Children of the corn reunite4/23/2014
Read some of the out-of-town interviews with The Faint’s Todd Fink — and he’s recently done plenty of promoting of the band’s newest album, “Doom Abuse” — and you’ll quickly notice that they all start the same way: with a pleasant surprise that good music could come out of a place like Nebraska.
“People are attracted to those hotspots that, at certain times, are going to spit out a bunch of bands,” Fink said in a phone interview. “I think that’s interesting for people.”
Omaha was one of those hotspots in the late ’90s, with Saddle Creek Records’ release of a steady stream of quality acts, like Azure Ray, Cursive, Bright Eyes and, yes, The Faint.
“I gathered that people were especially surprised to find out that we were from Nebraska after hearing the band,” Fink said. “We were a much more European sound.”
Indeed, while Azure Ray and Cursive lean more toward standard indie and dream-pop sounds, the Faint has always carried a more electronic sensibility, at times skirting the edge between new-wave and European electro-pop. The Faint has also been the one Saddle Creek alum that’s been most willing to play around with its sound. The results haven’t always been met with universal acclaim, but that seems to suit Fink just fine.
“It feels more exciting when you make something polarizing,” he said. “The worst thing you can do is play it safe.”
But, after 13 years of keeping people on their toes, The Faint seemed to run out of steam. After the release of 2008’s “Fasciinatiion,” the band went on hiatus — often the dreaded code word for “break-up.”
“We were just done with it,” Fink agreed. “We didn’t feel like doing it anymore; we didn’t care if it continued.
“In our minds (music is) supposed to be some sort of artistic contribution. We just weren’t feeling like The Faint was the right outlet, so we stopped doing it.”
Fink moved away from Omaha that year, and The Faint’s members moved on to various other projects. But in 2012, Fink found himself once again living in the Cornhusker State, and after spending some time with mates Jacob Thiele, Clark Baechle and Dapose, they decided to get the band back together.
“I didn’t come back planning on doing the band,” Fink admitted. “I don’t think anyone was waiting for me to come back. We were just in the same city, going to shows and talking. It felt right again.”
Now The Faint is back on the road, supporting its first album in six years. And while, sonically, “Doom Abuse” is classic Faint, it was created in a decidedly new fashion.
“It seemed like each album took a year longer than the one before it,” Fink said of the band’s recording process. “We were getting into a situation where we were starting to analyze more and more, which was taking longer and longer to make these albums.”
So, for “Doom Abuse,” the guys made themselves think fast. Rather than continuing the cycle of lengthy production schedules — “Fasciinatiion” took four years — The Faint churned out “Doom Abuse” seemingly overnight.
“I just checked, and it actually took three months,” Fink said of the album’s time from writing to mastering. “But that sounds like a lot longer than it seemed.”
And, for what it’s worth, Fink is pleased with the results, and he feels energized by the process of turning out a quality product in as short a time as they can.
“You’re on the spot, you know? Your brain kind of has to rev higher,” he explained. “It feels more immediate to have to be in that position.” CV
Chad Taylor is an award-winning news journalist and music writer from Des Moines.