The Faint's Todd Fink on Danse Macabre: "We Wanted People to Either Love It or Hate It."
The Faint will makes its triumphant return to Phoenix next week, following a two-year hiatus.
This isn't just any show: The band is playing its landmark synth-punk record Danse Macabre in its entirety. The concert will include a few new songs as well as fan favorites, so you will get your fill of "Glass Danse," "Agenda Suicide," "I Disappear," "Desperate Guys," and "Worked Up So Sexual" all in the same night.
We recently caught up with frontman Todd Fink to discuss the band's decision to tour on Danse Macabre, what Fink listened to while he was working on the album, and why The Faint made itself a polarizing band.
Up on the Sun: Of all the albums you could play, why did you go with Danse Macabre?
Todd Fink: I feel like a lot of people heard us first on that record. A lot of those songs are songs that we already play or have played since we made them in the first place. We just have to learn a few songs that we never play to do that record, it sounded like a fun thing to do. I think the label wanted to do a new version...re-press the record, so we went to have it remastered and did the whole deluxe package for it. We thought sure, let's play the record.
As a follow up question, why release it now? Were you aiming for a 10 year anniversary tour?
[Laughs.] We've been on this hiatus for a little while, we just took a couple years off. We're just coming back to it, we wanted to go out on tour also to get back in the swing of things, it seemed like a fun way to do it.
Have you guys been working on any new material?
Yeah, we just recorded some new stuff before we left. We're working on stuff while we're on tour as well. We should have the 12-inches that we just recorded by the time we get to Phoenix.
Do you guys play some of that stuff live?
Yeah, we recorded four new songs and one of them is kind of an instrumental jam. It isn't a song so much, it's just a bunch of circuits. But the other three, we're playing two of them. The third one we know how to play, but it's not quite right yet, so we're working on it at sound checks and stuff.
How is your live set arranged? Do you play Danse Macabre all together, or do you break it up?
Yeah, we're going to play it all at once, but not right at the beginning. I think we're going to play a handful of songs first to get warmed up and then play it.
I want to hear a little bit about the songwriting process of this album- what inspired you? What were you listening to at the time?
I remember...that was about the time that I met Dapose, who joined the band in the middle of that record on guitar. I remember driving around town when I first met him listening to dancehall reggae and death metal. Pretty much thinking, "This is kind of a strange thing pair of things to be into right now." But yeah, that's what I remember being into at the time.
How did you guys meet?
I don't remember how exactly. I think we just kind of knew each other and just started hanging out more. He was hanging around, he helped out with the artwork of the band originally just because we wanted to concentrate on the music at the time. He was good at guitar, he's great at guitar, so we ended up using him a lot.
How do you feel about Danse Macabre today?
I'm still happy with it, and that's pretty much all I can really hope for. There's things about it that I would have changed, or wouldn't have done the same today, of course.
Omaha seems to have a very tight knit music community. How did living there define your sound?
I think that what we got from the bands in Omaha is not direct musical inspiration but just more...we also wanted to be unique like they were. So we don't sound the same, but we wanted to have a style of music that only we could do, that only this particular combination of people would make. We wanted to find what we had in common and do that, even if that wasn't what people wanted to hear or what people expected.
Did you guys have any challenges finding a niche or reaching audiences when you first started out?
When things changed for us and when we started to figure out what it was we were trying to do, I think it was probably at the same point where we decided we wanted to be polarizing, I guess. We wanted people to either love it or hate it. I think that that attitude gave us the freedom to just go all the way when we felt like it without being scared because you accept that people are going to hate it. In my mind, that gave us the freedom to really explore. It turns out the people that hate your music aren't around as much.