Beyond the Record
Music news, album reviews & interviews
Beyond the Record: Welcome! Tell us a little bit about who you are, where you're
from and where you're living now.
J.M Faupel: Well, hi there! My name is Josh Faupel. I release all of my music under the name J. M. Faupel, but I really just go by my last name. I’m from El Paso, Texas but am about to move back up to my college town in Plainview, Texas.
BtR: There are many artists who come to love music early on in life. At what age did you fully pursue music and do you feel as though your childhood played a role in your love for music?
J.M Faupel: Oh, that’s an interesting question. I guess I’ve never really given that a whole lot of thought, but I know I picked up a guitar around 6th or 7th grade and just to learn Vermillion Pt. 2 by Slipknot. I don’t think I took playing music seriously until my freshman year of high school, though, where I started really learning how to actually play. I think it was from that point that I was really writing music and trying to collaborate in the way of starting bands and stuff.
As far as my childhood affecting my love for music, I’m not really too sure I can say yes. Truthfully, I don’t remember a lot from then, but maybe the music I listened to had a part in me really appreciating all kinds music; before I discovered linkin park in about the 4th grade I was listening to N’Sync and the Backstreet boys. Now, while I mostly listen to rock, there’s not really a genre, other than gangster rap, that I won’t listen to.
BtR: As far as labeling the music goes, I feel as though it is hard to pin point where you fit on a spectrum. If you could label your music as one genre, what would it be?
J.M Faupel: I’d probably stick with generalizing it as Rock, but if I had to get more specific, maybe alternative rock fits the bill too. I usually list acoustic and electronic as subgenres when I’m posting things about my music to sort of encompass everything I do.
BtR: And as far as a genre goes, who are your inspirations to make music?
J.M Faupel: Definitely Breaking Benjamin. They’ve been my favorite band since I was in 7th grade and I love just about everything they make to this day. The band RED is another one, and I take a lot of lyrical inspiration from Chevelle. I’m not even sure that the music I write sounds much like any of those bands, but I’ve definitely drawn from them.
BtR: Can you touch on why you left Against the Edge? What was the experience like for you and what made you make such a tough decision?
J.M Faupel: I really have nothing but good things to say about my time in the band. I don’t really consider myself that great of a musician, singer, or even guitar player, and I have a degree in guitar. What I do pride myself in is being a good songwriter and I was really able to dive into that with Against the Edge. I wouldn’t say, stylistically, it was completely different from the stuff I write, but when I’m writing my music I write basically every part. NOT being in charge of the instrumentation of any given song in the band really allowed me to focus on just being a lyricist and singer, and I only had to contribute my opinion to the rest of the parts. It was unfortunate, and a big a part me really wishes that I didn’t have to quit, but the simple thing is that I’m moving and a satellite vocalist doesn’t bode well for a band that wants to record and play live as much as they do. They were actually planning on having a conversation with me about starting over with the band; same 4 members, new name and starting fresh. I told them I had to quit just before they talked to me and now they’re still starting over, but now they’ll be doing so with a new vocalist.
BtR: Moving forward, what is next for you?
J.M Faupel: As I mentioned, I’ll be moving up to my college town. Up there, I’ll be managing a music store as well as finishing up my second bachelor’s degree in music production. I’ll still be writing and releasing my own music on a regular basis as well as looking to do some collaborations with other artists. I’ll have a lot more freedom to do so coming up.
BtR: There are quite a few artists and musicians that have hidden messages in your music, while others are very open. Which of your songs is the most personal to you?
J.M Faupel: It was different when I was writing them than where I am with the songs now. At the time of writing, “Blinding Eyes” was probably the one that I felt the most for just because of how easy it was to finish. It was also the pre-release for the album and when it was finished, I had this incredible sense of pride for having written this song. Now, it’s probably “Superhero.” Working with Vitoria Re before and during the recording of the acoustic version of the song was a lot of fun. She and I are great friends and having her be a part of my music, something I care so much about, just sort of added a whole new level of significance to the song.
BtR: As far as being a solo musician is concerned, do you prefer it over a band?
J.M Faupel: Not really. I wouldn’t say I like one over the other, but they both definitely have their advantages and disadvantages. As I mentioned before, being a solo musician means I write every part of the music. While this gives me a lot of freedom with structure and sound, it also means that there’s little to no back and forth and criticism. The obvious difference is that I’m one person whereas Against the Edge was 4 or 5 members depending on what point of the timeline we’re talking about. In a band environment, you play live, record, and rehearse with these people regularly; they know what you’re capable of and you build the kind of relationship where you know they’re being honest when they tell you they like your work or, more importantly, that you can do better. I matured a lot as a musician over the past year. I think Against the Edge was good for me, but I think I’ll be out on my own for a bit.
BtR: Take us through some of the lowest moments in your music career but also in your personal life.
J.M Faupel: There were several points in my life where I had casually given up on writing music out of frustration and whatnot, but there was one period, around 2012-2013 where I really did almost quit 100% seriously. I had been writing music for years, but the songs on the album were some of the only songs that I had ever written to completion. Try as I might, most of what I ended up writing were just a lot of incomplete parts to more songs, never finishing them. Because music means so much to me, it hurt that I wasn’t having any luck finishing songs. It affected me to the point where I was constantly frustrated, angry, etc.. It was only because of a promise I made to a friend that I didn’t quit. She made me swear I wouldn’t stop writing. I eventually got my act together, but it was professionally and personally one of the most difficult times in my life.
BtR: On the flipside, what have you overcome that you are most proud of? What successes have you had?
J.M Faupel: I was a bad student for most of my life. I was a low B average student with the potential to graduate top 10 in high school. I actually graduated bottom half of my class. All of that carried into college and my junior year, the Dean of Music hit me with a wake up call that really made me get my act together. This was probably the turning point to that span of time I mentioned when answering your last question. I had my senior project on the horizon and worked harder on that than I had worked on anything in my life. Part of that project included a couple of compositions outside of any style I had ever written: one acoustic fingerstyle song that I wrote in an alternate tuning and one choral piece. Those two probably kickstarted me writing again.
BtR: Are you a classically trained musician?
J.M Faupel: I am. That senior project led up to me receiving a degree in music. In my time in college I was trained in voice and on guitar. Aside from learning an incredible amount about my voice and instrument, having to memorize and listen to pieces written by great composers like Beethoven and Bach helped with creativity in chord progressions and melody.
BtR: If you had the power to change the music industry as it stands, would you change it, and if so, what would you change about it?
J.M Faupel: I’m not sure that there’s anything I’m super comfortable or uncomfortable with in the music industry. I wasn’t a part of the industry (or even alive) when traditional studios were the only way to go. The rise of mixing “in the box” has, in a way, leveled the playing field for artists. Big labels are becoming less important for artists and may even hurt more than help unless you really hit it big. I do wish that musicians had more power with places like Spotify or applemusic. Bedroom musicians don’t have any negotiating power and basically have to just agree with whatever these websites decide to do. I know DistroKid and CDBaby are common resources for musicians. As such, I think it’s the responsibility of these websites to look out for us, act on our behalf.
BtR: Where can people find your music?
J.M Faupel: I’m trying to push people toward my Patreon page:
www.patreon.com/faupelmusic. For $1, you can become my patron and gain access to my entire album in the best quality. Other than that, my album “Still Breathing” is available on iTunes, GooglePlay, Amazon, and a bunch of other digital distribution sites. It’s also available for streaming on Apple Music and Spotify.