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The Faint: Psycho Las Vegas

18 July 2019

Photo: Bill Sitzmann

As the Big Takeover continues to profile bands participating in the massively anticipated Psycho Las Vegas next month, we broke out a couple of lengthy interviews earlier this week, with Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt and Bad Religion bassist Jay Bentley. Today, we find middle ground via a succinct interview with another frontman who happens to be a massive fan of Bentley’s band.

The Faint is one of a handful of acts underscoring Psycho’s 2019 notable and deliberate expansion into indie-rock territory. While Psycho fests (which started in 2013) have never confined themselves to a single genre, past lineups — especially the early ones — were dominated by psychedelic and stoner rock bands. What distinguishes this year’s installment of the festival, beyond its move from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, is the inclusion of decidedly un-metal artists like Beach House, Tobacco, the Black Angels and, yes, the Faint.

Todd Fink — who sings, and plays guitar and keyboards for Nebraska-based electro-pop punks — highlighted those other indie luminaries on the list of bands he’s most excited to see perform at the festival, which runs from Thursday, August 15 (a daylong pre-party), through Sunday, August 18. The Faint will play Saturday, and rub shoulders with the Black Angels and Tobacco — not to mention Misfits, Triumph of Death and Carcass. (Stay tuned for our soon-to-be-published interviews with Tobacco and Carcass.)

Last month, Fink opened up to the Big Takeover via email about how fortunate he feels for the Faint to be included on such an unlikely bill. He also revealed that the band will heavily mine its recently released Egowerk (Saddle Creek) — the Faint’s first album in four years — and what his expectations and hopes are for his first Psycho experience.

What makes Psycho special, both from a performance perspective and as a personal experience?

FINK: We’re excited to play Psycho [Las Vegas]. It’s cool to play in such a different context! I mean, it totally makes sense but … well, this is more metal than we’re used to. I guess Dapose (guitarist) is pretty fucking metal. (He plays atonal electronic speed metal as Vverevvolf Grehv or just as Dapose.)

Given that this is your first time playing Psycho, what are your expectations for the festival?

FINK: I’m pumped to see some heavy doom bands that I haven’t heard yet.

Do you have any surprises planned for your set, whether they be songs you wouldn’t normally play, added stage elements, etc.?

FINK: Just the hits and a spattering of new stuff from Egowerk.

Do you prefer playing in the heat or in the cold? Indoors or outdoors?

FINK: We usually only play at night. I hope we are playing at night if it’s outside.

What other bands are you most excited to see perform at Psycho?

FINK: Bad Religion — my favorite band as a teenager. Tobacco — I love these guys but haven’t ever seen ‘em live! The Black Angels, a bunch of others … Godspeed, Cold Cave, Beach House, Electric Wizard.

What friends of yours are also playing at the festival? Who are you planning or hoping to hang with in your downtime?

FINK: We’re from Nebraska so … hopefully we’ll make some friends.

What can fans and newcomers expect from your performance(s) at the festival?

FINK: High-energy cyberpunk.

For previous installments of the Big Takeover’s Psycho Las Vegas preview series, check out our interviews with:

• Colin H. Van Eeckhout, vocalist for Belgian post-metal purveyors Amenra
• Jason Shi and Scott Key, singer/guitarist and drummer, respectively, for melodic hard-rock masters ASG
• Jay Bentley, founding bassist for politically progressive punk pros Bad Religion
• Stephen McBean, singer/guitarist of long-running psychedelic-rock project Black Mountain
• Jean-Paul Gaster, drummer for “the quintessential American rock band,” Clutch
• Greg Meleney, vocalist/guitarist for Portland psych-rock mainstays Danava
• George Clarke, vocalist for shoegaze/black-metal powerhouses Deafheaven
• DJ Painkiller, an L.A.-based metalhead who will be spinning between sets
• Darkest Prince, lead guitarist for black-metal punks Devil Master
• Victor Vicart of Scottish progressive-metal quintet Dvne
• Laura Dolan, vocalist for Cincinnati rock ’n’ roll purists Electric Citizen
• Zack Simmons, drummer for blackened death-metal demigods Goatwhore
• Emil Amos, drummer for experimental post-rock band Grails
• Julien Chanut, guitarist for French sludge-doom band Hangman’s Chair
• Tony Campos, guitarist and founder of thrash revivalists Hell Fire
• Nashville cosmic-riff connoisseurs Howling Giant
• Gabriel Franco, vocalist/guitarist for gothy post-punks Idle Hands
• Joshy, drummer for crusty death/doom-metal outfit Ilsa
• Johanna Sadonis, vocalist for “heavy magic rock” band Lucifer
• Stuart Braithwaite, founding guitarist/vocalist for beloved post-rock legends Mogwai
• Thomas Eriksen, centrifugal force behind true Norwegian black-metallers Mork
• All-female Motörhead tribute band Motorbabe
• Mikael Åkerfeldt, frontman for Swedish progressive-metal kings Opeth
• Ethan Lee McCarthy, frontman for blackened-doom trio Primitive Man
• Tobias Grave, frontman for shimmering post-rock trio Soft Kill
• Derrick Vella, guitarist of death-metal arsonists Tomb Mold
• Niklas Källgren, guitarist for Swedish fuzz fanatics Truckfighters
• Los Angeles Satanic doo-wop duo Twin Temple
• Kevin Starrs, frontman of British fuzz royalty Uncle Acid and the deadbeats
• Sean Killian, vocalist for cult-favorite Bay Area thrash band Vio-lence
• Bruce Lamont, frontman for experimental heavy-jazz project Yakuza and Led Zeppelin tribute band Led Zeppelin 2
• Aaron Rieseberg, bassist for Oregon doom-metal dealers Yob

Also, don’t miss our special feature in which Deafheaven’s Clarke and Mogwai’s Braithwaite discuss their mutual affection for each other’s bands, whether Deafheaven should play their Mogwai cover at Psycho Las Vegas — and the possibility of a collaboration between the two projects.