Posted April 29, 2014 by Jeff in Tunes

Todd Fink of the Faint on not Overthinking Things

The Faint
The Faint

To hear frontman Todd Fink tell it, indie rockers the Faint almost called it quits after releasing their last studio effort, 2008’s Fasciinatiion. But the band reconvened last year to record their new album, Doom Abuse, a collection of tunes with a jittery, frenetic energy to them. We recently phoned Fink at his Omaha home and asked him about the new album and the forthcoming tour.

What you were going for with the album?
I think that like most records, you can look back and the concept makes sense like a chapter for something. We don’t really set out often to do a specific concept. This record, we were just basically starting to play again. We took so much time off and didn’t know if we would ever play again. We’d been away for a few years. Once we were all on the same page, we were excited to make new music. It was that excitement of being a band again. It was like the early days. We wanted it to feel like that. We didn’t want to get bogged down by overthinking everything and worrying about whatever bands worry about when they make music.

The themes seem dark but the music has such good energy that it doesn’t come off as a dark album.
It feels cathartic, I guess. It feels like high-energy music. We’ve always done that but kind of not. We wanted it to be more full force. We’re excited to get back out on the road and go play shows so, with that in mind, we gravitated toward more active songs. We finished those rather than the mid-tempo or mellow ones. We ended the album with a mellow one.

What was the recording process like?
We have a studio here in Omaha. It’s our practice space and we built it out as a real studio at one point. Our friend manufactures handmade leather and canvas stuff on old machines upstairs. We’ll rent it out and have other musicians in different areas of the building. We recorded it here at Enamel. It’s a recording studio but we just used the tracking room as our practice space. We can set up mikes and have practice and just press record whenever we want. That was handy this time around. We would go, “That was pretty good, did you tape it? Yeah? Okay. We’ll just clean it up in the studio and that’s that.”

Talk a bit about Doom Abuse’s lyrics. You’ve said they were created in a stream of consciousness. Is that different than how you usually write?
I’m just more interested in the idea of not using my opinion much on the lyrics and letting them come out more unfiltered just to see what is coming through me. I want to see what the song is trying to say and can fill in where I need to. I can make sense of what it’s trying to say later or much later or way down the road. Most of them I have figured out what was being said and I’m sure it’s from some hidden place in my psyche. But maybe it’s from somebody else’s. I believe the Jungian idea of collective subconscious.

What do you mean by the title?
I’d like to leave it open. There are implications and reasons that all of us know about but haven’t discussed as a band. There are surface things. One thing we like about it that it’s open to interpretations. I don’t want to narrow it too much. There are various reasons for it.

Devo seems like a good reference point. Are you guys fans?
Yeah, definitely. They were the first band I was impressed with conceptually. Their whole way of seeing and being and the thing that is Devo and all the contradictions I was fascinated with as a young record fan in the ’80s. I found out about them like everybody else—through “Whip It.” It’s just a great song. Even the video for that song is amazing. At the same time, I don’t feel like we’re stylistically very close very often. On this record, there is “Dress Code” which definitely reminds me of the feel of Devo. I think when we’re making music, it’s pretty rare that we find something that sounds like too much like a specific band. If it’s too much like something else or too similar to a specific riff, we don’t go there.

I think we’re super influenced by all the bands we like and not afraid to be compared to them.

When you started the band in 1995, did you know it would last?
No. I don’t think I thought one thing or the other. What I really thought was that I didn’t know how much longer I could ride a skateboard. I probably figured that we could do a band that we would like eventually if we kept doing it. We feel lucky to be in the position that we’re in. We also try hard to do as good as we can artistically.

What was it like when you broke off from Saddle Creek?
At one point, we put out a bunch of records and it didn’t seem necessary to use a record label. We just wanted to make the calls ourselves, knowing that we wouldn’t be doing as good a job as a record label would. It wasn’t a tough decision. It was just a thing that we tried.

We think it’s better to spend our time making our music and visuals for the tour instead of dealing with business decisions and deciding how much money to invest in yourself or borrow from the bank. It’s a scary mind fuck.

Do you have some visuals you’re taking with you?
We’re in the process of that now. We have a lot of ideas for things we wanted to do and realized we couldn’t afford any of those ideas. We found something that we’re going to make work. I think it should be pretty cool. Clark is working on the technical side of things and writing some video software. He has some ideas about lighting and drum stuff. We’ll just see what happens. We’ve finished the t-shirts and all the merch stuff. Now, we’re just learning all the songs.

What do you anticipate in terms of your fanbase?
I’ve been impressed over the years by seeing the crowd stay young. There are older fans that come out and there are always newer ones but even the older ones have a youthfulness to them. It feels about the same all the time. It feels good.

Upcoming 2014 Tour Dates

May 1

May 2

May 3

May 6

May 7

May 9

May 10

May 13

May 14

May 16

May 17

May 19

May 20

May 22

May 23

May 24

May 27

May 28

May 30

May 31

June 1

June 5

June 6

June 11

June 12

June 13

Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater

Austin, TX @ The Belmont

Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live – Ballroom

Fort Lauderdale, FL @ The Culture Room

Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues

Jacksonville Beach, FL @ Freebird Live

Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade – Heaven

Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero Theatre

Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Willamsburg

Boston, MA @ Royale NightClub

New York, NY @ Webster Hall

New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom

Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club

Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues

Chicago, IL @ Metro

Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Café

Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory

Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory

Seattle, WA @ Neptune

Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater

San Francisco, CA @ The Independent

Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory

Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy Theatre

Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot

Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre

Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].