There’s always something about band guys that makes guys like us jealous and sweeps girls off their feet. You can’t blame them though, as more often than not, they’re as down to earth as you and me, as proven by our newest LomoAmigo, Faintly’s Ian Ketterer!
Real Name: Ian Ketterer
City: Seattle, WA
Tell us a bit about yourself as well as how and why you started the band Faintly.
Basically, I started the band Faintly in order to become extremely famous and make millions upon millions of dollars because I knew that being in a band is a great get-rich-quick scheme! That’s the short version. But to be totally honest, I started my band back in 2006 with the idea, goal and hope that some day this would be my career. I had a teacher back in high school (her name was Mrs. Schabel) that once told me “Ian, why don’t you pursue music as a career.” And it’s not that I hadn’t thought of that before her words of wisdom. However, most of the time, you go through school getting told that making music is no way to make a living. You’re fed the same bullshit line that it’s a very tough road and most people don’t become a success. So I will never forget when she told me that I should just go for it. After that, I was pretty much convinced that this is what I wanted to do with my life.
I started playing around on the piano in high school and instantly fell in love with the potential beauty you can create with so many notes laid out right in front of you in black and white. So I started teaching myself how to play and immediately gravitated towards writing my own music. With so many other instruments and sounds I was hearing in my head for songs I had already written, I knew the next step was finding like-minded individuals to share and collaborate with. I had to form a band. That’s when I found Justin. I actually picked him up in the same small town I grew up in (Mayville, WI). He was in another band at the time. His bass playing was phenomenal and I knew I had to work with him. We’ve been writing together and collaborating ever since! In fact, the two of us have been the core of the band from the beginning. We’ve been through quite the lineup of band members since we first got started. All of whom I will not forget and thank very much for being a part of Faintly.
When we finally did have a full band up and running I had booked us 6 shows and I ended up having to cancel all of them due to finding out I would have to undergo open heart surgery at the age of 23. I ended up having an aneurysm in my heart and they told me I either had to have open heart surgery immediately or I would die in 6 months. After getting word of the whole death thing, I figured it was something that needed to be done. Long story short, I came out of surgery with two collapsed lungs and had to rebuild them on my own to sing again. But, about a month and a half after my surgery we played our first official Faintly show. It was a high school post-prom show in the town next to us (Horicon, WI) After playing the Wisconsin scene for a while, I knew we had to get out of the town we group up in since we had a population of 5,000 people and there weren’t exactly too many networking abilities to be had. We decided that Seattle, WA would be the new place we’d call home.
So on Oct. 31st, 2009, we relocated our band across the country to Seattle. In doing so, we lost our previous guitarist and drummer. It really just came down to being in different points in our lives. They both owned houses and had good steady jobs. They were already settled in. We left on good terms and hope to reunite with them at some point for a show or two. We planned on picking up a musician/friend we knew from high school that had been living in Oregon the past few years to become our new guitarist. His name is Jon, and he moved up to Seattle when we arrived. It took us 10 months to find a drummer we could all work well with but we finally found him! His name is Mark and we are so excited to have him on board. We finally have what we were searching for all along, a core group of individuals who get along great, love the music we are creating, and want to make it their career. We are just now starting to book shows in the Seattle area as a full band once again! Oh, and we’re still broke haha (life as a musician).
How long have you been a Lomographer or are you new to this whole thing?
As much as I’d love to say my band and I are veterans to Lomography, that would be a complete fabrication. We all love photography, but we are new born babies to the Lomography world. It all started on the website Flickr. I was paging through random photographs and came across someone who had used a Diana. I was blown away by the way Diana cameras captured truth and honesty, yet displayed it in a dream-like world. The square frame, lo-fi image quality captured my imagination and soon I had a camera in hand wanting to document everything my band was doing.
What are the major challenges you face in establishing a band? Does a personal style with your own sound and identity grow naturally or is it something each group must cultivate?
First and foremost, keeping a band together in problematic situations (like losing members) has got to be the most frustrating and difficult part of establishing a band and building a following. As far as developing some sort of style to the music we create, well that has just come naturally throughout the years. I have always had an idea for the sound I was going for, but you have to let your music take you where it wants to go. Sometimes that might mean ignoring where you wanted to take it, and listening to where it’s actually going.
Having a full band is fun, because everyone can throw in ideas and it may be something that was totally unexpected, but works in the long run. Since forming the band in 2006, I feel like our sound has come a long way and we know almost exactly what we want to sound like. That being said, it allows us to experiment and still produce a final product that sounds like Faintly.
What is your biggest source of inspiration when writing music?
These are very contradicting but, two major sources of inspiration come from people who tell me I can’t do it, and people who tell me I can.
Describe the Diana Mini in five words.
Grainy, Unpredictable, Truth, Beauty, Life.
What was the strangest, funniest, or hands-down greatest photographic/ Lomographic encounter that you had this year?
Well I think this goes without saying. His name is Justin, and the objects include a guitar and a toilet. If you haven’t yet seen the photo of Justin sitting on the toilet playing guitar, stop reading this interview and take a look. Needless to say, we were having way too much fun with our Diana Minis that night.
If your gallery had a soundtrack what would 3 of the songs be (title and artist please)?
This is a fun question for me, it allows me to promote three artists I think are amazing and huge influences of mine. The first artist would hands down have to be the band Ours. And the song, “The Worst Things Beautiful.” Another artist would have to be Jeff Buckley and his version of “Hallelujah.” I also love the band Plain Jane Automobile.
Do these artists pertain to this photo gallery exactly?
Not entirely, but they are three artists that have really left an impact on me and I feel I owe it to them to help spread the word about their fantastic music.
What are some of the projects you are working on or have in mind now that we can look forward to?
Well over the past few weeks things have been starting to pickup. I’ve been working really hard on booking shows and hope to get word back from a lot of the venues in Seattle soon about some possible show dates. Outside of playing shows, we are currently working on writing a song called Diana with a pump organ from the 1890’s and we will be releasing it on iTunes soon. I talk a bit more about the whole idea in the article I wrote for the Analogue Lifestyle section of Lomography’s online magazine. We also have a lot of new material we’ve been working on.
However, this time around, Justin and I made a pact to ourselves that we will not release another EP/LP until we can do it the right way. Our first EP entitled “The A B Theory” which is on iTunes was recorded in 5 hours. In fact, the song “Life Through A Parallel Universe” was recorded in one take. We had about another 5 hours to mix the entire project. So basically, we recorded our first EP in about one day. This is not something I am bragging about. We just did not have the resources and time available to us to spend more time on the finished product. We feel under the circumstances, that The A B Theory turned out as well as it could have. But I know there is so much more potential in our band and I want to make sure we capture that in our next recording. Therefore, we are going to be very picky this time around and not settle for anything less then what we feel is our very best.
Any parting words of wisdom you would like to leave us hanging on?
I actually had spoken my “words of wisdom” at the end of the article I wrote for the Analogue Lifestyle section. But, if I had to give one more piece of advise, I would have to say that just because people might not always believe in what you can do, doesn’t mean you can’t believe in what you can do. Enjoy life.
For more from FAINTLY and Ian Ketterer read his Analogue Lifestyle piece, “A Perfect Band for a Perfect World”