All that exists of the Faint’s renewal are three scheduled shows — two in Omaha and one in Des Moines, Iowa
But singer Todd Fink says that trickle of activity could build into much more for the Omaha indie dance band that just talked about its then-ongoing hiatus to The Reader last September.
“It was never like we were permanently done with it,” Fink says.
Whether the Faint embark on a full tour or new recordings, any of it will take place without founding member and longtime bassist Joel Petersen, who no longer lives in Omaha.
“We could do a lot of things instead of this band, but it’s important to us. We want to be doing it. We want to be making stuff together. We like the way the stuff we make together turns out and it’s fun to perform it,” Fink says.
The band and Petersen are working towards a formal, legal agreement ending his involvement in the Faint and letting the other four members continue the band without any lingering hang-ups.
“He doesn’t want to be in the band and he doesn’t live in the state. We want to do the band, so there’s really not much to talk about,” Fink says.
Fink says the core identity of the group is still there and it wouldn’t make sense to start something new.
“If we are all going to write songs together, it definitely should be the same band. It should be the same name,” Fink says.
When the band reconvened this spring, the first order of business was figuring out how to play their older songs as a four-piece band.
Fink says the band scheduled the shows midway through the process to give them a deadline. If they were going to be a band again, they had to learn to play the songs by the time these shows happened.
Part of the reconfiguration means that a few songs, like fan-favorite “Dropkick the Punks”, Fink will pick up a bass guitar or another instrument instead of just singing.
It’s given Fink some new perspective on how the band’s songs work.
“It’s actually fun to learn the old songs again,” Fink says. “It makes me understand the songs differently.”
The Faint’s quiet period slowly arose after the band finished 2008’s Fasciinatiion album. The band took a break after touring to support the album release. The band plotted that tour itinerary to make enough money to pay off debt from making the album and building Enamel, their downtown studio space.
“We were all kind of burned out on the band,” Fink says.
At the suggestion of Petersen, the band decided that they shouldn’t jump into writing a new album.
“We didn’t want to make a record just because we were a band,” Fink says.
While the band was on the break, Petersen eventually left Omaha to re-settle in California. Fink also moved around the country before returning to Omaha.
As the break grew longer, all the members but Petersen seemed to gravitate back towards the Faint.
“After not doing the band for a couple years, we decided we did want to do the band and it was just Joel that didn’t want to do it anymore,” Fink says. “We kind of felt like he hadn’t been interested in it in awhile, but it wasn’t talked about.”
“That might be projection, but it seemed like that to me.”
Meanwhile, Fink, his brother Clark Baechle and fellow Faint member Jacob Thiele also worked together as Depressed Buttons, exploring a clubbier side of electronic music, Fink says.
That project steered Fink and Thiele away from song-based indie music, as they worked on remixes of music by other artists and hosted a handful of dance music nights at House of Loom, 1012 South 10th St. For now, Depressed Buttons is on the backburner. The last scheduled Depressed Buttons-hosted party is Saturday, Sept. 15th at House of Loom.
“We learned what we wanted to learn sort of from doing that. It’s not like we’re done with it or anything,” Fink says.
Now, the band is exploring whether they want to tour again and Fink has already started to write the seeds on new Faint material at his own home studio, tucked into the house he and wife Orenda Fink share in the Gifford Park neighborhood.
Rehearsals, held in Enamel’s tracking room, have mostly focused on older material, but the band has messed around with a few new song ideas. Ideally, new songs are the next step for the band, Fink says.
“We’re mostly just a band and we’re going to make some stuff,” Fink says. “We feel like we’re in a good place. We have new ideas and I feel like they fit into what we think the Faint is.”
“We’re pretty excited to be a band again.”
The Faint play Wooly’s in Des Moines, Iowa Friday, August 17th and the Slowdown, 729 North 14th St., Saturday, August 18th and Sunday, August 19th. The Slowdown shows are sold-out. Tickets for the Wooly’s show are $15. For more information, visit onepercentproductions.com.