>2003: THE LIST

Omaha's apocalyptic electro quintet The Faint were responsible for one of Joy's favourite albums of the past year. Sythn meister Jacob Thiele took time out to talk to us about quitting cigarettes, nearly working with The Chemical Brothers, and those ever present 80s comparisons.

"We roughly formed a while ago, or Clark, Todd and Joel did anyway. Dapose and I, joined later on. Clark and Todd are brothers and Joel was a friend from their skateboarding days. Dapose, Clark and I went to the same high school but didn't hang out much then. We all knew each other from being part of the local scene."

And the local scene has been an important inspiration for the band ever since,
"Our friends in Omaha who also make music are our biggest inspiration. Seeing somebody's vision actualised is very inspiring. Matthew Barney's Cremaster films, for example. Seeing so many brilliant ideas and unique visuals come together in such a fascinating way is hugely inspiring."

"We want everything we do to be considered part of what our band is. The way we look, the videos on stage, the artwork and layout of our albums, the designs on our shirts and stickers and all that. The music always comes first though."

The Faint released their first album 'Media' back in 1998, but it was 'Danse Macabre' that truly thrust them into the spotlight,
"Danse Macabre was a difficult title to decide on, since it's already been used by Saint-Saens and some others, but it's meaning "the danse of the dead" seemed to encompass what we were going through at the time. We were wondering if we could make a career of our artistry, or if we would resort to the danse macabre. I guess we could have just called it "the danse of the dead", but danse macabre has such a nice ring to it. And danse spelled with a "c" just seems wrong."

"When we did 'Danse Macabre' I remember I had quit smoking and after two or three weeks of it, I stormed out of the studio to the liquor store across the street for some cigs and some beer. Somebody asked once if we'd rather never again set a foot on stage or set a foot in the studio and I answered that we'd rather never set a foot in the studio. playing shows is pretty much always a blast, even if things are going terribly wrong."

"I'm not totally conscious of it's reception. I only read so many reviews and whatnot. I read some that I disagreed with, and some that I thought were spot on. I get a little irked when people write us off as Duran Duran or Depeche Mode clones, but that stuff happens to everybody these days, and I'd definitely rather be compared to those bands than some others. Being associated with Electroclash was also frustrating, but I think that blew over, right? Sometimes reading reviews helps you realize some of your weaknesses that may not have been apparent. I don't think I would have realized how many people think that we're really dark and overly serious, because we don't feel that way ourselves."

Todd Baechle

Clark Baechle

Joel Petersen

Jacob Thiele



Danse Macabre Remixes

Danse Macabre

Blank Wave Arcade




Agenda Suicide

Blank Wave Arcade Remixes

Music Me All Over

The success of 'Danse Macabre', allowed the band to collaborate with a number of high profile acts, such as Jacques Lu Cont, Paul Oakenfold & Junior Sanchez on a remix album,
"In the beginning we were hoping that the Chemical Brothers could somehow get involved. They had just put out 'Come With Us', which is an incredible sounding record. But around that same time the whole Electroclash thing happened and we unfortunately got lumped in with that, so I think it scared the Chemicals away from doing it. I don't know if they know our music at all anyway, and I doubt our budget could have afforded them. Anyway, the people at Astralwerks put together a list of remixers and we picked our favourites and we tried to get everybody who had the time involved."

"It's a part of the process that we really enjoy, because we tend to learn a lot about our music, hearing it through somebody else's ears. But it's more than that because it's not just somebody else's ears, it's a producer or musician who is really good at what they do, whose work and opinion we respect. It's a great feeling to hear your song remixed, restructured, and even made better by somebody else."

The band are no strangers to collaborations, having released a similar collection of remixes for their 'Blank Wave Arcade' album, and working with Conor Oberst for a single 'Dust', which also featured a cover of Sonic Youth's 'Mote',
"We've been friends with Conor forever. Todd and Conor had written a melody together, and so when we recorded the song, we felt like it would be appropriate if Conor sang the melody that he helped create. Conor is a big influence on us, being around somebody so driven to create, somebody with such a wonderful gift for writing songs, and coming from the same place as that person. Sonic Youth has been an influence on all of us for quite a while now also. Their originality is hugely influential. We decided we had to try and cover one of their songs, but I don't know how it was that we settled on 'Mote'. We had talked about it and I think Joel thought that one would be good, and Todd and i were like, "which one was that?" so we pulled out our 'Goo' CD and we were like, "oh yeah, this song rules!"

Anyway, that's the past, what about the future,
"Joel's recording Broken Spindles as we speak. Clark's got a rap group. Both of their records will be out sometime this year. Dapose has been working on a solo death metal industrial thing, but I'm not sure where that's at. I did a remix for these kids called The Ssion that will probably never come out."