Stephen Beerkens of The Faim: An Interview with the Bassist/Keyboardist
The Faim, a new pop-rock/punk group from Perth, Australia, is out on their first North American tour. Hot on the heels of the release of their first EP, Summer is a Curse, and with over eight million streams on their social media platforms the quartet is excited to share their new music and passion with fans across the nation. Bassist/keyboardist Stephen Beerkens sat down with Coog Radio to talk about touring and other fun stuff. If you see Stephen on this tour, get him a cup of coffee and some good Thai food and you have a friend for life. Keep reading to learn other interesting facts about Beerkens and the band.
Where are you guys off to right now?
We’re off to Carrboro.
Ok, where is that?
It’s in North Carolina.
So, this is your first American tour. What has been the best part of it so far?
Oh yea, it’s been so good so far. Like just even the guys seeing snow for the first time and having like our first band snow ball fight is quite an experience. And like they’re all really nice drives like the amount of terrain that we’ve driven over, but in and out of extremely tall trees and this sort of forest area and before then there were snowy mountains and massive desserts and creepy swamps – like everything.
Have you guys seen any of the national landmarks such as the Grand Canyon or any of the crazy roadside attractions like the world’s biggest ball of yarn or anything fun like that?
We saw a giant bean in Chicago. But like we haven’t, we haven’t seen too many, but if we get a morning off we try to go find something around a place. Um, but you know I think the only national landmark that we’ve seen is Starbucks. It’s our home away from home.
I think the only national landmark that we’ve seen is Starbucks. It’s our home away from home.
It must be nice, being so far away from home, to have one set place everywhere you go that feels like home.
Exactly. Exactly. Ya know, if it’s one thing that’s gonna make it feel like home it’s coffee. We actually have this app called Bean Hunter. It finds the best coffee – it’s like Google Maps, but for coffee places and it has it all rated, like “You are in the 10th best coffee place in New York!,” but we never go tenth. We always go for top three or so because there are stops like that. But yea, it makes us feel right at home!
That’s awesome. Finding coffee sounds like it hasn’t been challenging on this tour, what has been the most challenging aspect of touring so far away from home?
Definitely with this US tour it’s the long drives and like it’s like the long hours of the day. But it’s because the drive is so long. I don’t necessarily drive myself. It’s our amazing guitarist and our guitar tech, who are Sam and Mitch who do the driving, but it’s like we get to sleep after doing the show from like 1:30 or 2 and then drive for so long during the day to get to the next gig we got to be up at around 7:30 or 8 or so. So you know a lot of the day is spent in the van and it can be quite tiring, which is sort of the reason we spend so much time trying to find coffee. But I definitely think, having, it’s that sort of grind in this US tour that’s like, it’s a real grinder getting, doing everything ourselves and just working hard and the long hours.
Other than the coffee, what has been your saving grace during those long drives and those long hours? What are your top three tour necessities that you have found?
Well, I think the number one saving grace that we have is just a sense of humor and just being able to joke around and have fun with it because if we didn’t have that we’d probably have been driven absolutely nuts. What else? Food! Just good food. Finding nice Thai places is always nice. That’s good. When there’s some nice Thai plus Indian food next to the venue. Oof that’s always good! Another thing is when the van pulls up at the venues all the other bands are just so nice. It’s really great to be able to have that refreshing feeling when you get to the venue and everyone greets you and are like, “Well how’s your day been? How is everything? What’s up?” and like just having genuine people in all of the bands that they aren’t just there to play. They’re there to get to get to know everyone and have a good time with everyone. So that’s always good. What else? I had one more. I guess just being able to listen to good music. And actually no wait! We have an Xbox in the car which is pretty good. Playing COD Zombies, although I’m not very good at it. I’ve literally played like three times and got to round TWO – round two or three every time! But hey it helps pass the time.
Well, I think the number one saving grace that we have is just a sense of humor and just being able to joke around and have fun with it because if we didn’t have that we’d probably have been driven absolutely nuts.
You mentioned a couple of neat things. You said you’re listening to a lot of good music, what are you listening to right now?
Oh, okay, well I discovered this band. It’s called The Band CAMINO and they are so good. It’s like this 80’s-esque sort of pop rock and it’s just like, it’s like…my shit! It’s good. Yea, so, I’ve been kind of obsessed with that the last couple of days.
I’ll definitely have to check them out. You also mentioned the other bands on the tour as one of the most pleasant experiences in touring. Of the tour, who have you guys connected most with?
