It was strange enough to be talking about Faith No More in the present tense when they reformed for a run of shows back in 2009. Nearly six years on, things are set to get even stranger – a new album is on the horizon, the first for the band in eighteen years.
Sol Invictus is just as much of a surprise to Faith No More as it is to their longtime fans. As the band explains, there was a time where such an idea was too much to even consider.
“I completely shut the door,” confesses Mike Bordin, the band’s drummer and one of its founding members. “For the last few years, when people asked about a new album, I told them no. ‘It’ll never happen. Absolutely not. No way.’ I was comfortable with saying that, too… and then it actually happened.
“Our guys have a pretty sensitive gag reflex, so to speak. They knew after a certain point that we were either going to do new stuff or stop entirely. We did maybe 75 shows on that reunion, and it became pretty clear that it felt comfortable to be playing again… and it was then we began to look at where to go from there.
“To do an album has never been by numbers for us – it’s always a huge commitment and a massive process. It’s not something we could have done at the start of the reunion – it wouldn’t have been us. We had to revisit who we were in order to have an idea of where we were going. Now that we’re all speaking the same language again, now we get to go somewhere new.”
With bassist Billy Gould at the production helm, the band spent the majority of 2014 putting the album together. Of course, it’s a very different time compared to 1997, when the band last released a record. Some things will always be the same, though, including the approach the band members take to creating music.
“It’s always a grouping of very diverse influences,” explains Bordin. “It’s been that way for every Faith No More record. We all have a thirst for music – everyone has values in lots of different kinds of music. That’s when the band really comes into its element is when that all comes together. When everything is represented… that’s Faith No More to me.
“Take a song like The Real Thing, for instance. It’s really long, it’s got a super-quiet part, it’s got this cinematic feel to it in the intro, there’s a lot of guitar… it goes a lot of places. To me, that’s what our band does at its best. We need to go everywhere.
“We can’t just plow the same field every single time. That’s just not us. Our guys would get bored, and it would be dishonest.”
Listen: Faith No More – Motherfucker
“Everything is represented on this album,” he continues. “You’ve got our singer, Mike [Patton], with his range of talents and breadth of skills. Our bass player is particularly talented at creating these atmospheres and environments with his production and arrangements. Everyone’s ideas are in this record. There’s enough rock, there’s enough crunch, there’s enough melody, there’s enough darkness. All the elements are there.
“It’s not just one guy and one thing when it comes to Faith No More. It never has been. It’s about the value that each of us puts on music.”
Although the album remains in the prosperous and promising future for the band’s ever-patient fans, Sol Invictus is something Bordin and co can look back on. It’s still fresh in their minds, but the excitement is palpable.
“The effort and the participation that went into this record was just incredible,” Bordin enthuses. “I’m so excited and I’m so fired up about letting out and finding out what people think of it. I love this record. I really believe in it. I know that not everyone is going to like it – I mean, it’s Faith No More! That is never going to change. It’s never going to be what people expect. For my money, though, it’s a damn good record. It’s the best thing we could do at this time, by far.”
Before Sol Invictus drops in mid-May, Faith No More will be visiting Australian shores for the second time since their reunion. Alongside Soundgarden, Slipknot and the Smashing Pumpkins, the band will be one of the headlining acts on offer at this year’s Soundwave festivities; which has expanded out to two days for the first time. Having toured extensively here in the past, Bordin fondly remembers coming over for the very first time.
“We’d heard that they were playing us on the radio and buying our albums long before we came there,” he recalls. “Even when we were with Chuck [Mosley, previous vocalist], we’d heard that we were getting played in Australia.
“That audience jumped right in with us. When you’re young and you’re trying to explain who the hell you are through what you’re doing, it’s incredible to be able to come to a place where you don’t have to do that. You can just be yourself. It still feels good to me every time we come back.”
One could even say Bordin feels stoked. “Totally stoked!” he laughs.
Faith No More headline Soundwave Festival this weekend and next. ‘Sol Invictus’ is released 15th May via Reclamation Records/Ipecac Recordings.