think our live set always tends to have like a rock edge to it too. I think the best thing we want to do is always kind of be a little left of center. We’ve done things in the past that are very straight down the line, and I think moving forward, we want to just utilize the unique talents we have within the band and allow that to shine as time goes on.
The album is titled Talk Talk. How did you come up with it? Is there a reference to the band of the same name?
Linden: (laughs) No, no reference. I didn’t even know there was a band. That’s my ignorance there. But I didn’t know there was a band in the eighties called Talk Talk, since I’ve listened to them and they’re great. But yeah, Talk Talk was a lyric from one of our songs that didn’t make the album. To be honest, I don’t know why it’s the album name, I don’t know why it stuck around.
Linden: There’s been some definitions kicking around, but that’s not what it is to me. It’s just a cool word.
Josh: That’s the first reason why it came about, to be fair. Let’s be completely honest and transparent here. The first reason why it came about is because it looked cool. I always like things to have a meaning. I just that’s just who I am as a person. But as time went on, we kind of discovered the meaning. It’s similar to our name The Faim, actually. We kind of discovered the meaning once we picked it. This album is very much a product of very deep and honest conversations with ourselves, with each other, other artists, other musicians. And from a product of all those learning experiences and all those conversations this album has really taken shape because of those. And I also like the other hidden meaning as well. I think we’re also in a world now where we’re surrounded by a lot of talk talk, which is sort of like an innuendo of you never know what’s true or wrong. The only thing you can really rely on is the internal compass within yourself. That’s the most honest thing you’re going to find in a world we live in today.
So the album is introspective? With a “trust in yourself” kind of message?
Josh: I wouldn’t say necessarily trust in yourself. It is very introspective, though, throughout the album. Whether that’s about relationships or about our reflection or what we’re feeling currently, or like looking past or looking forward. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily positive or sad, but it is very introspective. And I think that’s because the last two years were such a learning experience. Especially after not touring and not having the constant distraction of things being busy all the time, we had to look inward, which was a difficult thing to do for a while, but that’s why the album has that sort of introspective feeling.
And it’s going to be busy now.
Linden: We’re already very busy. Very busy. A couple of months. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Josh: Yeah it’s great.
You started the UK and EU tour a few weeks ago.
Linden: And before that we were on a promotional tour around Germany and France. So we’ve been away for about almost two months now.
And you’re playing in Paris tonight. We’ll do a live report of it, actually.
Linden: Awesome ! You excited? Hell yeah.
Josh: Give us some notes! Let us know if you got any critiques in the show. (laughs) We’d love to know your favorite songs.
“Ease My Mind”, “The Hills” are some highlights.
How excited are you to being playing live again?
Linden: Ah man, it’s great. Everyone in the band is just really enjoying playing live shows again and especially having some of the newer songs in the set. Combined with having two and a half years of not touring. Everyone’s just so, so keen, so excited to play. We’re just enjoying the moment. And Paris has always been very good to us. The French crowds are always amazing. Very, very excited. Paris is always good for us.
You must be excited to get a feeling of the reaction of the crowds to the new songs too.
Josh Raven: Definitely.
Linden: We’ve put a few new ones in the set and it’s quite amazing. Like, it’s so cool to see the reaction from people that haven’t heard these songs and have the first listen and then just. Yeah, it’s really nice.
Josh: Yeah, it is. And I think it gives us a gauge too, because sometimes we can be, especially after two and a half years of writing an album, you can kind of get stuck in your head about what songs you like and what songs are good, and you kind of forget what your gut feeling is. And now that we’re playing these songs live, it’s reiterating what songs we had that gut feeling for before, and now it’s revamping that again because seeing people react the way that they do. Which is really special and really important and what we’ve missed for the last two, two and a half years. Getting to feel that again is so, so amazing.
You have the opportunity to change up the setlist a bit.
Josh: It’s the biggest set we’ve played, I think.