I definitely think we’ve connected best with two bands – Hands Like Houses of course. Those guys are just super nice. Since day one they’re there helping us out,
taking the time to come chat with us. Also Devour the Day from Memphis, Tennessee. Good guys, just like the sweetest dudes and ya’d never imagine and they get on stage and it’s just like they’re a super heavy rockin’ show. But um yea, those two bands we’ve definitely formed a tight bond. Ya know going out playing bowling together on Thanksgiving, going out to dinner at Thai restaurants – just chatting for like two hours and stuff and who we are in life outside of bands and everything like that. So. Yea, it’s just great to have people that genuinely want to get to know you and form those friendships.
It must be especially nice being here for the first time and not having your normal haunts and people that must be a neat experience.
Yea, it’s really good. It definitely makes us feel like we’re not on the other side of the world and to just be in place with what we do. It’s a great feeling.
So, shifting gears a little bit. Your band name is French for hunger. And I wanted to know how you as an individual and collectively as a band stay hungry in creating new music and just for your craft in general.
Yea, so that name just born out of our hunger to be the best versions of ourselves that we can. So whether that’s in normal life or especially in our music… So, you know that hunger is definitely born because it’s like unless we make ourselves wanted by other people until we create something that’s different from everything else in the world we’re not going to get that opportunity. So like we worked and worked so hard in our starting days to really push and push ourselves and push the boundaries; push ourselves into areas, like ya know, get ourselves into our comfort zones and push out of that, and then push ourselves out of that comfort zone and into new ones and it’s like ya know, just keep experimenting and keep working hard until we finally got out of that hometown. Ya know and being out and able to experience the world. And the thing with The Faim is like our hunger never stops there. We always, always got that next goal in mind. We always have that vision of the future of where we want this band to go and that’s what the name really expresses. It’s like we find that hunger in ourselves and that we show that to other people. We want people to be inspired by what we do so that they too can reach their dreams; just work hard at it and ya know not let any setbacks define you.
We always have that vision of the future of where we want this band to go and that’s what the name really expresses. It’s like we find that hunger in ourselves and that we show that to other people. We want people to be inspired by what we do so that they too can reach their dreams; just work hard at it and ya know not let any setbacks define you.
Word. That’s awesome and very inspirational. You mentioned experimenting. Can listeners expect some new things in your upcoming music to be released?
Oh, absolutely! Our EP that was released so far, Summer is a Curse, that came out in September is already diverse. We try and make it so that one song doesn’t sound like another and that’s one thing that’s going to be similar in our next release, this EP, is that same diversity. Ya know we’ve been listening to a number of new ideas in the van today and we’re so excited to get them out there. It’s just like a step up and it keeps that diversity. It keeps that edge, but also it’s within the sonic realm which is The Faim. So, we’re very, very excited to put out new music for people to get their ears on.
Stephen laughed at the phrase, “Get their ears on,” and tried to take it back. We shared the laugh though, because while some might think “Get their ears on,” is corny or doesn’t make sense, it was demonstrative of Stephen’s excitement for the music and personality. For those who are still stuck on corny and non-sensical, we discussed the differences between “Get their ears on,” and “Get your hands on,” and Stephen pointed out that you can’t get your hands on it because, “It’s intangible! It’s intangible!” “You can’t get your hands on it!”
Will you all have any new covers coming out?
Not just yet.
What motivated you all to cover “One Way or Another?” Why that song over any other song you could have done?
I definitely think that just finding something that was, ya know, obviously looking at the other covers that bands have done and seeing how they put their own put spin onto a song, which is already great, because that artist has already done that song so much justice and now you want to really be able to keep that essence of that song, and to also put your own spin on it, which is like a big thing. And so ya know, we drew inspiration from a lot of bands and listened to a lot of different covers and we just tried to stay true to ourselves and what that song meant to us but also keep it in the realm of where we thought it should go.
Fantastic. Before we wrap things up, what is the one thing you want people to know about you as an artist and The Faim as a whole?
I think the biggest thing we want people to know is that we’re just four dudes that love music. Like ya know, we go out there and give it our all onstage; we give it our all when we write, but the thing is like what you see is what you get with us. There’s no façade. There’s no barriers anywhere. We don’t pretend to be anymore than we are. We just put the music that we love writing out there. And we play that music for people to connect to. And that’s what we really, that’s the vibe we put onstage and people connect with that, because they just see people absolutely loving what they do up there. People come to shows for a release from everything else going on in the world. When you go to a show you get to forget about all of that and just embrace what everyone is there for, which is to listen to great music and that’s what we put out there. We get out on stage and we feel that embrace of just forgetting about everything and we want that for the crowd as well. Everything that we do on stage, every performance that we do, every song that we write gives that release to everyone that’s listening so they can forget about everything that’s going on in their lives and just enjoy it.
There’s no façade. There’s no barriers anywhere. We don’t pretend to be anymore than we are.