Local Band FAIM Bids Farewell With Final Concert in Denver This Weekend | Westword

FAIM Bids Farewell With Final Concert This Weekend

The Denver hardcore rockers are officially putting the band to rest after a final show on Saturday at D3 Arts.
Denver hardcore group FAIM is officially retiring this month after a final hometown show.
Denver hardcore group FAIM is officially retiring this month after a final hometown show. Courtesy Michelle Mennona Photography
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Kat Lanzillo and Chris Carraway, founding members of FAIM, are candid when it comes to their place in the current DIY scene and why they ultimately decided to put their hardcore band to rest after six-plus years together.

“We started this band as being transplants to Denver and introducing ourselves into a scene, and then we became part of it. Now the scene has sort of changed,” says Carraway, who is a local attorney and teaches at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law whenever he’s not traveling the country for trials or tearing up stages as FAIM’s guitarist.

“We’re sort of not as important," he adds, "and that’s how it should be.”

“It’s just not the same scene that it was” when FAIM formed in 2016, vocalist Lanzillo explains from her home in Tacoma, Washington, where she moved in 2018 and is a Montessori school assistant principal. When she started recognizing fewer faces at shows, she knew it was "not really my scene anymore.”

That sentiment, the feeling of naturally aging out of an underground youth movement, is a big part of the reason that FAIM included its retirement news in a new album announcement at the beginning of the year.

The initial plan to follow the March release of Your Life and Nothing Else was to play two more hometown shows that month and be done forever. But things change, as they have before for the five bandmembers, and FAIM found itself touring Europe for the second time since 2019 in July alongside D.C. punk band NØ MAN.

From the opening date in Reykjavík to a festival appearance in the Czech Republic, FAIM took advantage of the opportunity to share its firebrand set of chaotic hardcore one more time with the world. Lanzillo, who is soft-spoken and allows her black cat to cuddle with her during this interview, admits the recent international run gave her second thoughts about hanging up the mic.

“There were a lot of moments on our European tour where I was like, ‘Maybe we don’t have to call it quits.’ Chris was like, ‘No, it’s done,’” she recalls with a laugh.

Coming of age in the Boston hardcore scene, Lanzillo discovered a more welcoming atmosphere in Denver when she moved here in 2015. And she was soon leading a hardcore resurgence in the city with FAIM.

Local independent label Convulse Records put out the band’s self-titled seven-inch debut in 2018. Convulse founder and musician Adam Croft calls FAIM a staple “of the Denver hardcore and punk community since they started.

“A lot of younger kids that went on to start notable bands experienced hardcore music for the first time at a FAIM show. They bridged lots of divides, too, and got bands from different worlds to play together,” he says, noting that the band “generally raised the ceiling of what might be possible for a hardcore band from Denver.

“The current state of hardcore in Denver owes a lot to FAIM and the community they built around their band, and they should be tremendously proud of that,” adds Croft, who plays in bands Euth, Product Lust and Destiny Bond.

Convulse has quickly become a go-to authority when it comes to Denver’s DIY punk and hardcore scene, regularly releasing new material and throwing shows around the city. But when Croft created Convulse in 2018, it was “really just an idea and not an actual entity,” he admits, so he is forever grateful for FAIM and the opportunity to make something together during those early days.

"When Convulse started, FAIM were one of the first bands we worked with,” he adds. “We were lucky to put out their debut seven-inch before they put their LPs out on Safe Inside Records, and I'll always appreciate the trust they put in the label.”

Denver now has one last chance to show up and show out for FAIM, when the group plays its final show (for real this time) on Saturday, October 14, at D3 Arts on Morrison Road. NØ MAN, Sewerslide and Eyes of Salt are also on the bill.

Being involved in this type of music for so long means it has also become Lanzillo’s social life. Going to or playing shows or touring, even if only for short one- or two-week bursts, have always allowed her to see and spend time with her people, she explains, including FAIM bandmates Chris Carrera (guitars), Nick Danes (drummer) and Matt Dunne (bass).

“The European tour was a good example of just hanging out with some of my favorite people in the world for two and a half weeks and how I just want to do that,” she says. “I’m really sad it’s coming to an end, but I think it’s really good timing.

“It’s better to just fade into the background as these old hardcore kids,” she adds, referencing the Neil Young lyric from “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)."

And she doesn’t feel “entitled to anything in Denver” when it comes to FAIM receiving its flowers. “I feel more so like it’s a closure. If people show up [to the farewell concert], cool. If people don’t, that’s fine,” she says. “I think the youth have picked up the torch on their own. It’s more so of leaving that room and going to the old folks' home.”

Carraway, who also plays in local band thieves guild with Danes and Carrera, agrees. As he sees it, there’s “no torch to pass” at this point: “Other people have already taken it and done their own things, which I think is great."

FAIM originally had plans to call it a day in 2021 on the back of its 2020 record, Hollow Hope, and a final summer run, but the worldwide shutdown shuttered those plans and extended the band’s life span by two years, which resulted in sophomore release Your Life and Nothing Else.

“We had like a year of doing nothing, but we gained two extra years, a new record and new experiences,” Carraway says. “I think that was the point of calling it and going out on our own terms, as opposed to how most other bands break up on worse terms. I’m sad about it, but I’m also grateful for it. I have an appreciation for it. We’ve done all we’ve wanted to do.”

While “this last show is just for ourselves,” he continues, fans will also get to hear “a lot of songs” before FAIM fizzles out.

“Basically, most of our discography,” Carraway shares. “I think it’s just going to be a really solid show and a good way to say goodbye. No gimmicks. We’re just going to say goodbye as who we are.”

Playing music is still a big part of who Lanzillo and Carraway are, even if their co-workers aren’t always privy to their free-time pursuits and passions. “I’ve had my law students come to shows. I don’t promote it, but I was walking through the hall the other day, and I walked in on a few students talking about me being in a band,” Carraway recalls. “They asked about it. I sort of brush it off, but it’s there to find.”

Lanzillo is similarly open about being in a hardcore band, but doesn’t make it a point to talk too much about FAIM, even though “my school is definitely the punk-rock school.”

Carraway will continue gigging with thieves guild “once every six months” or so, while Lanzillo is going to be part of a Hatebreed Halloween cover set later this month in Tacoma. But neither has plans to start a new group in the same vein as FAIM in the near future.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be in a band like FAIM again, in terms of my relationship to it and the seriousness and thought that went into it,” Carraway muses. “I’m sure down the road, maybe, I’ll want to do something and have that itch, but definitely not anytime soon.”

“I have friends here who have talked about starting a band, and I’ve said it’s going to have to wait a little while,” Lanzillo adds. “I don’t want it to be serious in any way. Maybe we record a demo and play occasionally, but I don’t want...”

Carraway can’t help but chuckle and chime in: “That’s how this band started! I’ve heard that before.”

FAIM, 7 p.m. Saturday, October 14, D3 Arts, 3614 Morrison Road. Tickets are $15 at the door.
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