Imagine joining a band and your first gig is at an event with an average attendance of 90,000 people. You are touring the world with your closest mates, grateful for every minute, no matter how monotonous it can be when you aren’t on stage.
That’s the journey that Sam is on, and he’s not afraid to put in the hard work, along with his band and crew, to make their dreams a reality and a success.
It’s a long way from Perth, Australia, but these boys are on their way to Montreal in what will surely be an exciting show filled with the energy that is released after being cooped up in a van for hours on end with your band.
Montreal Rocks spoke to Sam about destroying his childhood toys, hitting the festival stage, and the biggest lessons learned so far while on tour.
Interview with Sam Tye (The Faim)
Montreal Rocks: Since you are coming to Quebec, you should know that here, F-A-I-M means hunger in French.
Sam: That’s exactly why we named the band that…hunger. It’s our hunger to create and perform music.
MR: What part of the musical experience feeds you? The creation of music, the performance or the connecting with fans?
Sam: I got into music for the love of music itself, the creation. My dad was a musician and he taught me a few instruments when I was a young kid. I just loved it. Musical expression is something that always drew me, whether I was knowingly pursuing a career in music or not.
I’ve lived with music every single day of my life, whether I hear it consciously or unconsciously. It’s always around…when I’m in a store, playing on the radio, when I’m listening to music on my iPhone or playing music. I’m always listening to music.
The creativity of it is definitely the number one primary driver of it. The love of that creativity is definitely what drives me.
On top of that, what is amazing is the fact that we can tour around the world, share the music, inspire and connect with other people. It’s such a great thing and I’m very grateful for it.
MR: As a child, you didn’t like to be tied down musically. You actually cut the electric cord on your first toy guitar, much to the dismay of your parents, just so you could be free with it. What kind of freedom do you get when you are playing the guitar?
Sam: Ha ha! That’s so true. When I got my first electric guitar, I cut the cord. Man…taking me back! The freedom you get when you play any instrument is making something out of nothing. You have an instrument with strings on it and whether you are rehearsing something that has already been created or you are creating on the spot, it’s…
Sam: Definitely man. Liberating for sure. Being able to express something in ways beyond words is amazing. I don’t think I could live without it. When I’m feeling stressed out, anxious or happy, all these different moods, every time I pick up the guitar, it automatically makes me feel better. It’s something that’s so much a part of me as a person now, that I don’t think I can be without a guitar or instrument around to express myself.
MR: It’s like another language that you get to speak.
Sam: Exactly. I’m not really good at other languages, literally. Being able to express yourself through music and playing an instrument is a form of expression, almost another language. It knows no boundaries or barriers. It affects everyone in different ways. It’s literally the universal language. It’s amazing.
MR: As a band, there were a few lineup changes since the beginning. You are one of the new guys. Do you remember the first show you played as this new unit? How did that feel like? Did you gel right away with the others?
Sam: Yeah man. Obviously, I’ve known the rest of the guys in the band for a long time before joining. I grew up playing Cricket with Josh (Josh Raven – Lead vocals). Through Josh I met Stephen (Stephen Beerkens – Bass & keyboards).
We first played Reading & Leeds. Going from nothing to playing Leeds is an experience that not many get to have. It was delightful, nerve-wracking…all these different emotions in one. I remember having an absolute blast. The support that all the guys give each other in the band is unbelievable. We’ve got each other’s backs. We make each other feel comfortable on stage. At the end of the day, we are just four mates, living this dream, travelling the world. It’s such a pleasure.
MR: Talk about starting in the deep end of the pool…a festival!
MR: Your smaller shows are selling out fast. You are getting more and more popular as a band. What do you do to stay grounded and not let that go to your head?
Sam: Ultimately, at the end of the day, our families are the people to thank for that. My parents always thought me growing up to stay true to yourself. Stay grounded and be grateful of where you came from and the things you have learnt in your life, good or bad.
We keep each other in check, grounded. You are travelling the world…it’s very easy to go “This is amazing!” …blah blah blah and take it for granted. It’s good to sit back, talk to family and friends, on the phone when on tour, or when you are back home. Just talk about the normal stuff, you know. By normal, I mean things that happened to your life prior to this or other things you are interested in. Family and friends definitely keep us grounded.
To be honest, it’s hard for it to get to our heads when we are so glad to be doing what we are doing and travelling the world. I’ve never met a more grateful band than the guys I’m with right now. We are all very much on the same page with that. We are very thankful. We love our amazing team. Beyond the band, it goes to everyone else on tour with us. Joe our sound guy. Mitch our tech guy. Mac our photographer. Rob our manager. The label (BMG)…Nat (Nathalie) is amazing. It goes beyond all of it. They keep us grounded too. It’s really nice to be a part of this whole journey with everybody.
MR: It really does seem you are being well supported and helped to succeed. When you guys were in California, you had a lot of collaboration. I don’t think you personally were there, at that time, but since then, you’ve had a chance to meet mentors and other musicians. What’s the best advice you’ve gotten from these ones so far?
Sam: We receive good pieces of advice and tips on how to navigate through this whole crazy band thing. Every day we learn new things. The best advice I received, and it wasn’t necessarily someone from the music industry, was to stay true to yourself. Fight for something you believe in. Don’t compromise your vision and your passion for the sake of more artificial things. The whole staying grounded thing is very important.
Things can change in an instant. I know that! I wasn’t in this band, and the next day I was playing Reading and Leeds. Things can change quite wildly in either direction. Enjoy every single moment of it.
This sounds cliché, but always look on the bright side. There are parts of the tour that are hard and can get dark. We all get sad every now and then but getting through that and looking on the positive side is very important.
MR: I think it was Keith Richards who said that being in a band is one third playing music, one third travelling and one third waiting around. What do you do to recharge between gigs?
Sam: Yeah! Keith Richards is 100% correct with that. I’ve said it before: 2% of being in a band is playing the shows. The other 98% is travel, connecting with people, promotion, and all this sort of stuff. Travelling around in a van is 98% of the day and the 2% is the performance.
Obviously, that 98% of the day has to happen to get that 2% which is the beauty of it. You can’t just do the 2% and expect that everything will just happen.
In between shows, we are usually in the van. We are in the van right now! We are just relaxing and enjoying the drive. On the way from California and up the West Coast of America is filled with beautiful mountains, great terrain. We had a look at the Grand Canyon and that was amazing. This tour is about taking the time to enjoy the natural beauty of this country, really appreciate where we are instead of just getting from point A to point B.
MR: Smell the roses.
Sam: Other than that, in the van we listen to music, play X-Box. You kill time any way you can, really.
MR: My last question is: If we were to open up a bottle of Champagne in one year’s time to celebrate something you just accomplished. What would that be?
Sam: Celebrating still being in a band and still travelling this world, being on this amazing journey. Hopefully, not only having an album we are proud of, but it’s successful…however you determine success. Maybe it’s about everyone on the team being proud of it. That’s what we would open a bottle of Champagne for. Being still able to do this in a year’s time would be amazing because we don’t take anything for granted. Yeah…let’s open that bottle in a year’s time and have a drink.
MR: Look forward to seeing you at L’Astral on May 15th. Have a great tour and enjoy the countryside on your way here.
Get your Tickets before they sell out! Buy Tickets
Andy Black + The Faim + Kulick – Wednesday May 15, 2019 at L’Astral