The Faint Q & A

I’m privileged to have been able to ask Todd Fink of the Omaha based band The Faint some questions about getting the gang back together and their new album Doom Abuse out now through SQE records.

What are some of the best things that you were able to do when the band was on hiatus?

Live in California. Live in Georgia. Come back to find Omaha better than it was when I left it. Hone my production skills. Study simplicity. Stop listening to “songs” for a few years. Have a sub bass epiphany and get over it. Shoot pool. Work on designs for things that will never be made.

How did the group come back together? I imagine some kind of Blues Brothers quest to gather everybody up.

Nah, Omaha’s not that big and I was only gone for three years. We just picked right back up really. We were standing around at some show together thinking “Why is it that we don’t play music together?”.

Is the title of your album “Doom Abuse” commentary on your career similar to “Your Retro Career Melted?”

Good question.

Your work has always had a lot of energy, but “Doom Abuse” feels full on and punk, how did the writing and recording process unfold to yield your latest album?

I think my head had been inside a fairly controlled electronic realm for a while. It felt great to shun all that and break into a fast, impulsive brain space. The most propulsive songs are the ones that made the cut. We wanted these songs to be fun to play live. We noticed that we don’t choose to play many of the slow ones from the other albums live so…

It’s been said that you had more fun making this album than some of the other albums you’ve made (like Fasciinatiion) what was your favorite song to record? What is your favorite song to play live off of the new album?

Help in the Head was fun. Screaming until your face turns purple is good therapy. I think they call that a primal scream.

In “Animal Needs” one of the lyrics is “We don’t need software to tell us we’re lost”, do you guys tour without a GPS?

Maybe we are nostalgic for ye olde touring days where the telephones were outside of gas stations and the maps were made of paper. But we don’t need that stuff either. …of course we’ll use it though.

I might be crazy, but I hear some Cure inspired bass in “Mental Radio” and some New Order-esque melodies in “Damage Control” was that an intentional homage or subconscious outcome?

That would make sense. Love those bands.

Screaming until your face turns purple is good therapy. I think they call that a primal scream. – Todd Fink of the Faint

So much of the album is drenched in glorious feedback. How do you go about making those noises?

My CB radio stabbed into a practice amp. Playing with control voltages between noisey analog synths. Our self – powered flashlight against some humbuckers then running than into other synths like the MS-20. Dapose’s (The band’s guitarist) pedal board also contains a healthy dose of mayhem. Some of Mike Mogis’s strange studio toys etc.

I love the quirky feel of “Dress Code” how did that song come together? Did you guys sample the spoken parts or is it you speaking through vocoders?

I just put down a couple of parts that felt good together on bass. I think Dapose and Clark added the atonal keyboards while I was doing something else. We talked about what the lyrics for a song like this should be about. Dapose actually did the lyrics and vocals on that one. I believe Clark probably made that crazy vocal sound and the outro riff. It came together so fast, by the time I’d heard it, it was basically done. I was into it instantly. It kind of reminds me of Devo or that Ping Island song from Life Aquatic.

This will be your first album released through SQE music. What drew you to them as a label?

Our old assistant manager Zane runs the US office now. We like him.

You use collage for your covers. Are you inspired by any famous collage artists? Hannah Hoch maybe?

I’m inspired by what happens when things that don’t go together end up together. It’s like a surprise that you can customize. I like that the meaning ends up to be something that no one meant to say.

How did your video for “Help in the Head” come together? Whose idea was it to have “Help in the Head” represented as a potential laser sighted bullet? Do you have plans for a video for any other songs?

Yeah, we’ve got a bunch of videos in the works. The laser target idea was our friend Tim Nackashi’s. It’s tough to know what’s worth being scared of isn’t it?

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming year?

Making more new music and getting out on this tour. Feeling the energy of some of these new songs in our set.