Jacob Thiele, the mind behind the synthesizers of The Faint was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for MIA. Formed in Omaha, Nebraska, The Faint create a collective blend of new wave, dance and punk melodic sensations. The quintet was once named Norman Bailer and originally involved Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst. Over the years, Connor went his own solo way and the members decided to make a few fresh musical changes including their band’s name. Together The Faint have released a total of five studio albums and now are currently touring globally across the world in support of their new 2008 recording, Fascination.
L i s t e n
MIA: Musically, how did the band form, what past experiences do you carry with you?
JACOB: I joined a little later, after the band had been together a few years. Todd is Clark’s older brother and they and Joel used to skateboard together. They saw Cursive’s old band, Slowdown Virginia, and thought, “These guys are our age and they rock! We should do this.” Although they took on a mellower style when they first started out. Some of the early experiences we had shaped who we are now. We played to nobody, we played in basements, we toured and toured and didn’t make money, and it never really bothered us. When we started getting paid for shows, we thought it was the greatest thing in the world!
MIA: Describe the feeling of living and making music in your city, feel free to share a memory or a certain place that makes you feel like home.
JACOB: Omaha is a great city in that it’s not too big, so you kind of get to know everybody eventually. There’s a lot of creative people in Omaha and there are more cool people moving there all the time. There isn’t a lot of nightlife in Omaha, so people have to make their own fun quite often, which means house parties and starting bands. Fortunately there are a few good venues now. When we started out there was just a little warehouse space called the Cog Factory. Well, that’s not entirely true. There were some little dive bar type places and then Sokol Underground.
MIA: Do you enjoy to perform live? How does the band like to get ready and is there a favorite song that you like to play for your audience?
JACOB: Yeah, I love performing because it’s the instant gratification part of being in a band that writes original music. We work on the music for a long time without anybody hearing it, so it’s great to play it out and have people there responding it. I really like playing stuff off the new record, Fasciinatiion. And Paranoiattack. Anything where I get to twist knobs a lot!
MIA: What has been the most impacting compliment, or criticism, your band has ever received?
JACOB: “What are you guys trying to do?”
MIA: Within your songwriting, is there some type of element that has brought about a certain mood in yr writing, making you feel more/less different than when you started? How long has the recording process taken to complete your album and to finally believe that it’s ready?
JACOB: We built a studio in Omaha that has greatly changed our songwriting. We can go in there anytime and record a song, no matter what stage it’s at. It’s so great to have a home base now too. I think I speak for everyone, I just love being there. We wrote for a couple years on the second while it was being constructed on the first floor. After it was finished we spent about 5 or 6 months recording and 2 months mixing. Once it was mastered, it really felt done. And then once iTunes leaked it, I thought, “Wow, it’s really out there!” Like it had been birthed to the world. That’s right, iTunes leaked it. They accidentally put it for sale a week early. And before that there were no torrents or blogs or anything anywhere! I know because I looked for them extensively every day!
MIA: What qualities do you hope listeners may take from listening to your music?
JACOB: Ultimately we hope to inspire people to live their lives in a more positive and fun way. Even if it’s just dancing to our beats or thinking about our lyrics or whatever. Or starting your own band! Or making your own art, clothes, music videos, or whatever!
MIA: Any recommended records so far of ‘08?
JACOB: MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular is probably the best record this year. Dave Friddman’s production is the perfect match for those songs. I like the new TV on the Radio, the new Ratatat, the new Of Montreal. I’m really looking forward to the new Mr. Oizo. I like this Tussle record called Cream Cuts that I think came out this year as well.
MIA: Name a visual artist or piece of work that inspires you.
JACOB: Robert Rauschenberg has always inspired me. He has an amazing approach to the way he works that is so witty and fun. He makes me want to just create and be messy.
MIA: Please share a mixtape with a theme of your choice.