Music Trader August 1997

Music Trader August 1997

FAITH NO MORE - The Band of the Year

By Lauren Zoric

Faith No More have a new guitarist and a new album, and their sound is more brutally sophisticated than ever before.

"Five really different personalities banging heads, hashing it out and working out a middle ground". That's how keyboardist Roddy Bottum describes Faith No More. And from this point of view, the outside musical pursuits of his fellow band members don't exactly coincide with where his interests lie. When it comes to Mike Pstton's side project, Mr Bungle, Bottum admits, "It's sort of the antithesis of something I would do. I have a lot of respect for music like that (complicated, experimental, genre clashing) but I would never listen to it and I would never even attempt to make music like that". If he's talking about drummer Mike Bordin's touring involvement wth Black Sabbath, Bottum can't stop himself from chortling cryptically, "I really like to say his name, Ozzy!" as though it was the world's funniest joke.

Comparing Bottum's own very pop oriented side project, Imperial Teen', with Faith No More is "sort of like night and day, pretty much," he says. "It seems like the people in Imperial Teen are all of a more similar mindset, the thoughts and ideas flow a little more congruously. Imperial Teen is really important to me because it's more people that are friends that I feel comfortable with-enough to sing", he adds importantly. When it came to the latest FNM collaboration, Album Of The Year, nothing went the way Bottum anticipated. He, Bordin and bassist Billy Gould began demoing while Patton was on tour with Mr Bungle. "We decided we'd just write a bunch of songs and keep the song writing as simple as possible. That was the way we used to write stuff when we started the band, just really simple, repetitive riffs without a whole lot of thought," the keyboardist explains. "And Mike came back from his tour with Mr Bungle, and he only liked about half of the songs, and only felt he could sing on about half of the songs."

Did you respect that?

"Not really. It sort of turned me off, I was really pissed off about it, " Bottum says frankly. "He;s more inclined to NOT do something that's a little poppier. The first songs that we wrote, I was really with because they were really simple, sort of, effortless. I like that, I don't like tempo changes and time changes, it's just confusing and it doesn't speak to me in any pure sort of way. At the time he kind of wasn't into doing it. I imagine if I really pushe it, I could have got him to dosomething to those songs. But at the same time, if it isn;t effortless for him, then I would really rather he didn't anyway."

After the initial demos, Bottum went out on tour to support The Imperial Teen record, Bordin left to tour with Black Sabbath for six months, and Patton flew to Italy where he lives with his Italian wife, leaving Gould to work on songs. When the members finally reconvened they enlisted engineer/producer Rob Mosimann, known to them for his work with European industrial outfit, The Young Gods. Mosimann's influence on the sound is apparent.

"He really work's a lot with computers, and when all the sounds were down onto the hard drive it gave capabilities to cut and paste a lot of the parts, switch 'em around a lot, toy with them and tream 'em," Bottum explains. "It's most typical for FNM to go into the studio with a big chunk of time and just hash it out and make record. But we took all the songs that we'd recorded and put them onto computer and this enabled us to take the sounds and songs to Billy's house and work on them there. With all of that, it's virtually free. As opposed to spending a lot of studio time and money playing with the sounds."

With such energies involved in Faith No More and a willingness to try different approaches, each enw recording is a musical and emotional adventure that deepens thedecade long bond between them. Despite outside pursuits, Bottum is commited long term to FNM.

"You know, it's a sound and an entity that we built from scratch over such a long period of time, that it's hard to let go of it," Bottum says. "And it's always interesting to me to see what we'll do next and to see what'll come out of what we've been doing. There's a lot of time invested in that, a lot of emotions, there's a lot going on with Faith No More. There's somthing masochistic in the way of making records over in the course of a career."

Album Of The Year is out now through Poygram. Faith No More are rumoured to be touring in September.

Lauren Zoric is a Melbourne based music/youth culture writer.

Thanks to Agatha Samborska.

Source: Agatha Samborska
© 1995-2001,2011-2012 Stefan Negele