Chasing Faim: Drummer turned manager Rob Nassif on building a global story for The Faim
Building a career for a developing act is a difficult and time-consuming mission.
There are many different avenues you need to consider when deciding how to break into a market and where to focus the majority of efforts. And as Rob Nassif has discovered, having a pre-existing insight into the industry has helped him guide an international success story for Perth band The Faim.
“This is the story of artist development. It takes time and at the beginning, it was a challenge to navigate,” Nassif tells TMN on his experience managing The Faim.
Stepping out from playing the drums for ARIA nominated band Gyroscope, Nassif had a chance encounter with The Faim in early 2015 at the rehearsal studios he owns in Perth.
“The first time I came across The Faim they were in one of the rooms rehearsing,” he says. “I was walking past the room and heard them playing and was immediately taken aback by how good this youngsters voice was.
“I didn’t know anything about them and I was immediately so intrigued by them. I waited for them to finish the song and then I knocked on the door and introduced myself. Unbeknown to me they were a lot younger than I had thought. They were all about seventeen at the time.
“They reminded me of myself when I was seventeen and starting out in Gyroscope. They were full of enthusiasm and had a million questions. I asked them to play me a song and it was cool as you could hear the raw talent laying there.
“I sat down with them that following week over coffee and was really struck by how dedicated they were to the music at just seventeen years old. Their raw talent was just as impressive as their hunger for it”.
After starting to work with them in July 2015, he officially began to manage them a year later in July 2016. From being a band that had never played a live show, he watched them sell out their first-ever headline show a month later in Perth which was thanks to a crafty approach with social media.
From securing the foundations within their core team, they began focusing on the international market.
“It’s been important to me to focus on the international market straight away because I did it the exact opposite way in Gyroscope,” he says.
“I did it the way most Australian bands do. They focus on Australia first, build a fanbase, build some revenue so that when you do go overseas you can sustain yourself. But there are some limitations when you do decide to follow that path.
“The fact is that it takes a couple of years to get going. In the case of Gyroscope, it really took us three albums and five years of touring around Australia for us to start succeeding and make decent money to earn a living. But the same can be said with doing it overseas as it can take you five years to get to a point.
“So my whole theory around this is that if you’re in a band and a musician, you might as well spend five years touring much bigger markets around the world to break your act instead of focusing specifically on Australia first.
“It’s hard to sustain your career if you’re only big in Australia because we only have so many people and so many cities to play. Whereas the next European tour the guys start next week begins in Madrid and ends in London with eighteen shows over eight different market cities alongside a 25 date tour of the US.”
Challenging themselves to focus their objectives around the notion that if they are going to spend all this time and money grinding and touring then you might as well do it with an overseas story. But as Nassif explains, their global objection has been a massive part of their narrative in all elements.
“It’s challenging but that’s the thinking behind all of the decisions we’ve made. From touring, to who we recorded the first record with, to even who we signed our label deal with, we’ve been building around a global emphasis.”
Through the focus on these objectives, the UK has become one of the band’s biggest markets.
The band is expected to sell out the 1,300 capacity Electric Ballroom in London at the end of their current European tour. Their initial radio success began in Germany when ‘Summer Is A Cure’ got to #12 on the airplay charts last year, before the Czech Republic followed, reaching #2.
The track’s success spilled over into 2019 with it sitting comfortably in the Top 30 on the radio charts in France for nine weeks and has just broken the Top 10.
“There’s something powerful about the songs on your debut album because you don’t know too much about the greater music industry and the world.
“When they recorded ‘Summer Is A Curse’, they had never toured before. They had never played a show outside of Perth. So I think you take some of that youthful exuberance and naivety and put it into the music with you and that’s why this song is connecting so well globally,” Nassif explains.
Following the international success story with ‘Summer Is A Curse’, and the release of debut album State Of Mind (BMG), they are now focussed on reintroducing the band to Australian audiences.
“I think ‘Summer Is A Curse’ has every chance of big radio success in Australia. I guess I have that positivity around it because we’ve been able to succeed in countries where radio is a lot more challenging. In France, they have strict quota laws for french speaking music so you’re competing with that too, and that’s the same in Germany”.
“Nine of the top ten radio stations in Germany added ‘Summer Is A Curse’, and all ten of the top ten added it in France. And what we’ve seen is if radio gives the track a go then it reacts well with the listener”.
With their local focus just beginning, ‘Summer Is A Curse’ has just been added to National Nights on the Hit Network and across the board on Hit 92.9 Perth.
The reaction has already been very positive which compliments their impressive streaming numbers that see the single sitting at 18 million streams on Spotify alone, while their global streams for their discography is sitting at over 46 million.
“What we’ve seen is once you have the radio story going, it does lead to those top tier playlist additions which then drives the streams. It’s really all about the relationships you develop.
“At the end of this tour, the band will end up doing 232 shows in 20 months across 21 countries. I don’t know many Australian bands that will put up those numbers in the last two years.
“I love the notion of taking a band from the rehearsal room to bigger stages, and that’s what we’ve done with The Faim.”