You are able to blend different elements in your music, mainly hardcore and metal, and have made a melting pot of energy for fans to go crazy with; was this your intent in your musical direction?
Yes. When Phil (Guitar) and I started writing music together we decided to not get bogged down under all of the pretentious sub-genre trash and just write what we like. Once we added Eric (drums) I knew we were going to have a style of our own. Eric has written some of our coolest guitar parts over the years. Whenever I personally put songs together, write riffs, or lyrics; I’m doing it with the goal of getting a reaction out of the rest of the guys. Our only criteria is that we all enjoy playing it and listening to it. If we can enjoy doing this, it should not be hard for people watching us to enjoy it as well.
Your newest single Stone Cold Steve Hawking just premiered this last week, in which the topic is pretty bleak, is this a cumulation of where you think the human race is heading? Or a reflection of where we came from and will continue towards?
The subject matter stems from conversations Eric would lead us in during long drives. He always has some interesting things to talk about. The instrumental we made for this song called for something different. I wanted to tell a story. We always need to have more to it than just riffs and aggression, so I asked Eric for some suggestions and he sends me this long wild text about humanity being at this critical stage of evolution and how the sun will eventually die leaving no trace of life at all. He expressed to me how small humanity, history, religion and politics on earth really are because there will be no trace we ever existed when the sun finally dies. When I read “the sun will die” I thought about how in religious texts there was a rather famous son that died for his followers’ lives. I decided to tie them together to show how even the most powerful organized religion will not be able to withstand the power of the true giant, the red giant that the sun will become.
Your new album Heat will be released on Aug 24, how were you able to turn out a new album so fast, since you just released your last album July 2017?
We love to write music. Phil, Eric and I all enjoy writing guitar riffs and expanding on what we’re able to do. We started writing new songs for “The Faction” as soon as our first album “The Truth” was released in 2013. By the end of 2014 we had another 12 songs written and were ready to record by late 2015. The Faction was recorded in December of 2015 but didn’t see release until 2017 because we wanted to make sure we put out the best quality songs and beautiful physical copies within our budget.
We had been itching to write new songs since 2015. When Keith Glacier asked in August 2017 if we could have an album ready to record by April of 2018 we jumped at the challenge. I was confident in the technical, organizational and creative skills Phil posses, the ability Eric has to create and collaborate on drum parts as well as my passion and mind for composition, lyrics and overall creativity.
Did you change anything in particular on Heat compared to The Faction?
I feel like musically we continued our evolution, rather than made any particular changes. Brandon, who had been our first official bass player moved to guitar, which is his first instrument and we were also able to add Adam as our new bass player. We recorded The Faction on our own, at home as a 4 piece with Brandon on bass. Heat was recorded in studio with Zack Ohren as a 5 piece and because of that, the quality has definitely evolved as well.
Listening to your music feels like a sonic boom, your sound encapsulates a live pulsating feel, when you write songs, do you think of how it will translate live?
Absolutely. Once we start playing what we wrote together, we are able to feel which parts may benefit from change in order to engage a live crowd more. We also have parts in our set where we may change how a song is played on the fly based on how the crowd is reacting, so parts may get slowed down, pauses might be longer, Phil, or Eric might address the crowd without a mic in front of them, anything can happen! The reaction from a live crowd is a big part of what Farooq and Heat is all about.
Also, with this new record, do you feel like you have harnessed the sound you have been aiming for?
Zack and Keith were amazing guides when it came to the proper tones to bring our guitar and bass parts to another level. The quality Zack brings to the table is exactly why he’s done work on our last two consecutive albums. We are all very happy with how this new record sounds and can’t wait to start writing another one. As for the musicality, we definitely have cemented our style and process. However, part of our whole energy revolves around questioning the status quo and pushing the creative envelope. I know for myself, vocally, I’m better than I’ve ever been, but I still feel like there’s so much more to learn and master.
You have a short tour coming up, is there any plans that you can talk about for after that?
We plan to do as many weekend runs to the surrounding states as possible after we get back from this 11 day/8 state tour. We have music videos in the works as well.
There are other things we have our eyes on, but those will be for a future conversation.
What has been your favorite part of being a musician and playing music?
The guys love to travel, see new places, eat and judge the inferior Mexican food from all the other states that aren’t California.
My personal favorite thing is meeting people who our music has helped or inspired.
What would you want people to know about Farooq that they might not be aware of?
We get asked a lot about the name. The 3 original members (Phil, Eric and I) grew up watching WWF Wrestling during the Attitude Era. The name was inspired by Ron Simmons AKA “Faarooq”. The dude is a total badass all around and he brought such an aggressive and strong energy to the name. We chose the spelling “Farooq” after learning that translated from an Arabic it means things like “the redeemer” and “one who discerns the truth from falsehood”. The name fit the theme of the lyrics and was an homage to one of the greatest to ever compete in the squared circle.
Any last parting words for the fans?
Thank you for your support and for growing this Faction we call Farooq.
By Rene Botello for Rock All Photography Music Magazine
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