Linden: Yeah, yeah. We spent a long time. We had rehearsals for like two weeks where we were trialling what new songs we wanted to play, what order they were in. Yeah, we spent a long time focusing on the setlist and we’re pretty happy with what we’ve got. But yeah, a lot of new ones, a lot of old ones.
Does it change depending on the public reaction?
Josh: It hasn’t this time.
Linden: Not really. We’ve just sort of picked a setlist that we think flows very well, and we think people will like and that we like most importantly [laughs]. You know, because otherwise why are we here?
Josh: If we don’t enjoy it people will be able to tell pretty quickly. (laughs)
Linden: But yeah, all those things come into consideration.
Josh: It worked this far!
Linden: Yeah. So far so good.
Josh: No boos yet.
Linden: Yeah. That’s always a good sign.
Now how would you say your your live shows evolved? What can the audience expect?
Josh: I think the biggest thing that evolved is we had the time to really hone in on our parts and really start ironing out, the little kinks with what we what we want to be shining and what we want to be doing. Like Sam [Samuel Tye, guitar] spends so much time, so much time on the tracks. The poor guy. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
Linden: The guitar tones. Never ending.
Josh: He’s just always in that thing. He’s like this little mad scientist inventor just searching for these sounds.
Linden: The perfect tone.
Josh: Yeah. And I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do that. But I credit to him because he’s really brought a lot of life into the set, especially because we have a lot of tracks within the band. And he works so tirelessly doing that and everyone else as well. You know, everyone just practicing and honing their parts and also like keeping the energy up throughout the whole set too, because this is the biggest set we’ve played. Sixteen songs.
Linden: [whispers] Spoilers.
Josh: Oh, sorry, yeah, sorry, sorry, guys.
Don’t worry the article won’t be out for another month.
Linden: We’ll be done by then. Yeah. Like 17 songs. (laughs)
Josh: [laughs] Yeah, exactly. But I think we’ve really challenged ourselves to to bring the best we can, especially after being away for so long. We want to we want people to see the best of us.
And go wild, be the best audience a band could hope for?
Josh: I mean, if they come, hopefully. I think people become the best audience when the bands and the artists bring the best of themselves. People want to be a part of a moment. And I think that’s what’s so important is just enjoying it and being present with the people.
Yeah because people couldn’t go to any any gig either for two years.
Josh: Exactly, yeah. We’ve seen that energy especially in Europe on this run. We’ve seen people really react so strongly and powerfully to live music. It’s incredible.
Do you have some Australian artists who you’d like to lift up, promote, that we don’t hear about enough?
Linden: Sure. Yeah, we can talk about our Australian supports. We just announced an Australian tour and we’ve got some amazing bands playing on that. One’s called TERRA. Yes, and they’re from Melbourne. Awesome. Heaviest sort of stuff. And the other one is called Bad Weather. They’re from Perth where we’re from. Sort of the eighties pop The 1975 sounding, but they’re they’re amazing and they deserve a lot of love. We’re really excited to tour with them. So shout out to those two guys.
Here we go, it’s already our last question. We are RockUrLife so what rocks your life?
Josh: Ouh, you go first.
Linden: Rocks your life. Wow, he threw me under the bus. What rocks my life.
Josh: I’ve got one if you want. (laughs)
Linden: You go first. I’m still thinking.
Josh: There’s a few things that rock my life. But I guess one that’s kind of interesting is I’m a big, big fan of literature and meditation, recently. The funny thing is it’s the exact opposite things of what you would expect to rock your life. But those two things have been a big part of my life for the last two, two and a half years, and they’ve helped me gain a lot of perspective. So those two things have been rocking my life.
Because of COVID?
Josh: Not necessarily because of COVID but I’d say that the challenges and obstacles COVID has created have led me down that path of discovering those things and appreciating those things in a different way.
Linden: For me, I actually thought of a few! One of the few. I love photography. I love taking film photos. I’ve been taking a lot while we’ve been travelling. I love food. Food, really rocks my life. (laughs) Oh, man, it’s the best. It’s the best. And I love traveling and I’ve really enjoyed my time in France. So there you go. Three things.