Q&A: In Fear and Faith's Ramin Niroomand: "Our Name and Message Are Not Tied to Any Religious Denomination"
San Diego's alternative metal band In Fear and Faith take their name from a song by Circa Survive. That being said, many folks hear the name and think these guys belong in the Christian rock genre.
Far from it, claims guitarist and founding member Ramin Niroomand. Speaking from the road on the way to Dallas for a gig tonight at The Prophet Bar, Niroomand was eager to talk about the misconceptions concerning the band's name, the many personnel changes that have taken place over the years, and the pride he has for In Fear and Faith's new, symphonic EP.
Were you worried that with a name like In Fear and Faith, some people might think you are in a Christian band?
We get that quite frequently. A lot of times people do think we are a Christian band. However, our name and our message are not tied to any religious denomination is all. Everything we do, though, does have a very positive message. We do like to party and have a good time. We have Christians in the band, but we would not fit under the Christian rock label.
Do you think that some bands do not want to be labeled as Christian?
I actually have a reverse view on that. I think that a lot of bands who are not Christian try to be labeled as that just for financial reasons. Bands will use that as a gimmick and will not really represent the message that many Christian bands want to put across. Some bands label themselves that and not always with the best intentions.
You mentioned in interviews that you also don't mind being labeled Emo.
Well, emo is such a broad term. Critics and fans use it so broadly and with so many definitions. I mean, our music is definitely emotional. It's difficult to pinpoint. But most bands don't mind being called emotional. And I think fans have emotional attachments to certain songs. We've had so many descriptions thrown at us. We have songs about suicide, motivation, togetherness and family. They're all emotional.
The band has had several membership changes. Is such just a rite of passage for metal bands?
It would sure seem so. It's just difficult to be in a band. You have to sacrifice so much. I feel fortunate to be in a band, but not everyone is cut out for it. Plus, we let people go because they lost the passion for it. They lost the motivation to work hard, to be their best. At each show, regardless of how many people are there, you have to put on the best show you can possibly put on. The minute people start getting lazy, they have to go. Millions of people would kill to have this position. But on the flip side, you have to sacrifice nearly everything to make this happen. Many people who left this band lost that motivation to move forward. I have a lot of goals that I still want to accomplish. Nobody is going to get in the way of that. If so, the situation has to be rectified quickly.
What were the circumstances that led to lead singer Jarred DeArmas leaving and then coming back into the band to play bass?
At the time, we thought his singing ability didn't mesh with what we wanted to do, didn't match our sound. That was the hardest thing for me to do because I love the kid to death. It was a business decision. He was an incredible screamer, but his vocals at other times were not up to par. Thankfully, we have remained friends and he even ran the merchandise table for us on a couple of tours. As far as him coming back, we just don't have try outs. As soon as we had an opening at bass, we thought of him. It was the easiest decision in the world for me.
It's fortunate that he played bass.
Exactly. It's really crazy how things can work out. This makes us happiest right now. We are a five piece instead of a six piece and we have people who really want to work hard and appreciate every moment of this.
Now Scott Barnes is doing both the clean and unclean vocal duties. What are the pros and cons of having one singer as opposed to two?
Having one front man is not only easier, but it gives the band focus. Jarred helps out on the vocals as well. We are a layered band. We concentrate on having a layered sound. But it's nice having Scott take on both roles and he does them both so incredibly well. Plus being a five piece makes it one less mouth to feed, one less person to complain, one less person to run into on stage.
Whose idea was it to do symphonic renditions of your songs on the most recent EP?
That was me. It was something I always wanted to do. It had been in the back of my head for a while. The instrument that I have the most passion for is the piano. And last year, while on tour, I hurt my foot and had to stay home for many months, away from my friends. Finally, I found the motivation to do what I wanted to do, make symphonic versions of our songs. I spent months and months putting this EP together. In my opinion, it's the best thing we've done.
Were you afraid of that old fans wouldn't like the new versions?
One thing that I am upset about is that the EP was not promoted. When something isn't promoted, it's hard to educate people about the project. Luckily, the feedback we got was beyond incredible. Whenever there was negative feedback, it was because people thought this a new direction for us. It was nothing other than an artistic escape to showcase another side of us.