Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The Evolution of Little Rock, AK-Based Songwriter Adam Faucett
A while ago I kept hearing a lot of great things from some very reliable sources that Adam Faucett is an artist I should definitely know more about. After interviewing Cory Branan (who called out Adam's new album, More Like A Temple, as one of his favorite recent releases) and seeing the songwriter top Paste Magazine's 12 Arkansas Bands You Should Listen To Now, I decided it was finally time to get my hands on some of Adam's work. Well, after a few spins of each his three albums, I was captivated. So I decided that I needed to track him down for a chat to discuss his work and to see what makes this fascinating artist tick.
Can you describe your early musical interests and development?
Adam Faucett: I used to listen to the radio all day as a kid, so picking up the guitar was a natural step. I was 11 when lightning struck and I couldn't stand having no guitar any longer.
Was there an artist that inspired you most to pursue music seriously early on?
Adam: Man, when I was in 2nd grade I was listening to Otis Redding in a neighbor's car and knew that's what I wanted to do. It was so moving it was scary. As a boy I just wanted to scare people.
When did you begin writing your own material?
Adam: The whole idea of playing for me in the beginning was to come up with the songs that I needed to hear that just were not quite there in others' writing. Before I could play any instrument, me and a neighborhood kid would record ourselves rapping over Casio beats with a little voice recorder. We, as the 3rd grade hip hop crooners, called ourselves The Mummies.
We would dub the tapes and pass em out on the playground. Man, if we didn't have any tapes, and were in more of a rock mood, we would sing made up shit to the girls and lie- just tell all the kids that we were in a band and that we did drugs and toured with GnR on summer vacation.
Though it actually took me longer than it should have to get a guitar and start a band for real, I've been making up tunes and words my whole life.
Can you discuss your experiences in your first band, AR-based Taught The Rabbits?
Adam: At the time that band was my only love. It was a bit like boot camp for me in terms of being the lead of a pack of musicians. It was my first real band that wanted to play for more than just High School cred, so like all good first bands, we broke up on bad terms, so I do very little time thinking of that chapter in my life.
TTR Guitarist Ryan Robinett and I are still very close friends and do plan on recording new material together in the future, not under the same name, but when you get Ryan and me together that "sound" is close behind.
The band had a strong local following, touring regionally and sharing the stage with Calexico and Lucero. What was most rewarding and inspiring for you from this experiences?
Adam: The way the band fell apart was the most inspiring thing about it. Had it not happened like it did, I wouldn't be where I am now. I still respect that time and frame of mind, and it is the fact that I've been putting records out for a decade now that makes me need to keep going and growing. It makes my cheeks burn a bit when I think of all the good people I have shared this ride with.
You relocated to Chicago briefly began writing music for what would become your first record. In 2007 you headed back to Arkansas to record The Great Basking Shark. Can you discuss your experiences writing and recording your first album?
Adam: Chicago was a breaking point for me. I was bored being in a loud-as-hell psych band, so I started back where I had began years before, with a guitar and nothing else. There was also something about coming from small town Arkansas to Chicago with all of it's noise and chatter that made me need a simpler sounding music.
In the course of a week I lost my job stocking an art supply store and my roommate stole a lot of cash from me and ran off with some chick. It was then I decided that I could take what I had left and sell it to scrounge up money to record an album. I moved back to Arkansas that summer and stayed with a friend while I recorded The Great Basking Shark and washed dishes at a Ruby Tuesday.
I quit my job in August once I got the records back from the printers and went on my first coast to coast solo tour. It was over 5 months long. After the tour, which ended up feeling more like just being homeless, I knew I was hooked. I have been on the road most of the time since Aug 2007.
How did making that album, touring for the record, and being back in Arkansas prepare you for your next album, Show Me Magic, Show Me Out?
Adam: All of my music comes from Arkansas no matter where I am. It's not a pride thing but an unshakable truth. Magic wrote itself. That record is almost about the shell shock I felt coming home from my first 5 month tour. I love Arkansas and aim to always be posted there in one way or another, but once I got back, I only stayed a week and left again. I just needed that constant travel at the time. I was young and angry.
Can you discuss your inspiration, influences, and experiences making that record?
Adam: The first two albums were absolutely driven by this new found freedom I had at the time, it sounds dorky but its true. No one knew or cared who or where I was so I could do and did whatever I wanted.
What commonalities do these albums share? What would you say sets them most apart?
Adam: Simply put, they are all pretty. But the newer stuff is meaner.
Following that record, you toured extensively again with such acts as The Legendary Shack Shakers, Vetiver, Chuck Ragan of Hot Water Music, Damien Jurado and Elf Power. How were these experiences performing live different than your previous album's tour?
Adam: All of these bigger shows were just lucky hits here and there, never a tour with these guys. But... the first year of touring I was playing anywhere for nobody and for nothing. I lived in a mini-van with my buddy William Blackart and probably drank more booze than the van did gas. It was a great way to be 25.
Was there an artist that you shared a stage with that was significantly inspiring?
Adam: Maybe not for material, but playing with Chuck Ragan really made me feel like band or no band, I could do this till my bones just clocked out. Chuck is a wonderful guy and an amazing writer and performer. It's dudes like him with that "Oh fuck yeah" attitude that make the whole artist/rock n' roll thing mean more for those of us trying to climb out of an "Oh what the fuck" existence.
Was there a song that set the direction for your latest album, More Like A Temple?
Adam: "Morphine" would be the rock for me as far as all the tracks go. It is the song that is the closest to what I heard in my head. Songs like "Blood Is Blood", "Sweet Maureen", "The Way You See It", and "Man's Not The Answer" I wrote very quickly, almost too quickly.
What were you listening to during the writing and recording process?
Adam: Roscoe Holcomb, Otis.
Do you write the music or lyrics first? Please discuss how these processes connect for you and influence/ feed each other in your writing?
Adam: I usually have guitar parts and song beds just lying around. That's the easy part. I'll play em for a bit and most of the time the words just fall out. Sometimes I'll have most of a song's lyrics done before a song structure, but by the time I find the tune, I have to shift the words to make it sound right. I could write a song every 15 minutes if I just played C to G over and over. And the fucked up thing is...!!!... All of my favorite songs are just C to G over and over. Buuut... I'm just not that good.
Lyrically, what inspires you?
Adam: Lyrically, I'm really into astronomy and military history, mean women, the idea of getting old, not being afraid any more, and the occasional apology. Also, when you spend your life legally blind you are demanded to let your imagination fill in the holes...everything is music.
What's next for you in 2012?
Adam: I'm writing and recording the next album. What we have so far is exciting. I think it will be released on vinyl. Other than that, I will be touring in the States and Europe.
What have you been listening to lately that you have found particularly inspiring to listen to at this point of your trajectory (new record, tour, etc) and why?
Adam: My buddies' band IRON TONGUE which is fronted by my friend C.T., singer of RWAKE. They are a sludgy southern metal/rock outfit from here in Little Rock. I'm no kid anymore but these guys make me want to set myself ablaze and kick through the roof. Not sure how it's effecting my writing, but I'm sure it is.